|"In houses and schools across the land, it's time for Christians to take a stand," said Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore August 13th, 2003|
REDEFINING THE RULES
How Judges Are Destroying Our Religious Freedoms
Written & Compiled by Mark Sutherland
Our nation is in a judicial crisis. Every day on the evening news, we hear of more and more judges whose rulings make us sick to our stomachs - rulings against Ten Commandment monuments, rulings against freedom, rulings against morality, rulings that go against the very essence of the founding of our great nation and the godly values upon which it was established. But we are continually reminded by these same news stories that we are a nation of laws, and if a judge rules that something is the law, we cannot do anything about it. This is as far from the truth as you can get.
First, let us answer the questions that many people ask. How can a judge make a decision that seems to go against the principles we hold dear? How can a judge say that the very freedom of religion that was protected in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is now prohibited by those same words? And why would a civil servant seek to do this? The why we will discuss later, but the answer to the how is found in the dictionary. The judges use a simple tool of changing the meaning of the words in a law. When they do this, they make a law mean whatever they desire it to mean, sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes to further their own political agendas.
A great American, Chief Justice Roy Moore, once gave a perfect example of this. As you read this article you are probably sitting in a chair. I hope you are comfortable because you wont be sitting there for long. A judge comes along and says, Get up and stop sitting on that table! Your logical response would be to answer that it is not a table, it is a chair, and I have every right to sit in a chair. You would be right. But the judge then tells you that your chair is not a chair, it is in fact a table, and since everyone knows you cannot sit on tables, you can no longer sit on the chair; and since he is a judge, you have to do what he tells you. So now you cant sit on a chair because a judge says its a table. This is how ridiculous judicial decisions get made.
Judges are applying similar principles to laws established by the Constitution. And well-meaning people, even Christians, have the false assumption that what a judge says is law. This defies our very system of government. Our system of government gave the power of lawmaking to Congress, not the judges. And when a judge changes the definition of words within a law, he is making a new law, and that is illegal, not to mention unconstitutional.
A perfect real-world example of this judicial travesty can be found in cases involving the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, in what is known as the establishment and free exercise clauses. These clauses in the First Amendment state, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Read it again slowly. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Can you see any mention of separation of church and state, like lawyers and judges talk about it today? Today, lawyers and judges would have you believe that this section of the Constitution means that God must be kept out of government and that for a government official to mention God is unconstitutional. It does not mean this at all.
What was meant originally was that Congress, the only branch of the federal government that could make laws, could not pass a law establishing one denomination over another, and that Congress could not limit or restrict religion, or (using the 1776 definition of the word religion), Congress could not prohibit the free exercise of the duties, which we owe to our creator, and the manner of discharging it.1 It is a very simple amendment. Some who would argue against this by claiming that the First Amendment means that Congress has to be religion-neutral, fail to mention that a few days after the First Amendment was written, Congress passed a declaration calling for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God.2 This is the same Congress that, in 1787, passed an act that designated special lands for the sole use of Christian Indians and the Moravian Brethren missionaries, for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity,3 and an act that stated, Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government, and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged.4 Todays courts would find the writers of the Constitution, unconstitutional.
The evidence mounts when we look further into the Congressional Record and read the original drafts of the First Amendment. The first draft of the First Amendment read, The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.5 After much discussion and argument over various wordings of the Amendment, Congress decided upon the First Amendment, as we know it today. Perhaps a clearer version would have been Samuel Livermores Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.6
So, if Congress can make no law in respect to religion, then there are no laws regarding religion for the judicial branch to interpret; therefore, federal courts cannot touch the issue of religion at all. The First Amendment was designed to guarantee that God would be a significant part of our nation and our government, and to some people this was not a good thing because it meant that there were values and rules that were higher than themselves, and those rules could not be changed by man. So, in order to get rid of those rules and ensure they had the power they desired, they needed to remove God from our legal system. You see rights are not just floating out there in the ethos, or mists of mankind. As President John F. Kennedy said, The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.7 And if there is no God, then those rights must come from one of two places, either the government or the groups of people who are able to impose their will through government enforcement. And if those rights now come from one of those two sources, then the government can take away those rights, or grant special rights to certain people, at whim, for any reason. And if this happens, then every right you have can be taken away at whim. This move to get rid of God is not just going to hurt Christians; it will hurt every single American who knows what it means to be free.
So, why would a civil servant want to overstep his authority? For some, it is how they have been taught; for others, it is a way to conform society to their own values and beliefs. To simplify an effort that has been progressing for over 100 years now, many judges have been trained up to change the meaning of the words in the laws. It began in 1870 with an effort headed by Christopher Columbus Langdell, newly appointed Dean of Harvard Law School, to restructure the very way that the judicial branch functioned. Under original jurisprudence, or judicial interpretation, a decision made in 2004 should be the same as a decision made on the same matter in 1776. This is called stare decisis or in English, to stand by that which is decided. But under this new legal theory that was put in place, based upon Darwinism, laws now evolve and change as society changes. Instead of referring to the original Constitution, todays law students are instructed to refer to the opinions of judges, and ignore the original language and intent of the Constitution. Instead of society now being based upon unchanging moral absolutes and laws, things are now reversed. Under this new case-law method, laws are now based upon the changes in society, and what is wrong today can be right tomorrow, and vice versa.8
These case-law judges have now, over time, changed the meaning of the word Congress (the federal legislative body) in the First Amendment, to mean all civil government. They have now changed the meaning of the word law (a bill signed by the President) in the First Amendment, to mean any government action, and they have now changed the meaning of the word religion (the duties we owe to our Creator) in the First Amendment, to mean whatever a particular judge wants it to mean. So, by changing the definition of the words in the First Amendment, that was designed to guarantee Gods involvement in government, now the judicial system has declared it illegal for any civil government to acknowledge God at all.9 And we are supposed to just accept it, because after all, what the judicial system says, is law. Absolutely not!
When the American system of government was established, the most powerful branch of the government was Congress, the peoples house, then the executive branch or the President, followed by the judicial branch.10 This has been completely turned around in the past 100 years. Today, we have been fed so much misinformation that we now believe that all the power resides in the judges hands. This is incorrect, and this needs to be stopped. Today, it is almost like we have a king again: a judicial king who decides our freedoms and our rights dependent on his mood. And under this new system, we have no recourse when the outcome is wrong. When the judge is the ultimate arbiter of our fate, how can we then go back to that same judge when the outcome is wrong? It would be like being robbed and then going to the thief and asking him to announce that he was wrong for robbing us.
Thankfully, the U.S. Constitution and the numerous state constitutions have already provided us with a fix for this problem, but it will take our elected officials doing their duty to us, and to the law. The U.S. Constitution provides for both Congress and the President to counter any judicial decision they view as unconstitutional. You see, the judicial system has extremely limited power; they can say what they think the law is, but if the other branches of government do not agree, then the courts have no way of enforcing their decisions.
The enforcement power is in the hands of the President and his branch of the government. The President has the authority, and duty, to refuse to enforce any court order that he views as contrary to the law. Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution instructs the President to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed. The duty falls to the President, and the President alone, to decide how to execute, or enforce, the laws. Now, we have already established that a law is not a judicial decision but is a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President, so if the President views a judicial decision as being contrary to the law, then the President is completely within his Constitutional authority to ignore the judges order.
Congress also has the power to counter judicial actions. The power given to Congress lies in three areas, the first being the power of the purse, the second being the power to limit jurisdiction, and the third being the power of impeachment.11
Congress, under authority given to it in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution decides how money will be allocated to the various branches of government, and the only restriction placed on Congress in regards to the funding of the judicial branch, is in Article III, Section 1, where it states that a judges salary shall not be reduced as long as that judge is in office. This leaves every other funding issue in the judicial branch to Congress. If Congress decides that a particular court is out of line, it is within Congress power to significantly reduce the courts funding, or to line-item its funding so that the court would not have the ability to operate outside of its constitutional authority.
Congress has the power to limit what areas the judicial branch can rule in. Under authority granted to Congress in Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, Congress can place regulations and exceptions on the judicial branch that would prohibit the courts from ruling on certain issues and in certain areas. These areas could be religious freedom, the definition of marriage, or any other area that Congress chose to declare off-limits to the courts.
The third area that the Constitution gives Congress power over the judicial branch is impeachment. Modern day thought is that impeachment is only to be used when an official commits a crime. This again is not true, no matter how many times it is repeated. The real truth as to the original design for impeachment can be found by looking at the early uses of this power. Did the Founding Fathers, and those who came in the years after, impeach judges for murder, theft, or perjury? No, not even once, they left those crimes up to the criminal court system. So what did judges get impeached for in the early days of our Republic? Judges were impeached for items such as contradicting an order of Congress, and for drunkenness,12 for excluding evidence from a trial,13 for financial improprieties,14 and for profanity.15 Impeachment was designed to allow Congress, the representatives of the people, to lay-off misbehaving judges. It was nothing more than a pink slip.
Our government has the power to rein in an out-of-control judicial system, but they have failed to do so for decades. For example, in the case of the Ten Commandments monument that was removed from public view in Montgomery Alabama, the constitutionally supported response for the President in this case would have been to issue an executive order that would prohibit the enforcement of the judges order to remove the monument or to collect any fines against the state of Alabama. It would have left the judge like a dog with a lot of bark, but absolutely no bite. Then Congress could step in and pass a law clarifying what is said in the First Amendment and reminding the courts that the states have the right to acknowledge God in any way they see fit, including the placement of monuments, and that the courts have no jurisdiction over this area of law. Congress could also have laid-off, or impeached, the federal judge who overstepped his authority in this case. These actions are constitutional and are the very actions our Founding Fathers intended us to take in times such as these.
It should also work similar to this at the state level. If a state judge makes a ruling that defies the constitution of a state, then it is the duty of the governor of that state to refuse to enforce the state judges decision, and it is the duty of the state legislature to refuse to obey the courts, on account of the oath of office they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and their own state constitutions. A perfect, real-world example of how this should work is in the recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordering the legislature of the state to legalize gay marriage within 120 days. The governor of Massachusetts can simply refuse to enforce the courts decision, as can the state legislature, based upon the oath of office they took. The state legislators also have the power to lay-off, or impeach, state judges for numerous reasons. On a federal level, the governor has the authority to stand against any federal court order, and the only person who can overrule him is the President. This is how our checks and balances system was supposed to work.
The solution to the problem of judges making laws is provided to us in the U.S. Constitution. It will just take our nations leaders to stop this redefinition of our laws. It will take our nations leaders stepping up and protecting our God-given rights. Our Founding Fathers understood this when they wrote in the Declaration of Independence that governments are instituted among men to secure our God-given rights. It is the duty of our government to protect the rights that all men have as a gift of God, and it is our duty to make sure they do.
In Deuteronomy 30:15 & 19 God says, See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil. Therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live. In our system of government, we select men and women and send them to Washington, DC to uphold the Constitution and protect our God-given rights. If they fail in their duty, it is our duty to replace them on Election Day with men and women who will stand for our God-given rights. The words of Edmund Burke, the famous British statesman who supported American independence from the halls of the English government, are still true today when he so aptly stated, The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.16
All is not lost! Do not despair! Take action! There is a growing remnant of people across our nation who are waking up. And we are asking you to become one of us. We must all join together with a common goal, a common purpose, to bring our nation back to its godly roots. We must become a nation again where all men are CREATED equal and are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.17
Visit the America section of our website at www.joycemeyer.org and join the Stand Up & Be Counted action team. At Joyce Meyer Ministries, we have developed a website which will allow you and your church members to contact your representation with ease. It is possible in less than thirty seconds, using our incredibly user-friendly system, to send an email message to your members of Congress on any issue. Our system is used by people from all over the country and is extremely effective in allowing peoples voices to be heard. In response to a recent email alert updating people on HR235, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act (which will allow churches to endorse and oppose political candidates once again), there were over 60,000 messages sent to Congress in two days.
We also provide regular updates on key issues combined with targeted emails, online voter registration, contact information for your local media and information on every election and every candidate. And we are continually developing the web site to provide you with a one-stop information resource, which is as simple and effective as possible. We encourage you to take advantage of it and even link to it from your own web sites.
I also highly recommend the book, Original Intent by David Barton, for anyone who wants to learn more from the very writings and comments of the founding fathers and from early Supreme Court rulings. Take a stand and become part of a movement that is sweeping across our nation, a movement of people who are awakening to the knowledge of what has been stolen from us, and a movement that demands our rights back!
Mark Sutherland is the Public Relations Director for Joyce Meyer Ministries. Mark has a God-given passion to inspire people across the U.S. to take America's destiny into their own hands. His work as a political and constitutional analyst has allowed him to work alongside many godly men and women who serve our nation. Mark resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife and two children.
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