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Evil Men and Women Do Not Understand Justice

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“Evil men and women do not understand justice. (Prov. 28:5). [T]he LORD hates . . . a heart that devises wicked plans. (Prov. 6:16, 18). [T]he name of the wicked will rot. (Prov. 10:7) [T]he expectation of the wicked ends in wrath. (Prov. 11:23) [T]he counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood. (Prov. 12:5-6). [T]he mercy of the wicked is cruel. (Prov. 12:10). The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD. (Prov. 15:9). The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord. (Prov. 15:26). The soul of the wicked desires evil. (Prov. 21:10). Whoever says to the wicked, ‘You are in the right,’ will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations. (Prov. 24:24). When the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Prov. 29:2).

The first of the above Scriptures came to my mind earlier today, and as I read it, I could not help but think of Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy. These are the current justices who, in their wickedness, have given legal sanction and approval to the killing of unborn human beings, human beings who bear God’s image in full. To these “justices” names could be added many more past justices who have acted in like evil.

The above-named justices have now added to their wickedness the giving of legal cover to abortion clinics to operate without proper health standards, all in the guise of preventing an “undue burden” on a woman’s “right” to have an abortion. As Kevin Williamson aptly stated in National Review Online: “There is a great deal of dishonesty in the abortion debate, which is necessary: Otherwise, we’d be obliged to think about the horror of what we perpetrate and what we endure, and that would be very difficult.” However, Williamson is not quite right when he goes on to say: “A culture that treats pregnancy as a horrible disease and classifies its children as liabilities rather than assets is a culture that is, strangely enough, childish.”

The proper adjective is “wicked,” not “childish.” Supreme Court justices who apply rules and standards to abortion opinions which they would never dream of applying to other issues, solely in order to keep the killing regime going, are evil and wicked. Further, Supreme Court justices who refuse to overturn a lower court decision which would effectively compel pharmacists to sell abortion-inducing drugs are wicked. As Justice Samuel Alito put it, the Washington regulations which these justices allowed to be upheld create a “plain dilemma: Violate your sincerely held religious beliefs or get out of the pharmacy business.”

I believe such wickedness needs to be pointed out in our times.

-D

 

 

Written by Michael Duenes

June 29, 2016 at 9:12 pm

A Brief Response to Rod Dreher on the Kim Davis Case: Updated

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Rod Dreher wrote a blog post entitled, The Complicated Kim Davis Case. It’s worth reading. I typically love whatever Dreher writes, and usually find myself in substantial agreement with him. I agree with much of what he says here, but I’ve reprinted almost all of his post so that I can respond to it point-by-point. His words are in italics below.

I have some questions for both sides in the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses because licensing same-sex couples would violate her religious beliefs. For the record, I agree with the moral and religious stance Davis, a registered Democrat, is taking, but believe that as an officer of the state charged with upholding the law, she ought to resign her position if she cannot fulfill her duties.

As I said in a previous post, I’m not entirely convinced Davis ought to resign. It seems to me there are other options. First, it is my understanding that it’s possible for the state to put someone else’s name on the marriage licenses besides Kim Davis’ name. Christians who work for the government ought not be put in the stark position of having to violate their conscience or quit their jobs when there may be other accommodations possible. But let’s assume that’s not possible, or wouldn’t satisfy Davis. I think it is preferable for Davis to make the state remove her. Make them enforce their own lawless edicts, as Douglas Wilson says.

But the case is more complicated than partisans on both sides seem to think. Here are a few questions it raises.

1. Let’s say it’s 2005. Davis is the county clerk in a liberal northern California enclave, and a devout Unitarian Universalist who believes it is unjust to deny marriage to same-sex couples. She says her office will refuse to issue marriage licenses for anybody until the state recognizes the right of gays to marriage, and she claims religious liberty protections. Is she right?

I don’t believe she’s right, but I think I would take the same view. She should be removed from the situation, either having her name removed so that others can perform the required duty, or removed from her job by the state of California or a judge.

2. Let’s say the US Supreme Court rules in favor of the religious liberty rights of a conservative Christian plaintiff, and orders a local government office to cease its discrimination. The officer refuses, saying to obey the court would violate her religious freedom. Is she right?

Same answer, essentially.

3. Let’s stipulate that just because something is legal does not make it morally right, and let’s further stipulate that for religious believers, God’s law is more important than man’s law. (This is why I think Davis should resign rather than obey what she considers to be a seriously immoral law.) What would happen to law and order if all government officials — not private individuals, but government officials — reserved to themselves the right to obey the law in the discharge of their duties only insofar as the law was consonant with their religious beliefs? For example, many sincere Christians believe that immigration restriction is immoral. What if officials in the Southwest began refusing to enforce federal immigration law, citing religious liberty?

If Dreher’s advice were followed, we’d have more government officials resigning their jobs, and frankly, I don’t see a problem with that. I have to believe there are more than enough Americans who would be quite willing to do the state’s bidding in whatever the state is currently enforcing. Law and order is not destroyed because a small number, and I think it would be a small number, of people refuse to discharge their job duties on religious conscience grounds. Plus, to use Dreher’s example, we have whole cities refusing to enforce federal immigration law, and apparently a good many Americans don’t have a problem with it nor see it as a threat to law and order (although that doesn’t mean they’re right).

4. I understand the temptation to point to Davis’s four marriages and laugh at her apparent hypocrisy. “Look, the big Christian is a hypocrite!” etc. But how many people realize that her religious conversion was fairly recent, about four years ago?

Dreher said more on this point, but I’m not addressing it here. Suffice it to say, I agree that pointing to Davis’ three marriages before she was a Christian is ridiculous, and further, has nothing to do with the issue at hand. It is merely a way for the priests of the religion of secularism to prop up and defend their false god.

5. Do Christians who think every advance of the secular, pro-gay state must be vigorously resisted not worry about how this approach could hurt us in the long term? I’m thinking about Doug Wilson, who writes, in part:

First, whenever we get to that elusive and ever-receding “hill to die on,” we will discover, upon our arrival there, that it only looked like a hill to die on from a distance. Up close, when the possible dying is also up close, it kind of looks like every other hill. All of a sudden it looks like a hill to stay alive on, covered over with topsoil that looks suspiciously like common ground.

So it turns out that surrendering hills is not the best way to train for defending the most important ones. Retreat is habit-forming.

He’s objecting to my statement that Christians are going to have to fight some tough battles ahead, and that Davis has chosen the wrong hill to die on. Here’s why he feels so strongly about supporting Davis:

The point here is not just private conscience. The right to liberty of conscience is at play with florists, bakers, and so on. But Kim Davis is not just keeping herself from sinning, she is preventing Rowan County from sinning. That is part of her job.

Every Christian elected official should be determining, within the scope of their duties, which lines they will not allow the state to cross. When they come to that line, they should refuse to cross it because “this is against the law of God.” They should do this as part of their official responsibilities. This is part of their job. It is one of the things they swear to do when they take office.

It’s very difficult to see what actions today will “hurt us in the long run.” I can see that bowing to the state’s lawlessness and immorality will also hurt us in the long run. I would argue that the advance of the secular, pro-gay state must indeed be resisted at all times. It’s in high rebellion against God. The question is: How must it be resisted? Preaching the gospel is an act of resistance in itself. That is part of the nature of the gospel. Further, the gospel has many applications which will constitute resistance to the secular state. If we don’t die on this hill, as Dreher suggests, what hills should we die on? And what’s Dreher’s criteria for determining which hills are which?

DUENES UPDATE: Dreher has since written:

So, if Kim Davis isn’t a hill to die on, what is? It’s a fair question. Broadly speaking, my answer is this: when they start trying to tell us how to run our own religious institutions — churches, schools, hospitals, and the like — and trying to close them or otherwise destroy them for refusing to accept LGBT ideology. This is a bright red line — and it’s a fight in which we might yet win  meaningful victories, given the strong precedents in constitutional jurisprudence.

I’ll briefly say this in response: (1) It seems to me there are already attempts being made to tell us how to run our own religious institutions because our institutions still have some virility left in them; and (2) Dreher’s argument here, in my view, marginalizes the church to an unacceptable degree. It contributes to the distinction already being made wherein “secularism” and its attendant scientism is viewed as “reality” and “fact based” and so forth, and religion is viewed as “your opinion” or “like a hobby, that is, nice for you, but of no consequence to anything important in life.” I think the secular culture would be happy to let us run our own institutions once they are sufficiently neutered so as not to require them to give us any thought. Once we reach that level of irrelevancy, the battle’s over. There’s no hill any longer, so to speak. No one needs to try and close the local Unitarian Universalist church because it is of no consequence. It’s not worth expending any energy over. The same would become true or our Christian institutions. I think Dreher is drawing the noose around Christianity’s neck too tightly.

So Christians have to protect the democratic state against itself? Besides, if the Christian official is a strictly traditionalist Roman Catholic who believes in Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors, which, if he followed Doug Wilson’s advice, would put Calvinists like Doug Wilson in a very bad position vis-à-vis the state. I suppose Wilson might deny that the traditionalist Catholic is actually a Christian, but that being the case, good luck trying to convince the rest of the country that it ought to be ruled only by the standards of Calvinists.

Wilson’s point is an interesting one. I would hope that the Average Joe Christian government worker would see it as his or her duty to keep the state from sinning, insofar as possible. In other words, if I work for the government and have influence in a particular policy arena where I believe the government is sinning, I would want to advocate for a non-sinful policy. If my daily duties allow me to carry out the government’s program in a way that’s non-sinful, when a sinful way is also possible, I should opt for the former. I doubt Dreher is saying that all Christians in government should just go along with every vice of the democratic state because we have no duty to “protect the democratic state against itself.” But I see the difficulty he raises, particularly with the Catholic/Protestant divide. Which theological position should we be protecting the state from? A thorny matter indeed.

Wilson says that he wants massive disobedience of the law by Christian state officials regarding enforcing same-sex marriage laws, and in turn for the state to have to fire those officials:

Some might ask what the good in that would be. Wouldn’t it just result in no Christians in such positions? Perhaps, but it would be far better to have godless results enforced by the godless than to insist that the godly do it for them. It would be far better to have the “no Christians in power results” when it was actually the case that no Christians were in power. I would rather have non-Christian clerks acting like non-Christian clerks than to have Christian clerks do it for them. I mean, right?

Don’t tell believers to stay engaged so that they can make a difference, and then, when they start making a difference, tell them that this is not a hill to die on.

I might be wrong, but Wilson seems to be of the opinion that obstreperousness is next to godliness. He is advocating here that Christian officials, in the words Robert Bolt gave to Sir Thomas More, “cut a great road through the law to get to the devil”:

What would Christians do when the law protects their liberty, but Social Justice Warriors in local government refuse to obey the law, citing a higher law?

I don’t know that Wilson is advocating “obstreperousness.” He is not saying that one ought to be “noisy” about his resistance, or “difficult to control.” That said, it looks to me like a lot of the Civil Rights resisters in the 1960s fit the definition of “obstreperous,” and we don’t have a problem with that.

But leaving that aside, isn’t Dreher’s hypothetical already a reality? Don’t we now, right this minute, have a Constitution and many lesser statutes which protect Christian liberty and a bunch of social justice warriors in the government who refuse to obey these laws? The only difference is, these leftists shamefully cite their own adherence to the Constitution as though they weren’t mangling and misapplying it.

I’ll say it again: if Davis, a state official, believes that obeying man’s law is contrary to God’s law, she should resign. To live by the principle that Christians in government are not obliged to obey the law in the discharge of their official duties is a very dangerous one to take for Christians. Traditionalist, orthodox Christians are a minority in this country, and are going to become ever more despised. The day is coming when the only protection many of us can rely on is the law, and the willingness of government officers to obey the law, even though they hate us. 

So I have a question for Dreher on this one: Once Christians reach this greater state of contempt and detestableness in our nation – towards which we are currently advancing – which laws does he imagine we will be able to rely on for our protection? Does he imagine the social justice warriors will be enacting and enforcing principled laws that protect Christians? As I said, the laws are already breaking against us. See for example, here.

The Constitution is being interpreted by the likes of our Supreme Court justices in a way that it hostile to biblical Christianity. Who are the secularists who are going to somehow find within their secularism objective principles of justice, righteousness and fairness so that they might consistently uphold these laws in favor of Christians? Government officials have already shown themselves quite unwilling to obey the law. Where were the government officials to uphold Prop 8 in California? What about the government officials who are dying to uphold the RFRA laws? This is my biggest problem with what Dreher is saying here. He assumes that once the secular, pro-gay state has gained sufficient power, it will hold itself under some higher authority by which it must “obey the law” in favor of Christians, “even though they hate us.” I think we’re already seeing that many officials who “hate us” are quite willing to use the law as a cudgel with which to bludgeon us. After all, does any Christian really think that fining a couple of Christian bakers $130,000 for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding is “protecting” Christians? I don’t see Dreher’s scenario playing out.

And so, my final question:

6. Is the principle that the More of Bolt’s play powerfully elucidates really something we can afford to take lightly?

I haven’t seen Bolt’s play, so I can’t answer, but I’m guessing I’ve addressed it above.

UPDATE: I ought to have said that yes, there are other considerations in play when a Christian is, say, an official of the Nazi state. I believe it would be heroic if the Christian used her position to undermine the state. Wilson brings up the Nazi example, and also cannibalism. I do not think it is helpful to clear, prudent thinking about the proper relationship of Christian government officials to the law to invoke the most extreme possible examples. We are not living under Nazi totalitarianism. Jews are not being shipped to ovens on the orders of the government. To behave as if the stakes were really that high in the case of gay marriage in the USA is to seriously distort things. I believe Obergefell was an unrighteous decision, one that is going to have serious and deleterious long-term consequences. It’s not the Nuremberg Laws.

I find Dreher’s thought here problematic because it puts the Nazi example out of bounds in any kind of argumentation. The same thing happens when people appeal to the Soviet Union. We’re constantly being told that the example of Nazism or the Soviet Union doesn’t apply because, well, these regimes were so bad that they are beyond the pale of making any fair comparisons. But I object to this strongly. There are reasons these regimes came about. There were historical decisions and actions that led up to them. They did not just magically appear on the human scene. Wilson invoked Nazism because these days, the “extreme example” is about the only way for one to get his point across in these matters.

Of course, we are not living under Nazi totalitarianism, but my question is: At what point, short of sending people to ovens again, are we justified in invoking the Nazi example? And how does one assess when we’ve reached the critical points? I understand that Dreher did not mean to address this question in his blog post, but he raises it like it’s self-evident. At what point, under what cultural conditions, will the “stakes be really that high?” Dreher’s post provides no inkling of an answer, and the questions I’m posing here really are important ones.

Further, Wilson was not invoking Nazism to demonstrate that the gay marriage issue is the same as Nazism. That was not his point. He was simply analogizing for clarity’s sake. No fair-minded person thinks Obergefell is tantamount to the Nuremburg Laws, but must we wait until we have Nuremburg Laws, or something just short of them, to decide upon a course of serious resistance?

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

September 6, 2015 at 6:36 am

Do Your Job or Go to Jail

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That’s the import of Federal District Judge, David Bunning’s decision to send Rowan County clerk, Kim Davis, to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

And please don’t tell me that, “No, she went to jail for contempt of court.” That’s a non-starter. As Constitutional attorney David French rightly states, “There were many options short of imprisonment for Davis, . . . but the court was apparently in no mood for moderation.” Davis is in jail because she refused to do her job and refused to resign, which is a chilling reality.

Also, don’t facilely quote Romans 13. Does anyone imagine every German Christian in the 1930s should have simply obeyed all of the Nazi laws, well, because Romans 13? The Nazi laws were “the law” after all, and Romans 13 says that “whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God.” Thus, no resistance to the Nazis was allowed. No resistance to Jim Crow laws was allowed in this country either. Other examples could be adduced, so I think we must do better.

Most of the Christian opinion I’ve heard has argued that she should have resigned. Perhaps so, but I agree much more wholeheartedly with Douglas Wilson:

The end game here is not armed revolution. The end game is simply a refusal to cooperate with their revolution. Make them fire or impeach faithful officials. Once removed, such faithful officials should run for office again with a promise to continue to defy all forms of unrighteous despotism. As one friend of mine put it, “Lather. Rinse. Repeat.” Some might ask what the good in that would be. Wouldn’t it just result in no Christians in such positions? Perhaps, but it would be far better to have godless results enforced by the godless than to insist that the godly do it for them. It would be far better to have the “no Christians in power results” when it was actually the case that no Christians were in power. I would rather have non-Christian clerks acting like non-Christian clerks than to have Christian clerks do it for them. I mean, right?

Or as the Apostle Peter said: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge.” Jesus does not cease to be Lord simply because one works for the government. If resignation from government work is the only way to submit to Christ’s lordship when we are asked by that same government to deny His lordship, then surely there should be a whole lot more resignations being handed in.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

September 3, 2015 at 8:42 pm

It Won’t Even Be Worth Kindling for a Fire

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Later this year when the U.S. Supreme Court decides, in a 5 to 4 decision, that gay marriage is the law of the land, the only thing worth reading in the opinion will be the dissent (even better if it’s written by Justice Scalia, as it often is in these types of cases). The majority opinion will not even be worth kindling for a fire because it will simply be repeating the same old lies about marriage, children and parenthood that we’ve been hearing for years. Nothing new will be said, and certainly no true legal analysis will be provided. It will simply be another tired piece of political and social advocacy and judicial self-assertion and lawlessness, tarring those who agree with the truth about the nature and purpose of marriage as irrational bigots and simpletons akin to racists of the Jim Crow era. But now such lies will be enshrined as the supreme law of the nation. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

My oldest son came out for breakfast the other morning with a homemade white prize ribbon cut from paper taped to his shirt. He announced that he had just won a prize for “best dressed.” I asked him who gave him the ribbon. He replied, “I did.” Classic! The kid does like to win.

“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you who have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb.” (Isaiah 46:3). The Lord has carried His people even “from the womb.” He has borne us up throughout our lives. When we think back on our lives, this is an incredible truth. The Lord has carried me from my birth, which means He carried me through all those toddler years when my life was so vulnerable, through all the asthma attacks as a child, through the folly of my high school years when I thought it was a good idea to drink and drive, through the heartbreaking relationships, through the anxiety and depression, through the challenging circumstances of jobs and school, through a scary landing during my piloting days, through loneliness and through victory, in all the good and bad, the sicknesses and the health, the joys and sorrows, God has been carrying me, and will continue to do so. For Isaiah concludes: “Even to your old age, I will be the same. And even to your graying years, I will bear you. I have done it, and I will carry. I will bear and I will deliver.” (46:4). Thank you, Father. 

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

February 11, 2015 at 4:31 am

“Any Further Attempt to Prevent Historical and Legal Change is Fruitless”

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A13914.jpgSo says Howard Simon, the executive director of the ACLU of Florida, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision not to hear any of the gay “marriage” cases. In other words, get on the side of the gay “marriage” juggernaut, or be steamrolled. Resistance to the cultural ascendancy of the redefinition and twisting of marriage is futile. If you so much as attempt to prevent the imposition of the gay “marriage” agenda, you’ll be damned to the wrong side of history. The statist, secular gods have spoken!

But then I wondered how God sees things, and how God’s people should therefore see things. Mr. Simon’s statement is that of a man who “scoffs and speaks with malice; [who] loftily . . . threatens oppression, [who] sets [his] mouth against the heavens, and his tongue struts through the earth.” (Psalm 73:8-9). He is of those who arrogantly speak: “Who is the Lord that I should listen to His voice?” (Exodus 5:2). “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption” (2 Peter 2:19).

Whatever Mr. Howard and those of like mind may have to say about the supposed inevitability of gay “marriage,” their words are a fleeting vapor, with no more truth or power than the morning mist that hangs over one’s front lawn. Even if gay “marriage” becomes legal in all 50 states, their words will pass away, but Jesus’ words “will never pass away.” What God says about masculinity, femininity, sex and marriage is what will endure – legal or not – for it is good, true and beautiful. God “who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds in derision” such presumptions against His Word and ways. God alone “changes times and seasons,” and decides what is “inevitable” and what isn’t. Even the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar had to acknowledge that God’s “dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing; and he does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What doest thou?'” We Christians should have the utmost confidence in God’s continued rule and reign, and it is His promises which we should bank on in light of yesterday’s folly by the Supreme Court.

As for the future, I agree with Russell Moore: “The sexual revolution didn’t start at Woodstock. It is always with us. We ought to have the confidence of people who have heard a word from God and the compassion of a people who are on a mission with God. The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back into his cemetery plot.” Our commanding orders remain the same: “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:20-21).

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

October 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm