Can Christians be Objective in Positions of Power?

Published by Vision Editorial Team | vision.org.au
Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison (Photo credit: facebook.com/scottmorrison4cook)

Many of us are proud to know that Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a committed Christian. But some would argue his authority could blur the line between Church and state. This debate arises whenever people of faith attain positions of power. US President Donald Trump’s nomination of conservative intellectual Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is just the latest example.

20Twenty’s Neil Johnson asked regular guest Bill Muehlenberg to tackle the question. As a proud Catholic, can Amy Coney Barrett be objective as one of nine justices in the highest court in the country?

Muehlenberg responded with a few simple questions. “Does that mean a policeman, if he happens to be a Christian, cannot properly do his duties? Can a football umpire not do his duties properly if he is a Christian? Can a judge in a lower court not do his duties? Can you make a pizza and do a good job and be a Christian?”

The majority of the population, both here and in the US, are still Christians. Muehlenberg asked whether most people should therefore be barred from positions where they can make decisions. He also pointed out that anyone, religious or not, can bring their worldview to their work. “So even if you’re a secular humanist, which by the way the US supreme court did call a religion, you’ve got your own biases as well.”

“You want to do your best as a judge, and others in important places, to not unduly let your particular belief system colour decisions you make. But no one can be fully neutral, fully objective, in anything they do. So this is just another secular left attack, in this case on a conservative Christian Justice.”

Protests against the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Protests against the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. (Photo credit: Shutterstock.com)

Of course the founding fathers were themselves mostly Christians. “That was there belief system, that to have an effective democracy, to have an effective American republic, including its rule of law, it has to be based on objective moral standards, objective truth. That to them was of course Christianity.”

Muehlenberg also pointed out that it’s hypocritical to question Coney Barrett’s objectivity, and not Trump’s democratic rivals, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, both of whom are Catholic. Of course there might be a bit of a difference between their Catholicism and that of Amy Coney Barret who is a pro-life conservative, pro-family, seven kids, two of them adopted. So if they’re going to pick on the Catholicism of Amy, why aren’t you picking on the Catholicism of Joe and Kamala?”

One of the biggest concerns of Coney Barrett’s left-wing detractors is that she may overturn Rowe v Wade, the ruling that legalised abortion nationally in 1973. Of course even if she got the opportunity, hers would be only one of nine votes on the issue.

And if she did disagree with the ruling, she wouldn’t be unique. There is a precedent for overturning precedents in the Supreme Court, with more than 300 decisions having been reversed or revised. “These laws are not inviolate,” Muehlenberg said. “Sometimes they got things wrong. Sometimes they got laws on slavery wrong, for example. And they were later overturned.”

Finally, Muehlenberg reminds us that even if Rowe v Wade were overturned, that wouldn’t be the end of abortion in the US, just a return to the former status quo. “So at best, all we’re talking about is bringing it back to where it was, let the individual states determine which way they want to go on the contentious abortion issue.”

Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.

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