where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues,

For now I want to focus my writing now articles specifically addressed to Christians. So most of my new posts will be on my other website listed below. I will continue to write and post short responses to newspaper columns and letters and even other articles as the inspiration hits me.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-RztuRKdCEQzgbhp52dCw

If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guns

Guns   

The idea of average people having guns in a modern civilized society can sound so, well, uncivilized.  One reason for this, at least for those of us in the United States, is that we are oceans away from so many of the countries where wars have been fought.  We certainly have had our share of wars, but most of the time we would just send our professional soldiers overseas, and we would then just read about them or watch clips of them from over here.
But the question is being asked, and rightly so, why average people, particularly here in the States, would need to have guns for themselves.  Those who live in urban areas certainly feel a lot less safe than they used to.   Many of us still remember a time when people often left doors unlocked and felt perfectly safe doing so.
The Second Amendment [A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.] is in the news often as its meaning is being debated and laws are being passed hopefully consistent with its meaning and intent but more concerned with the safety of the public. 
The meaning of the Second Amendment seems unclear to many today who are trying to mesh its meaning with the perceived need to protect our society from what many see as excessive gun violence.  It is certainly not written in a way that it would be if it were written today. 
While those who wrote the Second Amendment and voted on it are not around for us to ask them about it, the person who originally wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which includes this Second Amendment, also wrote about the Constitution.   
James Madison, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote a series of papers, The Federalist Papers, where they explained and defended the then proposed Constitution from those who were opposed to it.
There are at least three issues discussed in these papers that in my mind are pertinent to this matter of guns.
First, there were concerns that the federal government would gain too much power.  And what is very interesting about this whole discussion is that it is never mentioned that the states would or should appeal to the Supreme Court over whether a matter was of state or federal jurisdiction.  No, their recourse was to the fact that the people of the states were armed.
But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole. The same combinations, in short, would result from an apprehension of the federal, as was produced by the dread of a foreign, yoke; and unless the projected innovations should be voluntarily renounced, the same appeal to a trial of force would be made in the one case as was made in the other.  [italics mine]  Federalist no. 46  James Madison
It is of great importance in a republic . . . to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, . . . .     Federalist  no.  51    James Madison
He is saying that the people of the states would treat the federal government’s power grab the same way they would treat the threats of a foreign power.  Just as in the War for Independence, people fought against their own government to regain their freedom, so too they would do it again if the federal government tried to exert too much authority.
We need to understand that
[t]he powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. 
The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security.    Federalist no. 45  James Madison
The Founders had seen in Europe how when the citizenry was unarmed, tyranny exerted itself and continually enslaved the people.  But we were an “armed” nation, and thus we could protect ourselves from ever having tyrants rule over us.
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.   [Italics mine]  Federalist no. 46  James Madison
In other words, Madison was saying that besides being an “armed” people, our system of local governments chosen by the people can easily and effectively unite them to fight off any threats of tyranny by the national governments.
The thinking here is that it would require the use of force for the federal government to impose its will on the states, and the states would stand against this abuse of power by force as well.  Reference was then made to that just recent of events, the American Revolution, where states resisted the will of the larger government [England] for the sake of their freedom.
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state.  . . .
The obstacles to usurpation and the facilities of resistance increase with the increased extent of the state, provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them. [italics mine]  Federalist no. 28 Alexander Hamilton
It was not the need for guns for personal protection that was thought important but the need for the states to be able to marshal forces against the abuse of power of their national government.  James Madison noted that if those nations in Europe had this same ability, there would not be those dictators that they then had.
Crime and the need for personal protection was not a serious problem then, but that is for another article.
Related to this was the question of whether it was wise to have a standing army in peacetime.  And the answer to this question was the same.  There was no real threat to the freedom of the people, because the armed citizens of the states would always be larger in number than any army the federal government would have under its command.   Federalist no. 46  James Madison
It may seem strange why Madison and Hamilton would refer to the use of force against the federal government.  If the federal government mandated a course of action for the people of the states which the states, or state, refused to accept, as an encroachment or abuse of the rights of the state, what recourse would the federal government have to force compliance from the state? 
Today most people and states accept the ruling of the Supreme Court to decide such disputes, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change in the near future.  There are too many court decisions that are negating the votes of the people, as in state constitutions, and even rewriting the federal government’s argument in a major case to support a law that by its own standards should have been struck down.
I would not be surprised to hear of a state telling the federal government to get lost if they try to make them enforce a particular law or stop them from doing something they believe they should.
Lastly, when the Constitution of the United States was proposed, there was no Bill of Rights, as in a Second Amendment, attached to it.  Not only was it considered not necessary, but it was considered dangerous to even have one.   
It has been several times truly remarked that bills of rights are, in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgements of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince.  . . .  It is evident, therefore, that, according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need of particular reservations. "WE, THE PEOPLE of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Here is a better recognition of popular rights, than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our State bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government.  Federalist no. 84  Alexander Hamilton
The idea is: the people of the United States are not subjects of a government from which they would need protection, but they themselves are the ones who give the government its authority.  Why would people need a bill of rights when they are the ones in charge?  It would be like the owner of a company drawing up a list of things that he can and cannot do with regard to the company to make sure the company lets him do what he wants.
What people keep forgetting is that we are not subjects of our government.  The government is an extension of the will of the people.  A bill of rights would suggest that this is something that the government is allowing us rather than rights that we have prior to and apart from any government.  And this is why they saw an inherent danger in having a separate bill of rights.
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights. . . .
There remains but one other view of this matter to conclude the point. The truth is, after all the declamations we have heard, that the Constitution is itself, in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS.                        Federalist no. 84  Alexander Hamilton
So, as this would pertain to the matter of guns, according to those who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, there is no need for an Amendment guaranteeing one the right to keep and bear arms, because there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the federal government the power to restrict them. 
Could states?  Technically, I suppose they could, but this would have been unimaginable to the early Americans, because they had just fought a war about this whole idea of “unalienable rights” endowed by their Creator, “that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
And there’s no point in a right to liberty if you have no way to defend yourself from those who would take it away.  But that’s what our police and military are for.
Actually not quite.  Since they are tools of the state, the possibility always exists that they would be used to enforce the abuse of those who would take away our freedoms, and it is up to the people to protect their God-given rights, with force if necessary.
As you may recall, the War for Independence was not a war against a foreign country.  It was a war against their own government, to free itself from their excessive control.  It’s government which takes away the freedom of its people, and whether it’s done through a hostile takeover or slowly, one law and regulation at a time, the results are the same, just easier to get used to.
You read the writings of the Founders, and you realize very quickly that they are quite aware of history, particularly recent European history, and the natural human proclivity for government to always assume or take more control over its people. 
We like to think this is so ancient history, but what we have here in the United States was new on the world scene.  And what we have here has changed significantly from what it used to be, but being so gradual, few people see the bigger picture or know where we used to be.
By spelling out these rights as we see in the Bill of Right in detail, there was concern that the federal government might suppose it had the authority to curtail or otherwise modify these rights.  As it was noted earlier, “the powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined.”

The Founders of our country would think it naïve for a people such as ourselves to trust a government, any government, even our own, to protect them from those who would take away their freedom.  Governments are prone to abuse their power like weeds are prone to show up on your lawn.  Maybe not as quick but just as sure. 

No comments:

Post a Comment