The Issue of the Century
Will the United States of America remain a constitutional republic? Or is she destined to succumb to the rule of a tyrannical judiciary? This is the issue of the century.
The options have been handed to us on a golden platter in the Alabama Ten Commandments case, concerning which I offer the following reflections.
1. The debate, at its core, is not about the Ten Commandments at all. It is about whether the people of the state of Alabama should be allowed to decide for themselves how they will express their religious convictions under the U.S. Constitution. Just as importantly, but on a much broader scale, the debate is over whether Americans are willing to pay the price to restore the federal government to its limited, delegated, constitutional functions, and American jurisprudence to its biblical foundations.
2. Despite what detractors of Judge Moore are saying (in open defiance of the Constitution) about the importance of “obeying a judge’s ruling” and “upholding the law,” the root of the problem is a federal judiciary that is out of control. Contrary to the plain text of the Constitution, the federal judiciary has erred in its conclusion that the First Amendment precludes the establishment of religion. In reality, the First Amendment is a guarantee that the people of the states would be free from any sort of federal dictation whatsoever on the issue of how religion is to be expressed by their state governments. The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Coupled with the Tenth Amendment, which says that any power not explicitly given to the federal government or prohibited to the states is reserved to the states and to the people, the First Amendment bans federal involvement with the issue of religious establishment.
3. It is hypocritical in the extreme for the U.S. Supreme Court, as the guardian of the federal Constitution, to refuse to support Judge Moore’s right to acknowledge God. When the U.S. Supreme Court is in session, it opens its proceedings with the statement, “God save the United States and this honorable court.” Both the U.S. Senate and House open their proceedings with a prayer given by a minister who is remunerated from the public treasury. Our national currency references God: “In God We Trust.” Our founding documents do the same.
4. The argument that Judge Moore is “breaking the law” by refusing to obey a federal court injunction is hopelessly flawed no matter how many times it is asserted or by whom. No law has been disobeyed by Judge Moore, only a court ruling, and courts cannot make law, nor can they dictate through the arbitrary will of judges. Court rulings must be based either in (a) written law or (b) the U.S. Constitution. Court rulings without any basis in law or the Constitution are thus lawless rulings and must, in fact, be disobeyed! Judge Moore is therefore both morally right and legally bound to refuse an unlawful court order that destroys the right of the people of Alabama, under the First and Tenth Amendments, to determine how religion will be expressed in their state. Let no one say that Judge Moore is showing disrespect for the law!
5. The crisis in Alabama, as much as it is to be decried, is a golden opportunity for the nation. After decades of gross judicial abuse the constitutional crisis in America has finally come to a head. As we have seen, the U.S. Constitution bans any federal action whatsoever with respect to the issue of religious establishment, and all powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people through their state governments. Because the federal courts have no jurisdiction in this matter, state officials are obligated to defend the rights of their people in their states. The only question is, Will they rise to the occasion and do so? The people must see that they do.
6. The church cannot remain silent in the controversy. If it does, it will lose whatever credibility it still has in society. Pastors can and must use their pulpits to speak the truth about the abuses in the federal judiciary. At the same time, churches must come to grips with the fact that their 501(c)3 tax exempt status is nothing less than an attempt by the IRS to inhibit free speech and is fundamentally incompatible with the principles of religious freedom upon which our nation is established. It is a disgrace that so many pastors, for fear of losing their government-issued license to preach, are remaining silent in this hour of crisis. Government has no claim of authority whatsoever over God’s church! It is the right and duty of pastors to demand that our government officials fulfill their pledge to defend the Constitution of the United States and to protect our Christian heritage.
7. The counter-revolution currently being waged by defenders of limited constitutional government is just getting underway and deserves the full support of all freedom-loving Americans. We must not let a courageous judge who dared to defy tyranny stand alone against the hordes of political-correctness. We must join Judge Moore in saying, “Enough is enough! The line is drawn, and we are on the Lord’s side!”
8. It is also time for Congress to stand up and be counted. Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers that he expected Congress to use its discretion to make “exceptions and regulations” to keep the judiciary “the least dangerous” of the three branches of government. If ever there was a time when Congress needed to protect the public from the usurpations of activist judges who are assaulting basic American principles it is now. Tragically, Congress has failed to fulfill its constitutional duty to keep the federal courts in their proper place. The showdown in Montgomery is a God-given opportunity for voters to determine once and for all to support only those elected officials who are fully committed to defending the U.S. Constitution.
In the final analysis, the crisis in Alabama is an opportunity for every one of us as individuals to declare where we stand, not only on this issue, but on the nature and purpose of civil government. Here at DBO I would like to take this opportunity to state publicly and unequivocally my support for the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in his decision to uphold the law, and to beseech my readers to join me in praying that God would smile upon Judge Moore and the people of Alabama as they seek to honor and obey the Divine Judge of the Universe.
September 2, 2003
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.