Criminalizing Right to Conscience, Part 2
For well over a century, the legal arena recognized Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Law as its premiere authority. According to Sir William Blackstone, the law of nature, the “eternal, immutable law of good and evil,” is found only in Holy Scriptures. All human laws depend on the law of nature and the law of Divine revelation; furthermore, “the preservation of Christianity as a national religion is abstracted from its own intrinsic truth.”
Sadly, a nation dependent on government, not God, forfeits liberty. The U.S. Constitution protects people only to the extent the public defends it. In the Bible, using law to create what’s known as a refuge of laws is called “mischief by a law.” You see, liberty is grounded in common law, not civil law. While the former springs from the law of God (Magna Carta, modeled by the Bible), the latter is based on the law of Rome (Corpus Juris Cononici, or Cannon Law, modeled by the German Civil Code of 1896). The two cannot be reconciled. In common law, judges and jurors rule on behalf of the people. In civil law, judges rule on behalf of the State and, in that capacity, can overrule a jury.
Rightly understood, the Bill of Rights tells government what it may not do. George Washington was adamant, “If I could entertain the slightest apprehension that the Constitution … might possibly endanger … religious rights … I would never have placed my signature to it.” In his Farewell Address, the father of our nation maintained, “Do not anyone claim to be a true American if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics.”
When Tyrants Rule
Recall Patrick Henry’s warning, “It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains; … a vitiated state of morals and a corrupted public conscience are incompatible with freedom.” For Margo Thelen, Rhonda Mesler, and the Stormans family from Washington State, Henry’s words ring especially true. As a matter of religious conscience, each refused to dispense drugs specifically designed to destroy a fertilized human egg.
Until Governor Christine Gregoire issued public threats against the Board, the Washington Board of Pharmacy unanimously (and properly) supported right of conscience. Though reasons of conscience never once prevented timely access to any desired prescription, the Board eventually buckled under pressure. A federal court ruled, “The facts of this case lead to the inescapable conclusion that the Board’s rules discriminate intentionally and impinge Plaintiffs’ fundamental right to free exercise of religion.” Yet legal harassment by Planned Parenthood’s bulldogs persisted.
Arrogance of Judicial Supremacy
Co-author of The Federalist Papers, America’s first Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay characterized our nation as explicitly Christian. Lest judicial tyrants coddle personally held philosophies, he deemed it wise to prefer and select Christians as rulers. To prevent tyranny of elitist, life-tenured judges, our founding fathers established balance of power.
Over time, the Supreme Court ruled secularism, not Christianity, as unconstitutional (Engle v. Vitale, 1962, as quoted in Stone v. Graham). Furthermore, given that the history of man is inseparable from the history of religion, facilities of government cannot offend religious principles (School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, 1963). Even so, Judge Robert Bork warns that, under pretense of interpreting law, judicial elitists skirt conventional wisdom to impose personal opinions.
No society following the example of Sodom and Gomorrah thrives, let alone survives. Yet the SCOTUS gay-marriage decision (2015) bestowed national approval for what the Creator condemns and decorous civilizations criminalize when, in fact, marriage is a divine institution not to be redefined by civil authority.
- Worldview Discrimination
Simply for espousing a biblical worldview, increasing numbers of Christian pharmacists, bakers, florists, and officials are denied First Amendment rights — for one, Atlanta Fire Chief Kevin Cochran. While an investigation cleared him of discriminatory acts against homosexuals, the Chief faced wrongful termination for no more than adhering to personal convictions of his faith.
Not for committing some heinous crime, but for standing firm on her biblical convictions, Richland florist Barronell Stutzman declined a long-time client’s request to grace his same-sex wedding with floral arrangements and, for that, faced judicial backlash. In similar cases, two Christian publishing companies were sued; and Chick-fil-A owners were publicly bullied with impunity.
- Access Discrimination
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission contends that a church service open to the public is not a bona fide religious purpose that would limit application of the law. Accordingly, a New Jersey administrative-law judge ruled that a religious organization closely associated with the United Methodist Church wrongly denied access to its facilities for a same-sex wedding.
One cannot discriminate against gays in churches. On the other hand, while any community group can meet for any purpose in New York City’s school buildings during non-school hours, religious groups voluntarily gathering to worship may not. Clearly, one brand of discrimination is favored over another, but where’s the outrage?
Opportunity Missed; Fallout Certain
Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution grants Congress authority to remove appellate jurisdiction from the Supreme Court on any particular law that it has crafted. In 1996, if Congress had settled (1) marriage is between a man and a woman, and (2) the Supreme Court cannot rule further on this matter, then same-sex marriage would not be the law of the land. Alas, Congress didn’t; and it is.
Nothing in the Bill of Rights specifically addresses homosexuals’ right to “marry.” The SCOTUS gay-marriage decision was decided on the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment: Without due process of law, no state may deprive a person of life, liberty, or property. The Supreme Court exceeded the power allotted to it by drafters of the Constitution in applying this principle to protect an unspecified right (same-sex “marriage”). How the judiciary ultimately rules on a specified right, the right to bear arms, is yet to be determined. But I digress.
In his dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Roberts warned that the Court’s decision to legalize same-sex “marriage” rendered future legalization of polygamy inescapable. After all, you can’t have marriage equality without polygamy, can you? In the wake of this ruling, a polygamous trio in Montana took immediate steps to legitimize their three-way “marriage.”
What next, only time will tell.