Troubler of Israel

At least as things now stand, Judge Roy Moore will probably walk through his election to the Senate with his hands in his pockets. Because of the “peculiar” stand he has taken on several issues, he is drawing the opposition of some conservatives. And I do not put conservative here in scare quotes, because I believe that there are some real conservatives who are unsettled by Moore. I just want to take a moment to explain why this is unsettlement is entirely a good thing for us, and about time.

For those just joining us, Moore is a West Point grad who did a stint in Vietnam, went to law school, and who eventually served as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama—until he was removed over his refusal to take down the Ten Commandments. He was elected to that position again, and was removed a second time for his refusal to bow and scrape before the monstrosity known to legal theorists as Obergefell. He just won a primary contest for the Republican nomination, and in a few weeks—barring some outlandish event—he is likely to be sent off to Washington by a host of adoring Bamers.

Now a couple of conservative arguments against him would be something like he believes in religious tests, and he does not support the rule of law. In this case, the conservatives believe that they are conserving the American secular settlement, one that they believe (for some reason) has worked so well. The myth of secularism has been successfully fobbed off on many conservatives—people who would themselves govern with decency and respect, but who have allowed a central confusion to take up residence in a part of their brain where no unsettling arguments are permitted. But look. Things are pretty bad. We really need to “go there.”

When the Framers prohibited a religious test as a requirement for holding a government office, they were thinking about the differences between Anglicans and Congregationalists. They were not envisioning those whose sincere religious beliefs resulted in flying jet airplanes into skyscrapers. The Framers rejected the formal establishment of a particular denomination at the federal level. There is a Church of England. There is a Church of Denmark. There is no Church of the United States, and there ought not to be. Congress is prohibited from establishing one, and please note that Congress is the entity restricted in the First Amendment.

When the Constitution was adopted, 9 of the 13 states had established denominations as their state churches. This means—work with me here—that only four of them did not. The Framers were guarding against future regional conflicts. When states pick a state bird, there is no possible conflict if the national government then goes on to pick a different bird. Same with the state flower. Same with state anthems and the national anthem. But if Connecticut had the Congregational Church as their official church and the national government picked the Anglicans, you were just begging for the country to blow up.

We had a federalist system from the beginning, and something as important as whether or not to have an official church was left to the states. The last established church was removed in the 1830s, that being the Congregational Church in Connecticut. Now my point here is not that establishments at the state-level are a great idea—I myself am dubious—and so my only point is that there was nothing whatever unconstitutional about it.

The Framers did not reject the idea that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. They would not have believed that American currency, adorned with In God We Trust, is un-American currency. They would not have believed that the insertion of under God in the Pledge was unconstitutional.

So they did not insist on the separation of church and state. Rather they insisted on the separation of a denomination and the national state. And neither did this federalist caution require a separation of God and state, or a separation of morality and state. You cannot have a unified society unless there is a wide swath of commonality on questions like who made us?, why are we here?, and how are we supposed to behave? That commonality was provided, for most of our history, by an informal establishment of evangelical Protestantism.

We are now governed by an elite who were educated to believe that nobody made us, there is no point but power, and that our behavior should be the pursuit of as many orgasms as possible. This is the informal establishment of an alien religion, and it has had devastating consequences. There is an inescapable concept here. It is not whether any given society will have an established faith, but rather which established faith it will have. I am a Christian, and do not desire to be government by men who acknowledge no God above them.

And that is because when your rulers acknowledge no God above them, then you are just ten minutes away from them claiming to be the only God above you.

Enter Roy Moore, and his disregard for the “rule of law.” He was told to take down the Ten Commandments, and he did not. He was told to kiss the Obergefellian ring, and he declined. Renegade or hero? All the concerned murmuring about Moore would disappear if the war were already over, and if the good guys had won it, and his name somehow rhymed with Bonhoeffer.

The rule of law really is precious, and is essential to any stable society. But we need to identify who the real troublers of Israel might be. Was it really Elijah, for identifying the problem? Or was it Ahab, who had married the problem? When the law has been made a laughingstock by the lawless, what is the only appropriate response?

“All right, all right!” said Sam. “That’s quite enough. I don’t want to hear no more. No welcome, no beer, no smoke, and a lot of rules and orc-talk instead” (The Return of the King, p. 977)

“What’s all this?” said Frodo, feeling inclined to laugh.

“This is what it is, Mr. Baggins,” said the leader of the Shirriffs, a two-feather hobbit: “You’re arrested for Gate-breaking, and Tearing up of Rules, and Assaulting Gate-keepers, and Trespassing, and Sleeping in Shire-buildings without Leave, and Bribing Guards with Food.”

And what else?” said Frodo.

“That’ll do to go on with,” said the Shirriff-leader.

“I can add some more, if you’d like it,” said Sam. “Calling your Chief Names, Wishing to punch his Pimply Face, and Thinking you Shirriffs look a lot of Tom-fools” (p. 978).

So Moore refused to countenance the gnat-strangling Red Queen reasoning that went into Obergefell. Good for him. When the concept of law itself has been made a laughingstock by the solons in power, all of them with solemn faces and puffy lips, and the ordinary people out in the countryside start to laugh (because that is what you do with laughingstocks), and the conservative people who are worried about everything coming unstuck start to shush us, what do you say to them? Look, what I have been saying, what I have been trying to say, is that everything has already come unstuck. The thing you are trying so hard to prevent is a smallish object in our rearview mirror.

You guys—you good-hearted guys—listen to me. Think it through. We have murdered fifty million kids. We sell their parts for profit. The organization that sells their parts gets massive subsidies from our government. The federal government has solemnly told us that two dudes can marry, and on top of that, that it is actionable hatred to mutter under your breath, no, they can’t. The rule of law? The rule of law? Are you kidding?

So, someone might ask, do you have nothing to say against Roy Moore at all? Well, I am a Presbyterian and he is a Baptist. But we Americans don’t believe in religious tests.

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Linda Mock
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Linda Mock

Thank you, once again ~

Justin Parris
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Justin Parris

It isn’t opposition to the rule of law to disregard an unlawful ruling. If the Supreme Court were to declare it constitutional for the Federal Government to detain people for having the wrong political ideas, it isn’t opposing the rule of law to fight them. It’s opposing the rule of law to help them.

Jill Smith
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Jill Smith

Justin, how would you know that a particular decision was unlawful? In the hypothetical you mention, such a ruling would be a clear violation of the first amendment. But how would you define Obergefell’s unlawfulness in constitutional terms? Almost everyone thinks that Dred Scott was a bad decision, but should lawful people have refused to obey it? And what happens if a clear majority of the citizens think a decision you consider unlawful is actually decided in harmony with the U.S. Constitution?

Eric
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Eric

No one thinks Obergefell was “actually decided in harmony with the US Constitution.” People know the rule of law is dead, particularly as it applies to the Constitution, and they’re just happy whenever the whim of the Ayatollahs finds itself on their side.

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

“do not desire to be government by men who acknowledge no God above them”

But seems like Jefferson and the like didn’t really believe such “fancies” himself.
But I bet you’d far prefer his government, no?

I.e., you can be an atheist and have good godly policies despite that no?
I’m not saying they’re consistent. Or you should depend on them down the road.
But such a government has been possible.

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

“a wide swath of commonality on questions like who made us?, why are we here?, and how are we supposed to behave? That commonality was provided, for most of our history, by an informal establishment of evangelical Protestantism” Doug, you’ve associated basic “Mere Christianity” questions & their answers with the Protestonians that appeared as major players in our history. While that’s accurate, please add the proviso that such historical accidents (hah!) need not always be (nor have they always been) predominantly Protestant. In other words, give us a word that all those questions are just as correctly answered by, say… Read more »

Tim
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Tim

Bro Wilson – If you haven’t already, Google Yale’s “Avalon Law Project” and then research early state (I think it’s under the 18th century documents) constitutions. The religious requirements they mandated for are astounding. Here’s a snippet from Pennsylvania’s: “I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration. And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in… Read more »

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

Tim —
Maybe better put not that they required affirmation of the bible as “the inspired Word of God”, but rather “given by Divine inspiration.”
Some might (I think legitimately) take exception to your interpretation, without disagreeing a hair with their statement.
I do like their careful and more broad wording.
It makes affirmation a bit more catholic — small c.

James Hunter
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James Hunter

Brother Doug – The proper way to spell the term describing a member of my fair State is “Alabamian”. A “Bammer” (not “Bamer”) is a fan of the football team located in the West Central part of the state, Commandeered by Napoleon IV. War Eagle and Godspeed, James Hunter

Canna
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Canna

I agree that we residents of this fine state are Alabamians, but fans of The University of Alabama are no more “Bammers” than fans of the university located in West Georgia are “Barners.”

Canna
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Canna

Residents of Alabama are Alabamians. Fans of UA aren’t bammers any more than fans of Auburn are barbers.

melody
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melody

“LIKE”

LittleRedMachine
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LittleRedMachine

Good stuff. Judge Moore is a tough smart man. If more of our lesser magistrates would defy unlawful (i.e., unconstitutional) abuses, a lot of the judicial overreach would dry up.

adad0
Member

“You guys—you good-hearted guys—listen to me. Think it through. We have murdered fifty million kids. We sell their parts for profit. The organization that sells their parts gets massive subsidies from our government.” We?????? What is this “We”? That’s like saying Elijah and Jezebel, AKA “We”, slaughtered Prophets of The Lord. Jezebel slaughtered Prophets of The Lord. Elijah did this: 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” 40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah… Read more »

nathantuggy
Member

Consider Daniel 9, in which Daniel, one of the three most righteous men in the OT, spends quite a lot of time bewailing how much “we” rebelled against God, listing all sorts of grievous sins that he had not personally committed. (And, in fact, he wasn’t even alive at the time of the sins that actually led to judgement.)

Elect identifying themselves with their sinful nation is Biblical.

Mike Sweeney
Member

Is it me, or does the U.S. Supreme Court pretend like state religions were always unconstitutional? I’d be willing to grant the 14th Amendment made religious tests for public office and religious ‘persecution’ unconstitutional at the state level. Still it is a no brainer that if a state wishes to use state tax dollars for fully funding religious schools then it is none of the federal government’s business.

Nathan Smith
Member

Thank you for the post. Very good, sir. I think drawing the connection between Bonhoeffer and Moore (and men like him) is helpful. (And you’ve done so quite deftly, which is beside the point but enjoyable.)

You’ve also brought in the scouring of the shire.

I have only this against you: “Bamers” is typically spelled with two “m”s. I know; it’s strange because Alabama is spelled with but one. But remember it’s Alabama we are talking about.

Nathan Smith
Member

After perusing the comments. It looks like I am not alone in my opinion on the spelling of “Bammers.” Nor am I the first to bring it up. Sorry to beat a dead horse.

Keith from Kansas
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Keith from Kansas

Preach it brother.

Keith from Kansas
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Keith from Kansas

My question is: Where are the other 49?

Popi
Member

Such absolute clarity of exactly what the framers and founders were doing with the First and subsequent Bill of Rights amendments is needed. But alas, we mourn the passing of the day when it was understood because it was taught. We lost the war when we ceased to train the trainers.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

The framers weren’t only concerned with the differences between Baptists and Presbyterians. There was a lot of pressure to enact articles which would prevent Catholics, Jews, and nonbelievers from holding public office. North Carolina and New Hampshire were particularly outraged at the prospect of Catholics ruling over Protestants., ” If it had been left up to New England Puritans and Congregationalists, there WOULD be religious tests for office as Madison comments on this very fact in the following clause:’one of the objections in New England was that the Constitution by prohibiting religious tests opened a door for Jews, Turks and… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

Yeah, the idea that the Framers were completely unaware of or unconcerned with anything other than Christianity strikes me as completely ahistorical and probably a thinly veiled attempt to privilege Christianity in law.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think that in a nation in which Christians predominate, it is to be expected that Christian (or at least Judeo-Christian) legislators would be preferred. I think the Founding Fathers took that for granted. When every individual is perfectly free to choose not to vote for Scientologists or Satanists, I simply can’t see the need for a religious test.

Eric
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Eric

In that case we need to give more respect to those publicly arguing against voting for Jews and Mormons.

gregory alan johnson
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gregory alan johnson

Well stated and researched. Concurred.
I would add just one other thing for the folk, including Douglas Wilson, to ponder and read:
http://stoptheglobalists.com/FruitsFromaPoisonousTree.pdf

drewnchick
Member

That last line nearly made me spew coffee all over my keyboard! Amen and amen to this post!!

ron
Guest
ron

No King but Christ.
Let Freedom Ring.
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God!
IDK if Pastor Wilson has written on the Romans 13 issue as it applies to tyrannical government (civil government acting outside its authority), but I’m all eyes and ears…

Not to be ageist, but has America always been dominated by talk of 70 year olds (Moore, DJT, HRC)?

JP Stewart
Member

When it’s not listening to slick-talking middle agers (JFK, Slick Willie, Obama).