Well, that resolution didn’t last long.
Last week I wrote in this space that it was a waste of time to argue with liberals and I wasn’t going to do it anymore. But three comments from readers have forced me to reevaluate that position.
The first came from a reader who chastised me for giving up on anyone.
“Remember Saul of Tarsus,” he told me. “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”
The Lord sets an awfully high bar here, doesn’t He? I confess; I’m more likely to curse an enemy than pray for him. But it’s good to be reminded of the higher road.
The second constructive criticism came from an old friend who didn’t like my use of the word “liberal” to describe our opponents on the left. “We are the true liberals,” he told me, referring to the traditional meaning of the word. “We shouldn’t let them steal this noble concept from us. Please join me in taking it back.”
That’s easy to say, but not so easy to do. If you want to be clearly understood, it’s probably better to use words as they are understood today, not what they meant a century or two ago. N’est-ce pas? (Yes, I agree; using foreign words or phrases is another phony affectation of pretentious intellectuals. I won’t do it again.)
Where was I? Oh yes, readers who disagree with me. If you scroll down to the end of my columns and read the comments section below, you’ll see some doozies. Don’t do it right away; wait until the middle of the following week, when they’ve had a chance to respond to each other. As you’ll soon see, some of them really enjoy hurling a good insult at an opponent… and are mighty good at it.
It wasn’t an insult that got me riled up this week, however, but a blatant falsehood delivered as though it were a carved-in-stone truth.
“This is why there is a separation of church and state in the constitution,” someone calling himself J. M. proclaimed. “To keep religion out of politics.” Then he added, “Some folks just don’t get it. Next thing you know, the Republicans will bring back the Inquisition.”
I confess that I cleaned up his spelling, punctuation and grammar a bit. I didn’t want you to be distracted by his lack of literacy. Instead, I wanted to focus on the Big Lie of his original comment.
There is absolutely nothing in the United States Constitution that requires—or even justifies—the so-called separation of church and state.
I’ll go even further. Our Founding Fathers never wanted to see any such thing. And they would be appalled to see how the courts in this country have deliberately twisted, distorted and abused the wonderful document they created to strip all vestiges of religious belief from our public life.
Allowing the left to get away with this is one of the greatest tragedies that’s taken place in my lifetime. In case any of you reading this have also swallowed the liberal lie about “separation of church and state,” bear with me for a few moments while we cover some very important (but often suppressed) history.
What The Constitution Actually Says
What is the most important sentence in the U.S. Constitution?
I would submit that it’s the very first one. Do you remember how this marvelous document starts? Our Founding Fathers set the tone for everything they believed, and everything that would follow, in Article I, Section 1, sentence one. It reads, “All legislative powers herein granted are vested in Congress….”
A friend of mine who has lectured widely on the Constitution likes to stop at this point and ask: “Are there any math students present? Okay, maybe you can help me out. If ‘all’ lawmaking power resides in Congress, how much is in the Supreme Court? Right, none! How about the Executive Branch? Right, none again. Thanks for your help.”
There’s a very important principle here—one that has been deliberately obfuscated over the past 50 years. A Supreme Court decision isn’t supposed to be “the law of the land.” The Court has no Constitutional right to make law. All it is supposed to do is to decide “the law of the case.” Its decision should be binding on the plaintiff and the defendant and no one else.
Instead, for most of my lifetime, layer upon layer of additional government has been sanctioned and even initiated by the black-robed justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. The men and women who took an oath swearing to uphold the Constitution—like every member of Congress—regularly and repeatedly violate that pledge. They knowingly and deliberately, with malice aforethought, ignore the very first sentence of the document they promised to uphold.
And let me digress for a moment to note that the very same principle applies to the Executive Branch. What lawmaking powers does the Constitution bestow on the President and all of the cabinets, agencies and commissions he oversees? Again, the answer is none. Yet we get Executive Orders, Presidential decrees and all sorts of new rules and regulations, all having the force of law. This is another serious violation of the Constitution’s first sentence.
With that as background, let’s turn to the First Amendment (the one used to justify all of the arguments for “the separation of church and state”) and see what it actually says. Here is how it begins:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? “Congress shall make no law,” either promoting a religion or prohibiting one.
According to the Constitution, what are the states allowed to do when it comes to religion (or just about anything else)? The answer is, pretty much whatever they want.
Could a state require that the Ten Commandments be posted in every courthouse? Sure it could.
Could a city or county government install a crèche on its lawn every Christmas? Absolutely.
Could a governor encourage the citizens of his state to call on the Almighty to alleviate drought or do other good works? Without a doubt.
The framers of our Constitution expected the citizens of each state to decide for themselves how state and local affairs would be conducted. Would every state decide the same thing? Absolutely not. Our Founding Fathers expected differences to emerge between states. Some would be minor, some major. If one state passed laws you felt were onerous, you could vote to change them—or move to another state.
The idea that every law and every rule in every state should be exactly the same as the ones in every other state would strike our Founding Fathers as the height of absurdity. They believed that differences were good; that competition would reward good policy and punish bad.
The system worked pretty well for more than 150 years. It could work even better today, thanks to the vastly improved flow of information and transportation. If we choose we can learn a lot about policies and procedures in other states. And if we like what we learn we can get there a lot easier than our forefathers did. Or, like the flood of affluent folks who have been fleeing California, head for a state that doesn’t try to tax you to death.
What will it take to restore Constitutional government to this country? The short answer is, electing members of the House and Senate who will settle for nothing less. That presupposes, of course, getting candidates who actually understand what constitutional government is all about. Does yours?
We can’t expect total victory in one election or, frankly, even one decade. It took a cabal of socialist schemers more than 150 years to bring us to this point. I hope it won’t take that long win back all of our freedoms. But victory won’t come quickly. Or easily.
You’ve heard the expression; the longest journey begins with a single step. Let’s make sure that this November we take one step closer to the sort of system we used to have. The one that made us the envy of the world—when we were the freest, most productive and most prosperous nation on earth. I still believe we can do it.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.