Jesus, Caesar, and the Adventists: Religious Liberty

Speaker: Categories: Mar 11, 2006


[48min, 35sec / 33min, 20sec]


What is the proper relationship between church and state? This question is as fresh as today's headlines,"according to Leigh Johnsen, one of the March SDAF speakers."Think about Terri Shivo, the Faith-Based Initiative, Intelligent Design, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the furor over displaying the Ten Commandments,"he suggests; then notes"Traditionally, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has enjoyed a reputation as a champion of separation between church and state. But does it deserve that reputation? What principles -- if any -- have guided it through the years? Has it acted consistently? Would the Church benefit from a return to Scripture for a reevaluation of its rationale?"

Has your curiosity been aroused? Are the answers to the questions posed above readily forthcoming?

"Come spend the afternoon of March 11 with attorney Karen Scott and church historian Leigh Johnsen discussing the historical Adventist experience, scriptural reasons for separation of church and state, and the application of those principles in today's world,"recommends Dr. Johnsen.


In 1984 Leigh Johnsen received his doctorate in early American history from the University of California at Riverside, studying under the direction of religious historian Edwin S. Gaustad and focusing his graduate research on church-state relations during the era of the Revolutionary War. From 1988 to 1998 he was an editor with the Salmon P. Chase Papers project, at Claremont Graduate University. In 2003 he published the papers of Massachusetts Baptist Isaac Backus (1724-1807), one of early America's most noted proponents of separation between church and state. Currently, Johnsen is associate editor of Spectrum magazine.

Karen Scott, born in California to Canadian and American parents, grew up in Canada, studied in the United States, and received her law degree from the University of British Columbia. In 1992 she appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of her client who had lost his job due to Sabbath observance. After winning a unanimous decision, she moved to California where she was the liaison between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the California legislature. Her issues were liberty of conscience and private education. With Leigh, she assisted Walt Pontynen in producing the documentaryRoger Williams: Freedom's Forgotten Hero. Currently, Karen works for two Christian radio networks and is president/trustee of The Interfaith Religious Liberty Foundation.

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