Saturday, February 18, 2012
Now Available: "Hot Button Issues For Religion and Politics:The Role of Religion In A Pluralistic Society" by Roy H. Ryan D. Min.
This book deals with the relationship of religion and politics and some of the hot-button moral/political issues we face as a nation. The first part of the book focuses on the historical and political foundations for how that relationship was shaped by our Founders. The second part focuses on issues that have become controversial in both religious and political spheres. No effort is made to provide easy answers to the profound questions raised by
such issues. Rather, the author seeks to help the reader learn to think
biblically, theologically and ethically about these concerns.
The relationship of religion and politics emerged in the formative years of our history, beginning with the first settlers, many of whom came to “The New World” for the very purpose of religious freedom. By the time the Republic was formed, there were many different religious groups represented in the various colonies. The Founders faced the issue of how
to frame this relationship so that the new nation would not be dominated by any one religious group or favor one religion over another.
Two Virginians, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, were the most influential in defining this relationship in the Constitution and particularly in the First Amendment. Jefferson held the view that there should be “A Wall of Separation” between the church and state. Madison’s sought to
have “A Line of Separation”. In both cases it was clear that the new Republic would not support a state-church and would allow for the free exercise of religion.
One famous Englishman, C. K. Chesterton, called American “The Nation With the Soul of a Church”. He further stated that it was the only nation in the world that was founded on a creed---that all people are equal and deserve justice. It is in this context that we will examine the “Hot Button
Most of the book is devoted to looking at these important concerns/issues from a biblical/theological/ethical perspective. No simple answers are proposed but an effort is made to help the reader examine these hot-button issues by reflecting on the biblical/theological/ethical aspects of “the problem”.
The issues considered in the text are: Human sexuality; abortion; war and peace; capital punishment; medical technology (end of life issues); religion in public schools and immigration.
The author has sought to be fair in presenting a range of views on these difficult issues. Where appropriate, biblical material is either quoted or referenced, and an effort is made to look at the various traditions within the Judeo-Christian Tradition. The reader is encouraged to think with the author as these sensitive matters are considered.
Roy H. Ryan, a retired United Methodist Minister, is a native of Mississippi.
He served pastorates in Mississippi and Texas before becoming an Adult Education Specialist with The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He served 22 years in that role.
Roy is the author/editor of nine books on Christian Education. His articles have appeared in numerous church and professional publications. For many years he contributed regularly to the development and writing of curriculum resources through The United Methodist Publishing House. He has taught courses at SMU and Itawamba Community College. He is presently a free-
lance writer and a regular teacher in his local church.
He holds a B.A. degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Millsaps College; an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology; an S.T.M. (Master of Sacred Theology) from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology; and a professional doctorate, D.Min (Doctor of Ministry)from the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University. The three professional degrees are in biblical/theological studies; Adult Christian Education and Theological Ethics.
Roy lives with his wife, Doris, in The Traceway Retirement Community in Tupelo, Mississippi. The Ryans have three adult daughters and six young adult grandchildren. He continues to be involved in church, community and political affairs.