Are We a Nation of Laws?

Over the past few days, it has been amazing to watch as America discovers a newfound passion for the law. A liberal order has been defied, and suddenly the letter of the law must be respected. Personal opinions and biases must be set aside. Any civil disobedience or protest is now seen as a threat to the very fabric of our democracy.

I am of course referring to the ongoing controversy over Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples and her subsequent imprisonment. This time it’s not just the liberal media crying foul. A host of Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians have denounced Davis’ stand, demanding that she either follow “the law” or quit her job.

No, Davis is not a perfect model of Christian morality. After making what she calls “major mistakes,” she came to Christianity four years ago. Still, the media wasted no time in informing us of her numerous divorces and out-of-wedlock pregnancies. Americans quickly took to social media to pile on the slut shaming. While they were at it, they attacked her appearance.

I won’t defend Davis’s past, but consider the double standard. When a criminal is shot by the police, his past is irrelevant. When a liberal woman’s appearance is attacked (or even praised), feminists rise up in arms. But when you are a conservative and/or a Christian, your every past misdeed is scrutinized and presented as evidence of hypocrisy. When you are a conservative woman, your sex can and will be used against you. Even if, like Davis, you’re a Democrat.

I won’t offer a detailed analysis of Kim Davis and the situation in Rowan County in this post. Instead, I’d like to address the whole question of whether we are a nation of laws and what that means.

Let’s start with a little review of our constitutional form of government. As every fifth grader is supposed to learn, there are three branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Now, which of these three branches makes the laws?

Answer: the legislative branch. We are a republic because our laws are written, debated, and approved by the people’s democratically-elected representatives. If this were not the case, their power would be just as arbitrary as that of a king and his court. Our Founding Fathers never considered the three branches to be co-equal; this is a recent distortion. As the makers of the law, the legislature was always intended to be the most powerful branch; that’s why their powers are enumerated in Article I. The executive can only execute the laws. The judiciary can only interpret and apply them.

My question, then, is this: what law exactly did Davis break? Kentucky did pass a law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The people of Kentucky democratically elected the representatives who drafted and approved the measure. This decision was also in keeping with Natural Law, the will of God, and the understanding of nearly every human society until about three decades ago.

Now, five unelected judges did recently decide to amend the Constitution, which says nothing about marriage, and redefine marriage on the basis of the individual’s supposed right to intimacy (as if marriage and intimacy were the same thing, or the former was a prerequisite for the latter). This “law” was never drafted, debated, or approved by the people’s representatives. It also happens to be out of step with Natural Law, the will of God, and the understanding of nearly every human society until about three decades ago.

Remind me again who is breaking “the law?”

I was under the impression that the legislature makes the laws, not the courts. At the very least, I thought we had a federal system of government in which powers not specifically granted to the national government (including marriage) were reserved for the states. It seems to me that the only reason “laws” invented by the courts and echoed by Washington have any power is that the majority of the people think they have to follow them. We act as though these dictates have the same weight as constitutionally enacted laws, but only our acceptance gives them that power. Defiance is the only means of resisting the tyranny of an activist judiciary.

Really, what is the alternative? To pass a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman? We have already done that. Five justices decided it doesn’t matter. Let’s not forget that this is the same court that has twice rewritten Obamacare, a massive piece of legislation imposed against the will of the people on a technicality known as reconciliation.

In a nation of laws, the executive branch is supposed to enforce the law. But our president has decided that his executive discretion allows him to rewrite immigration policy. His illegal action is met with cheers. Sanctuary cities violate the law. They are praised as compassionate. States like Colorado ignore federal drug laws. They face no consequences. Our leaders have neglected to secure the border for so long, we now consider passing new laws demanding that Washington actually enforce the laws already on the books.

What sort of government is this? What sort of nation? Not a nation of laws, but of men: a tyranny.

When we recall the true nature of the law as measures originating in the legislature, then Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is not breaking the law, at least not in Kentucky. But even if it were, another question would be in order: when is it permissible to break the law?

Martin Luther King Jr. answered this question in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail. The test is always: is the law just or unjust? In theory, the government could pass a law instructing people to murder. But murder violates God’s law. It violates the Natural Law inscribed in each of our hearts. One does not have to be Christian to see the wrongness of murder and the rightness of outlawing it. The only requirements are common decency and common sense. The same goes for slavery. The same goes for civil rights.

Now, I’m sure some of you are wondering, what about the civil rights of gay couples? My answer is this: homosexual individuals have the same rights as heterosexual individuals. We all have the rights to speech, religion, due process, equal protection, et cetera. We all have the right to live with, sleep with, and share our lives with any consenting adult. But we can’t go around expecting extra rights or special privileges because we happen to belong to a favored group.

Gay couples want to be treated the exact same as heterosexual couples, when they are clearly something different. Only one can produce and nourish new human life. Only one has served as the foundation of the human family and society since the beginning of time. The other provides no discernable benefits, actually discourages the formation of natural families, and encourages the separation of children from their biological parents. Yet not only do they demand the same benefits and recognition from the government, they also require that all Americans be complicit in their unions, regardless of their beliefs.

We have already seen the day when the decision of five unelected judges trumps the will of the people and the laws passed by their elected representatives. It is up for debate whether Christians still have the right to operate businesses.  Are we heading for the day when no Christian may hold elected office? You may not like Davis or her decision. But for believers and defenders of traditional morality, what is the alternative?

No Surprise Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts

Today another undercover video was released in which a Planned Parenthood doctor, Mary Gatter, casually discusses the sale of aborted baby parts, including the use of “less crunchy” techniques to extract “whole specimens.” This follows an earlier video of Deborah Nucatola describing how they can “crush” other areas to preserve prized organs for research. I must confess, I am not surprised. I am saddened and disturbed, but I am not shocked. To anyone who is, I have this question: “Well, what were you expecting?”

How would you imagine the people whose daily business is death to treat the “byproducts” of their “procedures?” Did you think that, after crushing their tiny bodies and suctioning them out of the womb, the staff would then stand around in a circle and say a little prayer? That the bodies of these children—babies with heads and hearts and lungs and legs—would be given something approximating a funeral, that they would be treated with any measure of respect? After all, doing so would expose the Big Lie of abortion: that unborn children are not human beings with dignity and worth.

I say this not to dismiss or criticize those who are shocked and surprised by these recent videos. It is good for you to be educated and outraged about the true nature of abortion. Perhaps you missed the other secretly recorded video where a Planned Parenthood representative facilitates the sex trafficking of immigrant children, or the phone call where another rep ensures a caller that his racist donation will only go to the abortion of black babies. Maybe you didn’t hear about “Doctor” Kermit Gosnell’s late-term abortion house of horrors in Philadelphia, where low-income minority women were injured and occasionally killed by his negligence and babies born alive were mercilessly slaughtered, some even kept as trophies. It’s not as if the mainstream media was eager to cover these stories, many of which I find even more disturbing. So you could be forgiven for not knowing about them.

But once you scratch the surface of the abortion industry in general and Planned Parenthood in particular, you discover something more than “choices,” “women’s rights,” “reproductive health,” and any of the other euphemisms they hide behind. You see the face of evil. And once you see it, it is not something you can easily forget.

Pro-Choice

This is not to say that everyone who supports abortion is evil, just that they have all fallen to some extent under its spell. Because the obvious truth about abortion is that it ends a human life. We are not talking about religion here, but simple, elementary science. When a woman discovers she is pregnant, she knows it is not a parasite or a lump of cells or a “potential” human growing in her womb, but a unique human being that, if simply left alone, will inevitably acquire all the attributes we associate with human life. Though not all unborn children are allowed to develop naturally, this is where we all began. At one point all of us were as innocent and helpless as the “parts” being so casually sold by Planned Parenthood, and this innocence and helplessness did not end when we emerged from the womb.

But to the abortion industry, the humanity of the unborn is the ultimate inconvenient truth. I have never encountered a moral argument for abortion that was even remotely convincing. Logically, to support abortion is to support the contention that some lives matter less than others and therefore can be ended for no better reason than convenience. No one really thinks getting an abortion is the same as getting an appendectomy or a tooth pulled, unless they are mentally unsound.

Therefore, proponents of abortion can be divided into two camps: those who view abortion as a necessary evil, and those who hold it up as a moral good despite the fact that it ends a human life. Notice how the “necessary evil” camp is the group that most desperately tries to deny the humanity of the unborn. They don’t want to see the pictures of aborted fetuses. They don’t want to hear the procedures described. They don’t want to contemplate the possibility that a woman might be pressured into having an abortion against her will. They simply don’t want to think about it at all. Let someone else make the decision. Let the blame fall on someone else’s shoulders. Leave them out of it. In fact, a better name for this camp might be “the Pontius Pilates.”

abortiondiagram

But the “abortion as good” crowd is different. They see nothing morally questionable about abortion, and believe women should be open and unapologetic about their abortions. They oppose even the most sensible regulations and restrictions, including bans on late-term abortions that are present in most other western countries. Often, they are the ones who work in the abortion industry or its lobby, like the women on the recent videos. I’m going to say something that might surprise some readers: I do not believe Planned Parenthood sells baby parts to make a profit. Mary Gatter might have joked about wanting a Lamborghini, but she knows this will never happen. Maybe someone is getting rich from selling fetal tissue, but I doubt it. So? You might ask. If not for the money, why is Planned Parenthood doing this?

Evil is difficult to understand because it lacks the truth and internal logic of good. Evil is the negation of good, and therefore can’t be studied on its own. But it does follow certain predictable patterns. If I were to try to explain what Planned Parenthood gets out of selling these unborn baby parts, I would say that it furthers the idea in their minds that the work they are doing is good. It also feeds their egos. The mothers of these babies don’t want them. Society, if our laws are any indication, doesn’t want them. In the minds of the abortionist, both are better off without them; the abortionist simply takes something unwanted and rejected and then extracts value out of it. When I hear the women in these videos, I hear women in love with their own power: the power to determine life and death. Their arrogance is unmistakable.

The Devil’s greatest lie is: Don’t worship God; worship yourself. In a world built upon self-worship, there are no limits on what the individual can do. Destruction, decadence, and desire are glorified. Abortion is celebrated as a sacrament. In the Culture of Death, bodies are not respected, but treated as commodities. Therefore, parts can be bought and sold. People can be treated as means, not ends.

Maybe you think I’m going overboard with the whole “evil” thing. If so, I invite you to listen to this video of abortion supporters interrupting a speaker with chants of “Hail Satan” as pro-life demonstrators sing Amazing Grace (skip to the 5:00 mark if you are pressed for time).

Evil does not like to be called out by its name. It prefers to masquerade as Necessity, or Tolerance, or Freedom. But the act grows tiresome. Every now and then, the mask slips. And once you see evil’s face and hear its voice, you know it is real and must be denounced. I am not shocked or surprised by these recent videos, but I am encouraged by the fact that so many others are. Maybe this is their moment. Maybe it is yours. Now that you know the truth about abortion, what will you do?