Thursday, June 26, 2014
Gay Marriage's Big Picture
I received a phone call yesterday from my enthusiastic mom after she read a commentary about the Book of Acts in the Bible. The commentator wrote that during the transition of the early Christians from old covenant legalism to new covenant Grace through Jesus Christ, Rome was going through a transition as well. Rome was becoming a tyranny, and though at that point much of the local administration of government was handled by the local governments, the centralized consolidated imperial government was beginning to take on more and more responsibility regarding local issues. Rome did not begin as an empire. Rome began as a republic, but over time the Roman Republic transitioned from a republic, to a democracy, to an oligarchy, and finally a totalitarian empire. This transition was not instant, it happened incrementally, and the key in regards to the big picture of it all was changing the atmosphere from the central government handling external issues and local government handling internal issues, to the central government intruding upon all issues, including local laws and customs.
The United States was founded as a republic, and the system was designed to be similar to those that existed in Rome, Slovenia, and countries that prospered under the Saxon system of individual-centric government. The federal government was designed to handle external issues, the States were supposed to handle State issues, and local governments were expected to handle the community issues. State Sovereignty became a valuable key to the success of the United States, not only serving to handle internal issues, but also serving to act as a check and balance against a central government that could potentially become a tyranny if allowed to insert itself into local issues.
Freedom of Religion was the lure that brought most colonists to the English Colonies across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe. In mainland Europe, the unholy marriage of church and state between the monarchies and the Catholic Church not only enabled an authoritarian system to rule over the people, but even made dissent a serious crime, because opposition to the government was not only an affront against one's king, but also against God (since the king, it was taught, was the ruler based on divine appointment). In England, though the island nation pursued the barbarian system (barbarian defined as non-Roman) of the Saxons along with much of northern Europe, which not only pursued forming a government where nobody was above the law, including the monarchy, but also the teachings of Protestantism, the marriage of church and state still eventually took place, where it became a crime punishable by penalty if someone refused to be a member of the Church of England, and attend government-sanctioned services.
The Puritans in New England specifically came to America to flee from the tyranny of government controlling religion, but in line with their former keepers, the Puritans themselves set up a system based on an established religion, and all of the political ramifications that goes along with such a system.
When the United States Constitution was ratified, the delegates from the convention, and those that argued in favor of the new government during the State ratification conventions, championed that the federal government was limited by the Constitution, only given the authorities to handle external issues, and that all internal issues remained the responsibility of the States, and local governments. As a result, though, as stated in the First Amendment, the federal government could not pass law establishing a religion, nor prohibit the free exercise of religion, the States were not affected by that amendment, making religion a State issue.
In 1800, when Thomas Jefferson was elected President of the United States, a group of Baptists in Connecticut who had been enduring an existence of second-class citizenship under the iron fist of the Puritan Church in control of the State, wrote to Jefferson to congratulate him on his win. They were hopeful he could help them in their plight, since he and Madison were the key components in establishing religious freedom in the State of Virginia with the The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom in 1786. In response to the letter by the Danbury Baptists, Jefferson wrote that he could not help them because there must be a "wall of separation between church and state."
Thomas Jefferson was a professed Christian, but not your typical church-going Christian. Because of his unorthodox style of worship and outside the mainstream activities regarding his faith, among other reasons, he was targeted by many clergy, media figures, and politicians during the presidential election as being non-religious, an atheist, and one that sought to destroy religion in America. The accusations were so convincing that some citizens actually buried their Bibles in their yards in the hopes of avoiding their Bibles from being confiscated by Jefferson's new government once the statesman had won the election by a narrow margin in the House of Representatives. Jefferson defended himself about his faith in numerous articles and letters, but even today the accusations continue. In a letter to Mr. Charles Thompson, Jefferson declared, "I am a REAL CHRISTIAN, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus." In the letter Jefferson goes on to criticize the people who use religion to their advantage, or in a manner not consistent with the teachings of Christ, because the politics of religion is more important to those people than the faith, itself. Jefferson called himself more of a Christian than those strutting around in the guise of organized religion, and indicated that if Jesus Christ were to return to Earth and see what those people had made of Christianity, He "would not recognize one feature" of His own doctrines.
In Jefferson's response to the Danbury Baptists, his meaning of the phrase "wall of separation between church and state" did not mean what today's conventional wisdom claims. Instead, when you read the entire letter in context, you realize what he was saying was that religion is not an external matter that can be administered by the federal government. It is an internal matter, an issue that exists within the boundaries of the States, and therefore must be a State issue. In other words, it was up to the Danbury Baptists to bring about change in their own State of Connecticut. The federal government could not involve itself in that battle whatsoever. Local issues must be administered by local government.
The theme of the federal government handling external issues, while internal issues are reserved to the States, is present throughout the language in the United States Constitution, and correspondence by the men of that era. To allow the federal government the ability to intrude upon local issues, regardless of the justifications given, or the morality of the issue, was considered very dangerous, and an opening to the festering concept of a large, consolidated federal government controlling the States. The States must be allowed to handle the internal issue themselves. To allow the federal government to intrude upon any of those issues, no matter what they are, would be to open the door for the federal government to use that precedent to intrude upon other internal issues, which would ultimately lead to what happened in many failed civilizations of the past, where the central government became a ruling totalitarian system, micro-managing all issues, including local issues, from a far away bureaucracy that is both detached from the local people, and unable to comprehend what is needed in each locality.
One size fits all governance always collapses.
In Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution we find another clue regarding the attitude of the founders toward whether or not the federal government should be allowed to insert itself into local issues, no matter what that issue is.
The clause addresses immigration, and the Atlantic Slave Trade. The clause uses a phrase, "as any of the States shall think proper to admit," allowing the States full control over both issues prior to 1808. Upon reaching 1808, based on the clause, the United States Congress was be granted the authority to pass laws prohibiting the import of slaves, and any group or persons Congress found necessary in reference to immigration. In the case of slavery, what this did was allow the Congress to pass a law outlawing the Atlantic Slave Trade, and reducing the increase of the slave population in the United States to new births of slaves in the country.
Critics of the Founding Fathers argue that this is evidence that the founders were racist, because it shows they wanted slavery to remain legal in the United States. If they truly believed that slavery was a sin as constitutionalists claim, then the framers of the Constitution would have used the document to outright ban slavery. The argument, however, does not take the reality of the time period into consideration.
Taken into the context of history, a careful observer will realize that banning slavery in 1787 with the Constitution was impossible, if the United States was to have a chance to remain united as the original thirteen States. In order to achieve the required minimum nine ratification votes, the founders needed both northern and southern States to be willing to ratify the Constitution. Without compromises regarding slavery, the southern States would never have been willing to join the new union under the federal government. However, most of the signers of the U.S. Constitution were either abolitionists, or at least believed that slavery was a sin and must not be allowed to expand any further. However, the principles laid out by the Constitution disallowed the federal government through legislation to ban slavery, or influence slavery within the States.
The Constitution was written to grant the federal government authorities, and for those vested authorities to be powers that dealt with external issues. Internal issues were intended to be handled by the State governments, and the local governments. When a central government begins to involve itself in local issues, the road to tyranny is soon to follow. Knowing this, even if for a good and moral cause, the founders did not believe that the federal government should be allowed to force the States to abandon slavery. Once the slaves were within the borders of the States, slavery became a State issue. The States, from the point of view of the founders, had to come to the conclusion to ban slavery themselves, individually, without federal interference. However, the federal government could start the ball rolling by banning the part of slavery that was within their authorities granted, by addressing the external issue of the import of slaves. Therefore, Article I, Section 9 allowed the United States Congress to end the Atlantic Slave Trade beginning in 1808. The delay of twenty years was also a compromise. If the Atlantic Slave Trade was to be eliminated in 1787 when the Constitution was written, the slave States in the South vowed to reject the new Constitution, thus ensuring that the new government failed to reach ratification.
The decision to only allow the federal government to stop the Atlantic Slave Trade was to protect State Sovereignty. Like the individual citizens, the States are supposed to be sovereign individuals, able to make their own decisions regarding the local issues reserved to the States. Enabling the central government to force the States to act the way the federal bureaucrats expect them to act is dangerous, unconstitutional, and a surefire path to tyranny.
Like Rome, the United States began as a republic, but over time the American System has been monkeyed with, transitioning it from a republic, to a democracy, and now we are seeing our system being maneuvered into an oligarchy, with the possibility of it becoming a totalitarian empire run by big government Statists, on the horizon. This transition was not instant, it happened incrementally, and the key in regards to the big picture of it all was changing the atmosphere from the central government handling external issues and local government handling internal issues, to the central government intruding upon all issues, including local laws and customs.
Marriage is yet another part of this equation. The liberal left progressive democrats are working to change marriage from a locally administered issue, to an issue not only being administered by the centralized federal government, but to force the States to comply with the federal government's intrusion on the issue, even after the populations of some States have passed state constitutional amendments and laws to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
In other words, this whole onslaught against marriage, forcing States to allow gay marriage despite the vote of the local population, has nothing to do about marriage, and everything to do with the longtime leftist battle to eliminate the States' voice from any law, including local laws. It is an attempt to crush State sovereignty, and the individuality of the States. The democrats claim their authority is their unconstitutional interpretation of federal supremacy - Article VI., however, states that federal laws are only supreme when they are within the authorities granted by the Constitution (in pursuance, thereof). Forcing the States to accept the federal government's definition of marriage on an issue that constitutionally belongs to the States is tyranny.
This is not the first time the democrats have tried to control marriage, either.
Marriage is a personal decision between a couple, and for them to share the joy of the occasion with family and friends. Regulation or licensing by outside agencies, be they religious, or governmental, can be problematic, and normally only emerges when an atmosphere of control is present.
During the founding of this nation marriage was an issue that existed between the couples and their families, and sometimes in the realm of the church. There was no central governmental marriage licenses, though some localities had church issued licenses or licenses issued by local government. Licenses, when issued, were often an attempt to control the problem of marriages outside of family approval. During that time period, when a license was issued, it was under the auspice of government deciding who was fit to marry based on family definitions, or cultural definitions.
Marriage licenses expanded, and became a large government function after the American Civil War, when democrats in the South pushed marriage license laws in order to control marriage, and disallow blacks and whites from entering into matrimony together.
Marriage licenses re-emerged in the 1930s, but this time the federal government unconstitutionally grabbed hold of the issue. With the creation of government programs through the New Deal, marriage became a legal issue, allegedly requiring government regulation in order to determine the proper distribution of the entitlements in the case of divorce, or death.
The intrusion of the government into the issue of marriage has historically been for the purpose of controlling marriage, so that marriage, and divorce, followed the mandates put into place by government bureaucrats. Now, however, the control of marriage has reached new heights, because what is happening is that State after State is passing State Constitution amendments, or pieces of legislation, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and the federal courts are striking these amendments and laws down unconstitutionally. Every time a State passes something stating the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman, the courts swoop in under the guise of equality, and use the unconstitutional concept of judicial review to negate the State's decision on a State issue. The gay lobby, in other words, is using the federal government to force the States into federal compliance.
Personally, I don't believe any governmental agency, local or federal, should be involved in marriage. Though I find our culture being herded to accept as normal the concept of marriage other than between a man and a woman, I also recognize that the issue must be guided by cultural norms, not by governmental dictate. From the strictest constitutional guidelines, the issue belongs to the States. From a Christian point of view, the issue belongs to the church. From a reasonable point of view the issue belongs to the couple. In all scenarios, the federal government has no business being involved in the issue.
If the issue of marriage should truly be up to the couple, and the organizations performing the marriage, then government's role is not to control marriage, but to annotate the event for record purposes, and that is all. The churches, or other institutions offering marriage, should then be allowed to make their own decisions on what kind of marriages they are willing to perform, such as one should see in a free market, where the decisions of the institutions will influence the consequences or benefits of their decision, and their success or failure as an institution will be influenced by those decisions.
For the progressive left, the goal is not marriage equity, but to consolidate more power in the federal government, violating the concept of State Sovereignty, and creating another precedent, allowing the federal government to dictate to the States, to force the States to act in a manner in line with what the federal government demands.
A large part of what has made our nation prosperous, innovative, and the home of the free is the individual-centric nature of our system that recognizes the citizens as being individuals that ought to be self-reliant, personally responsible, and make voluntary choices. A part of that equation is the States themselves, as well. The States are individual, autonomous, sovereign entities that are voluntary members of the union, and the creators of the federal government. The federal government was established to serve the States, and handle external issues, while leaving internal issues alone. The federal government was not created to control the States, or force the States into the compliance of some federal mandate.
The federal courts continuously striking down State amendments and State law on the State issue of marriage is opening Pandora's Box into a flood of unconstitutional actions by the federal government, specifically designed to destroy the voice of the States, to silence the voice of the States, and to eliminate the States from the equation so that the federal government becomes the ruling part of government, even over local issues.
When Rome's central government took away local control over local issues, that was among the nails in the coffin for that civilization. When the local issues began to be controlled by a faraway consolidated government that knew nothing of the local reasons for certain laws, based on culture or moral proclivity, collapse was inevitable.
In the end, the liberal left use of the courts to force the States into compliance isn't about fairness, or equity, and has everything to do with the elimination of the individuality of the States. Progressives did it with the 17th Amendment in 1913, and they are working to complete killing the voice of the States through the courts on local issues now.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary
Thomas Jefferson's Letter to Mr. Charles Thompson, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth by Thomas Jefferson (1803), New York: N.D. Thompson Publishing Co., 1902, page 18.
Indiana's Ban on Gay Marriage Ruled Unconstitutional - Huffington Post
Appeals Court: States Can't Ban Gay Marriage - Yahoo News
Federal Appeals Court: Utah Can't Ban Gay Marriage - Yahoo News