Essay: Assignment Instructions
This essay requires you to demonstrate an understanding of jurisdiction that is consistent with a biblical worldview. The civil government does not have authority to govern over all the affairs of man. It is critical that we understand that the government does not have jurisdiction to punish everything that is “wrong.” In other words, all sins are not crimes. For example, James Madison believed that religious liberty exists because the government does not have the authority to punish citizens for their beliefs. This principle of limited jurisdiction is consistent with a biblical worldview because it recognizes that God has instituted government, and He has given it authority to accomplish a particular, and limited mission on the earth, which is to punish those who do evil and reward those who do good (See Romans 13:1-4).
In response to a rise in violence, the state of Wisconsin passes a law that enhances the penalty for any offense committed against a victim where the crime is committed “because of hatred for the victim’s race, sex, or religion.” Taking into consideration that hating your brother is prohibited in both the Old and New Testaments, explain whether this “hate crimes” enhancement is a proper exercise of the civil government’s jurisdiction according to the biblical worldview discussed in the course materials. Fully explain your position.
You will write a 3–5-page (double-spaced) research-based paper in the current Bluebook format that fully analyzes the essay prompt. In your essay, you must include citations to at least 3 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbook and the Bible. Your citations should be placed in footnotes and you do not need a reference or bibliography page. You also do not need a cover page.
Acts 5:28–29, 39
1 Corinthians 5:9–11, 13
1 Timothy 3:1–13
Article I. Bill of Rights
Section 16. Free exercise of religion; no establishment of religion
That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other. No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. And the General Assembly shall not prescribe any religious test whatever, or confer any peculiar privileges or advantages on any sect or denomination, or pass any law requiring or authorizing any religious society, or the people of any district within this Commonwealth, to levy on themselves or others, any tax for the erection or repair of any house of public worship, or for the support of any church or ministry; but it shall be left free to every person to select his religious instructor, and to make for his support such private contract as he shall please.
Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:
Recognize that the civil government has only been given limited authority for limited purposes.
Express the biblical limitations on the jurisdiction/authority of the civil government.
Assess when the civil government is exceeding its jurisdiction and usurping the jurisdiction of other authorities appointed by God such as the church, family, or self.
Explain how the biblical principles of jurisdiction have been incorporated into the American legal system.
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