Missouri Court Excludes Christians from Jury Duty 

Missouri Court Excludes Christians from Jury Duty 

Last month, the US Supreme Court declined to review a Missouri case involving the dismissal of potential jurors who, despite affirming their ability to adhere to the law, were removed because they attended a “conservative Christian church” with teachings against homosexual acts. 

The case started when Jean Finney, a lesbian woman, claimed she was dismissed from the Missouri Department of Corrections due to her masculine appearance, violating anti-discrimination laws. This incident reflects broader legal debates influenced by the Obama administration’s interpretation of civil rights laws extending protections to LGBT individuals. During jury selection, Finney’s lawyer probed potential jurors on their religious beliefs about homosexuality, leading to discussions on sin and morality.

Finney’s lawyer asked whether any jurors attended a “conservative Christian church” with teachings against homosexuality. Responses from jurors, including a pastor’s wife, affirmed such teachings but also noted that everyone sins, and it is irrelevant to the case’s context. Still, Finney’s attorney claimed that “there’s no way…somebody [who] looks at a gay person and says…‘You are a sinner’” could impartially apply the law. As a result, he denied the Christians their right to fulfill their civic duty.

The Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that the dismissal of Christian jurors was justified, not due to their Christian faith, but because their church’s traditional views on same-sex behavior could compromise their impartiality in a case related to alleged harassment over homosexuality, despite assurances they could remain unbiased. This is a deeply concerning and chilling decision. A judge ruled that three individuals were unfit for jury service simply due to their belief in the sanctity of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Then, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case between the Missouri Department of Corrections and Jean Finney. Justice Alito, while concurring with the decision based on procedural issues, still expressed his concerns about the case. 

Jordan Lorence, writing for the Daily Signal, reported that Alito harkened back to the risks he foresaw in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. He said then that people who opposed homosexuality and same-sex marriage would eventually risk being unfairly “labeled as bigots and treated as such” and expressed skepticism towards the majority’s assurances that the rights and conscience of Christians would remain protected. “We will soon see whether this proves to be true,” wrote Justice Alito. “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”

Unfortunately, his warning has come to fruition. “I see no basis for dismissing a juror for cause based on religious beliefs,” wrote Justice Alito last month in response to the Missouri case. “I am concerned that the lower court’s reasoning may spread and may be a foretaste of things to come.”

“When a court, a quintessential state actor, finds that a person is ineligible to serve on a jury because of his or her religious beliefs, that decision implicates fundamental rights,” Alito continued.

Alito is right. Religious beliefs shouldn’t exclude anyone from serving on a jury, just as sex and race can’t be the basis for exclusion. Thankfully, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey agreed and also spoke out against the ruling. “We’re not going to let radical left-wing progressives relegate Christians to second-class citizen status… We can’t let that happen,” Bailey said. “The right to participate on juries is codified in the United States Constitution. And that’s a right of citizenship…The only people being discriminated against when the states pass these anti-discrimination laws too often are Christians, Christians who believe in biblical truth.”

The Supreme Court’s decision not to revisit the Missouri courts’ judgment should not be taken as an endorsement of future discrimination against traditional viewpoints on gender and sexuality. Such a precedent could dangerously open the door for government officials to exclude individuals from public life based on their belief in the Christian principles on which our nation was founded.

Remember, what happens in other states is bound to make its way to Wisconsin. The freedom of religion and the right to participate fully in public life, including jury service, are cornerstones of the American republic. These rights must be protected fervently, not eroded subtly through court decisions. 

 

Study Reveals Few Americans Have a Biblical Worldview, but Christians are Making an Impact

Study Reveals Few Americans Have a Biblical Worldview, but Christians are Making an Impact

Christian Post reports that a recent survey from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University indicates over 69% of Americans identify as Christians. However, only 4% of Americans have a biblical worldview, which is defined as a means of experiencing, interpreting, and responding to reality in light of biblical perspectives so that every decision is consistent with God’s principles and commands.

Simultaneously, the percentage of believers who say they “have a unique, God-given purpose or calling” has decreased from 88% to 46%. The percentage of those who claim they are “deeply committed to practicing” their faith has fallen from 85% to 50%.

This is sobering news, and it indicates that the culture is shaping Christians more than Christians are shaping the culture. However, this can be remedied as Christians study God’s Word daily and seek His wisdom. And of course, families reading and studying the Bible together is one of the best ways to instill a biblical worldview in the next generation.

“A biblical worldview is critical because that’s what enables you to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ,” said George Barna, the director of research at the Cultural Research Center. “If that’s your goal in life, what you’re saying is ‘I want to think like Jesus so that I can live like Jesus. But in order to do that, notice first, as Romans 12 talks to us about, you have to have your mind ‘renewed,’ you must be ‘transformed’ by that ‘renewing of your mind’ with God’s principles at the core of all of your thoughts so that you can in fact live like Christ.”

Thankfully, the findings of the study aren’t all bad. The good news is that those who are devout Christians are more involved than ever before in the political sphere.

In 2020, a staggering 99% of spiritually active and politically engaged conservatives turned out to vote. 

“[There is a] core of Bible-believing Christians in America who don’t want to just sit and tell other people what to do, but they want to make things happen,” said Barna. “I’ve been doing this in politics for 40 something years now, been involved in a lot of national elections, worked with four presidential candidates. I’ve never seen anything like that. So it’s unprecedented. But it’s because they feel that this is an urgent time. This is not a time to sit back. If you care about the country, if you care about the kingdom, you’ve got to dig in.”

Christians, now is the time to not only stay involved politically, but to encourage fellow believers who have been influenced by our secular culture to re-engage with God’s Word. The only way to make real, lasting change is to point one another to the Source of Truth!

Let’s honor God with our vote on Nov. 8

Let’s honor God with our vote on Nov. 8

With the midterm election just a few days away, we are in the midst of intense spiritual warfare. Politics is always a spiritual business, as it involves truth and ethics. But with so much at stake during this election, the forces of darkness threatening to steal our children’s innocence, destroy the family unit, annihilate another generator of Wisconsin’s unborn future, and remove our God-given rights are working overtime. 

“It was Lucifer’s attempt to displace Christ from the Throne of Heaven that got him expelled (Isaiah 14:12). Lucifer is still seeking thrones for himself, and weak, spiritually naïve human beings seeking power easily become instruments of his quest,” writes Wallace B. Henley of the Christian Post

As Christians, we can fight back against the Devil’s attempt to seek political thrones for himself by honoring God with our vote. This means that the candidates we vote for should stand for biblical principles. ​​They should be unwavering in their protection of parental rights, the sanctity of life, children’s innocence, and religious liberty. 

There may not always be a candidate whose views align perfectly with God’s teaching, but there will likely be an option that is clearly the most ethical. Part of honoring God with our vote is preventing the evil ideas of the left from coming into fruition by voting for the most ethical candidate, even if we don’t agree with him/her on everything. 

Further, if we are going to make significant headway against the evil in our country, we need churches and pastors to directly address the political issues that the Bible takes a clear stance on—in particular, abortion, marriage, and human sexuality.

Pro-abortion advocates and government leaders are working tirelessly to ensure a future of abortion on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Unfortunately, many Christians fail to recognize abortion as the grave offense against God that it is, and abortion extremists are taking advantage of that. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outrageously claim that abortion and the Christian faith are compatible, while California Governor Gavin Newsom is using Bible verses to advertise for abortion across the country. 

The church needs to step up and set the record straight on abortion, marriage, human sexuality, and children’s rights including the right to life. Pastors dare not any longer ignore these biblical issues that have been politicized, as the left shows no signs of stopping in their mission to dismantle the traditional family, immerse young children in inappropriate material, abort the unborn, and elevate adult desires above children’s rights.  

This is not to say that churches should become political power houses. Our interest is rather in making sure God’s people are informed so they can then appropriately engage with the government God has given us in this great country—a Republic, which requires the participation of its citizens. Our dual citizenship—in Heaven and on Earth—requires that we be good citizens of both places. Good citizens vote knowledgeably and responsibly—and honor God in doing so.

Most importantly, as good citizens of both heaven and earth, we must pray for this election. Pray that the most Christ-centered leaders are elected and that they lead our country toward virtue and Truth. 

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12