The Denison Forum Podcast Season 1, Episode 10 show notes
Release date: 2/28/2022
Summary: Judge Kenneth Starr joins Dr. Jim Denison and Dr. Mark Turman to discuss the Constitution, religious liberty, the Supreme Court, the separation of church and state, and how Christians can find hope for the future of religious liberty.
Show notes: Judge Kenneth Starr (former solicitor for the U.S.), Dr. Denison, and Dr. Turman discuss the state of American law and religious liberty, which is covered in fuller length in Judge Starr’s book Religious Liberty in Crisis. They consider some of the biggest questions posing America. They reflect on the Constitution, why it’s so permanent and important, the protection of religious liberty, and some relevant religious liberty cases in recent years.
Dr. Denison first discusses the Equality Act and the danger it poses to religious liberty. Judge Starr shares the same concerns but has faith that the Supreme Court will uphold the Constitution if the Equality Act were to become law. Judge Starr suggests that the Constitution will be an excellent “sea wall” to the coming cultural tsunami Dr. Denison writes about in The Coming Tsunami.
They then delve into a discussion of the church-state separation, which Judge Starr unpacks and deconstructs. Yes, the states must remain neutral in regards to religion, but that does not mean they should be hostile to it. He encourages more nuance when we discuss the so-called wall of separation. Dr. Denison describes the two extremes that evangelicals can often take: running from politics or thinking that only Christians should run the government. As faithful Christians, we should be involved in the culture and politics, but we should also keep the kingdom of God separate from “Caesar’s” kingdom.
Dr. Denison and Judge Starr then consider the purpose of the federal courts, specifically the Supreme Court’s role in our government, and how it is often misunderstood. Within this, they take a close look at the new celebrity status many Justices are acquiring. Dr. Denison delves into the new wave of celebrity culture that pervades America at large.
Finally, Judge Starr defines some confusing terms, like accommodation and stare decisis, and why they might be relevant to some cases now before the court. Judge Starr also considers the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, at least at the federal level. He then gives final, parting thoughts about the permanence of the Supreme Court and the political climate.
Resources and further reading:
- Religious Liberty in Crisis: Exercising Your Faith in an Age of Uncertainty – Kenneth Starr
- “Ken Starr’s ‘Religious Liberty in Crisis’ is an indispensable guide to defending religious freedom” – Jim Denison
- “Why the Equality Act is the greatest threat to religious liberty today” – Greg Baylor, Dr. Jim Denison
- “The Equality Act: What Christians need to know” – Dr. Jim Denison
- “Will the Supreme Court protect religious liberty?” – Mark Legg
About the featured guest
Judge Kenneth Starr has argued thirty-six cases before the US Supreme Court, including when he was US Solicitor General. He served as United States circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, as a counselor and chief of staff to US Attorney General William French Smith, and law clerk to chief justices. He has served as President and Chancellor of Baylor University and the dean of Pepperdine School of Law for twenty-five years. He has served as a partner at two national law firms. He continues to serve on the Board of Advocates International, the Supreme Court Historical Society, and the Christian Legal Society.
About the hosts
Jim Denison, PhD, is an author, speaker, and the CEO of Denison Ministries, which is transforming 6.8 million lives through meaningful digital content.
Dr. Mark Turman is the executive director of Denison Forum. He received his DMin from Truett at Baylor and previously served as lead pastor of Crosspoint Church.