The Denison Forum Podcast Episode 10: “Religious Liberty in Crisis”: A conversation with Judge Ken Starr

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The Denison Forum Podcast Episode 10: “Religious Liberty in Crisis”: A conversation with Judge Ken Starr

February 28, 2022 - Denison Forum

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:

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.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV®️ Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®️), copyright ©️ 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated in whole or in part into any other language.

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