CHECKS & BALANCES: YOUR PERSPECTIVE

file000598021204Christians wonder if there is any relief when they see so many areas of life in which positions contrary to biblical teaching have not only taken root but flowered like weeds.

Christians are bothered by recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court.  It upheld ObamaCare in one case and redefined “marriage” in another. They are upset that the President won’t enforce certain laws passed by Congress (on immigration). They are upset that Congress won’t repeal others (ObamaCare).  A young woman in San Francisco was gunned down recently by someone in the country illegally.  He had been apprehended and then released. Family and friends mourn. City officials claim they were justified in not removing the man before the killing; theirs is a “Sanctuary City.”  There is now even a credible report out that Planned Parenthood is involved in selling body parts of babies to be aborted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/undercover-video-shows-planned-parenthood-exec-discussing-organ-harvesting/2015/07/14/ae330e34-2a4d-11e5-bd33-395c05608059_story.html.  Will there be any investigations or prosecutions?

Consider the following reports.  They should give some hope.  

Obama Won’t Go To Court Over Defense of Marriage Act http://www.nationaljournal.com/obama-won-t-go-to-court-over-defense-of-marriage-act-20110223

Obama defies federal judge, fails to rescind wrongly issued amnesties http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/29/three-year-amnesties-not-fully-rescinded/

Fox News Falsely Claims “Sanctuary Cities” Violate Federal Immigration Law http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/07/07/fox-news-falsely-claims-sanctuary-cities-violat/204286

Support Grows for States to Ignore the Federal Courts http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/june_2015/support_grows_for_states_to_ignore_the_federal_courts

OK governor defies Supreme Court — Ten Commandments will stay at capitol http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/june_2015/support_grows_for_states_to_ignore_the_federal_courts

Texans organize ‘Operation Counter Jade Helm’ to keep an eye on the federal troops http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Texans-organize-Operation-Counter-Jade-Helm-to-6378017.php

The hope is not found in the particular actions taken or not taken in these accounts. You may agree or disagree with them.

The significant factor lies in this: the reports reveal that there is a wide variety of checks that exist in the system. And these are just a few. There are many more.  The full operation of all the available checks and balances within the American system is good for a free society.

First it ought to be said that the Supreme Court is not the final interpreter of the Constitution.  It is not the ultimate check on the system that insures something is constitutional. We know for a fact the Supreme Court has failed in the past to interpret the Constitution correctly.  It took the individuals on the Court in the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954 to overturn the work of those on the court who decided the Plessy v. Ferguson case in 1896. The justices on the Plessy Court were wrong even before the justices on the Brown Court said so. For nearly 60 years they were wrong. Something is not “the law of the land” just because the Supreme Court says so.  It may function as the law of the land, but that does not make it constitutional.

Second, everyone who takes an oath to uphold the Constitution – not just justices of the Supreme Court – is obligated to fulfill that oath. Elected officials take an oath to uphold the Constitution: the President, U. S. senators, U.S. congressmen, judges (Federal & State), governors, state representatives, state senators, and those throughout the system on down to the local town council.  So does everyone who becomes a naturalized American citizen.  While natural born citizens do not take an oath formally, their allegiance and obligation is understood.

Everyone claims, expressly or implicitly, to uphold the Constitution as he understands it. Obama took an oath when he became President. He can claim he is fulfilling that oath when he does not enforce a law passed by Congress that he thinks is unconstitutional (as he did with DOMA – the Defense of Marriage Act – and the Supremes have now agreed with him).  He may claim he is not violating the Constitution with regard to laws involving illegal aliens.  The city of San Francisco may claim that its “Sanctuary City” law is legitimate under the Constitution even when it results in the death of one of its residents killed by someone in the country illegally.  States also have rights under the Constitution. Governors, legislators and other state officials have rights and duties under the U.S. Constitution and their own state constitutions.  Texas citizens can argue that they are only exercising their liberty, even doing their constitutional duty, to help insure that President Obama does not use military personnel to act as domestic law enforcement in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act passed by Congress in 1878, 1956 & 1981.

The fact is, checks exist throughout the system. The American system is full of checks and balances. These include those that each of the three branches of government has on the others: legislative (Congress), executive (President), and judicial (Courts) branches. They include those inherent in the Federal system: states to the Federal government and states to states.  They exist wherever those under oath have the opportunity and obligation to fulfill their oaths and uphold the Constitution (state and federal) as they understand it.

This brings us to the ultimate checks and balance for the American system: informed citizens with convictions. The Bible calls Christians to be good citizens.  This involves expressing in the community the wisdom of biblical positions.  It also includes voting for public officials who will truly represent the citizens who elect them.  It may even include serving in public office in some cases.

Opportunities lie ahead over the next 15 months. November 2016 is not that far away. Every Congressman is up for reelection. Yes, every single one. One-third of all U.S. Senators are up for reelection. A new President will be elected.  A similar opportunity lies ahead for the offices throughout state governments. The opportunity is there in local government too. You might want to find out how your local officials would respond if the military wants to train in your neighborhood.  Don’t think it can’t happen. Don’t think some politicians and bureaucrats don’t have designs on your neighborhood for a variety of reasons. http://www.hoover.org/research/folly-fair-housing.  The time may also come when even non-believers suffering under the burdens of pagan ideology and oppression will welcome biblical wisdom. Christians ought to have something to offer.

Make the most of the opportunities ahead. These are opportunities to be a check on the system and bring it into balance. Find other individuals who share your views. If you have convictions, act on them. Be a “community organizer.” Your perspective counts.

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