Friday, July 3, 2015

Evangelical Christianity and Its American Future: Churches and Christian Organizations Will Have Government Scrutinize Their Doctrines

In my previous post on the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, I noted that U.S. Progressives are taking their victory laps, and I suspect that before they are done, those laps are going to morph into a marathon. By a 5-4 vote, SCOTUS forever changed the political and religious landscape in a way that ironically breaks down the wall of separation between church and state.

That's right. For all of their endorsement of the principle that church and state must be separate, American Progressives have made the state the final arbiter of the purity of Christian doctrine, and whether or not the state is willing to permit such doctrines to remain legal. This is a line of action that follows a larger pattern of how Progressives use the power of the state and the implication of state-sponsored violence in order by directing the private and corporate lives of individuals.

For example, Progressives have told us for four decades that any opposition to abortion on demand is rooted in the desire of abortion opponents to "have government in the bedroom" of others, and that pro-lifers want government to interfere in the relationship between "a woman and her doctor." At the same time, those same Progressives have pushed through "informed consent" laws that place government agents in the bedroom in order to evaluate sexual contact between individuals to determine whether or not official consent existed at all times.

Furthermore, Progressives want to expand the law on sexual assault to include a stray phrase or instances of hand-holding between couples that one of the persons years later decides to interpret as "unwanted." The American Law Institute is recommending a vast expansion of criminal statutes covering sexual assault including the following scenario as outlined by Judith Shulevitz in the New York Times:
In [the memo], readers have been asked to consider the following scenario: "Person A and Person B are on a date and walking down the street. Person A, feeling romantically and sexually attracted, timidly reaches out to hold B’s hand and feels a thrill as their hands touch. Person B does nothing, but six months later files a criminal complaint. Person A is guilty of Criminal Sexual Contact' under proposed Section 213.6(3)(a)."
Far-fetched? Not as the draft is written. The hypothetical crime cobbles together two of the draft’s key concepts. The first is affirmative consent. The second is an enlarged definition of criminal sexual contact that would include the touching of any body part, clothed or unclothed, with sexual gratification in mind. As the authors of the model law explain: "Any kind of contact may qualify. There are no limits on either the body part touched or the manner in which it is touched." So if Person B neither invites nor rebukes a sexual advance, then anything that happens afterward is illegal. "With passivity expressly disallowed as consent," the memo says, "the initiator quickly runs up a string of offenses with increasingly more severe penalties to be listed touch by touch and kiss by kiss in the criminal complaint."
The obvious comeback to this is that no prosecutor would waste her time on such a frivolous case. But that doesn’t comfort signatories of the memo, several of whom have pointed out to me that once a law is passed, you can’t control how it will be used. For instance, prosecutors often add minor charges to major ones (such as, say, forcible rape) when there isn’t enough evidence to convict on the more serious charge. They then put pressure on the accused to plead guilty to the less egregious crime.
Understand that Shulevitz has outlined a scenario in which someone most likely is going to prison. The ALI has recommended that the new "sex crime" laws be written in a way that require prosecutors to assume sexual assault already has occurred, and it is up to the defendant to "prove" that he (or she, in a few instances) did not commit a crime. In other words, the statutes will overturn the long-held American legal principle of "innocent until proven guilty" and replace it it "guilty until proven innocent," which essentially means that an accusation alone "proves" guilt unequivocally. This is something out of the old codes of the former U.S.S.R. in which legal absurdities were the order of the day.

My larger point is that this movement is driven by Progressives who want to claim they don't want "government in the bedroom," and then place virtual government agents...in the bedroom. Likewise, the doctrine of Separation of Church and State that Progressives claim to support is being replaced by a legal doctrine in which the Obama administration, along with state governments, will scrutinize Christian doctrines to see if they are "homophobic," and if they so judge in the affirmative, will be able to levy brutal sanctions on those organizations holding to such doctrines.

This hardly is paranoia. In the aftermath of Obergefell, President Obama himself has called for Christian churches and organizations to change their doctrines regarding homosexuality as Hillary Clinton has demanded that adherents to religions that don't support abortion on demand change their "long-held beliefs." Commentators in Time and other publications have demanded that churches and religious organizations that don't support homosexual marriage be stripped of their tax-exempt status, and Obama's solicitor general in the Supreme Court hearing this year admitted that the government, should the court rule in favor of gay marriage, will most likely move against Christian organizations.

What does that mean? It means that the U.S. and various state and local governments will determine which Christian doctrines are de facto legal and which will be deemed illegal, and any individuals and organizations practicing those doctrines that are unapproved will find themselves facing harassment. I hesitate to use the word "persecution" because much of the harassment will be mild compared to what Christians in other countries (especially in places like Saudi Arabia and North Korea and Iran) are facing. So far, the U.S. Government does not seem hellbent on throwing Christians into prison or executing them, although I am sure there are plenty of factions on the Left that would champion such extreme measures.

What does this mean for conservative evangelicals?

The late Francis Schaeffer (who was a family friend and, in my view, a true modern prophet) essentially predicted what we see happening how. In October 1969 I attended a number of his lectures given at Covenant College and at that time, he was calling the present age a "Post-Christian Era," a term that definitely fits the current zeitgeist.

Schaeffer understood that Christians would lose many of their legal and constitutional protections as the American culture slowly but surely turned against Christianity and its worldviews. For example, in 1955 the New York Times gave a very favorable review of the movie, "A Man Called Peter," something that today would not even be in the realm of the possible. At least Christianity (and not just the "liberal" version of the mainstream churches) was "respectable" in that day, and one cannot imagine the NYT, Time, or any other news or cultural publication calling for governments to scrutinize and approve Christian doctrines, as they now are doing today.

Cultural Christianity was the order of the day 60 years ago, but that era is long passed, as Progressives have moved to a new faith: Non-discrimination. According to the governmental masters of life and culture, Christians no longer are permitted to make choices based upon their faith, especially if those choices have the effect of excluding someone whose actions or lifestyles fall outside of the bounds of what the Christian faith permits in areas of sexuality.

Ours is an age obsessed by sex and superficial beauty (read that, Kim Kardashian), and Judeo/Christian prohibitions on gay sex have been around ever since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Until recently, Progressives and Progressive politicians did not consider such beliefs on sexuality to be a Threat to the Republic, but no more. In the eyes of modern Progressives, and especially the members of the Democratic Party and its satellite organizations, conservative Christian sexual beliefs are motivated by hatred and bigotry, and are tantamount to the practice of Jim Crow laws (which, ironically, were the product of Progressivism a century ago) or the Nazi slaughter of the Jews during World War II.

In the eyes of Progressives, there are no constitutional protections for hatred and bigotry, and it does not matter if Christians are nice people, they help the poor, provide medical care in the worst conditions abroad for the poorest of humanity, and perform other good deeds. Christians are evil bigots that are motivated by pure hatred and nothing else. There is no place in modern society for such wicked people no matter how nice they might seem to be on the surface.

Tish Harrison Warren, an Anglican priest who was a leader in InterVarsity Fellowship at Vanderbilt University, has experienced this reality firsthand, and for her it was shocking. In a Christianity Today piece, "The Wrong Kind of Christian," Warren writes about how her IVF chapter, as well as a number of other Christian organizations, were kicked off Vanderbilt's campus because they violated the university's "non-discrimination" rules, or should I say a new set of rules based upon the secular "faith" of "non-discrimination."

Warren writes:
At first I thought this was all a misunderstanding that could be sorted out between reasonable parties. If I could explain to the administration that doctrinal statements are an important part of religious expression—an ancient, enduring practice that would be a given for respected thinkers like Thomas Aquinas—then surely they'd see that creedal communities are intellectually valid and permissible. If we could show that we weren't homophobic culture warriors but friendly, thoughtful evangelicals committed to a diverse, flourishing campus, then the administration and religious groups could find common ground.
She first met with some administrators, when first informed that her IVF chapter would have to change its by-laws, and the meeting seemed positive. As the meetings progressed, however, she came to find out that even though much of her political and social thought was in line with the Progressives that run the campus, that was not enough:
But as I met with other administrators, the tone began to change. The word discrimination began to be used—a lot—specifically in regard to creedal requirements. It was lobbed like a grenade to end all argument. Administrators compared Christian students to 1960s segregationists. I once mustered courage to ask them if they truly thought it was fair to equate racial prejudice with asking Bible study leaders to affirm the Resurrection. The vice chancellor replied, "Creedal discrimination is still discrimination."

Feeling battered, I talked with my InterVarsity supervisor. He responded with a wry smile, "But we're moderates!" We thought we were nuanced and reasonable. The university seemed to think of us as a threat.
Understand that InterVarsity long ago embraced much of the arguments of economic and cultural Progressivism long ago. The publishing arm of IVF 40 years ago gave the world Ronald Sider's Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, which blamed capitalism for world hunger and called for massive wealth transfers and world governmental authority that would make Bernie Sanders seem almost like Ron Paul, economically speaking.

The organization has embraced radical environmentalism and other political positions of the Left and is much closer to the positions of Sojourners than anything from Liberty University, but it has stuck to the central orthodoxies of the Christian faith (unlike Sojourners, which rejects many of the basic and ancient Christian doctrines, including the doctrine of the Atonement). That alone has made IVF suspect in the eyes of the Progressives at Vanderbilt:
The line between good and evil was drawn by two issues: creedal belief and sexual expression. If religious groups required set truths or limited sexual autonomy, they were bad—not just wrong but evil, narrow-minded, and too dangerous to be tolerated on campus.

It didn't matter to them if we were politically or racially diverse, if we cared about the environment or built Habitat homes. It didn't matter if our students were top in their fields and some of the kindest, most thoughtful, most compassionate leaders on campus. There was a line in the sand, and we fell on the wrong side of it.
 As I see it, Vanderbilt is a microcosm of what is to come in our society at large. Since the SCOTUS Obergfell decision, a number of Christians have called for a return to the emphasis on good works and doing things that earn favor with unbelieving neighbors, a return to the Christianity of the First Century. Unfortunately, I doubt that will make a difference, anymore.

Writing in Time immediately after SCOTUS released its decision, Mark Oppenheimer calls for ending tax exemptions for religious organizations because, after all, anyone can engage in "good works":
Defenders of tax exemptions and deductions argue that if we got rid of them charitable giving would drop. It surely would, although how much, we can’t say. But of course government revenue would go up, and that money could be used to, say, house the homeless and feed the hungry. We’d have fewer church soup kitchens — but countries that truly care about poverty don’t rely on churches to run soup kitchens.
Although Anthony Kennedy gave passing remarks regarding protection for religious organizations whose doctrines do not embrace the "standards" of the Sexual Revolution, his words are legally meaningless. Christian prohibitions on gay sex are seen not in the light of sincerely-held ancient beliefs, but rather in the modern glare of Jim Crow and Hitler's Holocaust. Christian doctrines are equated with racism and antisemitism and have no place on Vanderbilt's campus or larger American society.

Furthermore, the modern political winds no longer hold any respect for religious belief. If Christians do not wish to "get with the program," then let them be anathema and suffer the consequences. For now, it means their churches and organizations may lose tax-exempt status or be treated as hate groups. 

As Tish Warren found out the hard way, Progressives do not differentiate between Christian organizations which may hold social and political viewpoints compatible with modern Progressive thought and the Ku Klux Klan. I'm serious. When the U.S. Army was teaching classes a few years ago that claimed the Christian-based American Family Association was a "hate group" (the classes were halted after an outcry, but they certain portend an ominous future). 

So, asked Francis Schaeffer four decades ago, "How shall we then live?" That is not an easy question to answer. Whatever "Christian" consensus existed in this country is long dead, but the more important development has been the elevation of "non-discrimination" to a Holy Doctrine and, more important, the expansion of the meaning of non-discrimination.

In the past, Christians like Warren and Ronald Sider could be respected for being against homophobia, be known for treating gays with love and fairness, yet also holding to Scriptural prohibitions of homosexual behavior. That no longer is the case. Sider, who as much as any Christian alive has helped steer much of evangelicalism to the political Left, is denounced as "homophobic," and faces pickets when he speaks somewhere. Warren left Vanderbilt as an outcast.

I believe that things only will accelerate from here. These are the good days, when there is some latent goodwill left over from the good interactions that many Christians have had with secular society. However, the time is coming soon when good works, love, and charity no longer will be seen as having any value as long as Christians refuse to embrace all of the Holy Doctrines of the Sexual Revolution.

That is going to mean massive discrimination, and I believe that the day is coming when it will be as difficult for a confessing Christian to find descent employment in the USA as it was for a Christian to find acceptable work in the old U.S.S.R. Because Progressives also are busily expanding criminal law (and especially the already-malleable federal criminal statutes) into areas where only a generation ago no one even could imagine it being in existence, I look for Progressives to find ways to criminalize thought and religious doctrines that not long ago were acceptable to the majority of Americans.

Yes, I am sure that many readers will believe I am over-the-top in my assessments and especially in my predictions. I would love to be wrong. Really.While I don't believe that these dire predictions will be fulfilled overnight, nonetheless I believe we are on that path.

Look at my point another way. Did any reader believe a decade or two ago that the U.S. Solicitor General would tell a U.S. Supreme Court judge that "it will be an issue" regarding how the U.S. Government and its taxation arm will respond to Christian organizations that do not accept gay marriage? Yet, that is exactly what has happened.

How do Christians respond to the coming onslaught? It is clear we are not going to be able to stem the tide through political action. In fact, as I wrote earlier this year, conservative evangelicals have enjoyed more political power in the past three decades than they have had at any other time in U.S. History, yet the Sexual Revolution has rolled through our body politic unimpeded and today, more Americans embrace that revolution than they embrace anything from Christianity.

At the same time, however, by concentrating so many resources in the political area, which essentially is defined as the "systematic organization of hatreds," Christians have made enemies where they should not have been made. Christians have endorsed the unwarranted U.S. military invasions of Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations, creating death, destruction, massive refugee crises, and earning even more hatred from those directly affected by these military predations. 

As I see it, we are going to have to learn to love once again, but understand that at the same time, that love will not "buy" protection. Tish Warren found out that the people at Vanderbilt think of her as they think of people who wear white sheets, and if someone like Warren, who is known by her good works and her compassion, is seen by highly-educated people as a murderous bigot, then I doubt that the rest of "official" America will see the rest of us any differently.

We have to be prepared to lose our jobs, our homes, our children, our identity as Americans. In other words, we have to be prepared to be like our savior, Jesus Christ. If we have not learned yet how to be like him, I believe those lessons are soon in coming, and I only hope that I can embrace those lessons in the way that I once embraced the privileges of being an American.

19 comments:

Gil said...

Aw poor diddems. The days in which the White Christian heterosexual man held the power in society are all but gone. The horrific realisation that society is treating Christianity as but one of many faiths instead of being the True Word of God and should be the basis of the laws of the land is akin to being rounded up and herded into gas chambers apparently. The Christian Conservative has no problem understanding the problem when Muslims want Sharia law to take precedence whenever it conflicts with the actual law, especially harming others as part of the religion is concerned, yet suddenly become blind when it's their religion. Obviously the Founders greatest mistake was to include religion freedom when they have made it clear that it was supposed to be freedom of the Christian denominations with allowance for Judaism.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't kill you to engage his article instead of just trolling.

Anonymous said...

"However, the time is coming soon when good works, love, and charity no longer will be seen as having any value as long as Christians refuse to embrace all of the Holy Doctrines of the Sexual Revolution."

This time is already here, progessives do not want Christians doing good works. Church adoption agencies have been closed because they do not place children with homosexual adults. Crisis pregnancy centers in California now have to refer out to abortion mills. Many large cities now prohibit Christians from giving home made sandwiches to the homeless. Counselors in many states can no longer encourage homosexuals to discern and resist their thought life/temptations.

Bruce Majors said...

Yea Gil is pretty much parroting pro-regressive boilerplate.

The gay marriage decision, which is of course only tangential to this article, was argued in terms of the 14th Amendment, the only Amendment pro-regressives like, as they don't care for the 10th, the 2nd, the 4th, and increasingly the 1st, or any other limits on state power.

Freedom to marry would have been more properly argued as a First Amendment issue. In party because freedom of association should afford the right both to marry for anyone otherwise considered of age and competent to legally enter into a contract, and also freedom of association for people who want to only associate with (hire, rent to, work for) either heterosexuals or homosexuals, Christians or heathens.

It is also specifically the case that licensing only the sacraments of those churches that perform only opposite sex marriages, and not licensing the (marital) sacraments of those churches that also (or only) perform same sex marriages, represented the establishment of a state approved set of churches. As would giving tax exemptions to only churches that perform only opposite sex marriages, or, as the author fears, granting them only to churches that perform same sex marriages.

The problem is not really gays or Christians. It's the fascist civil right paradigm of forced association that has left its original intended beneficiaries, black Americans, with high levels of poverty, unemployment, crime, illiteracy, health problems, infant mortality etc etc. But it makes people like Gil feel good and gives them 6 and 7 figure jobs as lobbyists and presidential appointees as paper pushers in the EOE/Fair Housing bureaucracies, so that they can afford to wave rainbow flags and cheer the first black President from the balcony of their new Loft condo built on property seized from working class black people by eminent domain.

Anonymous said...

Mr Anderson I admit that my initial reaction to the Supreme Court decision was much as yours, however note that you have a quote from the book of Amos at the top of your page. That is by God's Chosen People. Maybe you will now change your mind. We are taught that the Jewish people are our elder brothers in the faith, well I know in my family that we respect the elder brother rather than the younger. If GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE, which we, as Christians are not, say this is a GOOD thing then doesn't reason stand to offer that it IS a good thing? Please join me in reconsidering our original responses.

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Jewish-groups-celebrate-Supreme-Courts-legalization-of-gay-marriage-nationwide-407269
Jewish groups celebrate Supreme Courts legalization of gay marriage nationwide,

"How often do you get the opportunity to pack “109 years,” #LoveWins and the colors of the rainbow into 140 characters? That’s how the American Jewish Committee celebrated the Supreme Court ruling Friday extending marriage rights to gays throughout the United States. “For 109 years AJC has stood for liberty and human rights,” its tweet said. “Today is a happy day for that proud tradition ?#LoveWins.” It was punctuated with a heart emoticon splashed rainbow colors. The contrast between an organization founded at the launch of the last century celebrating the rights embraced by Americans only at the launch of this one was emblematic of the glee with which much of the Jewish establishment reacted to the ruling. The Anti-Defamation League, in its own tweet, left out its age (102) but also got in the hashtag, #LoveWins, and that funny little heart. Thirteen Jewish groups, among them organizations representing the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative streams, were among the 25 joining the amicus brief the ADL filed in Obergefell v. Hodges. The preeminence of Jewish groups among those backing the litigants was not a surprise. In recent decades, much of the Jewish establishment has embraced gay marriage as a right equivalent to the others it has advocated, including racial equality, religious freedoms and rights for women."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/05/22/biden-jewish-leaders-helped-gay-marriage-succeed/
Biden: Jewish leaders helped gay marriage succeed

“Jewish leaders in the media are in large part responsible for American acceptance of gay marriage, Vice President Biden said Tuesday night. “I believe what affects the movements in America, what affects our attitudes in America are as much the culture and the arts as anything else…… I bet you 85 percent of those changes, whether it’s in Hollywood or social media are a consequence of Jewish leaders in the industry,” he said. “The influence is immense, the influence is immense. And, I might add, it is all to the good."

Charlie said...

The only thing that really needs to be banned is government. Then groups would not be able to use government power to force their beliefs on other groups.

Anonymous said...

The federal government has been at war with Christianity since the massive demonstrations for civil rights in the 1960s.

They realized the churches and their congregations represented a large group that could present a united front against government actions or policies. To the inhabitants of Mordor on the Potomac, that could not stand.

The history of requiring the churches to register as non-profit (503c) corporations in order to receive federal "grants" has now entered the end phase of this "game". If a church openly disagrees with the federal government, it will be punished for doing so (taxed).

The only defense I can see is to widely publicize every instance of the iron fist of government coercion against Christianity.

This must stop.

Anonymous said...

Gil wrote, "Obviously the Founders greatest mistake was to include religion freedom when they have made it clear that it was supposed to be freedom of the Christian denominations with allowance for Judaism."

In fact, as any honest Constitutional historian could tell Gil, that was exactly what was anticipated by most legislators (read the journals of state ratifying debates) would be the effect of the First Amendment: that all Christian churches would be on equal footing as regards the federal government (the amendment does not prohibit establishment by any State), with allowance made for Romanists and Jews. (Although one prescient North Carolinian opposed ratification, foreseeing that this might in time allow influx of "Mohammedans and even Papists". He was, of course, regarded as nearly mad.)

dc.sunsets said...

The masses are doomed. When so few parents know how to parent and Hillary's "village" raises the kids in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood, it is time to abandon the masses and BE Nock's Remnant in deed and thought.

I wish I could pity those many millions of people who have not a clue how to find happiness, and who will spend their lives wallowing in loneliness and depression because they embraced the masses' pop culture illusions, which are actually vices (in Spooner's definition.)

LGBT is but one of many popular follies that lead people off any hope of Happiness Path and into the ditch of sorrow and despair, hence the vast numbers of people popping Rx (and non-Rx) pills in a vain attempt to channel a road sign pointing back to sanity and peace. Porn, casual sex, pills, booze and the molecule-thin social relationships of (anti)social media all beckon, with sirens' song, and the masses slide into the swamp to drown in sorrow.

We watch the circus parade pass, full of people exhibiting the very essence of conformity via their desperate acts to "appear different" for naught but the sake of being different. The notion of actually differentiating oneself via accumulation of real merit, via hard work, seems entirely lost.

Our world will be more difficult as the masses rally to go "jump in the lake," as they will surely make very effort to force us to jump in with them...misery does love company and nothing attracts ire more than people exhibiting happiness. But we (of the Remnant) can BE different. It is in our nature.

dc.sunsets said...

The federal government has been at war with Christianity since the massive demonstrations for civil rights in the 1960s.

The Feral Government has been at war on the family since its inception, as are all states.

Those who run every state covet the natural focal point of devotion that is the family, and have warred on the family since the dawn of time. Once you embrace this axiom, it is easy to see almost everything done by (political) government as just one more assault on the family.

We are ruled always by scorpions.

DKL said...

To those who think that William Anderson's comments are alarmist and that the federal government would not persecute an entire religion based on differences in religious views regarding marriage, consider that in the late 1800s the federal government (with no Constitutional authority to legislate regarding marriage) did the following over another marriage issue, namely polygamy.
•Disincorporated the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ('Mormon Church'),
•Confiscated Church funds and any properties valued at more than $50,000,
•Jailed anyone who practiced polygamy or who was a leader in the church at the level of bishop (i.e. pastor over one congregation) or higher, thus filling up every jail and prison from northern Arizona to Idaho and eastward to western Nebraska,
•Barred any member of the Church who would not disavow the Church's doctrines from voting or from holding public office.
•Undid women's sufferage in Utah (the Utah territory was the first place in the US that gave women the right to vote),
•Replaced local judges with federal judges,
•Replaced local school administration with federal administration,
•Required all married couples to acquire a civil marriage license, etc.
Warning: Official harassment by the U.S. government of a Christian group over a question regarding marriage has happened once before. The stage is now set for such official harassment to occur once again—but this time likely to occur on a much larger scale and with far more dire consequences.
(See 'Edmunds-Tucker Act' entry at wikipedia.)
(See also the 'Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act' entry...that act had earlier barred the Church from owning any property valued at more than $50,000 though the original act went largely unenforced.)
William Anderson's words in both this and his article of 1 July are the most pertinent commentaries regarding the Obergefell decision that have appeared to date. Though hard-to-endure consequences for Christians are likely to follow Obergefell, I take encouragement in Anderson's recognition that any and all governmental harassment would only aid those who see themselves as real Christians in becoming more and more like Christ as they strive to adhere more perfectly to all his teachings, including some serious teachings that have largely been ignored by American Christians, as Anerson describes.
A brilliant couple of articles. Thank you.

Gil said...

Most of these comments remind of a story in which most people the accept "well that's your view as per one of many" whereas Angry Christians have the idea that "no it's not 'my view' it's the command of God and it not up for debate and is not to compared to any other views - it's the absolute truth!" Clearly Angry Conservatives think the U.S.A. should be a Christian nation with a tolerance for Judaism but all other religions are to viewed as suspicions and have nothing but contempt for those without faith.

Doug Indeap said...

The question about whether or how the government may require or prohibit something that conflicts with someone’s faith is entirely real, but not new—and hardly some recent doing of “Progressives.” The courts have occasionally confronted such issues and have generally ruled that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, fraud, negligence, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. (E.g., Employment Div. v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990).) Were it otherwise and people could opt out of this or that law with the excuse that their religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

Instructive in this regard is Reynolds v. United States, 98 U. S. 145 (1879), where the U.S. Supreme Court first applied this principle—and rejected a claim that criminal laws against polygamy could not be constitutionally applied to someone (a Mormon) whose religion commanded the practice. "Laws," the Court said, "are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. . . . Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself."

History doesn't suggest that Christians raced to Mr. Reynolds's defense. Perhaps the recent concerns about the law interfering with Christians' refusal to bake cakes for gay weddings in keeping with their religious views will lead to reconsideration about the law interfering with Mormons' practice of polygamy in keeping with their religious beliefs.

While the Constitution thus allows government to enforce generally applicable laws even against those with religious objections, when the legislature anticipates that application of such laws may put some individuals in moral binds, the legislature may, as a matter of grace (not constitutional compulsion), add provisions to laws affording some relief to conscientious objectors. That is the way the government and the law has often navigated and finessed the differences between legal mandates and religious beliefs. As you can imagine, the legislature more often offers such accommodations for religious views held by many rather than few (so, for instance, the Mormons got no relief with respect to their views on polygamy).

Jim O'Connor said...

The church took the bait -- let the state maintain culture FOR you. It is easier to pass a law and let the state beat and jail people than it is to maintain culture and take care of people. A lot safer, too.

It is a week position from which to complain that the state is now doing it wrong.

Believing that the state would usher in the kingdom of God now that it was in "our" hands has led to this.

The state has one thing to sell -- indulgences. No surprise that it was captured by those who had more to gain.

The progressive left, being primarily motivated by envy, can't let anything stand which isn't debased. It isn't that they can't make a valid criticism, it is that the criticism is a means to an end. Addressing the problem criticized should be done for its own sake, but it won't placate the progressive left as the end is the destruction of anything better than average. The average then continually shifts down.

Anonymous said...

Doug Indeap, perhaps you should re-examine that which constitutes the rule of law.

First, there can be no rule of law where the king is the sole arbiter of the same.

Second, there can be no rule of law where the king is the sole arbiter of his power.

Third, there can be no rule of law where the king can impose burdens upon a person without that person's consent.

Fourth, there can be no rule of law where the king can punish a person who refuses to abide by the king's edicts and does so without initiating violence against another.

Fifth, there can be no rule of law where the king can force A to associate with B.

Sixth, there can be no rule of law where the king and his royal guard are immune from violating the laws that they impose and enforce upon everybody else.

Seventh, there can be no rule of law if the law is founded upon the principle of two wolves and a sheep deciding what is for lunch.

Eighth, there can be no rule of law if the law is tainted by bolshevism, communism, communitarianism, egalitarianism, democracy, fascism, imperialism, progressivism, socialism or theocratic principles.

Ninth, there can be no rule of law without a rigid adherence to the NAP.

Thus, if any person desires to be engaged in consensual polygamous relationships, it is not my business nor the business of any Bolshevik busybody, including the United States Congress. The rule of law just does not encompass majoritarian tyranny; to the contrary, it is designed to forbid legislatures from proscribing consensual activities of those viewed with disfavor by democrats.

Of course, the US Congress was not given the authority to proscribe polygamy as there is no grant of power contained in the federal constitution to do so. It goes without saying that the rule of law does not indulge the proposition that a legislature has implied powers to act. That the Congress decided to ban polygamy notwithstanding the fact that it was not given the power to do so, only underscores that it, Congress, flouted the rule of law.

Of course, if one reads the Reynolds opinion, one will discover that the Supreme Court arbitrarily decided that the statute in question was constitutional - notwithstanding the facts that (1) Congress was not given the power to enact a statute banning polygamy and (2) the federal courts were not given the power to affirm usurpations of liberty by Congress.



The operation of a nation state or any other political entity that seeks to monopolize the administration of justice is not the concern of the rule of law; rather, the rule of law is concerned with the application of the NAP.

SERENA WILLIAMS said...

TREMENDOUS AND WONDERFUL THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN MY MARRIAGE
Hello everyone out here, am here to tell the world how a spell caster brought my husband back Home, i never thought that spell casters are real, until my husband left me. My name is Serena Williams, i work and live in UK, i got married to my husband 12 years ago, we have 3 kid together, we never have any misunderstanding all this years we lived happily,but all of a sudden he changed and started treating my kids and i very bad, later he stooped coming home, he dose not come home at least month, this really bothered me.

I was browsing through the net one day when a came across on how Lord Micheal saved a woman called Mandy Diana marriage, i aid let me give him a try on this, i never believed in spell casting before i thought that they were all scam, when i contacted him, he told me not to worry that he will help me, surprisingly he told me that my husband will come back to me in the next 24 hours, with a heart full o doubt, it was a shock that my husband came back to me and started begging that he is sorry, and now we are happy once again. Thank you LORD MICHEAL, and if you are going through this kind of problem, here is his email LORDMICHEALSPELLCAST@GMAIL.COM.He can help you solve your problem.Thank you LORD MICHEAL for restoring my marriage.

Amanda Bryan said...

Hi, I'm very excited sharing this amazing testimony about Dr Frank Ojo a spell caster who save my marriage and brought my husband back to me today.! A very big problem occurred in my Marriage seven months ago, between me and my husband . so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce. he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn't love me anymore.So he packed out of the house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my husband .So i explained every thing to him,so he told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for him too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow his advice. Then he gave me the email address of the spell caster whom he visited. TEMPLEOFLOVEANDPROSPERITY@GMAIL.COM. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address he gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my husband back the next day. What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me, and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my husband who didn't call me for the past 7 months, gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back. So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster. So, i will advice you out there if you have any problem contact Dr Frank Ojo, i give you 100% guarantee that he will help you.. Email him at: Templeofloveandprosperity@gmail.com .Name: Amanda Bryan, From: UK . Thanks for reading .

Amanda Bryan said...

Hi, I'm very excited sharing this amazing testimony about Dr Frank Ojo a spell caster who save my marriage and brought my husband back to me today.! A very big problem occurred in my Marriage seven months ago, between me and my husband . so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce. he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn't love me anymore.So he packed out of the house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my husband .So i explained every thing to him,so he told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for him too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow his advice. Then he gave me the email address of the spell caster whom he visited. TEMPLEOFLOVEANDPROSPERITY@GMAIL.COM. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address he gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my husband back the next day. What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me, and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my husband who didn't call me for the past 7 months, gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back. So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster. So, i will advice you out there if you have any problem contact Dr Frank Ojo, i give you 100% guarantee that he will help you.. Email him at: Templeofloveandprosperity@gmail.com .Name: Amanda Bryan, From: UK . Thanks for reading .

Mayor Vargas said...

This article is dedicated to the Doctor Osemu Okpamen. I have been married with my wife for 5 years and recently she broke up with me and it hurt me deeply when she told me to leave her alone and that she does not love me anymore when i was always faithful and honest to her. I tried all the ways to get her back buying her what she wants like i always did and she still left me heart broken and she even has a new boyfriend which destroyed me even more until a friend of mine from high school directed me to this genuine spell Doctor called Osemu Okpamen. This man changed my life completely. I followed everything he told me to do and my wife came back begging for me back. I was stunned everything happened exactly like he told me. I had faith in everything he told me and everything was true. Also he was there every moment until i got my happiness back and he also provides spells that cures impotence, bareness, diseases such as HIV/AID E.T.C You can contact him via email at { Doctorokpamenspelltemple@yahoo.com } or visit his website http://www.doctorokpamenspells.com. He will help you in anything you need and quick to answer once you contact him or call me for more info +1 (914)-517-3229.