Pulling Back the Veil

There is one word that ties together all three major Supreme Court decisions of the last two days – lawless. What we must come to realize is that the United States is no longer a nation of laws, but a lawless nation.

The Voting Rights acts, regardless of true complaints about using 60’s era data in 2006 and the craven nature of the Congress in these regards, the VRA was extended with large majorities in House and Senate and signed by a President who received the majority of votes from the area most effected. The Supreme Court acted lawlessly throwing it out.

With the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) the reasoning is the same but worse. The act was passed many years ago and signed into law by President Clinton. It made a simple definitional statement about how the federal government would treat marriage experimentation by the states. Quoting Justice Scalia’s dissent (through Rod Dreher):

The majority concludes that the only motive for this Act was the “bare . . . desire to harm a politically unpopular group.” Ante, at 20. Bear in mind that the object of this condemnation is not the legislature of some once Confederate Southern state (familiar objects of the Court’s scorn, see, e.g., Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U. S. 578 (1987)), but our respected coordinate branches, the Congress and Presidency of the United States. Laying such a
charge against them should require the most extraordinary evidence, and I would have thought that every attempt would be made to indulge a more anodyne explanation for the statute. The majority does the opposite—affirmatively concealing from the reader the arguments that exist in justification. It makes only a passing mention of the “arguments put forward” by the Act’s defenders, and does not even trouble to paraphrase or describe them.
See ante, at 21. I imagine that this is because it is harder to maintain the illusion of the Act’s supporters as unhinged members of a wild-eyed lynch mob when one first describes their views as they see them.

The court again acted lawlessly where the first two branches of government were completely able to repeal DOMA should they desire. They compounded this lawlessness by putting into case law that the only reason for opposing fundamentally altering marriage was bigotry. If you are an orthodox Christian in the United States you are now a bigot and have been put on warning.

And the lawlessness continued with the CA prop 8 ruling. Even worse, prop 8 was a popular direct democracy ruling. In a state that is famously of the left coast (emphasis on the left), the popular ballot had altered the state constitution to enshrine the thousands of years view of marriage. The lawful way to have repealed this would have been to amend the constitution again. But the government of CA refused to defend what the people voted for. Federal judges tossed the ruling out. And the Supreme Court denied standing for those that would defend the voice of the people legitimately expressed. A cabal of black robed judges and craven politicians acted lawlessly.

Being a lawless nation, especially one where the lawlessness is exercised by those specifically given the authority to exercise the law, is a horrific and scary place to be. Let me transition for a second to what has been churning my gut for a while now, but the last 24 hours have just “pulled back the veil” completely.

First St. Paul on who is lawless, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4: “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”

If that is a little apocalyptic for you lets ask the apostle John, 1 John 3:4-8″ “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

Lets continue with the Apostolic testimony. From the writer of Hebrews quoting Jeremiah, Hebrews 10:16-18 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.”

And from Peter: 1 Peter 4:3-5 “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

And also from Peter: 2 Peter 3:17-18 “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

And for the “we follow Jesus only crowd” or “Jesus first, forget the Apostles” check out Matthew 7:23 ” And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”…and Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”…and Matt 24:12 ” And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”

I want to give Paul the last word in this section, Titus 2:11-15 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

The lawlessness is being revealed openly. Satan has his day. This is what Paul talks about in Romans 1. We are being handed over. We see it in what Paul describes in Romans 1:24-32 and Galatians 5:16-26. In apocalyptic language we see the two beasts – the lawless state (who can fight against it? – Rev 13:4) and the false prophet (Rev 13:11-18). And I know that I’ve just gone into cloud cookoo land quoting those, but this is said for those who have ears – “here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints (Rev 13:10)”. The Lord reigns. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty and the judgement against the beasts has already been entered (Rev 19:19-21). This has happened before and unfortunately it will probably happen again. But it is your call to stand firm in the faith. To witness to the truth of the resurrection and grace of Jesus Christ in the midst of a lawless world.

A Supreme Court Decision – I guess a victory of sorts

Here is the Supreme Court Ruling (unanimous, 3 differing opinions) in favor of Hosanna-Tabor LCMS vs. EEOC representing a teacher. Seeing that the LCMS general counsel represented Hosanna-Tabor, I’m guess they would largely agree with this that this represents a great victory. And I don’t disagree that religious liberty is an important thing. But let me quote the Court Ruling facts:

After respondent Cheryl Perich completed the required training, Hosanna-Tabor asked her to become a called teacher. Perich accepted the call and was designated a commissioned minister…
Perich developed narcolepsy and began the 2004–2005 school year on disability leave. In January 2005, she notified the school principal that she would be able to report to work in February. The principal responded that the school had already contracted with a lay teacher to fill Perich’s position for the remainder of the school year. The principal also expressed concern that Perich was not yet ready to return to the classroom. The congregation subsequently offered to paya portion of Perich’s health insurance premiums in exchange for her resignation as a called teacher. Perich refused to resign. In February, Perich presented herself at the school and refused to leave until she received written documentation that she had reported to work. The principal later called Perich and told her that she would likely be fired. Perich responded that she had spoken with an attorney and intended to assert her legal rights. In a subsequent letter, the chairman of the school board advised Perich that the congregation would consider whether to rescind her call at its next meeting. As grounds for termination, the letter cited Perich’s “insubordination and disruptive behavior,” as well as the damage she had done to her “working relationship” with the school by “threatening to take legal action.” The congregation voted to rescind Perich’s call, and Hosanna-Tabor sent her a letter of termination.

Does that sound like what you want to be in court defending religious liberty over? Yeah, we are the church. We get to fire sick people. Yeah! If you continue, they were able to do that because she was a “minister”. A non-minister employee would have government protection. What does it say that this minister trusted Caesar more than her own church?

Of course none of this address the internal issue that a call is supposed to be a divine call. Something like “in sickness and in health”. The practical reasons cited are all true. And a minister should know enough that they couldn’t continue to work in such an atmosphere. They should place the good of the Kingdom over their own good. But none of those reasons are the traditional reasons for rescinding a call.

Luke 12:58 – As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison.

Matt 5:40 – And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

1 Cor 6:1-8 – When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud–even your own brothers!

I call Jesus and Paul to the stand. Why not rather be defrauded? Even if you win before the court unanimously, you lose. Can anyone tell me how I can read this as a glorious victory?

More on ‘not reading Romans 7’

From Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan (via WSJ)

Recognizing the cancerous effect of this corruption, voters of the first State, acting through referendum, enact several campaign finance measures previously approved by this Court. They cap campaign contributions; require disclosure of substantial donations; and create an optional public financing program that gives candidates a fixed public subsidy if they refrain from private fundraising. But these measures do not work. Individuals who “bundle” campaign contributions become indispensable to candidates in need of money. Simple disclosure fails to prevent shady dealing. And candidates choose not to participate in the public financing system because the sums provided do not make them competitive with their privately financed opponents. So the State remains afflicted with corruption.

Voters of the second State, having witnessed this failure, take an ever-so-slightly different tack to cleaning up their political system. . . . The second State rids itself of corruption.

Anyone who understood or read Romans 7 would know that “rid itself of corruption (through yet more laws)” is not how we humans work. What the law does is expose just how completely controlled we are by corruption (otherwise known as sin). Even when we might be enlightened enough to agree with it, we find ourselves doing just the opposite. Supreme Court justices should realize this. That they don’t is a big problem of the modern American state. But then the Christian is not to put their faith in princes. The state is the state. It is not our hope and salvation.