Archive for the ‘living constitution’ Category

Real World Graduation: Question 21

RealWorldGraduation_Question_21   <– PDF

The Mayor and City Council of a certain city desired to raise the amount of tax revenue received by the city. They made a secret arrangement with a mall developer as follows:

  1. The city would designate a certain district of the city, consisting of 150 homes and a few small businesses as suitable for development. This district was selected because most of the homes are more than 30 years old, and it has excellent access to major freeways.
  2. With the area so designated, the city would send notices to each homeowner and business owner that they had 90 days to move out of their homes, and the land turned over to the developer.
  3. In order to save taxpayers money, the city would offer 85% of the current appraised values of the homes and businesses as compensation. On average, the homes in the affected district are appraised at $130,000.
  4. The total amount paid to the homeowners by the city as compensation would be repaid by the developer. He would be allowed to collect an additional 2% surcharge sales tax on everything sold by stores in the mall. That way, the city would be repaid the amount given to the original homeowners, and also collect all the usual sales taxes.
  5. The Mayor, City Council, and their respective staff members were to do all of the foregoing without any public hearings or notices until the formal designation letters were mailed to each affected resident.

The Constitution of the state in which this was to occur contains a “takings” clause, in which people are to be compensated for any seizure of property devoted to public use (i.e., the same as the U. S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment). If this plan were enacted, which of the activities contained in the secret plan would violate both Constitutions?

a) A government entity entering into a secret financial agreement with a private entity.

b) Seizing property from a group of private owners and giving it to another private owner for the benefit of the new private owner (as well as the city).

c) Arbitrary designation of a certain district for unusual treatment simply because of the age of the homes and their location.

d) Forcing each homeowner to take a $19,500 loss on their property, since they will be paid only $110,500 for homes that were appraised on average for $130,000.

e) All of the above.

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Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, fifth amendment, government powers, living constitution, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

On Same-Sex Marriage

PDF version –>  OnSameSexMarriage

1              Background

2              The Objectives

3              What We Can Do

1          Background

The U. S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on 26 Jun 2015 decreeing that so-called “gay marriage” shall be legal in all fifty states, having been recognized previously by state court edicts in 34 of them.  The homosexual lobby and their supporters have claimed that this effort is nothing more than an extension of equality to homosexual persons akin to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.  The couples lining up for gay marriage certificates are not the problem; as Vladimir Lenin would say, they are merely the useful idiots.  The true objective of the entire gay liberation movement is part of a much larger plan.

Even the most primitive of societies recognize an institution of “marriage” as being between one man and one woman.  All of the major religions also adhere to this common concept, including the dominant religious institutions in America, the Judeo-Christian heritage.  At first, this ruling appears to be nothing more than a change in the dictionary definition of words: while by tradition and religious doctrine, marriage has always meant one thing, and now it means another.  But consider an old joke told frequently by Abraham Lincoln: “How many legs does a dog have, if we agree to count the tail as a leg?”  The answer is of course, four: counting the tail as a leg does not actually make it a leg.  Likewise, calling a legal union of two persons of the same sex a “marriage” does not make it so.  It is simply a moral fiction (although a legal reality); they are gay/fake pseudo marriages, not to be confused with the normal ones.  So far this ruling leaves existing normal marriages unaffected.  If this were the end of it, then those of us who adhere to the traditional definition could say to ourselves: let them have their gay/fake pseudo marriage victory, and be done with it.  The problem is that the homosexual lobby and their funding sources have not declared victory, packed, up and gone home.  The reason is obvious: there is no reason to go home.  This is the first victory for them in a series of planned legal battles.  For them it is only the beginning.

2          The Objectives

The homosexual lobby and their supporters have assured us, along with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (who wrote the majority opinion), that the First Amendment protection of freedom of religion is preserved entirely.  But if the Court can redefine “marriage”, surely it can redefine “religious freedom”.  The effort to make gay/fake pseudo marriages a legal reality did not start and end with a few homosexual couples seeking the same legal status as normal marriages.  On the contrary, this was a well-thought out campaign, engineered and funded by a large legal team devoted to the cause.  I suspect the funding came from organizations whose real aim is to intimidate or embarrass religious people into abandoning allegiance to God in favor of allegiance to government.  Since the homosexual lobby and their supporters have nothing to lose and everything to gain, I expect that there soon will be several legal challenges to religion in general and Christianity in particular.

First, there will be a movement to require churches and synagogues to perform gay/fake pseudo marriages, even though their doctrines prohibit it.  They will carefully omit to impose this requirement upon mosques, out of fear of being called Islamophobic.  The claim will be that Jewish and Christian religious institutions (as the dominant ones in America) cannot discriminate against homosexuality any more than commercial businesses can.  They will claim that: a) since marriage is a legal function of the state, and b) since clergy conduct marriages by license from the state; therefore: every member of the clergy licensed to perform marriages must do so in accordance with the legal definition, which now includes gay/fake pseudo marriages.  Those religious institutions that fail to do so will have three choices: a) stop performing all marriages, b) perform gay/fake pseudo marriages on an equal basis with normal ones; or c) lose their tax-exempt status under the tax code.  As can be readily observed, any of those options is a victory for the homosexual lobby and their funding source.  The homosexual crusaders are not going to file suit against the Catholic Church, or the Mormons, or the Missouri Baptist Synod.  Those organizations have the means to fight and win.  No, the crusaders will find some small non-denominational Christian church and make an example of them as small-minded bigots.  A small church will be no match for the legal power of the crusaders.  They will attack Judaism and Christianity, but will make an exception for “recognized minorities” like the Moslems.

The second attack will build upon the first: an attack on the religious texts themselves.  The argument will be that since doctrines concerning marriages are contrary to the now altered legal definition of marriage, adherence to them violates the principle of equality under the Constitution, and is ipso facto, proof of hate speech.  Anyone holding those beliefs will be designated a “hater”, discriminator”, and “enemy of equality”, thus forfeiting their rights under the First Amendment.  Likewise any institution promoting the traditional definition of marriages will be branded a “hate group”.  The lawsuits will pile very high; the goal being to bankrupt both individuals and institutions under the anti-discrimination laws and to cause religious institutions to lose favor and membership.  The end goal is to promote government as a higher class of morality and thus enhance loyalty to government in place of loyalty to God.

The ultimate objective is to get the Bible and Torah banned as “Haters’ Handbooks”.  They will carefully omit any reference to the Koran out of fear of reprisal.  Even the most hardened Marxist proponent of gay/fake pseudo marriages will likely admit the difficulty here.  But Marxists and others who worship government have time on their side, and with courts willing to arbitrarily redefine the dictionary definition of words, religious freedom faces an uncertain future.

3          What We Can Do

The fact that gay/fake pseudo marriages are legal does not mean that individuals are required to believe that they are legitimate.  They are legally recognized, nothing more.  The first thing to be done is to consistently call gay/fake pseudo marriages what we believe them to be: fake and artificial.  Let them prove otherwise.

Secondly, recall that what goes around comes around.  There is no reason why those of us who “cling to our Bibles” cannot play the same game of changing the dictionary definition of words.  Henceforth, the words “gay” and “lesbian” shall not mean “homosexual”; they shall both mean “child molester”.  See how simple that is?

Third, we should try to pre-empt the legal challenges against churches and synagogues by encouraging our state legislators to pass appropriate legislation.  I have taken the liberty of sketching out the legislation:

Whereas the U. S. Supreme Court has seen fit to extend the title of “marriage” to persons of the same sex;

Whereas each State is obliged to permit the establishment of marriage between persons of the same sex, which shall have the same full legal rights as traditional marriages;

Whereas the power to regulate who shall have authority to perform said same-sex marriages falls to each State;

Resolved: same-sex marriages shall be performed only by paid employees of a State, County, or Local government, to wit, Judges, Justices of the Peace and the like — except:

Other persons not employed directly by the State, County, or Local government, but otherwise authorized to perform traditional marriages, may apply in writing to be granted such power to perform same sex marriages.

The regulation shall provide:

a. There shall be no fee for the application;

b. The application shall be immediately granted by the Secretary of State upon receipt;

c. No additional encumbrances shall ensue to holders of the same-sex marriage authority;

d. The same-sex marriage authority shall not be transferable to other persons

e. No person shall be required to make an application so described.

Fourth, and most important, recall that ultimately God is the judge of all things.  It is not our place to judge people for homosexuality, or to judge them for desiring some legal recognition for it.  It is our duty to first practice the faith and secondly to preserve our right to do so under the U. S. Constitution.


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A False Claim for a “Living Constitution”

A_False_Claim_for_a_Living_Constitution <== PDF version

There are a significant number of people to buy into the argument that the U. S. Constitution should be a “living document”.  It is not just some crackpots who believe it; it is embraced by a fair number of educated people, some of them educated in constitutional law.  Before I examine a supposed justification for the “living constitution”, it is useful to spell out what is meant by that phrase.  The underlying philosophy of the “living constitution” sect (for it is a civil religion) is that the U. S. Constitution was a great advancement in the 18th century, but is now obsolete. With the advent of technology and industry that supplanted the agricultural economy of the colonial period, it is necessary, they claim, for the government to expand its powers as it sees fit in order to do good, help the people, to pick economic winners and losers, and to regulate the activities of business and the people for the common good. These expansions of power are justified, they claim, because it is all done for the benefit of the people.

It is pretty obvious that the intent of the founding fathers was to create a limited government with limited specified powers, as stated in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.  The main idea was to protect individual liberty as much as possible, consistent with peace and stability.  But the advocates for the “living constitution” sometimes attempt to find a justification for the arbitrary-power model of government in the writings of the founding fathers themselves.  Mr. Garrett Epps does so in his essay of 1 Jun 2011 [1], titled “Constitutional Myth #2: The Purpose of the Constitution is to Limit Congress”.  It is true that the Constitution was intended to create a federal government that had viable powers, unlike the Congress under the Articles of Confederation.  Congress under the Articles was simply too weak to function as a viable government, and it was obvious that some new form of government was required.  That is quite different than saying the Constitution was designed to allow the federal government to anything it wanted.  Mr. Epps claims in his article that Alexander Hamilton viewed federal powers as unlimited. To do so, he quotes a sectio from Hamilton’s Federalist #34:

“There ought to be a capacity to provide for future contingencies as they may happen, and as these are illimitable, in their nature, it is impossible safely to limit that capacity.”

Mr. Epps uses this passage in isolation in an attempt to show that Hamilton regarded the federal government as having arbitrary powers, including one to create more powers, and the power to use them all as it saw fit in the future.  There are two fallacies here.  The first is that Mr. Epps fails to point out that the Federalist #34 is part of a long sequence on taxation (numbers 30 through 36) in which Hamilton expends great effort t show that federal and state taxation are compatible, can be efficiently collected, and are devoted to different expenses.  The federal expenses that Hamilton had in mind here are mentioned two paragraphs later in the same essay:

“What are the chief sources of expense in every government?  What has occasioned that enormous accumulation of debts with which several of the European nations are oppressed?  The answer plainly is, wars and rebellions; the support of those institutions which are necessary to guard the body politic against these two most mortal diseases of society.  The expenses arising from those institutions which are relative to the mere domestic police of a State, to the support of its legislative, executive, and judicial departments, with their different appendages, and to the encouragement of agriculture and manufactures (which will comprehend almost all the objects of state expenditure), are insignificant in comparison with those which relate to the national defense.”

Secondly, Mr. Epps declines to point out that Hamilton had, a few days earlier in the Federalist #33, discussed the fact that only specific powers were conferred to the federal government.  In his discourse on taxation, Hamilton addresses objections to the “Supremacy Clause” (Article VI).  The critics had claimed that this and the power of taxation would be the “pernicious engines by which their local governments would be destroyed and their liberties extinguished”.  But Hamilton explains:

“If a number of political societies enter into a larger political society, the laws which the latter may enact, pursuant to the powers intrusted to it by its constitution, must necessarily be supreme over those societies, and the individuals of whom they are composed.  It would otherwise be a mere treaty, dependent on the good faith of the parties, and not a government which is only another word for political power and supremacy.  But it will not follo from this doctrine that acts of the larger society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but are invasions of the residual authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land.  These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.”

It is clear that Hamilton regarded the powers of the federal government to be limited; otherwise, how could he claim that laws contrary to the constitution are acts of usurpation?  I is true that we the people have grown lazy and have failed to call acts of usurpation by their real name. The only fix for that is education.  I would urge everyone to read the Federalist Papers, so as not to be misled by those like Mr. Epp who wish to impose arbitrary government upon you.  It is clear that neither Hamilton nor the other founders implicitly advocated the notion of a “living constitution”.


Posted in Alexander Hamilton, Articles of Confederation, Early American history, federalism, Federalist Papers, government powers, living constitution, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »