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Tag Archives: Constitution
As I watched last night’s ABC debate among the Republican presidential candidates, it finally occurred to me what was missing. There could be numerous other complaints about the debate, but this one bothers me most. It is something that has been missing from just about all the political discourse we’ve seen, the notable exception being Ron Paul, who does get a few things right.
We seem to understand this when we talk about Judges. The biggest question we have for any judge concerns how he or she views the Constitution. Is it a “living document” malleable to whatever form the judge or even the people think it should have, or is it a definite set of laws by which we are constrained until or unless it is changed by the processes it provides? This is not a question applicable only to Judges. Every government official is sworn to uphold the Constitution. Therefore, how he or she views it is critical to know. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and others of like mind have clearly shown their contempt for the law of the land. Why then are we not asking questions of those who would replace them that reveal how faithful they will be to our Constitution?
Conservatives aren’t really doing that much better on this. A couple of months ago, Mike Huckabee ran an interview of each of the candidates in which state attorneys general asked them each a series of questions. Each was done individually and it was probably the best thing I’ve seen for exposing the governmental philosophy of each one. Rick Perry actually pulled out a copy of the Constitution at one point. Based on his performance that night and having read his book, I am favorably disposed toward him. His record in Texas is not unblemished, and I have real concerns about his ability to go up against Obama; but none of the others have shown me that they really mean to honor the Constitution. Bachman might have been a good choice, but she’s now out.
I still don’t know how I will vote when the time comes. I think my nose is sore from holding it every time I vote. It sure would be nice not to have to do that in November, but hope of that is ever diminishing. Every time I hear the current frontrunners talk, I hear variations on big government solutions that aren’t going to do anything to stop us from having an economic meltdown. They may delay the inevitable, but if anyone can stop it, it won’t be any of them.
I should add that no president can do that. He doesn’t have the power, despite the delusions of the current occupant of the Whitehouse. Our Constitution doesn’t give him that much power and that is a good thing. In order to turn this around, we need to be paying just as much attention to congress and we need to be asking them the same kinds of questions. Many who claim to be for limited government only wish to limit the parts they don’t like. That isn’t the standard. The Constitution is the standard.
How can a government designed by and for flawed human beings of diverse philosophies and beliefs be anything but flawed itself? If truth and justice must be submitted to a committee for approval, how will either survive? These are the kinds of questions that this staunch supporter of our American government and Constitution wrestles with. Our founders recognized the enormity of the task before them and did an excellent job of crafting a system of checks and balances that they imagined could keep human nature in check. Yet even they realized it was not really up to the task. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
We get angry when our leaders compromise, but everything we have is built on compromise. Compromise is both the boon and the bane of any system that relies on democratic procedure. When the people can vote for what they want, the system only works when the people want what they should. Someone always loses, and if the majority turns their hearts to evil, it will be those on the side of truth. The fall of the society is not far behind, because whatever the prevailing belief system is, nations that neglect truth and justice eventually destroy themselves.
If I am to be ruled by men, I would prefer to live under a government where at least some mechanism exists to keep evil in check. Ours comes closer than anything that has gone before. If there is an argument against that statement it is God’s design for the nation of Israel before they demanded a king, but again that only worked when the people were willing to obey Him. The same is true for us, and that is the dilemma that confronts the Christian in our society. We stand for freedom, but that same freedom works just as well for the believer in lies as it does the believer in the truth. I say that in a political sense.
How far does our freedom go? The vast majority of us would agree that it is limited at minimum by things that would cause harm to others. We are all against murder, though some of us don’t seem to mind it too much as long as the victim is an innocent unborn child. We’re all against theft unless we can get the government to do it for us. Somehow it isn’t a crime anymore if we do not personally assault or even see the victim. We could free up a lot of jail space if we applied this principle uniformly.
What are we to do when the truth and the law are in conflict? We’re told to obey the law, but is that obedience unconditional? For example, does God require a Christian mother living in China to abort her second child because the law says she must? Where do we take a stand? I think that our founders would say it was long before now. Read The Declaration of Independence. This isn’t China, but if some among us have their way someday it could be.
I do not suggest we take up arms, but I do suggest that it is well past the time for the church to become unashamedly involved in government. Contrary to what you may have been taught, our Constitution does not forbid this. It only prevents government from establishing a national religion, understood at the time to refer to a particular sect of the Christian religion. I keep saying this because I believe it is essential to our survival. We have not only the right but the obligation as Christians to steward well the power afforded us by our Constitution. Stand for the truth, remembering always that the real solutions lie in the hearts of the people. Be involved in government from the local to the national, but always be ready with the message of the Gospel, where our true salvation is found.
I find the artical linked below disturbing. I hope the same is true for anyone who reads the Bible for what it says. Throughout our world’s history, even in pagan cultures, marriage has always been between men and women. Most Christians believe specifically that God’s intent was one man and one woman. Though homosexuality has always been practiced, nobody until recent history has tried to call it marriage as far as I know.
This among other things raises a difficult question for those who are committed to the truth. I think all real Christians would agree that god’s law supersedes any law of man, but what do we do when the same law that protects us offers the same protection to those who practice evil? I can understand how a leader of good conscience might struggle with the answer to this question. I dont’ imagine our founding fathers ever thought this particular issue would come up. Why would one codify a prohibition for something that it never occurred to him that someone would want to do? I am no fan of Rick Perry, but I think he’s given the best answer he can under the Constitution. It says that powers not specifically given to the federal government belong to the states. It is a distressing thing that our society has come to the place where states are deciding to legitimize same-sex marriage, but they have that right. If we wish to take it away, we must amend the Constitution.
The idea that we should need to speaks for itself. Though I disagree with the intent of those who say that we can’t legislate morality, they are correct. We can’t make enough laws to restrain the lawless. If we want to save the country we love we’d better get on our knees and then get on our feet and start spreading the Truth that can actually change hearts.
That is what we have, right? We even call the lower house the House of Representatives. The people whom we put in office are supposed to act as our representatives in making government decisions. What does that mean? What is a representative to do if what the people want runs contrary to the law of the land? What if it conflicts with morality and justice, or his perceptions thereof? I’ve never given any serious consideration to running for office, but I have at times asked myself what I would do in a particular instance.
When one examines the various oaths of office from the presidential to the local, a common thread runs through them all. It is the support and defense of the Constitution. At the state level it will include the constitution of that state. It may further include the laws of the particular jurisdiction for which the oath is taken. Even in the cases where an official’s job may involve making law, the sustenance and defense of the existing law is the foundation on which his office stands.
It seems to me then, that an official of government is not bound primarily by the will of the people, but by the laws which have been made. Our Constitution gives us the power indirectly to change those laws through our representatives, but until such changes are made, we are bound by those which are already in force. What does one do if these laws run contrary to morality?
Herein lies the flaw in any form of government, which our founders did the best they could to minimize. The law remains good only as long as the law makers remain so. John Adams said of our Constitution,
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. We have no government armed with power capable of contending
with passions unbridled by morality and religion."
When people begin to prefer evil over good, this finely crafted document in which we have place so much hope can just as easily facilitate our destruction. it is for this reason, though I continue to do what I can by the means available to me in this nation to influence our government to do what is right, I know that we have a far more daunting task before us, to return our country to the God it once knew. Only through change in our hearts can we expect to see real change in our nation.
Grassroots Holding Public Servants Accountable at Texas Capitol, Part 1 of 2
Grassroots Holding Public Servants Accountable at Texas Capitol, Part 2 of 2
As I am becoming more involved in politics at a local level, I am faced with questions I have never thought about before. I’ve been following national government for years and have very definite ideas about that. The federal government should be strictly limited by the Constitution. It should do no more and no less. As stated by the Tenth Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
That grants considerable liberty to state and local government. In fact many would be horrified by the strictly religious nature of many a jurisdiction of the time. This leads to a more philosophical question. What are the reasonable responsibilities of a local government? It has considerable latitude within the framework of state and federal law and would have a lot more if the Constitution were properly observed and its principles carried forward by the states.
A local government must of necessity be concerned with the mechanics of day to day life in a way that higher entities need not be, but I remain convinced that sound principles of government will work at all levels. It should provide protection and keep the peace. It probably must to some extent be involved in the management of local infrastructure, but should stay out of the way as much as possible.
However, I also recognize that this kind of government only works when the people as a whole are of good character. If they refuse to function within the law and with proper respect for those around them, then it becomes necessary to have more authority in the hands of the government. John Adams said of the US Constitution, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” This is why there are some truths we cannot ignore, no matter how offensive they may be to a small segment of the population.
What does this mean in practical terms? I am still left with questions about what the local government should and should not do. I suppose one answer would be whatever the citizens decide that it should do. This is reasonable, but can we reach a point just as we have at the federal level when government has grown beyond the control of its citizens? When this happens, it is our right and responsibility to regain that control. Local municipalities regularly commit acts of tyranny every bit as egregious as those perpetrated at the federal level, less frightening only because they lack the overwhelming power of the Big Brother state. When they act in concert as in the case of New London, Connecticut one begins to lose hope. In this case the High Court ought to have done its job and protected the rights of the individual.
Citizens also may abuse their power. I wish I could find the article I recently read by Thomas Sowell I think explaining how zoning gets misused to assert the rights of one group over the rights of another. I understand the desire to keep some sort of order. Honestly I’m glad the city can keep my neighbor from tearing down his house and replacing it with a porn shop, but the question needs to be asked whether I should have the right to tell him what to do with his property. How is it that my rights are more important than his? Let’s consider something a little less controversial. I recently attended a birthday party at a restaurant featuring a large outdoor deck with a mariachi band and Aztec dancers. The restaurant backed right up to a residential neighborhood. From our seats on the deck we could look right into someone’s pool in their back yard. I suppose if the owner of that house were the partying type he was in a prime location. He got free entertainment every night. I just kept thinking it must be a terrible annoyance to the people who live in that neighborhood to have that kind of noise going on all the time.
I don’t know who came first, but whose rights should the city protect? Whose rights are actually in question? We have defined a lot of things as rights that are not rights at all. There may be a question of what is right in this situation, but not of rights. Should not government be a defender of what is right?
Is it right for a city to force a resident to modify his property because his neighbors don’t like the way it looks? I suppose one may argue that the home owner has a responsibility to maintain the standards of the neighborhood in which he has chosen to live as a courtesy to his neighbors. He may in fact do financial harm to them by lowering the value of their properties. Is it right for them to force him to do so, even if it will cause him harm?
These are some of the questions I ponder as I watch my own city government in action and contemplate my level of participation in it. I have not even touched on the monetary issues. I suspect that if its functions were reduced to those essential to the maintenance of the city and the rest were left to private enterprise, there would be no monetary questions and we would enjoy even better service.
I would like to know what others think about these things. Your comments are welcome on the blog or on my Facebook notes, but if you live in the city of Richardson, Texas, I urge you to respond to this post on the Facebook group page I created to advance the cause of responsible government in our city.