Christians Must Stand with Barronelle Stutzman—for the Very Same Reason the Left Is Obsessed with Crushing Her

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.  Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
attributed to Reformation leader Martin Luther

 

A condensed version of this article is available here.

Luke 14:25 says of Jesus, “Now great multitudes went with Him.” Apparently, at this point in His ministry, Jesus had quite a following. Probably not all of these individuals were committed to Him, but they at least were curious—and their numbers were plentiful. Why, then, would Jesus do what He did next? Beginning in verse 25, the passage goes on to say,

And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. 34 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Again, why would Jesus challenge the people in this way? Weren’t things going well enough? Surely His presentation would cause some, and probably many, to turn away. Why would He want to ruin a good thing? You’d think He’d at least wait until later to deliver this kind of message! We see that He offered a similar challenge to the man we often call the rich young ruler.

Hardship Foretold

Twenty-first century American Christianity tends to resist saying or doing anything that would bring down its numbers, but we need to understand that Jesus simply was being honest. If you think following Jesus will be easy, think again. Elsewhere, Jesus told His disciples,

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

One individual who understands the meaning of these words experientially is Barronelle Stutzman, the Richland, Washington florist who is being sued for everything she owns because she politely turned down the opportunity to use her talent at the same-sex wedding of a longtime friend. We have highlighted her case in several Word Foundations posts (for examples, go here and here). This past Thursday, February 16, the Supreme Court of Washington issued a unanimous, nine to nothing ruling against Barronelle. Never mind that the left has exercised its right to refuse to perform services because of the political and moral convictions it espouses (you can read about examples here, here, and here). The left simply cannot allow anyone to disagree with its own beliefs about sexuality and marriage—or about anything else it deems important, for that matter—and get away with it. We should note, of course, that not everyone in the LGBT community holds this perspective (also go here), but militant activists and the prevailing culture do.

The Appalling Silence of the Church

On the very same day the ruling was issued, Barronelle appeared with her attorney, Kristen Waggoner, on Line of Fire, the radio program of Dr. Michael Brown. You can download the entire program here. Also, you can listen to the portion of the show where Brown interviewed Stutzman and Waggoner here. Dr. Brown wrote an article about the ruling on February 16 as well. He declared,

There is only one thing more appalling than the Washington Supreme Court’s 9-0 ruling against religious liberty today. It is the silence of Christian leaders across America, leaders who choose convenience over confrontation, leaders who would rather be popular than prophetic, leaders who prefer the favor of people over the favor of the God. Shame on these silent leaders. Today is a day to stand.…

Friends, what [we are] witnessing today is a breathtaking abuse of power, an extreme overreach by the government, a shocking example of LGBT activism out of control, yet over the next 7 days, church services will come and go without a word being spoken, and over the next 48 hours, the Christian blogosphere will remain relatively quiet. How can this be?

Dr. Brown asks a very important question. Why would church leaders and other Christians avoid talking about this issue? Perhaps the answer is tied to the reason we would wonder why in the world Jesus would tell His inquirers just how difficult it would be to become and remain one of His committed followers.

The reasons for the silence among churches and Christians include fear of intimidation, the desire to avoid controversy, a fear of losing people because of having offended them, and a desire to “stick to preaching the gospel.” In this post I want to address some of these issues and thereby challenge Christian leaders and laymen to stand publicly with Barronelle Stutzman.

Let’s examine four realities.

Costly Discipleship

First, Jesus wanted everyone following Him to know that for true disciples, a cost was involved. As a simple example, consider repentance, which Jesus indicated is essential for salvation. Also look back and read the passage of Scripture we cited when we started. Are we unwilling to challenge people with the full truth of the gospel? Perhaps more to the point, are we unwilling to bear any cost ourselves?


Are we unwilling to bear any of the costs associated with being a disciple of Christ?


We certainly can do nothing to earn salvation, but I’m not talking about doing anything to be saved. I’m talking about what we do because we have been saved. If we claim to be Christians, then according to our own professions, we are willing to identify with Jesus Christ. Barronelle Stutzman determined she had to draw the line at the point of marriage, because of what marriage is. It is not at all farfetched to say that Barronelle’s unwillingness to arrange flowers for a same-sex “wedding” represents a resolve to stand with Christ and identify with Him and with the God of the Bible. Marriage, the lifetime union of one man and one woman, was designed by the Creator to promote order, companionship, nurture of the next generation, and individual and societal cohesiveness and stability. In addition, if all of that weren’t enough, it’s also a picture of Christ and the church. Again, Barronelle is taking a stand at the point of marriage. Are we now going to cop out at this same point? For the professing Christian, this makes absolutely no sense.


Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
—Ephesians 5:25-27—


Consider the following declarations, presented in the probable order in which Jesus gave them.1 You can go here to see all of them printed on one page.

Matthew 7:21,24-27; Luke 6:46-49
Matthew 10:37-39
Matthew 16:24-27; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 9:23-26
Matthew 8:18-22; Luke 9:57-62

Note especially Mark 8:38: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” About marriage, Jesus spoke very explicitly (see Matthew 19:1-6 and Mark 10:1-9). Thus, of these words about marriage we are warned by Jesus Himself not to be ashamed.

Misplaced Priorities

Second, a church leader or a Christian layperson might remain silent because his or her priorities are out of whack—and here I’m being very serious. In a previous post subtitled “Eight Menacing Trends in the American Evangelical Church,” we elaborated on the following misplaced priorities. We mentioned this post in a recent article but didn’t quote from it. There’s much more to the article than the list, but here we will quote the points on the list without elaboration. Please read the original article for more information.

  1. The church has focused on attracting people and keeping people, and it has failed to challenge them.
  2. The church has equated loving people with not offending them.
  3. The church has emphasized God’s love to the point of effectively neglecting His holiness and wrath.
  4. The church has endeavored to win converts and failed to make disciples.
  5. The church has upheld the benefits of salvation and avoided talking about its demands.
  6. The church has presented Christianity in terms of its implications for individuals alone and overlooked its benefits for the culture.
  7. While recognizing that Jesus was compassionate, loving, and kind, the church has largely ignored the fact that He was controversial.
  8. The church has failed to understand and acknowledge that the followers of Christ are at war with the forces of evil.

Let me be clear. I absolutely am sympathetic with church leaders who are concerned that if the church is not careful, it can come across as hateful and mean to unchurched people, including gays, lesbians, and other members of the LGBT community. Christians always are without excuse for being insensitive, unkind, or hateful to anyone, period. My point here, however, is that even when the church is careful, it still will be perceived by some as being insensitive, unkind, and hateful. Why? Because the gospel itself is offensive: “It is inherently offensive because it exposes sinners as guilty before a holy God.” There’s no way around this, and looking for ways around it constitutes an attempt, however unintentional, to water down the truth of the gospel. Failing to present the truth about God’s holiness and wrath helps no one, and in fact, it is quite harmful.

Marriage and the Gospel

Third, Barronelle Stutzman’s case underscores the truth that in the battle over natural marriage, the gospel is at stake. Here I am not saying that the gospel can be changed or manipulated by those who oppose it or by anyone else. No, the gospel is what it is because it has been divinely written and orchestrated, and because it is divinely offered to humanity. Nothing can or ever will change this.

Here’s what I am saying. When we as Christians living in the early 21st century in the United States of America share the gospel (something, by the way, that Christ has commanded us to do), we share it not only (1) with sinners in need of a Savior, but also (2) in a particular cultural and political context. If the political and cultural climate does not recognize our right to follow our deeply held convictions about marriage today (convictions that align with thousands of years of practice in countries worldwide), can it really be long before sharing the gospel itself is outlawed? This is not a farfetched idea.

Relentless efforts to silence voices like Barronelle’s move us ever closer to this point. Let’s understand that leftists and secularists already have gotten what they said they wanted; marriage has been redefined in the United States. Take note: Barronelle’s polite refusal to supply and arrange flowers for a same-sex wedding didn’t keep the wedding from occurring. Let’s put it another way. If this were about only the definition of marriage, then why are leftists threatening to take away everything Barronelle Stutzman owns? The Supreme Court already has ruled that nationwide, two men can “marry” each other, and two women also can enter into a relationship the state will recognize as a “marriage.”

Yet, even though homosexual activists now have what they’ve said was their ultimate goal, they’re not stopping. Barronelle and others in similar situations must acquiesce. They must comply and align with the left on this issue. To the activists, the supreme prize wasn’t really redefining marriage. It’s what’s behind natural marriage that raises ire and incites panic on their part.

The Real Rub

Just what is behind natural marriage and the case to restore it and to preserve it? Many things, but here I’ll name three:

Rebellious sinners, including you and me in the natural inclinations of our hearts, absolutely cannot abide anything that points directly to human accountability to and guilt before a holy God. Marriage as an exclusive union between one man and one woman, however subtly, does just that! Why? Because it also points to the salvation that Jesus made possible for His bride, the church.

In a previous post we said something similar about the Ark Encounter, a theme park in Northern Kentucky that includes a life-sized Noah’s ark. Answers in Genesis (AiG) is the parent ministry of the Ark Encounter. Opposition to the building of the ark and the opening of the park was vicious and even involved a crucial legal battle.

As a religious entity, Answers in Genesis had to fight for the right to hire only those whose beliefs aligned with its theological and moral convictions. It also had to fight for the right to participate in a state sponsored incentives program designed to make it easier for venues to attract visitors to Kentucky. Why would people who didn’t believe the Genesis account be so vehemently opposed to the Ark Encounter? Why would a gay or lesbian even want to work for AiG in the first place? Here’s what we said.

Reading between the lines, one gets the distinct impression that the problem these people are having isn’t primarily what they see as taxpayer-funded discrimination, but the fact that AiG and other Christian entities, including many churches, believe what the Bible teaches about sexuality, marriage, God, creation, and sin in the first place.

It runs even deeper than that. The ark of Noah, like the cross of Christ, offers strong reminders of humanity’s guilt before a righteous God. It is just as AiG states in its Ark Project Vision Statement: The ark is “a sign to the world that God’s Word is true and its message of salvation must be heeded (Romans 3:4, 5:12). Just as the Ark in Noah’s day was a sign of salvation, as well as judgment, an Ark rebuilt today can be a sign to point to Jesus Christ, the Ark of our salvation, and to coming judgment (2 Peter 3:5-13; John 10:9).”

In the cultural and political context in which we currently live, natural, man-woman marriage is like the ark of Noah. Consider these words from a well-known Bible passage, John 3:16-21.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

We can express this even more explicitly by repeating something we’ve already said. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. In other words, it’s a picture of the gospel. This is why I say in the title of this post that “Christians Must Stand with Barronelle Stutzman—for the Very Same Reason the Left Is Obsessed with Crushing Her.” This case really is about the gospel!

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).

In recent years, a resurgence of reformed theology has taken place in the American evangelical church. Participants in this movement have encouraged the church to rediscover and reemphasize Reformation theology, and, accordingly, have offered a renewed emphasis on the gospel of Jesus Christ. In a variety of ways, this has been beneficial for the church and for society at large. Yet respectfully, I am compelled to make this sobering observation. Barronelle Stutzman and others who are laying everything on the line to uphold God-ordained marriage are doing a lot more than affirming marriage. They are championing the gospel! If members of the New Reformed movement respond by looking the other way and refusing to publicly support people like Barronelle, then are they not offering empty words when they say they are affirming the gospel?

Hold it! Church leaders and Christians who don’t consider themselves a part of the New Reformed movement aren’t off the hook, either. Not by a long shot! It’s your job to uphold the gospel by defending marriage as well. Anyone professing the name of Christ is obligated by virtue of his or her allegiance to Christ to defend natural marriage. The inspired writer of Hebrews made this crystal clear when he wrote, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Heb. 13:4, NIV).

The Risk of Being Misunderstood

“But wait!” someone might say. “I don’t want to be misunderstood.” This is our fourth consideration. I appreciate this desire, of course. No one wants to be misunderstood. Yet if we fail to uphold marriage, there’s no doubt we’ll be misunderstood. Granted, if we do uphold it, we run the risk of being misunderstood on some levels—but at least we will be misunderstood for the right reason instead of because we were ashamed of Jesus’ words about the first institution God established at the dawn of time!

A history lesson will help us at this point. The early Christians were accused of many things, including cannibalism, atheism, and a lack of patriotism—and that’s just three of the items on a ten-item list. If any people ever were misunderstood, the early Christians were! Yet, according to Pastor Greg Laurie, “they came to be known as those who turned their world upside down.” He must have been thinking of Acts 17:6.

Clarity Desperately Needed

In April, 2015, a little more than two months before the Obergefell marriage decision was released by the United States Supreme Court, I wrote about how divinely crafted symbols were being distorted in society, and how they weren’t even being clearly presented in the church. I said this:

We can be assured that God is keenly aware of divine signs and images that are being misrepresented today. Thousands of years ago, God placed the first rainbow in the sky as a reminder of His faithfulness after the flood of Noah (see Gen. 9:8-17), but in 2015 many people see rainbow colors and celebrate evil in the name of the politically correct principles of “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” Then there’s marriage—a sacred institution ordained and instituted by God (see Gen. 2:18-25) as well as a picture of Christ’s relationship with His church (see Eph. 5:22-32). Needless to say, that picture is being muddied and distorted everywhere people look. If marriage is redefined in America, how can it possibly continue to represent in society anything close to the relationship God ordained it to represent? If we lose marriage, we lose an image that helps people understand why Christ died. While we cannot expect non-Christians to act as Christians, neither can we ignore the fact that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and for many years upheld those ideals. Yet in recent decades in this country, we have, as a nation, kicked God out of public life. Given all the opportunities we as Americans have had to hear and respond to God’s truth, we must understand that God will hold us accountable.

How You Can Help

Here are some ways you can support Barronelle Stutzman in her fight for religious liberty.

  • Pray for her and for others who are refusing to follow the state rather than their consciences and their God.
  • Give financially. Through Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), you can contribute to help finance Baronelle’s own case, which now is headed to the Supreme Court. The ACLU recently received $24 million from its supporters to litigate against people like Barronelle. ADF is attempting to counter this force with resources from freedom-loving and liberty-loving Americans who understand the importance of religious liberty. Learn more about this from David and Jason Benham in this video. Donate here. Be aware also that Samaritan’s Purse, which is headed by Franklin Graham, will accept funds given to help persecuted Christians in the United States. You can give by calling this organization at 1-800-528-1980.

Help Barronelle Stutzman by contributing financially to Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization offering her legal assistance. You can donate to help offset the legal expenses here.


  • Encourage President Trump to sign an executive order that would provide at least a measure of protection for religious freedom. This wouldn’t resolve the entire problem, but it would be a positive step.

  • Spread the word about the threat to religious liberty in this country and the importance of protecting it and preserving it. Don’t be intimidated! Speak up!

I close with an acknowledgement that I know what I’m encouraging you to do isn’t easy. It’s hard—especially in a culture that misunderstands the gospel and hates Christians. Against this backdrop, we do well to remember that in upholding marriage, we must never neglect our other responsibilities as believers, including loving, caring, helping, and serving—being Jesus’ hands and feet in the world. As we exercise love and uphold truth, we can be assured that God will use us to attract non-Christians to the Savior.

Just as He used the first Christians during the days of the early church.

 

Copyright © 2017 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Note:

1According to Steven L. Cox and Kendell H. Easley, eds., Harmony of the Gospels, (Nashville: Holman, 2007). This harmony is based on the text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, even though I have cited the New King James Version in this article. Moreover, Cox and Easley drew from the work of John A. Broadus and A. T. Robertson, who worked together to publish A Harmony of the Gospels (1893). Robertson continued this work and in 1922 published a revision titled A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christed Based on the Broadus Harmony in the Revised Version.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

One Bible quotation in this article is designated NIV. It is 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.

 

The Importance of Getting History Right, Part 8

Don’t Be Fooled!

Before lecturing Republicans, Democrats should mop up their side of the political spectrum [with regard to the issue of race].
—Journalist Deroy Murdock (who, by the way, is black)—

Note: In Part 6, we began to record some historical facts Democrats have hidden from the public or effectively encouraged the public to ignore. We added to the list in Part 7, and this week, in Part 8, we complete it. The list contains 33 items. It isn’t exhaustive by any means, but it is thorough and very informative. It’s available on a single page here.

The second Sunday after a congregation had welcomed a new pastor into its midst, churchgoers noticed he preached the very same sermon he’d given a week earlier. The next week, he preached the same sermon yet again. When his people asked him why he was doing this, the pastor replied, “When you begin to apply the principles in this sermon, I’ll be happy to move on to the next one.”

As we continue adding items to our list of historical truths Democrats conveniently overlook, some may feel we are being repetitious, even though we’ve been adding new items every week. Unlike the new preacher who kept preaching the same sermon, I believe you’re getting it. Democrats, generally speaking, have rewritten history and are overlooking their own racist past. There are exceptions, but overall, Democrats have a history that upholds racism.

The eleventh item on our list (see last week’s post) highlighted Republican attempts to make lynching a federal crime in 1922, 1923, and 1924—and Democrat efforts to thwart them. Southern Democrats in the US Senate successfully filibustered the bill. Looking back a few years may shed some light on why these Democrats’ efforts could succeed.

Historical Truths Democrats Have Successfully Concealed

Twelfth, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921, was a Democrat who promoted and adopted racist policies and who glorified the Ku Klux Klan. Under Wilson, the federal government resegregated numerous agencies in the US government. Yes, resegregated. Integration had taken place during Reconstruction decades before Wilson took office. Wilson “brought with him an administration loaded with white supremacists who segregated offices and removed black men from political appointments.” In 1914 President Wilson defended these policies, saying this:

Segregation is not humiliating but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen. If your organization goes out and tells the colored people of the country that it is a humiliation, they will so regard it, but if you do not tell them so, and regard it rather as a benefit, they will regard it the same. The only harm that will come will be if you cause them to think it is a humiliation… If this organization is ever to have another hearing before me it must have another spokesman. Your manner offends me…

Of course, Wilson’s policies affected people on a personal level. One man affected was John Abraham Davis. John Davis was a hard worker and excelled in school. Not long after graduating from high school in 1882 he landed a job at the Government Printing Office in Washington, DC. His job became his career. John was rewarded for his hard work with promotions and pay increases, and by 1908 he had a very respectable income as well as a home in the nation’s capital and a farm in a nearby state. Everything changed for John after Wilson took office. He was demoted, then sent from one department to another to do jobs that required little skill or experience. In the end he wound up delivering messages in the War Department, but that job paid only about half of what he had been earning in 1908. John was forced to sell the farm, and by 1917 his spirit had been crushed. He’d live for eleven more years but could not recover from the humiliation and economic ruin Wilson’s racist policies had brought upon him. Not surprisingly, other black men in government jobs had similar experiences.

Moreover, Woodrow Wilson spoke glowingly of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1901 in his book, A History of the American People, Volume IX, Wilson wrote, “Those who loved mastery and adventure directed the work of the Ku Klux.” He also wrote, “The white men of the South were aroused by the mere instinct of self-preservation to rid themselves, by fair means or foul, of the intolerable burden of governments sustained by the votes of ignorant negroes and conducted in the interest of adventurers.” The quote inspired this frame in the racist movie The Birth of a Nation, a silent movie directed by by D. W. Griffith and released in 1915. The film was successful and was a factor leading to a resurgence of the Klan, which also took place in 1915.

wilsonquoteinbirthofanation

On another issue, Wilson is seen today as a leader promoting women’s suffrage. Not so fast! He and other Democrats actually had no choice but to go along with passage of the Nineteenth Amendment after landslide wins for Republicans in Congress in the election of 1918. On May 21, 1919, the Nineteenth Amendment passed the House of Representatives. The vote was 304-89. Ninety-one percent of Republicans but just 59 percent of Democrats voted for it. The Senate passed the amendment on June 4 of the same year by a vote of 56-25. Eighty-two percent of Republicans but just 41 percent of Democrats voted for it. On to the states it went, and Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 26, 1920. Tom Wrutz writes, “Of the 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment, 26 were Republican states [states with Republican legislatures].”

suffragette_parade-_grand_marshall_mrs-_richard_burleson_herald_miss_inez_milholland

Suffragist demonstration in 1913 in Washington, DC

Thirteenth, the Democrat Convention in 1924 was called Klanbake because of the controversy that swirled around it involving the Ku Klux Klan. No political convention in US history has lasted as long as did this one. From June 24 to July 9, 1924, delegates cast a total of 103 ballots before officially nominating John W. Davis and Charles W. Bryan to run for president and vice-president, respectively. They would be defeated by Calvin Coolidge and Charles G. Dawes in November.

1924_klanbake

1924 Democrat Convention

Going into the convention, observers probably would have put their money on either Al Smith of New York or William Gibbs McAdoo, who had served as the Secretary of the Treasury in the Wilson administration and who would go on to serve as a Democrat US Senator from California. Davis became the compromise candidate.

Not all Democrats supported the revived KKK, and some wanted the party’s platform to condemn Klan for its violent activities. A plank was proposed. Pro-Klan delegates opposed Al Smith’s candidacy (Smith was a Catholic) and supported the candidacy of his chief opponent, William McAdoo (a Protestant). The convention was deeply divided. Writing about the proceedings, Randy Dotinga seasons his report with quotes from Robert K. Murray, a historian.

The vicious KKK debate finally ended in a chaotic two-hour vote that produced the most “prolonged pandemonium in an American political gathering.”

“The delegates engaged in fist fights, arguments, name calling, wrestling matches, and brawls, while the galleries howled and stomped their feet.” The fighting veered toward a riot that was only averted when 1,000 NYC cops hurried to the scene.

1924-dems202_zpsyoyhzzomDebate over adopting the anti-Klan plank was fierce. In the end, the plank was rejected by a vote of 546.15 to 542.85. In Celebration, “tens of thousands of hooded Klansmen rallied in a field in New Jersey, across the river from New York City. This event…was also attended by hundreds of Klan delegates to the convention, who burned crosses, urged violence and intimidation against African Americans and Catholics, and attacked effigies of Smith.”

1924-dems1_zps3u7z8cmy

Fourteenth, Democrat Hugo Black, who was a US Senator from Alabama from 1927 to 1937, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. After being elected to his seat in the Senate in 1926, Black spoke to a KKK gathering and thanked them for their support:

This passport which you have given me is a symbol to me of the passport which you have given me before. I do not feel that it would be out of place to state to you her on this occasion that I know that without the support of the members of this organization I would not have been called, even by my enemies, the “Junior Senator from Alabama.”

As a US Senator, Black strongly opposed anti-lynching legislation, even when the sponsors of the bill also were Democrats.

In 1935 Black led a filibuster of the Wagner-Costigan anti-lynching bill. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported that when a motion to end the fillibuster was defeated “[t]he southerners- headed by Tom Connally of Texas and Hugo Black of Alabama—grinned at each other and shook hands.”

hugolafayetteblack

Fifteenth, Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Hugo Black to the Supreme Court in 1937. He was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court from August 19, 1937 until just September 17, 1971, just days before his death. Shortly after Black became an Associate Justice, reporter Ray Sprigle of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote a story disclosing Black’s involvement in the KKK. The report caused quite a stir, and Sprigle won a Pulitzer Prize for his work. As a Supreme Court Justice, Black “went on to reintroduce America to the long-dormant phrase ‘separation of church and state, twisting its meaning. Black also wrote the majority opinion that deemed internment camps in the United States constitutional in 1944.”

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Sixteenth, in 1938, during a filibuster of the Wagner-Van Nuys anti-lynching bill—a bill, by the way, bearing the names of two Democrat senators, Robert Wagner and Frederick Van Nuys— Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo, also a Democrat, declared,

If you succeed in the passage of this bill, you will open the floodgates of hell in the South. Raping, mobbing, lynching, race riots, and crime will be increased a thousandfold; and upon your garments and the garments of those who are responsible for the passage of the measure will be the blood of the raped and outraged daughters of Dixie, as well as the blood of the perpetrators of these crimes that the red-blooded Anglo-Saxon White Southern men will not tolerate.

Seventeenth, in 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed James Byrmes to the US Supreme Court. Byrmes was a segregationist who in 1919 said, “This is a white man’s country, and will always remain a white man’s country.”

Eighteenth, FDR committed racist acts and failed to defend races who were vulnerable.

  • In 1942, internment camps were established by Executive Order 9066 to house American citizens descended from Japanese and Japanese expatriates.
  • Jesse Owens had defied the propaganda of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany by winning four gold medals on German soil, at the Berlin Olympics of 1936. After the games, FDR invited only the white athletes to meet with him. Of course, Owens received no such invitation.

FDR invited only white athletes to meet with him following the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.


  • While Roosevelt was critical of lynching, he would not support a federal anti-lynching law. He said Southern Democrats, especially Senators, would retaliate by blocking other bills Roosevelt supported that were essential for the country’s survival: “If I come out for the anti-lynching bill now, they will block every bill I ask Congress to pass to keep America from collapsing. I just can’t take that risk.”
  • FDR also has been accused of not doing enough to help the Jews during the Holocaust and World War 2.

Ninteenth, evangelist Billy Graham led a crusade in Jackson, Mississippi in 1952. Graham’s policy was clear regarding race—members of all races would be welcome at his events. Mississippi Democrat Governor Hugh White didn’t like the policy and asked Graham to schedule different services for white and black audiences. Graham refused, although he did, at the Jackson Crusade, allow segregated seating. Several months later, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Graham vehemently resisted the call for segregated seating. In Jackson, Graham proclaimed, “There is no scriptural basis for segregation. It may be there are places where such is desirable to both races, but certainly not in the church. The ground at the foot of the cross is level.…[I]t touches my heart when I see whites stand shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross.”

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Billy Graham in 1966

Twentieth, In 1956, a document was drafted in the US Congress called “The Declaration of Constitutional Principles” or simply the “Southern Manifesto.” In it, 101 political leaders expressed their opposition to racial integration in public facilities and venues, including schools. Ninety-nine of the leaders were Democrats and two were Republicans. One signatory to the document was J. William Fulbright, Senator from Arkansas and eventual mentor to Bill Clinton. Fulbright has been described as a racist, a “notorious segregationist,” pro-communist, and anti-Semitic. Recently, “the famous Fulbright fellowship…[was] renamed…the “J. William Fulbright–Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellowship.”


Former Democrat Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright has been described as a racist, a “notorious segregationist,” pro-communist, and anti-Semitic. Recently, “the famous Fulbright fellowship…[was] renamed…the “J. William Fulbright–Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellowship.”


Twenty-first, Bruce Bartlett, author of Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past,” explains that Republican President Dwight Eisenhower repeated his call for civil rights legislation in his 1957 State of the Union address. Previously, the legislation had passed in the House but had died in the Senate because of opposition from Southern Democrats. Lyndon B. Johnson was the Senate’s Majority Leader. Opponents of the legislation were looking to him to oppose it, just as he had in the past. (While a congressman, Johnson had called President Harry Truman’s civil rights initiative “a farce and a sham—an effort to set up a police state in the guise of liberty. I am opposed to that program. I have voted against the so-called poll tax repeal bill…I have voted against the so-called anti-lynching bill.”) Johnson, however, wanted to become president. Bartlett continues,

After dragging his feet on the civil rights bill throughout much of 1957, Johnson finally came to the conclusion that the tide had turned in favor of civil rights and he needed to be on the right side of the issue if he hoped to become president.…

At the same time, the Senate’s master tactician and principal opponent of the civil rights bill, Democrat Richard B. Russell of Georgia, saw the same handwriting on the wall but came to a different conclusion. He realized that the support was no longer there for an old-fashioned Democrat filibuster.…So Russell adopted a different strategy this time of trying to amend the civil rights bill so as to minimize its impact. Behind the scenes, Johnson went along with Russell’s strategy of not killing the civil rights bill, but trying to neuter it as much as possible.…

Eisenhower was disappointed at not being able to produce a better piece of legislation. “I wanted a much stronger civil rights bill in ’57 than I could get,” he later lamented. “But the Democrats…wouldn’t let me have it.”

Johnson explained his approach this way:

senator_lyndon_johnsonThese Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don’t move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there’ll be no way of stopping them, we’ll lose the filibuster and there’ll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It’ll be Reconstruction all over again.

Forgive the language—I’m just reporting what was said. On Air Force One, President Johnson was speaking to two like-minded governors and explaining some of the benefits Democrats would reap from his “Great Society” programs. Johnson said, “I’ll have those niggars voting Democrat for the next 200 years.”

Twenty-second, In 1958, Billy Graham planned a rally on the steps of South Carolina’s capitol building. South Carolina Democrat Governor George Timmerman objected and successfully nixed the plans to hold the rally at the capitol. Graham was viewed as an “integrationist.” In fact, the KKK had listed Billy Graham as one of their targets in 1957. Governor Timmerman said, “There is, in fact, no reason to select the State House unless the real purpose is to capitalize, for propaganda, purposes, on the appearance of a widely known advocate of desegregation. It is Graham’s endorsement of desegregation that has brought him front-page acclaim.” Brig. General Christian H. Clark helped make Fort Jackson, which was a federal venue, available, and the rally was held there. As many as 60,000 people of different races attended, and the meeting was “described at the time as the largest turnout for a non-sporting event in state history.”

Twenty-third, in 1962 George C. Wallace, then a Democrat, was elected Governor of Alabama. He was inaugurated on January 14, 1963.

In his inauguration speech he proclaimed, “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”

Twenty-fourth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican.

martin_luther_king_-_march_on_washington

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on August 28, 1963
The top image is a photo of the crowd attending that event.

Twenty-fifth, Contrary to the assumptions of many today, Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  • In the House of Representatives, 80 percent of Republicans voted for the measure, while just 61 percent of Democrats voted for it.
  • In the Senate, Republicans were at last able to end a filibuster brought by Democrats. Eighty-two percent of Republicans supported cloture along with just 66 percent of Democrats.
  • In the vote on the legislation itself, 82 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats gave their support. 

Twenty-sixth, Surprise, surprise! The Voting Rights Act of 1965 also became law largely because of Republicans.

  • Ninety-four percent of Republicans in the US Senate supported the Voting Rights Act, contrasted to 73 percent of Democrats.
  • When the Senate voted on the final version of the bill from the House, one lone Republican Senator opposed it, along with 17 Democrats.
  • In the House of Representatives, 82 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats voted for the legislation. 

everettdirksenRepublican Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen was a co-author of the legislation, and he strategized against opposition brought by Democrats. He said, “There has to be a real remedy. There has to be something durable and worthwhile. This cannot go on forever, this denial of the right to vote by ruses and devices and tests and whatever the mind can contrive to either make it very difficult or to make it impossible to vote.”


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law largely because of the work of Republicans.


Twenty-seventh, Lester Maddox was elected governor of Georgia in 1970 and was a Democrat at the time. An ardent segregationist, Maddox once said, “That’s part of American greatness, is discrimination. Yes, sir. Inequality, I think, breeds freedom and gives a man opportunity.”

bill_clinton_1978Twenty-eighth, In 1989, the NAACP sued three state officials, including then-Arkansas Democrat Governor Bill Clinton, under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a federal statute. According to the Arkansas Gazette on December 6, 1989, “Plaintiffs offered plenty of proof of monolithic voting along racial lines, intimidation of black voters and candidates and other official acts that made voting harder for blacks.” The paper also said that “the evidence at the trial was indeed overwhelming that the Voting Rights Act had been violated.” The court ordered the redrawing of electoral districts to enhance the strength of votes from the black community.

Writing at nationalreview.com, Deroy Murdock reports,

During his 12-year tenure, Governor Clinton never approved a state civil-rights law. However, he did issue birthday proclamations honoring Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. He also signed Act 116 in 1987. That statute reconfirmed that the star directly above the word “Arkansas” in the state flag “is to commemorate the Confederate States of America.” Arkansas also observed Confederate Flag Day every year Clinton served. The governor’s silence was consent.

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confederate-flag-text

Also, examples of merchandise from Bill Clinton’s presidential run in 1992 have appeared that reflect Confederate sympathies.

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Twenty-ninth, As a presidential candidate in 2000, Al Gore declared to the NAACP that his father was voted out of office after voting for the Civil Rights Act in 1964. The Senior Gore, however, opposed the Civil Rights Act and voted against it. In 1970, Gore, Sr. lost to Republican Bill Brock in a contest that centered on the Supreme Court, the war in Viet Nam, and prayer in public schools. Also in 2000, Gore claimed to have worked to increase diversity among those who followed him every day, including the Secret Service; but blacks in the Secret Service were suing Gore because they “were not being promoted to positions guarding the Vice-President.”

robert_byrd_official_portraitThirtieth, in a National Review article titled “Whitewashing the Democratic Party’s History,” Mona Charen writes, “As recently as 2010, the Senate’s president pro tempore was former Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.).” Go here to learn more about this KKK role.

During World War 2, Byrd wrote, “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side. … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.” Go here to view a brief timeline of Byrd’s actions with regard to race relations.

Thirty-first, Barak Obama has increased racial tensions in this country since becoming president. One glaring manifestation of this truth that if you’re opposed to his policies, you’re accused of racism. Check out articles herehere, here, and here.


This president is the most racist president there has ever been in America. He is purposely trying to use race to divide Americans.
Ben Stein, speaking of President Barak Obama—


070731-N-0696M-156 WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 31, 2007) - As Senator Hillary Clinton listens, Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Mullen responds to a question during his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee for appointment to Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Hart Senate Office Building, July 31, 2007. Mullen was joined by Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Gen. James E. Cartwright for his appointment to Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley (RELEASED)

Thirty-second and finally, Hillary Clinton apparently has garnered support from people willing to embrace the Confederate flag (also go here). While a candidate can’t control who supports him or her, the candidate can disavow attitudes of prominent supporters with whom he or she disagrees.

Hillary Clinton does not have the best track record with regard to race, especially when one considers her husband’s policies when he was Governor of Arkansas. Yet she has been quick to accuse Republicans of racism.

confederate-flag-hillary-button

In fact, accusations of racism among Republicans has become a Democrat mantra.

You see, Democrats don’t just rewrite the past, they misrepresent the present, too.


Part 9 is available here.

 

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

Misinformed and Misled: How a Distorted Perspective of Rights Is Leading America into Tyranny, Part 5

How True Rights and Genuine Liberty Are Becoming Casualties of the Supreme Court’s Redefinition of Marriage

Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman precedes civil government. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by faith, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason. It is part of the natural created order. The Natural Law is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to as a higher law or a just law in his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.…The institutions of civil government should defend marriage and not seek to undermine it. Government has long regulated marriage for the true common good. Examples, such as the age of consent, demonstrate such a proper regulation to ensure the free and voluntary basis of the marriage bond. Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the State. No civil institution, including the United States Supreme Court or any court, has authority to redefine marriage.
Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage

Though expected, today’s decision is completely illegitimate. We reject it and so will the American people. It represents nothing but judicial activism, legislating from the bench, with a bare majority of the Justices on the Supreme Court exercising raw political power to impose their own preferences on marriage when they have no constitutional authority to do so. It is a lawless ruling that contravenes the decisions of over 50 million voters and their elected representatives. It is a decision that is reminiscent of other illegitimate Court rulings such as Dred Scott and Roe v Wade and will further plunge the Supreme Court into public disrepute.
Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, on June 26, 2015, responding to the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling that redefined marriage nationwide to include same-sex couples—

Properly understood, rights are not guarantees that something will be provided for us but guarantees that what is ours will not be unjustly taken from us. That is, properly speaking, rights are not positive but negative.
Calvin Beisner

Part 4, which is available here, provides important background information for this post.

Depending on the circumstances and on what listeners want to hear, the truth can be very difficult to accept. So difficult, in fact, that some individuals reject it altogether. Consider Marc, who was very much alive but was convinced he was dead. When his psychiatrist asked him if dead men bleed, Marc said no. The doctor promptly stuck Marc’s finger with a needle, causing blood to come forth. “Wow!” exclaimed Marc. “Dead men really do bleed, after all!”

With very few exceptions, it isn’t desirable for people to live in a world of fantasy and illusion. Mature people must grapple with reality. People need to eat! The bills have to be paid! The real world is messy, but it is the one we live in—yet it’s also the one in which we can find fulfillment and satisfaction, if we adjust to life’s demands and cooperate with its realities.

The law of gravity provides a great example. No one can step out of a 10th story window and expect to go anywhere but down, and fast! Gravity prevents us from safely doing a great number of things. Yet when we cooperate with it, we benefit immensely. Why? In a great many ways, gravity, which is part of “the natural order of things,” makes ordered life on earth possible.

Marriage, as humanity has understood it for centuries, is very much like gravity in this regard. When a society respects marriage as an institution uniting one man and one woman in a committed, lifelong relationship, it’s clear that it limits that society in certain ways. Perhaps it’s not as clear that it liberates it in many more! Clear or not, this is the truth! When a nation rejects man-woman marriage, devastating consequences follow, a number of which we have discussed in previous posts.

This week in our series on rights, we move to consider how the Supreme Court of the United States, through its ruling on marriage, has violated the concept of rights our Founders embraced and enshrined in our Constitution, particularly in the Bill of Rights. Ironically, it has done this in the name of granting rights to a few! Five Supreme Court justices—a bare majority—also have violated the natural order to make life worse for everyone. Not everyone will accept the truth we will explore, but those who do accept it will benefit. Moreover, the more who accept it, the more the country will benefit. It is time for us as a nation to stop living in a world of fantasy.

At the outset, I’d like to stake out four principles that describe my perspective.

  1. Everything I write today, I write, as Abraham Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural Address, “with malice toward none, and charity for all.”
  2. While I bear absolutely no ill-will toward those who disagree with me, I cannot remain silent as this country continues to decline and as its foundational principles are abandoned and rejected. Liberty and authentic freedom are fragile and must be guarded. Once liberty is understood to mean license, once freedom is seen as absolute individual autonomy, and once the government endorses these definitions with policy, people begin to live according to their base desires en masse, without giving a single accurate thought to the public good. Eventually this will lead to societal chaos, which inevitably will lead to tyranny. We’ve been traveling down this very road for some time.
  3. In previous posts, I have repeatedly called the evidence for man-woman marriage “obvious.” From the Word Foundations menu, do a search for the word obvious, and you will see what I mean. Here is one of my bedrock convictions: The fact that marriage can’t be anything other than what it has been for centuries is self-evident, revealed in nature and other realities in the world in which we live. Why, then, isn’t the obvious, obvious? Because the popular culture has touted lies about the world, life, and marriage so frequently and for so long, millions have come to believe them. They have been blinded!
  4. I believe the Bible is God’s authoritative revelation to humanity and that it is absolutely true in all that it says. Even so, I don’t believe we need the Bible to understand what marriage really is. We will consider a few Bible passages at the end of this post, but otherwise we will rely on the truth that nature itself speaks loudly and clearly. The case for this is strong.

I am honored to be in very good company! Although I cannot verify that he would agree fervently with everything I’ve stated thus far, he apparently agrees with much of it, because I agree with him about the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling. In his dissent on this ruling, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas brilliantly describes the situation at hand.

Clarence_Thomas_official_SCOTUS_portrait

In this post we will examine only the first paragraph of Justice Thomas’s dissent. That paragraph’s seven sentences alone are insightful and substantive, and they’re alarming enough to raise red flags nationwide about same-sex marriage. Next week we will look at additional statements in Thomas’s dissent and discuss even more implications of the Obergefell ruling as it relates to rights. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Here is the first paragraph.

The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built. Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits. The Framers created our Constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty. Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a “liberty” that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect. Along the way, it rejects the idea—captured in our Declaration of Independence—that human dignity is innate and suggests instead that it comes from the Government. This distortion of our Constitution not only ignores the text, it inverts the relationship between the individual and the state in our Republic. I cannot agree with it.

____________________________________________

Let’s consider each of these statements individually.

Statement 1: “The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built.”

To learn just a few of the ways the Obergefell decision “is at odds…with the Constitution,” read this brief summary from Alliance Defending Freedom. Also read Bradley C. S. Watson’s National Review article “Reclaiming the rule of Law after Obergefell.” You can read some of our nation’s foundational principles here.

Statement 2: “Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits.”

From May 25 to September 17, 1787, the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and its delegates drafted the US Constitution. As we discussed in a previous post, resistance to ratification was strong because the proposed Constitution did not have a Bill of Rights—a list of limitations on the government that would keep it out of the way so people could live their lives freely. Even though the Constitution was drafted and proposed in 1787 without a Bill of Rights and subsequently was ratified, it was accepted only when the Bill of Rights was added. Thus, “there was, in the minds of this first generation of US citizens (not just the Founders), a direct relationship between the thriving of personal liberties (rights) and restrictions that kept the federal government out of people’s lives.” The battle to add the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution never would have been won if the principles of limited government had not been accepted and embraced in the populace in years prior.

Oh, that we could recapture their love of limitations on government! Today the prevailing perspective on rights calls, not for government limitations, but government intrusion! For a few moments, reflect on the degree to which government has had to invade marriage in order to remake it into an institution that affords same-sex couples the “right” to “marry.” While in US history, the Supreme Court has issued numerous egregious decisions to grant positive rights, only a handful have sent the Court even close to the level of meddling we’ve seen with Obergefell. More on this in a moment.

Statement 3: “The Framers created our Constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty.”

The Bill of Rights, with its government-limiting provisions to ensure individual liberties, provides undeniable evidence of this truth.

Statement 4: “Yet the majority [of Supreme Court justices] invokes our Constitution in the name of a “liberty” that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect.”

These are allusions to a positive right and to negative rights. The positive right, the “‘liberty’ that the Framers would not have recognized” is, of course, same-sex marriage. Does anyone really believe the Founders had same-sex marriage in mind when they wrote the Constitution? Does anyone think for a New York minute they wouldn’t have acted to protect man-woman marriage if they knew same-sex marriage ever would be seriously proposed, much less practiced, in the United States? The point here is that we can be certain redefining marriage never even entered the the minds of the Founders, so they did not sanction it. We can say the same thing for those who drafted and ratified the Fourteenth Amendment (ratified after the US Civil War), which is cited as a basis for the Obergefell ruling. How then, can same-sex marriage be constitutional?

Many other strong arguments against the constitutionality of same-sex marriage exist as well, but Justice Thomas, rightly, was saying the Framers never would have recognized the practice as legitimate. The truth is that the men who drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights did act to prevent the implementation of same-sex marriage, even though they didn’t know it ever would be considered. They did so by enshrining the principle of limited government in the founding documents. The Supreme Court has rejected this principle outright.

Further into his dissent, Justice Thomas discusses Obergefell’s threat to religious liberty, which we will consider next week. The freedoms associated with the principle of religious liberty are included in the term “liberty” in Thomas’s powerful clause, “to the detriment of the liberty they [the Framers] sought to protect” through provisions that limit government action. Those provisions were established to guarantee negative rights.

Statement 5: “Along the way, it [the Court] rejects the idea—captured in our Declaration of Independence—that human dignity is innate and suggests instead that it comes from the Government.”

The Declaration of Independence declares,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Rights are God-given! Put another way, human dignity is innate because it comes from God! This was the conviction of our Founders. It is a principle on which they severed ties with Great Britain and on which they founded the United States of America. The Obergefell ruling, according to Thomas, “rejects this idea.” Justice Thomas is right.

Moreover, through its ruling the Supreme Court “suggests instead that it [human dignity] comes from the Government.” We must not miss the implications of Justice Thomas’s strong statement. Marriage, a God-given and God-ordained institution, could be redefined by government only through the most intrusive of bureaucratic actions. In redefining marriage, therefore, our government defied God! Yet, as frightening as this is, there’s even more here to alarm us. If human dignity comes from the government rather than God, is it really dignity at all?

Human dignity definitely does not come from government. It was the reality of human dignity—innate and God-given—that compelled our country’s Founders to limit government in ways that preserved personal freedom and rights in the first place!

Statement 6: “This distortion of our Constitution not only ignores the text, it inverts the relationship between the individual and the state in our Republic.”

The implications here are especially alarming. Hang in there with me, and you’ll see what I mean. In the US Constitution we see reflected a host of principles stated clearly in the Declaration of Independence. This one comes to mind: In order “to secure these rights [the unalienable rights given by God], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (emphasis added). Accordingly, the Constitution itself doesn’t begin with “The Government of the United States of America,” but with the phrase “We the People.”

Constitution_of_the_United_States,_page_1

The people are to be the government’s boss in America, but the US government has inverted this relationship by usurping the people’s authority. Not only that, but the Supreme Court, through its Obergefell ruling, has defied nature and defied God. In fact, it has set itself up as God! If the Supreme Court will be so bold as to change the millennia-old definition of marriage, what will it not attempt?

Statement 7: “I cannot agree with it.”

Justice Thomas understands. He “gets it”! Because he does, he disagrees with the marriage ruling, and so must everyone else who is truly familiar with the importance of the founding principles of the United States of America.

____________________________________________

Let’s return briefly to statement 6. In reflecting on it, we said that government, through Obergefell, had set itself up as God. Then we asked, If the Supreme Court will be so bold as to change the millennia-old definition of marriage, what will it not attempt?  

We are told in Genesis that God thwarted the completion of the Tower of Babel. We’re also informed as to why. Genesis 11:1-9 declares,

1 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

As with the worldwide flood just a few chapters earlier (see Gen. 6-9), God stepped in when humanity had stepped over a clear boundary. How long will it be before He intervenes to stop America from going any further?

At the Constitutional Convention of 1787 when deliberations almost had reached an impasse, Benjamin Franklin appealed to the delegates to establish regular prayers over their sessions. Here is a portion of what he said (emphasis added).

BenFranklinDuplessis

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.

Franklin pled with the delegates to acknowledge God in the infancy of our nation. Today, almost 230 years later, the US Supreme Court doesn’t just ignore God and the natural laws He established; instead, a majority of justices effectively shake their collective fist in His face! Even if a person doesn’t believe in God, he or she still could find it difficult to imagine how any person or group could more thoroughly or foolishly spurn nature’s clear teaching.

The Bible informs us that God is patient (see 2 Pet. 3:9), but His patience is not limitless. Marriage is sacred (see Gen. 1:26-28; 2:21-25), for it is God-ordained and a picture of Christ and His bride, the church (see Eph. 5:25-33). Make no mistake. The scriptural principle is clear: God will judge those who violate the institution of marriage (see Heb. 13:4).

In light of all this, we must resist the Obergefell ruling. Our long-term goal needs to be to restore the definition of marriage so that public policy aligns with what marriage really is.

We must require all branches of our government to stop meddling in marriage. Government entities must stop securing positive rights inconsistent with marriage’s age-old definition. In addition, we must, in both our personal and public lives, uphold marriage as being what God and nature declare it to be.

We’ve seen this week that if we don’t resist, the consequences for our country will be dire. And you know what? There’s even more to say about how dire.

Stay tuned!

Part 6 is available here.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

top image credit: lightstock.com

Justice Extraordinaire: Antonin Scalia

The Constitution is not a living organism. It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.
Antonin Scalia

The Word Foundations article that was published on July 3, 2015—one week after the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Obergefell—began with this observation: “Americans now live in an oligarchy—a form of government that can be described as rule by a few. This is but one of the lessons coming out of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case in which the Court redefined marriage in America to include same-sex couples.”

In his dissent in Obergefell, Justice Antonin Scalia expressed this sentiment far more eloquently and forcefully than anything I could have written. He wrote,

I join The Chief Justice’s opinion in full. I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.…

[I]t is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact—and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create ‘liberties’ that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.

Justice Scalia understood that claims that the Constitution enshrines liberties it doesn’t even mention actually threaten the Constitution itself, as well as the liberties it upholds and seeks to protect. He believed in interpreting the Constitution based on the words in it and the clear intent of its framers. This approach sometimes is called originalism. (See a brief article on originalism here.) Originalism stands contrary to the idea that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” that changes with the times. Ironically, progressives use the idea that the Constitution is “living” as an excuse to ignore what it says and what it means—essentially rendering it null and void.

Justice Scalia consistently applied his Constitutional philosophy in case after case. We see it shine brilliantly in the following exchange between Piers Morgan and Scalia in this CNN interview from 2012.

Significantly, Justice Scalia’s approach to interpreting the Constitution parallels the way we as believers should interpret the Bible. Writing in an article published at www.americandecency.org, Steve Houston observes that the Bible is authoritative, but that today far too many Christians and churches are treating it as if it should bend and be shaped by the times. This is an erroneous idea! Rather than making adjustments in their lives to fit the Bible and the Constitution, progressives in both legal and religious realms “desire to change these documents to fit their lives, their thoughts, and their desires; thus ‘remaking the world (and the Word) in their own image.’” Houston further observes that interpreting the Constitution and the Bible correctly may not always lead the interpreter to a conclusion he or she likes. As Scalia once said, “If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.”

The Constitution thus challenges us—and the Bible does as well. As a devoted Christian and a devout Catholic, Scalia took the Bible seriously, just as he took the Constitution seriously. In 1996, Chuck Colson honored Scalia in a BreakPoint commentary. Colson briefly cited examples of some of the justice’s keen legal insights, and then he showcased statements he had made in a speech to Evangelicals meeting in Jackson, Mississippi. Colson declared, The

Roman Catholic justice from Brooklyn told his audience that our culture has moved beyond skepticism to open hostility towards Christianity.

Taking his cue from Corinthians, he said “the [worldly] wise do not believe in the resurrection of the dead.…So everything from Easter morning to the Ascension had to be made up by the groveling enthusiasts as part of their plan to get themselves martyred.”

Scalia then noted that cretin—a synonym for moron and imbecile—is derived from the French word for Christian. Scalia said, “That’s the view of Christians taken by modern society.…Surely those who adhere to…Christian beliefs are to be regarded as simple-minded.”

Then he brought the crowd to its feet when he told them, “We are to be fools for Christ’s sake.”

Our response, Scalia said, ought to be to “pray for the courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world.”

Antonin Scalia received plenty of scorn for his statements. Washington was abuzz with ridicule. How dare a justice of the Supreme Court talk about religion? This was typical, as Scalia regularly swam upstream against the prevailing worldview of the day and received a great deal of negative criticism. Yet he remained consistent.

Jerry Newcombe once asked Robert Bork, who in 1987 was denied a seat on the Supreme Court because of his conservative Constitutional views, why so many Supreme Court justices believed to be conservative changed their perspectives over time and morphed into liberals. In his reply, Bork cited the intellectual environment of the Court and its justices, as well as the liberal bent of the mainstream media. If a justice rules a particular way, he or she is praised by the news outlets and by progressive pundits in Washington. It’s seductive. On the other hand, when the justice rules another way he or she gets hammered with criticism. These forces have an impact. Yet Scalia didn’t move. Why? Newcombe believes it was his strong faith in Christ. Scalia understood that identifying oneself with Christ was costly, and that doing the right thing also was costly. This is why he spoke joyfully of being a fool for Christ’s sake and of praying for strength to endure the world’s hostile response.

In his speech in Jackson, Colson said (and I would add through his life as well) Justice Antonin Scalia “reminded us of something we’d rather forget: that a world that has rejected the Truth Himself will naturally reject those who live by His word. Thank you, Justice Scalia,” concluded Colson, “for courageously speaking out and reminding us that acceptance by a hostile culture isn’t the goal for those who follow Christ. But bearing witness to the ‘truth which is in Jesus’ is.”

Today we echo Chuck Colson’s praise and honor the life and memory of Antonin Scalia.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Five Ways Promoters of the Militant Homosexual Agenda Are Bullying the Public

Resist the Bullies: Part 1

Leftists are not about live and let live. They are about wholesale control. Their movers and shakers see society as their project, and they can change everything and everyone through government and their domination of the culture. There is no live and let live in their bones. In view of all this, it is amazing that so many conservatives, traditionalists and Christians are blind to the hostile, aggressive and unquenchable appetite of the leftist movement. It is chilling to me that they don’t realize this trend is going to continue until there is either a cultural or legal confrontation or the left stamps out all dissent. The left is never satisfied even with winning; they must stomp out the opposition.
—David Limbaugh1

The militant homosexual movement has greatly advanced its radical agenda through anti-bullying measures and policies.2,3 Of course, bullying in any form toward any individual or group is abhorrent and must be rejected. No one, including a homosexual, ever should be bullied. That said, we must describe the current situation in real and stark terms. Although evident for quite some time, it has never been clearer that militant gays and lesbians, many of whom have cried out against the bullying of homosexuals, have become the real bullies. While this double-standard has not been espoused by all homosexuals,4,5,6 it remains the posture of those promoting the militant gay agenda. Here are five specific ways that radical gay activists are bullying the American public.

First, militant homosexual activists do not respect the democratic process or the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box. We have seen their disrespect time and time again as homosexual activists used the courts to overrule the will of the people in 32 states7 where constitutional amendments were adopted through due process. Ultimately their quest led them to the Supreme Court of the United States, where by the thinnest of majorities, the court ruled in favor of nationwide same-sex marriage. The ruling sparked some of the harshest dissents in the history of the Supreme Court.8

We see the latest manifestation of this contempt for due process in a call for the Super Bowl, which Houston is scheduled to host 2017,9 to be held elsewhere.10 On November 3, 2015, Houstonians rejected a bill dubbed HERO, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, by a 61 to 39 percent margin.11 The bill would have allowed males who self-identified as females—including sexual predators—to enter and use women’s bathroom and locker facilities.12 Houston’s openly lesbian mayor fought hard for the measure, at one point even violating the civil rights of five pastors by subpoenaing their sermons.13 Activists’ calls for the relocation of the Super Bowl showcase their bullying prowess.

Second, closely related to the issue of elections and the democratic process, gay activists do not care at all about the miniscule size of their numbers in comparison to the population at large. It should not surprise us, then, that they are ready to bulldoze over everyone else to get their way. Certainly the members of all minorities should be respected as persons and treated with dignity—but surely members of majorities ought to be treated respectfully as well. Research places the number LBGT (lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgendered) individuals at just 3.8 percent of the total population, with only 0.2 percent of the population-at-large being transgendered.14 Other research indicates the number to be even less.15 Knowing larger numbers are necessary to draw greater sympathy and political clout—and to promote an illusion of normalcy—activists have perpetuated the lie that 10 percent of the population are homosexual.16 The lie has worked; most Americans believe the LGBT community is much larger.17 Don’t swallow this lie or its implications. This leads us to the third point.

Third, militant gay activists don’t care about the facts. They promote their agenda using arguments that they deem useful for the moment, but they abandon those points once they have “outlived their usefulness.” Writing in The Weekly Standard, Jonathan V. Last quotes Brandon Ambrosino, a writer and a dancer who admitted:

[I]t’s time for the LGBT community to start moving beyond genetic predisposition as a tool for gaining mainstream acceptance of gay rights. .  .  . For decades now, it’s been the most powerful argument in the LGBT arsenal: that we were “born this way.”…Still, as compelling as these arguments are, they may have outgrown their usefulness. With most Americans now in favor of gay marriage, it’s time for the argument to shift to one where genetics don’t matter. The genetic argument has boxed us into a corner.18,19

Ambrosino now prefers to embrace the idea that sexual orientation is malleable and even a choice. After all, shouldn’t people be free to live and do as they please?

There’s more. Last quotes another gay activist who acknowledges “some truth to the conservative claim that gay marriage is changing, not just expanding, marriage.”20 Suppose, for example, that the promiscuity practiced by homosexual men in “monogamous” relationships were to spill over into the heterosexual community and be emulated. (A high percentage of homosexual relationships are promiscuous.21) That would change the institution of marriage, after all!22 And what about advocates of natural marriage who contended that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples would open a Pandora’s Box, making it impossible to limit marriage to two people? They were ridiculed when they made this point, but now that same-sex marriage is legal, some activists are willing to say that, well, yes, polygamy probably ought to be legalized as well.23,24 Like their playground counterparts, LGBT bullies, ignoring the facts, run roughshod over their victims at every turn.

Fourth, gay activists plead for tolerance but are among the most intolerant people in the world. For brevity’s sake, let’s cite just one example. Perhaps nothing brings out greater vitriol from LGBT activists than an individual’s claim that he or she is ex-gay. Now, certainly homosexuals can have their own opinions about the validity of such a claim, but true tolerance respects those with whom one disagrees. Were gay activists really tolerant, they would respect the rights of others, even those who say they are ex-gays, to live as they see fit and to make their case in the marketplace of ideas. Instead, militant homosexual activists vilify ex-gays, discriminating against them with reckless abandon.25,26 We must not allow same-sex marriage advocates to get away with intolerant behavior simply because it is cloaked in a mantle of tolerance.

Fifth, as the previous four items have indicated, militant gay rights advocates see the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples as a step toward a larger, more important goal. They seek to remake society altogether. Matt Barber, an astute cultural observer, has understood this for years.27 This is a spiritual war! Do not think that appeasement or compromise will ward off further demands. Homosexual militants never will be satisfied.28

What goals are being sought? Marriage, one activist believes, must be totally abolished.29 She is not alone.30,31 Dissenters—advocates of traditional, man-woman marriage—must be coerced into accepting and even celebrating same-sex unions. At the very least, they must be silenced.32,33 This truly will recast American society into a virtual dictatorship: “Celebrate with us or else!”

Just as school kids must never surrender the playground to bullies, so we as Americans must never give in to the militant homosexual activists. Resistance is absolutely essential if we are to remain a free society and avoid living under tyranny.

By the way, the five items we’ve mentioned here do not constitute an exhaustive list. Stay tuned.

Part 2 is available here.
Part 3 is available here.

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

For further reading:

The Daily Caller: Why the Super Bowl Must Stay in Houston by Scott Greer

RenewAmerica: Unmasking the “gay” agenda by Matt Barber

Notes:

1http://patriotpost.us/opinion/36173

2http://abcnews.go.com/US/school-anti-bullying-programs-push-gay-agenda-christian/story?id=11527833

3http://www.americanclarion.com/using-anti-bullying-laws-to-bully-others-428

4http://www.wnd.com/2015/09/madonnas-gay-brother-defends-kim-davis/

5http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/gay-radio-host-defends-indiana-pizzeria

6http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/14/legendary-gay-designers-oppose-gay-marriage-gay-parenting-surrogacy/

7http://www.wordfoundations.com/justice-denied/

8http://factn.org/yes-you-can-resist-the-obergefell-marriage-decision/

9http://www.houstontexans.com/news/article-2/Houston-awarded-Super-Bowl-LI-in-2017/3ad93a1a-db03-4f10-8d67-d413538cc8c5

10http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/11/04/bathroom-ordinance-losers-ask-nfl-cancel-2017-super-bowl-houston/

11http://www.bpnews.net/45781/houston-voters-celebrate-bathroom-ordinance-defeat

12,13http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/november/houston-voters-reject-bathroom-bill-transgender-lgbt-hero.html

14http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/06/why-the-super-bowl-must-stay-in-houston/

15http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/you-will-be-assimilated_969581.html?page=1

16http://www.truenews.org/Homosexuality/homosexual_myths_and_facts.html

17http://www.gallup.com/poll/183383/americans-greatly-overestimate-percent-gay-lesbian.aspx

18http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/you-will-be-assimilated_969581.html?page=1

19,20,21,22,23http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/you-will-be-assimilated_969581.html?page=2

24http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/you-will-be-assimilated_969581.html?page=3

25http://www.peterheck.com/libtree/liberty_tree/view/1956/the_most_discriminated_against_group_in_america

26http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/ex-homosexuals-marriage-slammed-by-activists/

27http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mbarber/080213

28http://patriotpost.us/opinion/36173

29http://illinoisfamily.org/homosexuality/homosexual-activist-admits-true-purpose-of-battle-is-to-destroy-marriage/

30http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2015/03/02/the_case_against_marriage_the_state_should_stay_out_of_it.html

31https://www.facebook.com/notes/barbara-carrellas/barbara-carrellas-top-ten-reasons-why-marriage-should-be-abolished/10151541489844668

32http://www.redstate.com/2013/03/26/gay-marriage-and-religious-freedom-are-not-compatible/

33http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/gay-marriage-or-religious-freedom-you-cant-have-both/

 

 

Resistance Is Not Futile—It Is Necessary, Part 1

A Lesson From History
The Supreme Court Has Been Wrong Before

If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott opinion had been meekly accepted, America would truly have ended her experiment in ordered liberty.
—William J. Bennett1

On Friday, March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case. One of several questions before the court had been whether or not slavery would be permitted in the western territories. The Missouri Compromise, which became law in 1820, directed that all the territories north of latitude 36°30′ and west of Missouri would be free.2 Later, the Compromise of 1850 established that the people residing in the territories could decide the question of slavery by voting. Understandably, however, people on both sides of the issue remained passionate; and in Kansas in 1854, the process turned violent. Would the Supreme Court at last be able to settle the issue that countless deliberations in Congress had failed to resolve?3

66834-004-F337E210

Dred Scott

Dred Scott was a principal individual in the case. A slave, he was owned by doctor in the United States Army. The doctor had lived in the free state of Illinois and the free territory of Wisconsin and had taken Scott with him to those places. Scott sued for his freedom. While a lower federal court ruled him to be a citizen, the Supreme Court overturned that decision.4 Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote the majority opinion for the court, which ruled 7-2 against Scott.5 It was a breathtaking and far-reaching decision we will not be able to explore in depth here, but we’ll “hit the high spots” and cover enough information to make obvious the outrageous nature of the ruling.

800px-Roger_B._Taney_-_Brady-Handy

Roger B. Taney

According to the court, blacks could never become citizens of the United States.6 Scott had remained a slave in both Illinois and Wisconsin, the court said, because the United States Constitution did not consider him to be a person, but rather property.7 This notion stood in sharp contrast to history, because in 1787, free blacks were indeed part of the U.S. population.8 The ruling also struck down the Missouri Compromise as unconstitutional, thereby establishing slavery in all U.S. Territories.9 It is clear that “Taney and the other justices were attempting to halt further debate on the issue of slavery in the territories. The decision inflamed regional tensions, which burned for another four years before exploding into the Civil War.”10

Southerners generally applauded the decision, but the court had engaged in a blatant overreach, and Northern opposition was intense. Taney actually had written that the Constitution’s framers held that blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.”11 William J. Bennett writes, “Far from settling the slavery question, Taney’s Dred Scott ruling inflamed opposition to the extension of slavery. It served as the greatest recruitment tool for the new Republican Party.”12 Three years later, Abraham Lincoln would become the first Republican to win the presidency.

Here’s another description of the opinion from both historical and practical points of view: It “was a major political miscalculation. In its ruling, the court sought to solve the slavery controversy once and for all. Instead, the court intensified sectional strife, undercut possible compromise solutions to the issue of slavery’s expansion, and weakened the moral authority of the judiciary.”13

In May of 1857, just weeks after the Supreme Court issued its ruling, Frederick Douglass delivered a speech about the decision. Douglass was an African-American abolitionist and a speaker, writer, and articulate defender of the U.S. Constitution. Said Douglass,

You will readily ask me how I am affected by this devilish decision—this judicial incarnation of wolfishness? My answer is, and no thanks to the slaveholding wing of the Supreme Court, my hopes were never brighter than now.

I have no fear that the National Conscience will be put to sleep by such an open, glaring, and scandalous tissue of lies as that decision is, and has been, over and over, shown to be.

The Supreme Court of the United States is not the only power in this world. It is very great, but the Supreme Court of the Almighty is greater. Judge Taney can do many things, but he cannot perform impossibilities. He cannot bale out the ocean, annihilate the firm old earth, or pluck the silvery star of liberty from our Northern sky. He may decide, and decide again; but he cannot reverse the decision of the Most High. He cannot change the essential nature of things—making evil good, and good evil.

Happily for the whole human family, their rights have been defined, declared, and decided in a court higher than the Supreme Court. “There is a law,” says [Lord Chancellor Henry Peter] Brougham, “above all the enactments of human codes, and by that law, unchangeable and eternal, man cannot hold property in man.”14

HD_douglassF2

Frederick Douglass

The Supreme Court of the United States is…very great, but the Supreme Court of the Almighty is greater. Judge Taney can do many things, but he cannot perform impossibilities.…He cannot change the essential nature of things—making evil good, and good evil.

The words of Frederick Douglass ring true yet today, and it is utterly amazing just how many of his statements apply directly, not only to Dred Scott, but also to another illegal and illegitimate decision made by the Supreme Court, Obergefell v. Hodges. In his day, Douglass stood in the prophetic tradition of boldly asserting the ultimate standard of right and wrong to expose the folly of tyranny—judicial and otherwise. This is exactly what we must do now, in 2015, with regard to the court’s recent redefinition of marriage nationwide.

Accordingly, on October 8, 2015, over 60 legal scholars released a statement urging public officials and citizens to resist the tyranny and judicial activism imposed by the five Supreme Court Justices who arbitrarily redefined marriage in the United States to include same-sex couples.15 Next time, we will explore some of the key points of that important statement.

Part 2 is available here.

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.


Updates

Forgiveness and Reconciliation for our Times
BreakPoint Commentary for March 13, 2017

From a descendant of Roger Taney to a descendant of Dred Scott: I’m Sorry
Washington Post article, March 6, 2017


Statement Calling for Constitutional Resistance to Obergefell v. Hodges

Notes:

1William J. Bennett, America, The Last Best Hope, Volume 1: From the Age of Discovery to a World at War, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 294.

2http://www.britannica.com/event/Dred-Scott-decision

3http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/dred-scott-decision

4http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/wwww/us/dredscottdecisiondef.htm

5http://www.britannica.com/event/Dred-Scott-decision

6http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/wwww/us/dredscottdecisiondef.htm

7,8http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/dred-scott-decision

9http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933.html

10http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/dred-scott-decision

11https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_B._Taney

11William J. Bennett, America, The Last Best Hope, Volume 1: From the Age of Discovery to a World at War, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 295.

12http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/dred-scott-decision

13http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=293

14http://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/americanliteratureifall09/frederick-douglass-on-the-dred-scott-decision/; also see http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/speech-on-the-dred-scott-decision-2/

15https://americanprinciplesproject.org/social-issues/more-than-60-legal-scholars-release-statement-calling-for-public-officials-and-american-citizens-to-resist-supreme-court-ruling-redefining-marriage/

 

 

Jailed for Upholding the Law

God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in the suffering for the gospel and the power of God.
—2 Timothy 1:7-8, the Bible passage Kim Davis asked Liberty Counsel attorney Harry Mihet to share with her supporters on Monday, September 7, 20151

The checks and balances woven into the fabric of our constitutional republic were designed to prevent each of the three branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—from abusing its power. Members of the legislative branch are accountable to the people who have elected them. The same is true of the president. The president can check Congress through his power to veto legislation. Also, if the president acts lawlessly, Congress has the authority to impeach the president and to vote to remove him from office. Although justices of the Supreme Court are appointed, the Constitution gives Congress specific authority to regulate the Court: “Article III, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the authority to ‘check’ judicial activism, up to and including when justices illegitimately legislate from the bench: ‘[T]he Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.’”2

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States

Unfortunately, Congress today apparently has ceded its authority to restrain a lawless president3,4,5 and its authority to rein in a lawless Supreme Court. We’ll save the subject of lawlessness on the part of the executive branch for another day; for now, let’s consider briefly the overreach of five of the nine Supreme Court Justices in the Obergefell decision.

For the U.S. Supreme Court to justifiably overturn some law duly passed by the United States Congress, its opinion must be deeply rooted in one or more of the following:

• A clear reading of the U.S. Constitution;
• Some prior court precedent;
• History and the Common Law;
• Our cultural customs or traditions;
• Some other law enacted by Congress.

As the high court’s four dissenting justices rightly observed in Obergefell, the “five attorneys” who invented this newfangled “right” to “gay marriage,” failed, abysmally, on each and every requirement. 6

With Obergefell, we have a situation where the Court has issued an illegitimate ruling and and where Congress, unless things change dramatically, is not going to rein in the court or work to diminish the ruling’s effects. Sure, Congress still may act, but it has yet to demonstrate any resolve to restrain an out-of-control judiciary, so we ought not to hold our collective breath.

What, then, can “we the people” to do? We must peacefully resist, just as Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has done.7 In fact, Kim Davis actually is upholding the law amid the onslaught of a lawless, out of control judiciary.8,9 She spent six days in jail,10 but what law did she break? No one can cite even one!11 Yet Davis is being vilified as a lawbreaker, and by the same people who, not all that long ago, applauded illegal actions taken by government officials to advance same-sex marriage.12,13

Some Christians have made the case that Kim Davis should resign. One evangelical who is a very articulate advocate for religious liberty—Russell Moore—coauthored a piece that said

#RussellDMoore_standard small

we must recognize the crucial difference between the religious liberty claims of private citizens and government officials. Let us be clear: Government employees are entitled to religious liberty, but religious liberty is never an absolute claim, especially when it comes to discharging duties that the office in question requires. While government employees don’t lose their constitutional protection simply because they work for the government, an individual whose office requires them to uphold or execute the law is a separate matter than the private citizen whose conscience is infringed upon as a result of the law. It means the balancing test is different when it comes to government officials because of their roles as agents of the state. Government officials have a responsibility to carry out the law. When an official can no longer execute the laws in question due to an assault on conscience, and after all accommodating measures have been exhausted, he or she could work for change as a private citizen, engaging the democratic process in hopes of changing the questionable law.14

Moore essentially said the same thing when Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, sought to enforce the marriage laws in Alabama, again, in the face of lawless actions taken by a rogue federal judge. These events occurred in early 2015. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) president wrote that

a government employee faced with a decision of violating his conscience or upholding the law, would need to resign and protest against it as a citizen if he could not discharge the duties of his office required by law in good conscience.15

Here’s an important question: How can this principle apply if the “law” that the official is to execute has been illegally, illegitimately, and blatantly put into place? This is exactly what has happened with Obergefell, and what occurred in Alabama a few months earlier, and what happened countless times before with regard to same-sex marriage in this country.16 We can be thankful for all public officials, few though they may be, who are willing to work to uphold the law against a tsunami of lawlessness. We need all the law-abiding public servants we can get!

We need all the law-abiding public servants we can get!

Mat Staver is the attorney for Ms. Davis as well as the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel (LC), a non-profit law firm. In an email to friends of LC, Staver made these important points.

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One fact that is widely misunderstood by many in the media is this: Kim’s case is also about her faithful adherence to Kentucky law and not solely about her fight to protect her First Amendment rights.…

While the Supreme Court struck down federal and state laws defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, the Court cannot create a new law. The five lawyers on the Supreme Court who created a “right” to same-sex “marriage” did so without constitutional authority and have thus created legal chaos. The Constitution states that the creation of laws must always come from the Legislative Branch.

Kentucky’s law still states that marriage is between one man and one woman. It takes action by the Kentucky legislature and governor to change their state laws to reflect the Supreme Court’s ruling. The law cannot simply be “deemed” into place!17

There’s another issue to be considered as well. With all due respect to Dr. Moore, expecting Christians to step away from public office under these circumstances—or not to seek office to begin with—would exclude Christians from an increasing number of public service jobs. Christians should not be prohibited from public service simply because of their faith. John Jay, a Founding Father and the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”18

Recently Glenn Beck and David Barton had a conversation in which historian Barton explained why Kim Davis actually is upholding the law. Their conversation was captured on camera and has been posted on YouTube (just 1:39 in length). Barton explained,

The Founding Fathers made it real clear that the laws of God are higher than the laws of man. Every one of the Founding Fathers who wrote legal works made that point. You have the laws of God first. So this [the law that is central in the Kentucky case] is a law of God. Man’s law is not allowed to contradict God’s law; this is why we’re a republic, not a democracy. France was without a higher law; it was whatever the majority wanted at the time. But in America where you have a republic, you have a higher law. It’s God’s law, then it’s the Constitution, then it’s the consent of the governed, but in France and other places, it’s whatever the majority wants at a particular period in time, which changes across the years.… 19 (Minor edits were made for clarity and smoothness.)

The bottom line is this. Kim Davis shouldn’t resign. She should stand her ground and continue to enforce the law. Franklin Graham said, “We need more Americans who are willing to take a stand for religious freedoms and biblical values in our communities. If we don’t, we won’t even recognize the America that our children and our grandchildren will be left with.”20

Sadly, it’s difficult to recognize it even now. Yet, if God can empower one to stand for the truth regardless of cost, and if He can empower a few, then He can empower many—and perhaps the tide can be turned. Are you available?

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Read Ted Cruz’s statement on Kim Davis here.
Watch Ted Cruz talk about the Davis case on The Kelly File here.
Article: “Huckabee: Jailing Kim Davis is Christian Persecution” by Alex Swoyer
Article: “Where 2016 Candidates Stand on Kim Davis’ Arrest” by Ben Johnson

Notes:

1http://www.wnd.com/2015/09/kim-davis-speaks-to-supporters-from-jail-2/

2http://www.ammoland.com/2015/09/why-the-supreme-court-is-not-supreme/#axzz3l51gze2L

3http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/081613-667885-obama-presidency-leaves-a-lawless-legacy.htm?p=full

4http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/obamas-lawlessness-now-beyond-partisanship/

5http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/obamas-wanton-lawlessness-should-disturb-us-all/

6http://www.ammoland.com/2015/09/why-the-supreme-court-is-not-supreme/#axzz3l51gze2L

7https://www.afa.net/the-stand/news/kim-davis-is-rosa-parks/

8http://www.wnd.com/2015/09/the-law-abider-who-sits-in-jail/

9http://www.eagleforum.org/publications/column/judicial-tyranny-in-kentucky.html

10Kim Davis was in jail from Thursday, September 3 until Tuesday, September 8, 2015.

11http://flatoutunconstitutional.com/2015/09/07/kim-davis-broke-no-law/

12http://www.christianpost.com/news/what-we-learned-from-the-arrest-of-kim-davis-144541/

13http://www.wnd.com/2015/09/same-sex-marriage-started-with-lawbreaking/

14http://erlc.com/article/need-we-jail-each-other-over-marriage-licenses

15http://www.bpnews.net/44212/moore-scotus-will-probably-ok-gay-marriage

16http://www.wordfoundations.com/justice-denied/

17Mat Staver, email to friends and supporters of Liberty Counsel, 9/9/2015.

18http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/baldwin/051025

19https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKvgn60ZFs0

20http://www.westernjournalism.com/franklin-graham-if-more-americans-dont-act-like-kim-davis-this-will-happen/

 

The Supreme Court…Isn’t: Part 2 of 2 Parts

Responding to the Court’s Ruling on Marriage
Part 2: Application—Eight Reasons Why The Supreme Court
Has Crossed an Ominous Line

…This noble doctrine and heritage of religious liberty calls to us…to be the right kind of Christians. Let us never forget that a democracy, whether civil or religious, has not only its perils, but has also its unescapable obligations.
—George W. Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, in a speech on religious liberty delivered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, May 16, 19201

In part 1, we examined Romans 13:1-7 and drew from it six biblical principles relating to the state. Here is a summary of our discussion.

  1. All people are to submit to governing authorities. Christians in particular are to be good citizens.
  2. The state’s authority is not absolute but has been delegated by God.
  3. The government’s primary job is to maintain order by rewarding those who do right and punishing those who do wrong.
  4. Government does not have the authority or the right to promote ideas or actions that are morally wrong or contrary to God’s will.
  5. When government uses its authority to further immorality, injustice, or other unethical ideas or practices, it abuses its God-given power. Thus, whatever is legal isn’t necessarily right. Moreover, whenever and wherever man’s law directs Christians to disobey God’s law, believers are obligated to obey God.
  6. The state wields “the sword”; it has the power to enforce its laws. However, it misuses this authority when it penalizes those who refuse to obey immoral laws. Of all people, Christians must resist this tyranny.

Against this biblical backdrop, let’s now consider briefly the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. The state, obviously, is a major player in the debate over marriage and in the implementation and administration of national policy regarding marriage. In the days ahead, the government, especially at the Federal level, will enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling and the implications and policies that flow from it. How should Christians respond?

Dr. R. C. Sproul, founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, along with several of his colleagues, wrestled with this very question on Ligonier’s Monday, July 6 radio broadcast, Renewing Your Mind.2 In addition to Sproul, Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow Dr. R. C. Sproul, Jr, President and CEO of Ligonier Ministries Chris Larson, and program host Lee Webb participated in the discussion. All agreed that the ruling represented a watershed moment for America because it was so horrific and terrible. It was both lawless and unconstitutional, on par with both Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott.3 These rulings appear to be unique American history because they are not just egregious in degree, but in kind; they stand in a class all by themselves. Without doubt, the marriage decision is offensive to God, and He will not ignore it.

32c617d1Dr. R. C. Sproul

The panel’s observations about the nature of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision underscore the need for believers to relentlessly oppose it—even if and even when it costs them dearly to do so.

Here are some of the panel’s observations. Some statements are closer to quotes than others, but each fairly represents the ideas conveyed. Minor edits have been made for clarity.

  1. The marriage decision doesn’t mean a massive shift within the homosexual community alone, but also in the culture at large. Also, it will trigger a shift within the church because of the heavy influence of the culture on the church.
  2. This isn’t just people giving themselves over to homosexuality; it’s also their celebrating it in the streets and celebrating it as a positive good. And it’s the state saying the same thing. This is not just giving validity to homosexual behavior, but it’s creating counterfeit marriage and calling it real.
  3. God didn’t give marriage to Christians or to Jews only. It wasn’t simply a religious group that was singled out to participate in marriage. Rather, marriage was given in creation as God’s law for all human beings throughout time. Moreover, it was defined by Him. The state does not ever have the right to redefine a creation ordinance—an ordinance that has been in effect since the very act of creation and since the very existence of the institution of marriage itself.
  4. The church doesn’t expect the state to do the work of the church, but it does expect the state to do the work of the state. The state, remember, also is ordained by God. Protecting life and protecting marriage aren’t just religious values but humanitarian values. When we say we object to the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, our concern isn’t that the state has separated itself from the church, but that it has separated itself from God! Since the state is a God-ordained institution, it is doing this to its own peril and to the detriment of its people.
  5. What we’re talking about here is not just a rejection of God as Redeemer or as potential Redeemer. We’re talking about a rejection of God as Maker. This is what Paul warns about in Romans 1 when he talks about homosexuality—but the court went even further than this. This ruling shakes a fist at God and says, “You made all of us, redeemed or not, to be this way (meaning that a man and a woman fit together naturally in marriage), and we’re going to turn this on its head; we’re going to pervert this as heinously as we can. We’re going to celebrate it, too!” This isn’t just telling God, “We know better than You; You’re mistaken and we’re wiser than you.” It’s “This will really tick You off because we hate You!”

Here are some additional observations we can add to the list.

  1. The court not only rejected God, but also set itself up as God.
  2. The redefinition of marriage nationwide gives proponents of same-sex marriage the ability to use the government to force those who disagree with them to participate in their celebrations—against their desires and against their consciences. This is diametrically opposed to the principle of religious liberty on which this country was founded.
  3. The court didn’t bring marriage to same-sex couples; instead, it brought same-sex couples to marriage. In other words, the court didn’t just bestow marriage on same-sex couples that desire it; it brought the characteristics to a same-sex relationship into the institution of marriage, thereby negating those things about natural marriage that make it special. (1) The court severed gender and gender differences from the meaning of marriage. In a practical sense, the institution of marriage no longer is about the dynamics inherent in opposite sex relationships; it isn’t about male and female differences anymore. (2) The court separated procreation from marriage. Marriage no longer is about a relationship that can produce children. This portends ominously for the future of civilization and its youngest and most innocent citizens. (3) The court severed gender from parenting, negating the unique contributions of both mothers and fathers from the family. Marriage and the family are no longer about the special skills and contributions a man can make as a father or that a woman can make as a mother. (4) The court, rather than validating children, has trampled on their emotional needs by depriving many of them of either a mom or a dad. Put another way, the court ignored the needs children have for the protective influence of a father and the unique, nurturing touch of a mother. When a society favors adults’ rights over children’s needs, it has become barbaric in the worst possible way.

In the 1953 biblical epic The Robe (Twentieth-Century Fox), Tribune Marcellus Gallio is the Roman soldier who wins the robe of Jesus when he gambles for it at the foot of the cross (see John 19:23-24). Tribune Gallio eventually becomes a Christian, and his life is forever changed. As a Christian, however, he is seen as a traitor to the Roman Empire. (The early Christians were seen as traitors to the state primarily because they were misunderstood. The misunderstandings, however, were widely believed and acted upon.) At the end of the movie, Marcellus stands before Emperor Caligula. He is accused of treason and is condemned to die, but Caligula gives him a chance to escape the death penalty.

MV5BOTc0NDQ5ODIyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzg4MzgxMTE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_

Caligula: Tribune Gallio, you stand condemned to death, but it is our desire to be merciful, to give you a chance to recant your treason and go free. Kneel to us, and renew your tribune’s oath of loyalty to your emperor. Renounce your misguided allegiance to this dead Jew who dared to call himself a king.

Marcellus kneels.

Marcellus: Sire, with all my heart I renew my pledge of loyalty to my emperor and to Rome, a pledge which I have never broken.

Caligula: And the other—Jesus—renounce Him so all can hear.

Marcellus stands.

Marcellus: I cannot renounce Him sire, nor can you. He is my King and yours as well He is the Son of God.

Caligula: And that is your answer.

Marcellus: Yes, sire.

Caligula: Tribune Gallio, we decree that you be taken immediately to the palace archery field and put to death for high treason!4

Was Tribune Gallio a traitor to Rome? No; he fulfilled his God-given responsibilities to his country. Yet he also understood that as a Christian, he had to put his Savior first—even before his country and even before his own life—when Rome demanded he renounce Christ.

While Christians do not yet face death for practicing their faith in America, the cost for being a Christian is rising significantly. Despite the cost, we cannot stand idly by and remain silent when the God-ordained institution of marriage—a picture of Christ and His church (see Eph. 5:31-32)—is being disfigured and mutilated by the state. The Supreme Court really isn’t Supreme. God is, and Christians have the job of obeying God’s verdict rather than the Supreme Court’s.

Won’t you speak up? Won’t you make a commitment to work tirelessly to reverse this horrific ruling? Let’s work together to bring our country back from the brink!

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1http://www.reformedreader.org/baptistsandreligiousliberty.htm

2http://renewingyourmind.org/broadcasts/2015/07/06/a-response-to-the-samesex-marriage-ruling

3http://www.wordfoundations.com/2015/07/17/the-supreme-courtisnt/

4The Robe, Twentieth-Century Fox, DVD, original movie 1953, renewed 1981

http://renewingyourmind.org/broadcasts/2015/07/06/a-response-to-the-samesex-marriage-ruling

Obergefell v. Hodges: Eliminating Freedom in the Name of Upholding It

440px-Supreme_Court_US_2010

It has long been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression…that the germ of dissolution of our Federal Government is in the constitution of the Federal Judiciary—an irresponsible body…working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction until all shall be usurped from the States and the government be consolidated into one. To this I am opposed.
—Thomas Jefferson1

[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government.…and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence.
—Noah Webster2

Americans now live in an oligarchy—a form of government that can be described as rule by a few. This is but one of the lessons coming out of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case in which the Court redefined marriage in America to include same-sex couples.

It is helpful periodically to review the various approaches to government. There are five.

  • Monarchy—rule by one, a king
  • Oligarchy—rule by a few, an elite group
  • Democracy—rule by the majority
  • Republic—rule by law
  • Anarchy—rule by none

Note that when the founders of America established this country, they set up a republic. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.3 The meetings were secret,4 so concerned citizens were anxious to know what had happened. Following the proceedings, a lady approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him what kind of government delegates had established for the new nation. Franklin replied, “A republic…if you can keep it.”5,6

In fashioning the republic, this country’s early leaders looked to the Bible and sought to base the structure of the nation’s new government on biblical principles.7 Here’s one example. The men who established this nation crafted three branches of government—the presidency, the Congress, and the courts (executive, legislative, and judicial). They patterned these after God’s multiple roles as king, lawgiver, and judge. Isaiah 33:22 says that “the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us.” But there is more. Recognizing man’s sinfulness and his tendency to become corrupt when given too much power, America’s earliest leaders made the branches separate. The specific responsibilities given each branch and the barriers between them would act to restrain each one and keep it from overstepping its authority.

Sadly, the judicial branch has overstepped its authority on many occasions. Most recently and most ominously, five unelected Supreme Court justices, along with numerous federal judges in lower courts, have overruled millions of American citizens who voted to affirm natural marriage in 39 states.8 The Constitution’s “We the People” has been replaced by the elite few of the Supreme Court. In other instances the executive branch has overstepped its authority, and Congress and the courts have allowed this to happen.9,10,11

As believers and as concerned Americans, we need to understand the fragility of our liberties. Freedom is threatened not solely by arrogant politicians on one side of the spectrum and acquiescent officials on the other, but also by (and this may be even more important) the absence of an internal restraint that used to characterize Americans. Today, society’s rejection of God has removed that restraint, and bitter fruit can only result.

Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.12 A brilliant economist and as well as a man of faith,13 Christensen offers these insightful observations in a powerful You Tube video. (While he uses the term “democracy,” here he essentially means our republican form of government.)

Some time ago I had a conversation with a Marxist economist from China. He was coming to the end of a Fulbright Fellowship here in Boston, and I asked him if he learned anything that was surprising or unexpected. And without any hesitation, he said, “Yeah, I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy.” The reason why democracy works, he said, is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does. But rather, democracy works because most people most of the time, voluntarily choose to obey the law. And in her past, most Americans attended a church or synagogue every week, and they were taught there by people they respected.

My friend went on to say that Americans follow these rules because they had come to believe that they weren’t just accountable to society; they were accountable to God.

My Chinese friend [further observed] that as religion loses its influence over Americans, what will happen to democracy? Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they too need to voluntarily choose to obey the laws? Because if you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.14

Read that last statement again and allow it to sink in. If you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police. The positive counterpart to this truth is that widespread adherence to religion compels people to police themselves, making a free society possible.

Our founders, as well as many of our leaders and statesmen during our nation’s history, understood that devotion to God or “religion” was the only force that could hold both people and leaders accountable to the nation’s laws. Note that leaders, not just citizens, were to live under the law. Read carefully some of America’s statesmen’s words on the importance of religion in maintaining liberty.

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States

  • “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”15—Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
  • “[M]en…will be free no longer than while they remain virtuous.”16—Samuel Adams (1722-1803)
  • “Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people. The general government…can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any despotic or oppressive form so long as there is any virtue in the body of the people.”17—George Washington (1732-1799)
  • “Statesmen…may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand….The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.”18—John Adams (1735-1826) On October 11, 1798, Adams also said, “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”19
  • “Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is impossible that a nation of infidels or idolaters should be a nation of free men. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom.”20—Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
  • “[W]ithout virtue there can be no liberty.”21—Benjamin Rush (1746-1814), signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”22—James Madison (1751-1836)
  • “All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.”23—Robert Winthrop (1809-1894), to the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Bible Society Boston, Mass; May 28, 1849.
  • “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.”24—Frederick Douglas (1818-1895)
  • “America! America! / God mend thine every flaw, / Confirm thy soul in self-control, / Thy liberty in law!”25—Katherine Lee Bates (1859-1929), in the second stanza of “America the Beautiful”
  • “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”26—Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)
  • “Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first—the most basic—expression of Americanism.”27—President Dwight Eisenhower, 1955 (1890-1969)
  • “You cannot have liberty without faith. You may have tyranny and despotism without it, but not liberty. Because if you dissolve the bonds which faith creates, the government must inevitably move in to create the control which has been lost by [the removal of] the internal Christian self-government upon which the founders of this country based our nation.”28—D. James Kennedy (1930-2007), in a sermon titled “The Bible and the Constitution” preached June 7, 1987

djameskennedy

  • “Does [Justice] Kennedy understand liberty apart from God’s moral code brings on horrors like were experienced during the French Revolution? Does he understand the role marriage and family play in self-governance? Does he have any idea of the kind of world he has insured our children will know?…America was morally adrift long before this ruling. This is the fast-track version of moral relativism as national political, legal, educational and cultural policy.”29—Joseph Farah (b. 1954), founder, editor, and CEO of WND.com

We as believers must recognize these truths if we are to effectively contend for the preservation and, in some cases, the restoration, of liberty and freedom. Most people have absolutely no understanding of the delicate balance between national order and individual liberty. Perhaps no modern observer painted a clearer picture of this balance than Francis Schaeffer.

4dd5883f

In our own country we have enjoyed enormous human freedom. But at the same time this freedom has been founded upon forms of government, law, culture, and social morality which have given stability to individual and social life, and have kept our freedoms from leading to chaos. There is a balance here between from and freedom which we have come to take as natural in the world. But it is not natural. And we are utterly foolish if we do not recognize that this unique balance which we have inherited from the Reformation thought-forms is not automatic in a fallen world. This is clear when we look at the long span of history. But it is equally clear when we read the daily newspaper and see half the world locked in totalitarian oppression.

The Reformation not only brought forth a clear preaching of the gospel, it also gave shape to society as a whole—including government, how people viewed the world, and the full spectrum of culture.…This is not to say that the Reformation was ever a “golden age” or that everyone in Reformation countries were true Christians. But it is clear that through the Reformation many were brought to Christ and that the absolutes of the Bible became widely disseminated in the culture as a whole. The freedoms which grew out of this were tremendous, and yet, with the forms grounded in a biblical consensus or ethos, the freedoms did not lead to chaos.

But something has happened in the last sixty years [Schaeffer’s statements were published in 1984]. The freedom that once was founded on a biblical consensus and a Christian ethos has now become autonomous freedom, cut loose from all constraints. Here we have the world spirit of our age—autonomous Man setting himself up as God, in defiance of the knowledge and the moral and spiritual truth which God has given. Here is the reason why we have a moral breakdown in every area of life. The titanic freedoms which we once enjoyed have been cut lose from their Christian restraints and are becoming a force of destruction leading to chaos. And when this happens, there really are very few alternatives. All morality becomes relative, law becomes arbitrary, and society moves toward disintegration. In personal and social life, compassion is swallowed up by self-interest. As I have pointed out in my earlier books [these statements come from the last book Schaeffer would write], when the memory of the Christian consensus which gave us freedom within the biblical form is increasingly forgotten, a manipulating authoritarianism will tend to fill the vacuum. At this point the words “right” and “left” will make little difference. They are only two roads to the same end; the results are the same. An elite, and authoritarianism as such, will gradually force form on society so that it will not go into chaos—and most people will accept it.30

We cannot overstate the ominous nature of this situation. While in truth, religion, most significantly Christianity, has provided the basis for American freedom and liberty, today that foundation is being viciously attacked. Furthermore, a new definition of freedom now prevails in society. To most people, freedom is what we once referred to as license. And beyond this, Christianity is being portrayed not as the friend of freedom, but as its enemy.31,32,33,34

Even more broadly, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges sends the signal to all Americans that whatever a person has an urge to do, fulfilling that urge is legitimate and valid—even a positive good. This lie not only falsely legitimizes homosexuality but will falsely legitimize a great deal of additional destructive behaviors and practices as well. President Barak Obama said, “No matter who you are or what you look like or who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”35

Unfortunately, we are not freer under these conditions, because under these conditions, we really aren’t being treated equally. Some are being treated as more special than others; preference is being given to those who engage in practices contrary to God’s law. They even have been given an unfair advantage in that they now have legal leverage to use against dissenters that dissenters do not have, even though the American way is one of free and open debate, with each group contending for its position in the marketplace of ideas. The American people also are being lied to and being led to believe that destructive actions are harmless and even good. Our founders would not be fooled by these lies. They realized the truth of these Bible passages, among many others.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34).

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20).

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings (Jer. 17:9-10).

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Still, especially in this environment, we as Christians have a duty to declare the truth and to call America back to God. We must do so lovingly, but also with confidence that the truth is on our side. And we must do so with a clear understanding of the connection between faith, freedom, and stability in society. We do this not for our sakes alone but also for the sakes of the children who will bear the brunt of the marriage ruling.36,37,38,39,40

We also do it for everyone celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, because we realize they actually are sawing off the very branch on which they themselves are sitting.

Eventually, unless America’s course is altered, no one will be free.

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Notes:

1http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/The_Law/jefferson.htm

2http://www.free2pray.info/5founderquotes.html

3https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_Convention_(United_States)

4http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/Ftrials/conlaw/convention1787.html

5http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it

6http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/7631-a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it

7http://www.nccs.net/2003-10-early-americans-studied-the-bible.php

8http://goo.gl/JJN1vy

9http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/07/ted-cruz-releases-definitive-list-of-76-lawless-obama-actions/

10http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-f-will-stopping-a-lawless-president/2014/06/20/377c4d6e-f7e5-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

11http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3304919/posts

12https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_M._Christensen

13https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_M._Christensen

14https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjntXYDPw44

15http://www.dakotavoice.com/2008/07/only-a-virtuous-people-are-capable-of-freedom/

16http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch18s14.html

17http://foundingquotes.com/georgewashington.htm

18http://foundingquotes.com/johnadams.htm

19http://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/115/Message_from_John_Adams_to_the_Officers_of_the_First_Brigade_1.html

20http://foundingquotes.com/pathenry.htm

21http://www.partyof1776.net/p1776/issues/Virtue/contents.html

22http://thestoryoflibertyblog.com/2012/06/21/james-madison-and-the-constitution-and-branches-of-government/

23http://www.fortifyingthefamily.com/religion_state.html

24http://quotes.lifehack.org/quote/frederick-douglass/the-life-of-the-nation-is-secure/

25https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_the_Beautiful

26http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs155/1108762609255/archive/1116360892946.html

27http://eisenhower.archives.gov/all_about_ike/quotes.html

28http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=6131413413610

29http://www.wnd.com/2015/06/the-consequences-of-the-marriage-ruling/

30Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1984), 21-23.

31http://www.citizenlink.com/2015/06/26/why-the-marriage-decision-is-not-like-roe-v-wade/

32http://www.citizenlink.com/2015/06/30/why-the-marriage-decision-is-not-like-roe-v-wade-radio/

33http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/05/war-on-christianity-american-churches-who-oppose-same-sex-marriage-will-lose-tax-exemption/

34http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/courts-conclude-faith-loses-to-gay-demands/

35http://wspa.com/2015/06/26/justice-scalia-delivers-scathing-dissent-of-gay-marriage-decision/

36http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/26/american-college-of-pediatricians-on-same-sex-marriage-ruling-a-tragic-day-for-americas-children/

37http://www.wnd.com/2015/05/high-court-on-verge-of-destroying-the-family/

38http://news.yahoo.com/lawyers-gay-marriage-detriment-children-013731653.html

39http://www.wnd.com/2004/05/24469/

40http://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/05/27/the-wests-hatred-of-children-and-families/

Redefining Marriage: A Journey Littered with Lawlessness and Radical Activism

In a 5-4 decision released on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States redefined marriage nationwide, mandating that same-sex couples be allowed to “marry” in every state in the union. At least two of the justices participating in the ruling should have recused themselves. Also, the U.S. Constitution never mentions marriage, so nothing in it requires a nationwide redefinition of marriage. Yet beyond even these concerns, the Court’s decision clashes head-on with reality.

The Supreme Court cannot change what marriage is any more than it can change what gravity is—but the effect of the ruling will be devastating for our country, especially for the children who will be deprived of mothers and fathers by intention and design.

As the debate over same-sex marriage raged in this country, Charles Colson made this observation: “The argument…is that to deny homosexuals marriage is manifestly unfair. But it’s not unfair. Gays and lesbians are not unworthy of marriage; they are incapable of marriage.”

Although incapable of marriage, same-sex couples will now have the opportunity to enter into a relationship recognized and sanctioned by the government, and it will be called “marriage.” When public policy collides with the truth, problems result, and the Supreme Court has opened the door for some very, very ominous problems for this country and its citizens. For these and many other reasons the Supreme Court’s ruling is illegitimate and should be resisted.

How did we get to this point? We do well to look back. The Supreme Court has acted irresponsibly and lawlessly, but along the way so have many lower courts, numerous state legislatures, and even some elected leaders. Citizens voted by the millions in their respective states to affirm man-woman marriage, but these laws and amendments, even though they were enacted by due process, have been overruled by judges who are not supposed to have lawmaking authority. What happened?  In a report written primarily during the latter part of 2014 and early 2015, I present some highlights.

The report is titled “Justice Denied.”

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

http://www.usconstitution.net/constnot.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/06/26/supreme-court-marriage-equality-decision-unadulterated-judicial-activism/S3w8eDx94vIJ01Yd7JijUI/story.html