After Obergefell, Can Courts Rewrite Laws?

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judicia[l] in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self–appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
James Madison

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An expanded version of this article is available here.

The Founders of the United States of America designed a balanced system of government that sets the stage for limiting the power of each of its three major divisions, or branches. We call this a system of checks and balances. It is a system that rests on the principle of the separation of powers.

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Signing of the US Constitution by Junius Brutus Stearns

According to this model, courts cannot enact or rewrite laws; they can only interpret them or rule them unconstitutional. Only legislators—lawmakers—can write laws.

Recently, the highest court in Massachusetts reached beyond its designated authority. During the week of October 6, 2016, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a ruling in a case involving two unmarried women and a child one of them had conceived through artificial insemination. Could the woman who hadn’t given birth be recognized as one of the child’s legal parents? Her lawyer was Mary Bonauto, one of the lawyers who argued on behalf of same-sex couples in the Obergefell case. In presenting her arguments, Bonauto pointed to two Massachusetts statutes. David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee explains (emphases added),

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David Fowler

First, Ms. Bonauto argued that the “paternity” statutes justified the claim that her female client should be “deemed” the child’s other legal parent. Given that the word “paternity” means “the state or fact of being the father of a particular child” and comes from the Latin word paternus, meaning “of a father,” do you now see the problem? How can a woman be a “father” unless words in statutes no longer have their common meaning? And on what basis could a court “interpret” away the clear meaning of that word?

Well, Ms. Bonauto argued that the statutes do not define “mother” and “father,” which she asserted left the Court free to give those words new meaning to conform to the new meaning of marriage. Makes perfect sense to me—if a court can redefine marriage, why can’t it redefine “husband” and “paternity” (and, really, any word in the English language)? You have to wonder what legislators were thinking years ago when they didn’t bother to define the terms “father” and “mother”!

But Ms. Bonauto also argued that the statute on artificial insemination involving a “husband and wife” should be interpreted to apply to her as well. Makes sense, too—if a court can redefine “father” and “mother,” surely it can redefine “husband” and “wife.”

Before you say, “Thank God we live in Tennessee,” consider the fact Ms. Bonauto has commented on the artificial insemination lesbian divorce case in Tennessee in which I am involved on behalf of 53 state legislators. She said, “As a matter of supremacy…the Tennessee statutes must be construed to comply with Obergefell’s constitutional commands.”


As a matter of supremacy…the Tennessee statutes must be construed to comply with Obergefell’s constitutional commands.
Mary Bonauto, lawyer and advocate for same-sex marriage—


Yes, a similar case is being litigated in Knoxville—

a divorce proceeding… involving a marriage between two women. During the marriage, one of the women conceived a child by artificial insemination. The issue involves the custody rights of the woman who has no biological relationship to the child.

The controversy centers on a statute that deems a child born to a “married woman” by means of artificial insemination, with the consent of the “married woman’s husband,” to be the “legitimate child of the husband and wife.”

The two women have asserted that that statute, enacted in 1977, is unconstitutional if it is applied according to the plain meaning of the words used and is not interpreted by the courts to apply to same-sex marriages.

With all of this as a backdrop, I have some good news and some bad news.

  • First, the good news. Fortunately, David Fowler has filed a motion on behalf of 53 state legislators to intervene in this case. Remember, courts have no authority to rewrite laws; they only can interpret them or deem them to be unconstitutional. More than any other party, the legislators—the lawmakers themselves—surely have a great deal to say about what the laws meant when they passed them, and what they mean today. Legislators’ perspectives should be extremely valuable to the court in determining any law’s intent. Furthermore, if a marriage law or laws are ruled unconstitutional, it then would become the prerogative of the legislature—the lawmaking body of Tennessee—to respond.
  • Now, the bad news. The Tennessee’s attorney generalHerbert Slatery, also has addressed the question at issue in this case. The bad news is that unfortunately, he apparently agrees with Mary Bonauto!

According to David Fowler in an email,

The [relevant] statue says, “A child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman’s husband, is deemed to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife.”

In response, the AG literally cited the definitional section of the Code about how the Code is, generally speaking, to be interpreted. It says, “words importing the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter, except when the contrary intention is manifest.” Then the AG immediately wrote: “So both the word ‘husband’ and the word a ‘wife’ in [the statute] would be properly construed to mean ‘spouse.’”

So much for reading the words “except when the contrary intention is manifest!” The AG argues as if that phrase isn’t even in the statute it relies on!


So both the word “husband” and the word a “wife” in [the statute] would be properly construed to mean “spouse.”
—Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, completely ignoring the italicized portion of this guideline for interpreting state law: “[W]ords importing the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter, except when the contrary intention is manifest.”—


If there ever were legal arguments desperately needing friend-of-the-court briefs, those being made by David Fowler are those arguments. Amicus briefs opposing him and the legislators surely will be filed by national organizations that favor LGBT causes, especially since Attorney General Slatery has sided against state sovereignty in this case.

The Massachusetts case already has been lost. According to Fowler, similar cases also have been lost in Indiana and Wisconsin. Another case is being litigated in New York. Additional legal conflicts are sure to surface. Will pro-marriage organizations anywhere else do as David Fowler has done and seek out legislators who might be willing to go to bat for man-woman marriage—or at least for marriage and family laws as they were originally written? Are we really willing to surrender the meanings of the words “man,” “woman,” “husband,” “wife,” “father,” and “mother” without a fight? Furthermore, if these words lose their inherent meaning, is there anything on progressives’ wish lists that won’t become reality as these pioneers of the new social frontier seek to reshape civilization? “Civilization” is yet another word that will be redefined, and everyone will pay a high price!


Are we really willing to surrender the meanings of the words “man,” “woman,” “husband,” “wife,” “father,” and “mother” without a fight?


Keep in mind this isn’t just about marriage, but also about divided government and the separation of powers. Do courts have the right to rewrite laws? In our constitutional republic, they do not.

As George Washington said in his Farewell Address,

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It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free Country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its Administration, to confine themselves within their respective Constitutional Spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the Powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism.

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We soon will see if the US and Tennessee constitutions will be honored or totally ignored. If they are ignored, then we’ll no longer live in a republic, but an oligarchy; and, as precious as man-woman marriage is, they’ll be a great deal more at risk than just the sanctity of man-woman marriage.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Look Who’s Waging the Real War on Women!

When pro-life advocates claim that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being, they are not saying they dislike abortion. They are saying it’s objectively wrong, regardless of how one feels about it.

If moral truths do not exist as a foundation for law, then law itself becomes merely a system of raw political power accountable to no one.

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Scott Klusendorf, President of the Life Training Institute and author of The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture

In this election, the issue of abortion is of paramount importance to everyone concerned about preserving innocent life. Watch this exchange in the third presidential debate, which took place this past Wednesday, October 19.

Hillary Clinton Is Wrong

Against this backdrop, we need to make several important points. First, we should note that doctors and research testify that partial-birth abortion never is medically necessary. Christy Lee Parker, a nurse with years of experience in the delivery room, affirms that

late-term abortions are sometimes referred to as post-viability abortions. That’s important because viability means the fetus is able to live outside the womb. So, at any time after 24 weeks gestation, which is considered the “point of viability,” a baby can be delivered to save the mother while also allowing the child a chance to live. During a late-term abortion, the child is still delivered, only it’s delivered dead rather than alive after the infant has been killed.

Second, partial birth-abortion itself is dangerous to the mother. Parker also declares,

Although the pregnancy is ended with the death of the fetus, the baby must still be delivered. In fact, in partial-birth abortions, the baby is delivered breech, which is difficult, painful, and puts the mother’s life at risk. So, when you hear that liberal talking point, where they like to ask, “What if the mother finds out that she could die during childbirth?” it’s important to know that a post-viability abortion isn’t going to prevent birth. In fact, birth is in the name—partial birth abortion. Only a c-section would prevent a vaginal birth, and the child doesn’t have to die for that.

Third, Donald Trump was absolutely right to say that “Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.” This is exactly what partial-birth abortion does.

Finally, we should not miss the fact that Hillary Clinton is proud to defend Planned Parenthood (PP). According to Wikipedia,

PPFA [Planned Parenthood Federation of America] is the largest single provider of reproductive health services, including abortion, in the United States. In their 2014 Annual Report, PPFA reported seeing over 2.5 million patients in over 4 million clinical visits and performing a total of nearly 9.5 million discrete services including 324,000 abortions. The organization has a combined annual revenue of US$1.3 billion [1.3 billion US dollars], including roughly US$530 million in government funding such as Medicaid reimbursements.

Abortion Providers Exploit Women

We have discussed Planned Parenthood’s appalling and illegal activities in earlier posts, as well as the urgent need to defund this organization. Abortion providers, including PP, claim to be helpful to women. They aren’t. They exploit them.

Many features of abortion on demand make it a practice that should be regulated and ultimately stopped. In this brief article I want to highlight just one aspect of abortion that everyone should oppose—especially pro-choice advocates who claim to be defending women.

Abortion Kills Women

Abortion on demand—especially late term abortion—increases the likelihood of sex-selection abortions. Such an abortion occurs when a baby’s sex is the one not desired by the mother or other adults involved in the situation. Sex-selection abortions create a lopsided population ratio of boys to girls, with boys significantly outnumbering girls in cultures where it is practiced. While the practice is creating significant societal problems in various foreign countries, including China, sex-selection abortions do take place in the United States (also go here, here, and here). Incredibly, in 2012, the House of Representatives, which at the time was controlled by Democrats, voted down proposed legislation that would have banned the practice.

Unfortunately, federal funding of PP has continued, even though Republicans have had control of both the House and Senate for two years.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “is essentially conceding that Senate Republicans are ready to scrap language affecting [funding for] Planned Parenthood” from a bill that would fund research to combat the Zika virus (also go here).

Democrats have accused Republicans of waging a “war on women,” yet abortion itself is a large part of the real war on women. Moreover, efforts to make abortion a safe procedure for women face resistance from these same Democrats. Thus, despite Republicans’ unwillingness hold PP accountable, Democrats’ rhetoric against Republicans rings hollow. Members of Barak Obama’s party aren’t really pro-choice, either; they want to force taxpayers to pay for a procedure they find objectionable (also go here and here).

Voters Have a Clear Choice

These facts should help the fog lift from the minds of any pro-lifers still struggling over this year’s election. Donald Trump should be applauded and supported for his clear statements on abortion—especially partial-birth abortion—during the third presidential debate. Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s statements make it abundantly clear how anyone calling himself or herself pro-life should vote in this year’s presidential race.

In the real war on women, pro-lifers are females’ true defenders.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

The Scales of Justice Are Supposed to Be Balanced—But They Are no Longer

As a nation, we have arrived at a very sad and unfortunate place. On Friday, October 14, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals1 upheld a California law that requires—that’s right, requires—pro-life citizens operating pregnancy care centers that offer ultrasounds to disseminate information promoting abortion.

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Matt Bowman, Senior Council with Alliance Defending Freedom, had this to say about the ruling.

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It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is even more unjust and dangerous. In this case, political allies of abortionists are seeking to punish pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer real hope and help to women. Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms. That’s why other courts around the country have halted these kinds of measures and why we will be discussing the possibility of appeal with our clients.


It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is even more unjust and dangerous.
Matt Bowman, Alliance Defending Freedom—


Without question, this law allows abortion advocates to target pro-life pregnancy centers and their staffs and to work to nail them as lawbreakers. Pro-abortion forces would need only to covertly dispatch their “troops” in undercover operations to pregnancy resource centers to “check them out” to learn which centers are complying with the law and which ones are not. One might say that many laws do this, but this is not your typical law, as it requires pro-life individuals to violate their consciences. The point is that the law gives one side of the abortion debate an unfair wedge to use against the other. Clearly, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is bearing down its thumb on one side of the scales of justice!

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On Tuesday in response to the ruling, Dr. James Dobson called on Californians directly affected by the law to engage in civil disobedience (also go here). Here is a brief portion of what Dr. Dobson said in a statement.

This law – and laws like it – violate the U.S. Constitution, and they are a violation of our Christian conscience, and this ruling is yet another example of the power of activist judges. I encourage anyone with a voice to use it and to do so urgently. I have a simple word of advice to those pastors, priests and others who run California’s crisis pregnancy centers. If California attempts to enforce this law then do not comply. Make them put you in jail.

I believe that in the days ahead, believers will, with increasing frequency, be forced to choose between obeying the law of man or the law of God. We will have to develop a sound theology of civil disobedience and teach what the Bible says with clarity and conviction.

I have written about this before at Word Foundations and will continue to discuss this important issue. Articles on the site that discuss civil disobedience can be accessed from this page.


You can access articles at Word Foundations that discuss the important issue of civil disobedience here.


When God’s law and man’s law directly conflict, may the Lord give us strength and courage to obey Him rather than man.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.


Dr. Dobson released this video on October 20, 2016.


Note:

1As the map below indicates, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over California, eight other states, Guam (GU) and the Northern Mariana Islands (MP).

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When a Society Has Rejected Absolutes, It Is Vulnerable to Tyranny

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.
Benjamin Franklin, pictured above—

If we as Christians do not speak out as authoritarian governments grow from within or come from outside, eventually we or our children will be the enemy of society and the state. No truly authoritarian government can tolerate those who have real absolute by which to judge its arbitrary absolutes and who speak out and act upon that absolute.
Francis A. Schaeffer—

A version of this post that is about 1/3 as long is available here.

Among the modern champions for religious liberty are Aaron and Melissa Klein. They are the Oregon couple who owned Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery in Gresham, Oregon. We recounted their story in an earlier post.

One January day in 2013, Melissa was at home with the couple’s six-month old twin sons while Aaron ran the shop. A woman named Rachel Cryer came in with her mother and inquired about a wedding cake. When they told Aaron that this wedding didn’t involve a groom but a second bride, he politely apologized, saying, “I’m sorry, we don’t do cakes for same-sex weddings.” In one way, this wasn’t easy. Aaron had no idea he was acting in violation of any statute or law, but he found no joy in turning down a customer. At the same time, his decision was clear. As Christians, Aaron and Melissa both believe that marriage is a sacred covenant between one man and one woman. They had to act on that conviction.

The Klines, who had absolutely no qualms about serving homosexuals in their bakery, drew the line at the point of participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony—yet they were accused of violating a non-discrimination law. Alliance Defending Freedom has written about this irony, and others, with regard to business owners like the Klines and Colorado baker Jack Phillips. Yet Aaron and Melissa were found to be in violation the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, an LGBT rights law. We noted that Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI)

suggested that the Kleins, who have remained strong and refused to compromise, be fined a total of $135,000 “for the emotional suffering” the lesbian couple “experienced” because Aaron and Melissa turned down their request for a same-sex wedding cake.

Then we demonstrated just how strange this whole episode became.

Writing for The Daily Signal, Kelsey Harkness explained the twisted rationale for the exorbitant fines.

In order to reach $135,000, Rachel and [her partner] Laurel submitted a long list of alleged physical, emotional and mental damages they claim to have experienced as a result of the Kleins’ unlawful conduct.

One of the women, whose name was redacted to protect her privacy, listed 88 symptoms as grounds for compensation. The other, whose name was also redacted, listed 90.

Examples of symptoms include “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”

We do well here to reflect on just how bizarre this situation is, because it illustrates the perilous extent to which this country has abandoned the principles and virtues on which it was founded. In other words, it shows how far we’ve departed from reality. Take note—the list of adverse symptoms is not a description of what the Kleins experienced as a result of all they have been through. Instead, the Kleins are being blamed and held responsible for causing Rachel and Laurel to experience them—all because Aaron and Melissa turned down their request for a cake! Significantly, no doctor appeared at the hearing to validate Rachel’s and Laurel’s claims. This truly is unreal!

The Kleins still have a sense of humor, but they are dead serious about their convictions about marriage. Moreover, they have no hatred for those who disagree with them.

I was reminded of the Klines’ ordeal this week—and just how strange a world we now live in—as I watched what took place, and continues to unfold, on the political stage.

Item one: A ten-year old video was made public in which Donald Trump, speaking privately, made lewd and sexually inappropriate comments about women. Surely his statements cannot be defended in any way, and Trump apologized for making them. Yet, among Trump’s harshest critics were secularists, many of whom are Democrats, “who defended the abusive and disgusting behavior of Bill Clinton, not when he was a private citizen but when he was a sitting president.” These same people also have for decades belittled those of us who sought to uphold character and moral standards as important for our nation’s leaders. Notable establishment Republicans joined them; they too were horrified over Trump’s remarks—yet they and their kind repeatedly have told the Republican base not to focus on moral values or moral issues.

On a side note, we have seen another response from a different group. Several prominent evangelical leaders, while condemning Trump’s remarks, also warned Christians about the ominous consequences of sitting out this election, and of the dire consequences of a Clinton presidency. Here are links the reactions of Tony Perkins, Dr. James Dobson (also go here), and Franklin Graham. Especially noteworthy are the remarks of Christian writer and radio talk show host Eric Metaxas. (Also go here).


I do not condone nor defend Donald Trump’s terrible comments made 11 years ago. They are indefensible and awful. I’m sure there are other misdeeds in his past, although as Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” I am, however, more concerned about America’s future than Donald Trump’s past. I wonder how Bill Clinton’s language stands up in private.…Hillary scares me to death.
Dr. James Dobson


Writing in the Federalist, Margot Anderson made a point to condemn the pious rhetoric of Republicans who apparently only recently have discovered morality. She didn’t hesitate to bring up the moral issue of abortion in pushing back against them. Good for her!

The chief offense Trump is being accused of is “objectifying women,” i.e. denying their dignity and humanity. But isn’t abortion the ultimate objectification of a human being? Abortion treats human life as a disposable clump of cells.…

During last week’s vice presidential debate, Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine defended a woman’s “right” to seek an abortion, even a late-stage one. There was nary a peep—no screeching for his removal from the ticket or even calling for his excommunication from the Catholic Church. Apparently, it is far less reprehensible to defend the killing of human life in public than to speak like a boor in private. (One can’t help but wonder if Trump would have gotten off easier for shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.)

Anderson goes on to write about Hillary Clinton’s defense of her husband’s inappropriate sexual behavior and her publicly maligning half of Trump’s supporters by saying they were in a “basket of deplorables.” She also speaks of criminal activity on the part of Hillary Clinton, namely her use of a private server to send classified information. These have been actions and remarks presented in public; whereas Trump made his remarks, bad as they were, in private.

This isn’t partisan; Anderson doesn’t spare Republicans, or even Donald Trump. She does, however, seek to bring perspective and balance to the discussion. Here are her concluding paragraphs.

As has often been said, the people in a democracy get the leaders they deserve. We are a coarsened culture with vulgarity in every popular art form and crassness in public discourse. It is not so shocking that our current presidential candidates are rough and unscrupulous, as unfortunate as that is.

Yet we have far greater moral issues facing our citizenry, such as abortion-on-demand. Instead of focusing on real problems, sanctimonious Republicans care more about appearing pious and politically correct. Rather than pushing back against the provocateurs of identity politics, the elite Right is adopting their vernacular. In so doing, they minimize and detract from matters that deserve genuine moral outrage.

The point here is how convoluted society has become. Fasten your seat belt. We’re getting started.

Item two:

The left actually trashed the women who were the victims of Bill Clinton’s unwanted sexual advances. This trashing is not new; they did the same thing when Bill Clinton was president. In response to the release of the video, Trump held a news conference before the second presidential debate. Joining him were Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones, each of whom has a story to tell of an unwanted sexual advance from Bill Clinton. Broaddrick even says he raped her. Kathy Shelton also was present. As a 12-year old she was raped, and the lawyer who defended her predator in 1975 was Hillary Clinton. More on Shelton in a moment.

On the Monday, October 10 broadcast of The View, Joy Behar suggested that with regard to the first three women, Hillary Clinton should have said, “I would like to apologize to those tramps that have slept with my husband.” The next day, she apologized, but others who made disparaging comments did not. The women Behar had maligned had pushed back regarding Behar’s “tramp” comment.

As the show unfolded, its hosts were dumbfounded that conservatives would blame Hillary Clinton for Bill’s inappropriate and at times predatory sexual behavior. Yet conservatives don’t do this at all. Rather, they say Hillary is at fault for “lashing out at the women in question repeatedly over time.”

Earlier on Monday’s show, Whoppi Goldberg indicated, falsely, that the women appearing with Trump at the news conference really weren’t injured parties: “Several of those women slept with him knowing he was a married man … [Hillary Clinton] was the victim in this…the person to whom dirty was done.”

On Monday’s Bill Press Show, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a Clinton supporter, “described the Bill Clinton accusers who had attended the previous night’s debate as ‘a bunch of women, not looking their best, perhaps looking much better, you know, 40 years ago, to present them before the debate, for what purpose?’” Norton also said she “‘almost felt sorry for’ these ‘middle aged-looking women, who were apparently young women, who Bill Clinton hit on.’”

Isn’t all of this astounding? If the left isn’t trying to make the victims look like the predator and the predator look like the victims, then what are they doing? Eerily but unmistakably—and not coincidently—it reminds us of Aaron and Melissa Klein’s nightmare.

Item three:

Kathy Shelton was 12 years old when she was raped, and two years later, when she was 14, the case went to trial. Hillary Clinton defended the accused rapist, Thomas Alfred Taylor. He was convicted, but in the end he spent only a few months in jail. Reporter Jeff Dunetz writes,

Court records show, Ms. Clinton questioned the sixth grader’s honesty and invented a claim that the girl made false accusations in the past. Hillary also portrayed the girl as often fantasizing and as seeking out older men’ like the rapist. In other words she made up stories to blame the young victim.

In June of 2014, The Washington Free Beacon published audio recordings of Hillary Clinton from interviews in the early 80’s. In the recordings Clinton show [sic] an almost flippant attitude about the case defending the man who raped a 12-year-old girl in her words she who she got off by attacking the evidence, including the account of the victim….

In the recording from the early 80s, Clinton laughed. Dunetz’s report includes details of the case and several videos. You can access his article here.

On October 9, 2016, the night of the second presidential debate and the night of the press conference at which she spoke, Shelton tweeted, “I may be Hillary Clinton’s 1st female victim. She ruined my life; defended my rapist & blamed me. I was 12 yrs old. Then she laughed at me.”

Again, this fits the pattern of doing everything possible to make the victim out to be the one guilty of the crime. Using a distorted sense of morality and ethics, the left has turned the country upside down.

Item four:

In the days that followed the second debate, Wikileaks released emails that proved collusion between the Clinton campaign the Department of Justice with regard to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Wikileaks also demonstrated through its releases that “Mrs. Clinton had [a] cozy and improper relationship with the mainstream media” (go here for some of the details). Don’t think for a New York minute the media will report this! It’s obvious why. You can learn more about these and other newsworthy items not making the mainstream news here.

In the midst of this flood of information that was—or should have been—damaging to the Clinton campaign, new allegations of sexual harassment were thrown at Donald Trump. This should not surprise us! Trump has flatly denied the allegations and has noted the clear coordination between the Clinton campaign and the media.

Don’t Miss the Lessons These Events Teach!

Several observations are in order at this point. This list will review some of the territory we’ve covered already and break new ground.

First, the very people who for years have said morality and virtue aren’t important and must be ignored are seeking to use morality and virtue against their opponents without applying it to themselves. This is utter hypocrisy.

Second, these people have the stage, the microphones, the personnel, and the means to get their message out to a society filled with people who don’t have diverse or balanced sources of information. The spokesmen are effectively using every means at their disposal to further their agenda, and they are repeating their messages relentlessly.

This reminds us that Joseph Goebbels, Adolph Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, declared, “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.” These kinds of verbal gymnastics set the stage for a world in which inappropriate words are deemed far worse than abusive sexual behavior—convoluted as this idea actually is. We do well to remember that it was Bill Clinton who said, “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”


It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.
Joseph Goebbels


Third, Proverbs 18:17 declares, “In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.” Donald Trump is seeking to respond to the accusations being leveled against him and to present his side. He can reach some Americans through his speeches and campaign ads, but the ideas he is trying to convey are, to a very large degree, filtered through a pro-liberal, pro-Clinton media machine. This is one reason his pre-second-debate news conference featuring Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, and Kathy Shelton was strategically brilliant. It forced the media to cover the statements of those who had been abused and mistreated by the Clintons.

Fourth, because society has listened to the left’s diatribes against virtue and morality for decades, it no longer has any objective standard by which to judge its own behavior, let alone any leader or prospective leader. Note here how judging or evaluating messages is essential if we are to maintain an independent and free society.

Fifth, without any objective standard of morality, a society is a sitting duck, pliable and malleable, open to being persuaded to believe everything they hear from those who have the loudest voice and the most pervasive message.

Please take note: In the fourth and fifth principles we find the most important lessons of this week’s post. We may summarize these as follows.

When people in a society are taught they can believe anything, they will believe anything! Only acceptance of and an adherence to objective moral standards can guard against tyrannical manipulation.

In the sixties, seventies, and early eighties, Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer warned against the scenario we now face—and he saw it coming. In addition to the statement we have used as an introductory quote for this article, Schaeffer said, “If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, then society is absolute.”

I realize there are well-meaning people who can think of many reasons not to vote for Donald Trump; but honestly, as flawed as Trump is, it is difficult for me to see how any or even all of these outweigh the urgent need to keep Hillary Clinton from becoming president. I also realize that if the Democrat propaganda machine fails and Hillary Clinton is prevented from becoming president, we still have a great many foundational problems as a country.

As we have said many times before at Word Foundations, we need to rediscover and realign ourselves and our society to the principles upon which this nation was founded. These include but are not limited to the Founders’ perspective on rights and liberty. They also include the Founders’ understanding of marriage and the family; even today many Americans still believe what nature and the Bible teach about these institutions. Moreover, these principles include what nature and the Bible teach about the unique value of human life (also go here).

Regardless of who is elected president, and regardless of the outcomes of all the other races, Christians have God-given duties they must never abandon. Let’s commit to uphold the truth about life and marriage and everything else, both before and after this critical election.

It’s the only way the world will ever be turned right-side-up once more.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations in this article are from the New International Version. THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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No Pretense of Objectivity Left

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.

We cannot make good news out of bad practice.

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.

edmurrow

Edward R. Murrow, journalist and radio news broadcaster for CBS during World War 2 and beyond—

On October 1, the New York Times released a story about Donald Trump that never should have become news. The story proclaims,

Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show.

Note the word “legally” in the above statement. Even the New York Times admits Trump boke no law. Yet at the same time, it also implies he did something unethical or wrong. In fact, this was the clear intent of the story.

Campaign for Working Families president Gary Bauer noted in his daily report for Monday, October 3,

As a businessman, Donald Trump has every right to take full advantage of our tax laws. And the tax laws do allow individuals and businesses to deduct losses. This is central to almost all investment in the country.

Moreover, the New York Times knows this—it did something very similar in 2014. So did many major U.S. corporations and even Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Now, a word about illegality.

It was not illegal for the New York Times to publish this story. But Trump’s tax returns were illegally obtained by someone. Perhaps we have another IRS scandal in the making, which would not be at all surprising.

The IRS exposed the tax records of a conservative traditional marriage organization and was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. You may also recall that Joe the Plumber had his personal records exposed by vindictive state bureaucrats when he dared to expose Obama’s socialism.

Given that the Times is not accusing Trump of doing anything illegal, perhaps we should all focus on the crime that was committed and demand that the individual responsible for leaking Mr. Trump’s tax documents be held responsible.

donald_trump_rnc_july_2016

Maurice Emmer of Aspen, Colorado noted in a letter to the editor of the Aspen Times,

My dad was a business owner. In some years he had a profit and in others he had a loss. I’m sure there was a year when he lost at least $900,000 in his business. In other years he made that money back. Income tax rates then were about 50 percent. If my dad had been taxed at 50 percent on a $900,000 profit in one year ($450,000 of tax), but got no tax relief when he lost that same amount in another year, he would have paid $450,000 of tax on absolutely no net income (a profit in one year exactly offset by another year’s loss).

Business cycles occur over many years, not just one year. It’s understood that businesses have ups and downs. Therefore, our tax code has virtually forever permitted losses in one year to offset profits in other years. This results in a tax system that taxes long term business income results.

Did The New York Times explain this aspect of our tax system to enlighten its readers? Of course not. It turned an unremarkable example of the application of long standing tax law into a political slander job on Trump. The journalism profs who trained these people should be ashamed of what they have produced.

Sadly, they apparently are not ashamed. More on this in a moment. For now, let’s note the following facts.

  1. In declaring his loss on his 1995 tax return, Donald Trump acted legally, ethically, wisely, and responsibly. The tax provisions that allow Trump to do this not only benefit American businessmen and their businesses, but also their customers and their employees, who, by the way, become more likely to keep their jobs. The Trump campaign issued a statement that said in part, “ Trump is a highly-skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required.”
  2. Trump has paid many millions in taxes over the years. As the Trump campaign further pointed out, “Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes, along with very substantial charitable contributions.”
  3. The implication that Mr. Trump acted selfishly to deduct his business loss in 1995 is slanderous and hypocritical. Do you know of any individual or business that, given the choice between two different amounts in taxes, would intentionally choose to pay the higher amount because it’s the “noble” thing to do?
  4. As Gary Bauer pointed out, Hillary Clinton has benefitted from the same tax laws she is trying to smear Trump for using—and she benefitted from them as recently as 2015. This is utter hypocrisy. When it comes to ethics, Hillary Clinton has no room to talk. (Also go here and here.)
  5. The verbal assaults on Trump regarding a tax return that is both legal and more than 20 years old fit the pattern of Democrat demagoguery we highlighted two and three weeks ago—a pattern involving emotional appeals and ad hominem attacks. We see both of these in Hillary Clinton’s statement at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina and other places. She said, “If not paying taxes makes him smart, what does that make all the rest of us?”

I am not a shill for Donald Trump. He has done some things I would never try to defend, although—full disclosure—I do believe the electorate must prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president. That said, Trump isn’t being covered fairly, and the media should be held accountable. As long ago as 2012, irrefutable evidence surfaced showing that the mainstream media marches in lockstep with establishment liberals. Moreover, we see evidence of this favoritism regularly, and it is getting more intense with each passing day. (See here, here, and here. Also, here is a report that helps explain part—not all—of the reason for liberal bias.) Is it any wonder that trust in the mainstream media has dropped to its lowest level ever—32 percent?

Truthfully, the willingness of the media to throw integrity and professionalism out the window in pursuit of a liberal agenda is to no small extent a reflection of the moral depravity in America at large. Sadly, the media are accelerating the country’s moral freefall with their lies and relentless promotion of a liberal, and in many cases anti-Christian, agenda.

What can we as Christians and other people of good will do? I have a few general suggestions.

  1. Rely on and support conservative news sources.
  2. Support and follow the media watchdog group Media Research Center, which operates the website newsbusters.org.
  3. Become familiar with the ideological worldview underpinnings of liberalism, progressivism, and socialism. For starters, go here, here, and here. Also read Calvin Beisner’s excellent book, Social Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel. You can download a copy here.
  4. Express your views whenever you have a good opportunity and platform to do so—but don’t wait for a perfect platform. A perfect platform never will exist. Don’t be ashamed to be a conservative.
  5. Pray for pastors to step up to the plate and educate their congregations on truth versus error in today’s American culture.
  6. Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziWork diligently to preserve religious liberty. This includes but is not limited to supporting organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom. Actually, religious liberty and defense of innocent life are primary concerns when one thinks of a Hillary Clinton presidency. (See the first item listed in this article. Note the other items as well, for they also are of great concern).
  7. Finally, pray for spiritual renewal in America, one with an emphasis on the critical need for repentance of sins, both individual and national.

As we honor God with our efforts to support and disseminate the truth, He will encourage and strengthen us to continue.

After all, if we are on God’s side, the truth is on ours.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

top image: newsboy, Iowa City, 1940