Category Archives: Politics

The 2nd Amendment and The Bible: A Historical and Theological Look at the Natural Right of Self-Defense, Part 1

With all the recent talk about gun violence and the 2nd Amendment, the question that many Christians are asking is, “Does the Bible have anything to say about all of this?” This series is my attempt to answer that question. I hope it helps you answer that question and encourages healthy dialogue.

declaration_bible_gun
Clinging to guns and religion?

Allow me to first precede my statements by saying that I have spent a good deal of time over the past few months researching the information I will be presenting. My goal was to find an honest answer to the question of where a Christian ought to stand on the issue of gun control. With that as my guiding desire, as I researched, I tried to approach the question with as few biases as possible. That being said, if anyone finds any flaws in my logic, please, by all means, feel free to bring them to my attention in the comments section below.

This week, we will look at the Historical Context of the 2nd Amendment.

I begin with the premise that the Constitution was written on the contextual foundation of the principles and ideals of the Declaration of Independence. The foundational premise of the Declaration of Independence is of course:

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.

Thus the Bill of Rights could be considered a list of laws that secure the God-given, unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (or property).

With that in mind, let’s examine the Second Amendment itself. The text of the Second Amendment states:

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

It is important to note that the Second Amendment did not grant the right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the writing of the Bill of Rights as is implied in the text. The amendment clearly states that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” There is no establishing of this right, the right is already there, thus the 2nd amendment is, again, a law that secures a right that already exists.

It is often argued that the historical context of the Second Amendment — namely the Revolutionary War period and the establishment of a new nation, one without a standing army — negates the validity of the Second Amendment today. Second Amendment opponents claim that because the U.S. has an Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, and because state and local governments provide a National Guard, a Coast Guard, and state and local police forces who are all supplied with firearms by their respective governments that employ them, the necessity of a “well regulated militia” has been met and the right to keep and bear arms does not apply to individuals. That argument, however, completely ignores other historical contexts surrounding the Second Amendment.

In his popular edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1803), St. George Tucker, a lawyer, Revolutionary War militia officer, legal scholar, and later a U.S. District Court judge (appointed by James Madison in 1813), wrote of the Second Amendment:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government.

In the appendix to the Commentaries, Tucker elaborates further:

This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty… The right of self- defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Whenever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction (emphasis mine). In England, the people have been disarmed, generally, under the specious pretext of preserving the game: a never failing lure to bring over the landed aristocracy to support any measure, under that mask, though calculated for very different purposes. True it is, their bill of rights seems at first view to counteract this policy: but the right of bearing arms is confined to protestants, and the words suitable to their condition and degree, have been interpreted to authorise the prohibition of keeping a gun or other engine for the destruction of game, to any farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game. So that not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty (emphasis mine).

Tucker’s words offer pretty solid historical context that proves that the so-called “militia clause” was not intended to limit this amendment to militia members. His use of the phrase “The right of self-defense…” in the appendix shows the proper understanding of the Founders. Self-defense and national defense are clearly contrasted here.

Also, Tucker’s reference to “the first law of nature” confirms that the Founders saw the 2nd amendment and the right to self-defense as a God-given, natural right.

In his work, “A View of the Constitution of the United States of America” (1829), which became a constitutional law textbook at West Point and other institutions, U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania, William Rawle, describes the scope of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms:

The prohibition is general. No clause in the constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.

Seems pretty straightforward. Neither a state nor the federal government has any constitutional authority to disarm its citizens. If the Army training facility’s textbook on constitutional law takes the position that the government cannot disarm the people, the argument that the Second amendment is negated by the existence of a standing army is completely fallacious!

A personal favorite, Justice Joseph Story (my home county is named for him), who was appointed to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice by James Madison in 1811, wrote a constitutional commentary in 1833. In his comments on the Second Amendment, he writes:

The next amendment is: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

The Supreme Court of Tennessee summed it up best in Andrews v. State (1871) when they stated that:

[T]his passage from Story, shows clearly that this right was intended, as we have maintained in this opinion, and was guaranteed to, and to be exercised and enjoyed by the citizen as such, and not by him as a soldier, or in defense solely of his political rights.

Justice Story would have lamented the fact that we now have a large military establishment and would likely be sounding the alarm against tyranny and the alienation of our unalienable Rights. And I can’t say that I disagree with his logic or his conclusion.

Another of the ideologies in the Declaration of Independence that made these United States possible was the understanding that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”. Upon this revelation Alexander Hamilton bases the idea that the right to self-defense is the “original right” in Federalist Paper No. 28:

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair (emphasis mine).

We can conclude, based upon the historical evidence, that the Founders thought that this “original right” was necessary for the securing of the God-given “unalienable rights” listed in the Declaration of Independence. In order to enjoy the rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, we must be able to secure and defend those rights. Thus the right to defend one’s self is central to the philosophy of the Founders and the 2nd Amendment and directly connected to the idea that these rights are apart of Natural Law.

Another beneficial aid to interpreting the Bill of Rights are the various state constitutions that were written contemporaneously. These documents are especially insightful when in comes to the Second Amendment on numerous levels. Provisions for the right to bear arms are contained in 44 of the 50 state constitutions, making the Second Amendment one of the most reiterated right of the Bill of Rights. And often, the language used in the state constitutions is less ambiguous, giving us a clear understanding of the thought behind the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

The present-day Pennsylvania Constitution, using language adopted in 1790, declares in article 1, section 21:

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

Compare that to Pennsylvania’s first constitution, adopted in 1776, stated in its Declaration of Rights:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination, to, and governed by, the civil power.

Adopted in 1777, the Vermont Constitution closely resembles the Pennsylvania Constitution. It states:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State — and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power.

Based upon this historical look we can reasonably conclude that the 2nd amendment was of vital importance to the framers of the Constitution and that it was originally about individual self-defense.

Next week, we will look beyond the Founders at the Natural Law context of the 2nd Amendment and self-defense in order to better understand where and how the concept of the 2nd Amendment was derived.

Marriage: Why Our Survival Depends On It

And we should keep it that way!

With all the news of Rob Bell and Hilary Clinton supporting so-called “gay marriage”, a possible Supreme Court battle on marriage, and all of the rhetoric floating around out there, the historical purpose of the institution of marriage has been lost. Unfortunately, the truth does not always fit into a cute little slogan, a 5 minute you-tube video, or a 60-second sound clip. Sometimes the truth takes time, and effort. Please, take a little of both and educate yourself.

Marriage is the very foundation upon which civilization is built. Strong marriages insure a strong posterity. Without marriage there would be no stability for children and, therefore, no stability for our entire civilization. In fact, marriage is the oldest and most basic of the three foundational institutions of Western civilization (the other two being government and the church), and the most basic of the three because without children there would be no need for a government or a church. Furthermore, a church cannot fill the parental role, and regardless of what Marx may have believed, the government cannot parent like a biological mother and a father.

Society Rewards Marriage Because Marriage Rewards Society

There are demonstrable benefits for a civilization that come from having strong families. Marriage sort of acts as a security system for a society. When marriages and families are strong, the society is strong. When they are weak, the society will become sick. In other words, as goes the family, so goes the nation.

Marriage:

  • Lengthens life spans of men and women

  • Civilizes men and focuses them on productive pursuits

  • Protects women, who often give up or postpone their careers to have children, from being abandoned and harmed economically by uncommitted men

  • Protects mothers from violent crime. Single mothers are twice as likely to suffer violent crime as married mothers

  • Lowers welfare costs

  • Encourages an adequate replacement birthrate for the sustainability of society

Children that are raised in homes with a biological mother and father are:

These benefits of marriage are not new and not unique to our society. Marriage has been the bedrock of human social structure since the dawn of humanity. British anthropologist J.D. Unwin wrote in his book Sex and Cultureabout his study of 86 civilized and uncivilized cultures spanning 5000 years. He discovered that those civilizations that were most prosperous coincided with the maintaining of a strong marriage ethic. Those that divorced their society from this ethic, including the Roman, Babylonian, and Sumerian empires, experienced a downfall soon after embracing a licentious attitude toward their sexual behaviors. A society will not long endure once those that are supposed to be the responsible ones abandon their children (or just abort them) as well as one another in favor of sexual pleasure outside of natural marriage. And that is exactly what we are seeing in this society.

No-fault divorce was just the beginning of the undermining of this cornerstone of society. Think back to the times before no-fault divorce, or, if you are not that old, watch an old family sitcom like Leave it to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show, or Father Knows Best. From a societal standpoint, are we better off now than we were then? I would argue that the answer is no. Now, the courts want to take us down the slippery slope and force on us so-called gay “marriage”, and polygamy is working its way through that very same court system, using the same logic.

Imagine a society where there are fewer and fewer stable families and individuals are forced to fend for themselves. Without the natural family structure – which provides people with their most basic needs – social chaos will breakout.

Marriage: Do It For The Kids!

The necessity of marriage is especially evident when one considers that men and women can do just about everything alone (eat, sleep, breath, think, move, etc…) without anyone else. The one exception is procreation. It seems obvious, but as George Orwell stated, “we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men,” thus I must state the fact that without the procreative union of a man and a woman no one would exist, including homosexuals. Whether you  believe that we were created or that we evolved, it is clear to see that the male and female of the human species were intended to procreate together and thus parent together. Procreation alone ought to prove the importance of marriage.

Yes, I do realize that not all heterosexual marriages produce children. But those are the exceptions. We are not talking about the exceptions of marriage, we are talking about the institution of marriage. And while a small percentage of marriages do not produce children, the ones that do form the foundation of the future of our civilization. If there is any institution designed for the good of children and society, it is natural marriage. In other words, do it for the kids! . . . In more ways than one.

Who’s Your Daddy?

One problem with same-sex marriage is that the children are denied either a mother or a father. And while it is possible for children to succeed in homes without their biological moms and dads, that is the exception and not the rule.

Let’s rephrase the findings listed above so we can better understand the impact of families without a father.

First, children from fatherless homes are:

  • Seven times more likely to live in poverty

  • More than twice as likely to commit crime

  • More than twice as likely to become pregnant out of wedlock

  • Worse off academically and socially

  • Worse off physically and emotionally when they reach adulthood

  • Six times more likely to commit suicide

Second, children from fatherless homes account for:

  • 60% of America’s rapists

  • 63% of America’s youth suicide

  • 70% of America’s long-term prison inmates

  • 70% of America’s reform school attendees

  • 71% of America’s teen pregnancies

  • 71% of America’s high school dropouts

  • 72% of America’s adolescent murderers

  • 85% of America’s youth prisoners

  • 85% of America’s youth with behavioral disorders

  • 90% of America’s runaways (Source)

Are You My Mother?

When I was a kid my grandparents had this book by P. D. Eastman titled Are You My Mother?. It was about this newly hatched bird whose mother leaves the nest just before he hatches. Not knowing where his mother is he sets off to find her. He comes across a kitten, a hen, a dog, and a cow, asking each if they are his mother. They all reply, “No.” Then he comes across a car, a boat and a plane. Obviously, they are not his mother. Finally, he climbs into the bucket of an excavator. As the machine lets out a loud “SNORT” the baby bird says, “You are not my mother! You are a SNORT!” The excavator then picks up the bird and drops him back into his nest just as his mother is returning home. This classic story illustrates as important a fact as the statistics listed above. Children need a dad and a mom, and nothing can replace the real thing.

Gay activists argue that parents are interchangeable and that gender does not matter. Two men can do just as good of a job rearing a child as a mom and a dad because the differences in the gender roles don’t matter. (By the way, they make these claims based on zero reliable evidence.)

This raises a very important question: Why are men and women interchangeable as parents but not as sex partners? If there is no difference between men and women, why not just marry someone of the opposite sex?

The glaring inconsistency is an obvious logical suicide. When it is about personal gratification and desire, there is a difference in the genders. But when it comes to the more important issue of raising children, gay activists say there is no difference. You can see how children are being sacrificed upon the alter of sexual perversion. As Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse states, “[Homosexual] adults are entitled to have what they want. Children have to take what we give them.”

Anyone that denies what is best for children in order to get what they want is usually referred to as an irresponsible parent, and usually the courts take those children away. In this two-and-two-make-five society in which we live, the courts are not only giving children to those kinds of people, but in some cases are denying Christian parents the ability to adopt if they teach that a homosexual lifestyle is wrong. The world is indeed up-side down. Marriage is about more than just coupling and sex . . . any child knows that. It is about the perpetuation of our society.

Our nation is on the brink of collapse. And it’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the morality, stupid. The best way to destroy anything is to weaken the foundation. Liberals have done a great job of attacking that foundation by eroding the family unit. If we want to reclaim and restore America and make her great again, we should start by fighting for marriage and the family instead of buying into the smears and misinformation.

Calling Good Evil & Evil Good, Part II

woe-to-those-who-call-evil-good1-300x216President Obama’s 2nd inauguration marked a historical event, but probably not the way most people might think. For the first time in our nation’s history, sexual preference is an official social category as established and concrete as race or gender.

In his inaugural address, the president declared that what sets Americans apart and makes us exceptional is “our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration”. The declaration of which he spoke was of course the Declaration of Independence. President Obama quoted the first line of the second paragraph:

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.

In evoking the Declaration and the Creator from which our unalienable rights come, Obama must acknowledge that we are also governed by the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, for this is the foundational premise of our nation’s foundational document.

However, as he continued, Obama made blatant yet perhaps discreet statements that oppose one of the very fundamental Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. “Blatant yet discreet?” you ask. Yes. Allow me to explain.

As Obama continued, he appealed to what he referred to as the principles of our common creed: “tolerance, and opportunity, human dignity and justice.” He then, again, invoked the Declaration of Independence by stating, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still;” and then Obama slipped in a reference that might have missed by some, or most. Here is the entire statement in context:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

Did you catch it? There’s a reference there that makes a bold statement against a fundamental Law of Nature and of Nature’s God. It’s just one word, one event. A one-word event hidden amid two other well-know historical events in our nation’s past.

By Seneca Falls, Obama was referring to a watershed moment in the women’s rights movement that took place in the mid-1800s in Seneca Falls, New York. By Selma, he was referring to the pivotal Civil Rights marches and protests that took place in Selma, Alabama in the mid-1960s. And by Stonewall, he was referring to the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City in 1969 when drag queens and their gay friends fought back against the police who raided their bar.

So, in one sentence, the president equated Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall in front of God and everyone. In one sentence, he equated women’s rights, black civil rights, and “gay rights” — which include homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender and other categories of sexual perversion — essentially lumping the women of Seneca Falls, the blacks of Selma and the drag queens of Stonewall in the same pool.

Do we see what he did there? If we see it, do we understand the implications?!

The president continued:

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

WHAT?! “…if we are truly created equal, the surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well”?! There is so much packed in that short statement. In essence, the president is saying that just as the women of Seneca Falls deserved the right to be treated equal and vote, and just as the blacks of Selma deserved the right to be treated equal and have equal access to public areas, so ought gays to be treated equal and have equal access to marriage and the benefits that come with it. Seneca Falls and Selma show that we shall overcome and if you get in our way, you are on the wrong side of history.

Homosexuality has now become legitimized and as a result, any and all opposition to homosexual behavior must necessarily be delegitimized. Homosexuality was once categorized as a psychological disorder, now anyone that still thinks this way is considered homophobic and likely suffering from a psychological disorder themselves. Homosexual activity was once considered immoral and there were laws against such things, now pastors speaking out against what the Word of God clearly says is wrong are wrong themselves. Evil has become good, and good has become evil.

I can’t think of any better illustration than the media firestorm surrounding the inaugural benediction. Originally, Pastor Louie Giglio of Atlanta, Ga was supposed to deliver the closing prayer at Obama’s inauguration. But when the ultra-left website thinkprogress.org reported about Giglio’s “rabidly anti-LGBT views” based on a recording of a 15-20 year old sermon about homosexuality (which is quite good, by the way), Giglio quickly pulled out of the inaugural program. The Presidential Inaugural Committee offered the following response to Giglio’s decision:

We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.

Yes, that’s right, the Obama administration has a vision of inclusion and acceptance, unless you don’t accept homosexual lifestyles and gay marriage, then they will exclude and reject you. You figure that one out, because the more I think about it, the less I understand it.

So, who did they pick to replace Giglio for the inaugural benediction? Luis Leon, a LGBT-friendly, episcopal priest, and by doing so traded good for evil.

In his benediction, Luis Leon, like the president, recognized that we are all “created in [God’s] image, whether brown, black or white, male or female, first generation or immigrant American, or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor.” He then proceeded to ask for blessings on America.

The stark contrast between these two pastors is representative of the knee-jerk reaction that is typically seen in our country over potentially offensive remarks against the gay community. A pastor that is willing to address sin and identify abominable actions and promote God’s Law is replaced by a pastor that embraces the same sin, encourages those abominable actions and rejects God’s Law while evoking that God.

Speaking of abominations, I can think of no better warning against the entire inaugural scene than Solomon’s words in Proverbs 28:9:

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Abominations upon abominations?! Whoa! Or…woe! Either way…