Monthly Archives: June 2018

Another Bill of Rights Rant

“Separation of church and state” is a phrase not found in the U.S. constitution. What is found there is the First Amendment with its non-establishment and pro free exercise clauses:

[The United States] Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion [non-establishment clause], or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [pro free exercise clause]; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The non-establishment clause was intended to prevent the state backed hegemony of any denominational body. Neither the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, or any other denomination would be endorsed by the constitution. The same would obtain for non-Christian religious organizations not known as churches, even though adherents to non Christian religions were a tiny minority in colonial America. For example the first Jewish synagogue in North America was dedicated in Rhode Island, A.D. 1763. Churches have existed here since the early 17th century.

Remember, the tyranny from which our founding founders were rebelling was aided and abetted by an arrangement wherein the state backed a religious body. In keeping with Parliament’s “Acts of Supremacy” in the 16th century, the British monarch was established as the supreme head of the Church of England. King George held this position at the time of the American Revolution (which the king and his court called “the Presbyterian war.”) Our founders wanted no such state-church fusion in the new nation. So separation of church and state is a good precept, understood in that sense.

On the other hand, as the character Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof might say, the First Amendment goes on with its non-hindrance clause. That part of the amendment is commonly ignored by various theophobes, revisionists, and social engineers. It shows that there was never any intent to keep the Bible and the God about Whom it teaches out of public life, especially in the realm of the administration of justice. This idea would have been abhorrent to the founders, whose faith was made manifest and declared along with their independence. And the Declaration of Independence is foundational to the U.S. Constitution (more on that below).

The Christian denominations had their ecclesiastical distinctives, to be sure. Yet they revered the same holy Book and worshiped the same triune God. One fruit of their common faith was the genuine and peaceful tolerance of non-Christian religionists. In keeping with the truth claims of that common faith, the hope of peacefully winning such persons for the Kingdom of Christ was the dynamo of that tolerance.

So separation of church and state is a far cry from the folly of trying to separate GOD from state or from any other realm of the human experience. As used today the phrase is an even “further cry” from constitutional intent. The founders would be enraged by the vehement appeals to a phrase not found in the constitution made by those seeking to prevent religious expression in the U.S. Congress, or anywhere else in the public square. In 2017, a federal court ruled that the U.S. Congress could continue its practice of opening its daily sessions with prayer, a tradition that apparently began with a suggestion from alleged deist Benjamin Franklin.

Establish a state backed religious body, Congress? NO! Be free as a body of elected government officials to pray? YES! Individual members of Congress be informed by religious consciences, and carry out duties in accordance with them? YES!

Since America existed, American elected officials have sworn on the BIBLE to uphold our noble Constitution. Likewise regarding people testifying in American courts. In A.D. 1894, the tax-exempt status churches had enjoyed unofficially since the founding era was enacted into law. Many of America’s oldest and most venerable universities were founded as theological seminaries for the training of Christian ministers. Before state education existed, the Church and private academies were the primary aid to parents who have the responsibility for educating their children, not the government.

The fact that some are striving to tear down crosses, nativity scenes on town hall lawns, Ten Commandments (recorded in the two BIBLE books of Exodus and Deuteronomy) monuments and displays, etc. makes clear that those publicly visible expressions of America’s Biblical foundations were already there; in other words hateful theophobic bigots are not trying to prevent the placement of something new, only to destroy what already is.

(Those bathroom signs showing a human figure with one half wearing a skirt and the other half wearing pants is an example of trying to add something to public life that never was there before.)

The U.S. Constitution was begotten by men who held the worldview expressed in their Declaration of Independence, the document which reveals the matrix of the new nation they wanted to bring forth. Six of the men who signed the constitution had also signed the declaration. Declaration signatories Jefferson and John Adams were overseas when the new constitution was created; there is no reason to believe they would not have signed the latter. Let’s check some of the Declaration’s most salient phrases which honor the Bible:

1. Nature and Natures’ God (No animism or pantheism here!)

2. CREATED equal, endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights. (No foolish “random chance” theories of origin here!)

3. Appealing to the supreme Judge of the world (hmm…can we imagine Who these people, steeped in Bible knowledge, had in mind? Whom did they believe that supreme Judge to be?)

4. Firm reliance on the protection of divine providence. (Providence is a thoroughly Biblical concept and a major American city bears its name. No fortune or capricious forces here!)

In light of all this, let’s ask those who call themselves progressive exactly toward what it is they want our nation to progress? Let’s ask them why they glibly expect everyone to join them as they move toward whatever that destination is? And let’s ask those who want to jettison the Bible what transcendent ethical standard they will put in its place? Let’s ask them to defend the chaos of moral relativism into which they want us to descend!

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Here comes the Judge!

The genius of what the late great Justice Antonin Scalia called textualism or originalism is the humble and sound anthropology – doctrine of human nature – held by our nation’s founders. The precept of checks and balances for the three branches, the intent that the federal government be small and limited, and other aspects of the U.S. Constitution manifest its framers’ adherence to that doctrine.

Technological advances have not changed human nature, and we ourselves are not able to change it; the technology of DNA itself bears this out. Thus it is foolish to regard the constitution as a “living document.” The term itself is an oxymoron. Don’t be bamboozled by newspeak! The U.S. Constitution is a fixed standard of law to which external developments in society such as technological advances must be applied.

For example, consider the fourth amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

It is easy and intuitive to recognize that the expression “papers and effects” must now include electronic means of communicating and storing information. That is applying the intentional force of a fixed standard, i.e. a document, to new externals. Those externals have not changed the fact that for human beings, power corrupts and unreasonable searches and seizures will tend to result from that corruption, as surely as small children never need be taught to tell lies.

Moreover, the constitution makes provision for its own amendment. It has been amended, and can be amended again, lawfully. Lawless people who have an arrogant and unsound anthropology conceive of the constitution with a wax nose, presuming that the place of the courts is to twist it to mean whatever they desire.

Like the prophet Habakkuk proclaimed of the Chaldeans of old, “they are terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves.” (Habakkuk 1:7)

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On the Immigration Crisis

Watch The Terminal again. It is a 2004 A.D. movie directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones with a fine supporting cast*.  The film does an excellent job of showing the perspectives of a visitor to the U.S.A. from another country who is in dire straits. Ya gotta love “Viktor Navorski” and his posse…

There is an ancient and marvelous edifice in Asia, visible only in a most spectacular theater. Admission is obtained by going into orbit around the Earth. Greater general knowledge of the history of the Great Wall of China and how effective it was to achieve the intended purposes of its various builders over the centuries might bring some illumination to us all.

Apparently many non-criminal citizens of Central American countries are fleeing home because those countries (or significant territories within them) have been essentially conquered by hostile drug cartels and gangs.

Why shouldn’t military action against those rogue regimes by those countries’ legitimate governments be encouraged through other nations’ diplomatic relations with them? And though America should increasingly stand down from being the world’s police force, if they ask us for help, why not? Would that not be in our national interest?

The God from Whom comes the right to life and property, the God Who gave us marriage, the parent child relationship, and Who ordained other common and perpetual institutions for His human creatures also established nations. For He “…made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings…” (Acts 17:26).

Thanks for reading the preceding suggestions and observations directed to all. The following is directed to those who bear the name Christian.

Let those who name the name of Christ diligently put into practice the prophetic command: “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)

At the same time let us heed His warning and admonition, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16).

Yes, any godless philosophy and worldview is anathema to our Republic, founded for a society already permeated (imperfectly) with Biblical ethics and values. And yes there are scams. Not all that glitters is gold; some children come here to be sold! Thus the Good Shepherd’s sheep must ask Him for wisdom and great discernment, searching the Scriptures of truth for guidance in the midst of lupine dangers.

The U.S. Constitution gives limited powers to the three branches of the federal government. To the executive branch goes the responsibility to protect American citizens. Trying to use the military or executive branch departments per se as charitable organizations is a very, very bad idea.

Charity is the Church’s calling, and the motives of charity should not be stifled and encumbered by wasteful bureaucracy, but armed with the nimble precision of individuality and creativity.

To what extent have the people of God failed in that calling and depended on the government do things we are supposed to do? What opportunities for the Gospel are passing us by? Are we seeking first the Kingdom of God in how we think, speak, and act about this current distress?

Let a man examine himself…

* Zoe Saldana portrays a Trekker/Trekkie (Star Trek fan) in The Terminal. She went on to play Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the movie reboot of the original TV series.

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We All Have One

Those who say they are not religious do not realize that their core beliefs and world view are in fact their religion! Every person has a religion and they think, speak, and act according to it. Some popular American religions include Big Bang/Evolutionism, Materialism, Statism, and Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

Some chatter confidently about what they call “the Christian religion,” but actually are clueless about what being a Christian – a disciple of the Biblical Lord Christ Who makes absolute truth claims about Himself – means. Or, they have this straw man in mind: a small minded ritualist who adheres to externalistic rules of behavior.

Therefore the straw man fabricators often have a compulsion to apologize if they utter certain four letter words in the presence of the person they call “religious.” Or they might venture to ask “why MUST you go to church EVERY week?” never dreaming that gathering with fellow believers to worship God and be together is not some boring drudgery, but the high point of the week to which a Christian looks forward with joy.

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

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