By Virginia Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman
"Yesterday we suffered from crimes; today we suffer from laws." So wrote Tacitus, the great Roman historian of the First and Second Centuries, A.D. The same lament can be uttered for America today, where we suffer from the edicts of Humanistic judges, whose runaway rulings have eroded our Constitution and our culture.
In our Briefings and Commentaries of 1/30/07 and 2/26/07, we asserted that judicial nominees must be thoroughly questioned concerning their basic philosophies and constitutional philosophies. And we offered specific questions to be asked of would-be judges. Those questions involve the judges’ worldview values and are extracted from worldview positions already clearly expressed by judges and their off-the-court allies.
For this and other reasons, it is essential that we Constitutionalists (advocates of the Judeo-Christian worldview) understand the views and values which give rise to judges’ worldview positions. In our Briefing and Commentary of 3/30/07, we began this exploration of "The Courts and the Culture War" by offering an overview of "worldviews and Law," the law-related components of a worldview, and their interrelationships. At that time, we introduced a diagram which visually reveals the law related ingredients of a worldview.
This diagram shows that from the theological/religious/ philosophical foundations of a worldview arise our legal philosophy/theory ("jurisprudence") and our political philosophy. It is our nation’s jurisprudence (Level #2B) at which we look today. Level #2B is where our religious/theological values and our constitutional/legal values intersect. Judges have seized the power to declare and define our jurisprudence (a generally invisible process). But this invisible judicial philosophizing is the nefarious force producing the courts’ highly visible attacks on marriage, the sanctity of human life, public acknowledgements of God, etc.
The responsibility for repelling this judicial assault on our God and our Constitution falls squarely on US. The Constitution still begins with the words, "We, the people." Most important, God still holds His people accountable to be the "watchmen on the walls" of America. We, the people, must understand our enemy — the evil jurisprudence with which Humanistic judges are battering our Constitution and our culture. Knowledge is key to empowerment, and empowerment is key to our victory in the Culture War.
There are six Essential Elements in a complete body of jurisprudence. The last three of these Elements we will discuss in a later Briefing and Commentary. The first three of these Elements, and the opposing Judeo-Christian ("Constitutionalist") and Humanistic ("Reconstructionist") positions on these issues, we address now.
THE NATURE OF LAW — what is/are the quality(ies) that make a rule a real "law"?
Judeo-Christian theory begins with the premise that the very concept of "law" is rooted in the character of the infinite, personal, sovereign, triune God, and expresses His character.
Illustration: Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined law by declaring that "Laws are imperative or mandatory, commanding what shall be done; prohibitory, restraining from what is to be forborne; or permissive, declaring what may be done without incurring a penalty." One of these three qualities must characterize a rule or norm in order for it to be genuine "law."
God’s Will can also be understood as "commanding," "prohibiting," and "permitting." America’s view of the nature of law thus corresponds to the nature of God’s Will.
Humanism argues that law is a totally human creation, and that the only "law" of any significance is "positive" or "civil" (i.e., "human") law.
Illustration: The U. S. Supreme Court rendered a decision which met none of the Webster conditions to be a "law" in McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky. The Court ruled that a poster listing the Ten Commandments was a "law establishing a religion." But the poster was not a "law" within the meaning of the First Amendment’s prohibitions and therefore and could not violate the Establishment Clause, which applies only to "laws."
THE SOURCE(S) OF LAW — where does law originate?
Judeo-Christian jurisprudence asserts that God, as the Supreme Ruler of the universe, has created a body of Higher Law and authorized human governments to enact civil laws which embody His Higher Law. God permits man to make anti-godly laws, but man will suffer the consequences of these enactments.
Illustration: This view is reflected in the categories of law developed by Sir William Blackstone, the Eighteenth Century legal scholar grounded in the solid Judeo-Christian foundation. Blackstonian jurisprudence was foundational to American jurisprudence until well into the Twentieth Century. One of Blackstone’s categories that applies in America is as follows:
"Municipal law [is] a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state (civil/human law in America) commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong. But no human authority can act without limits [i.e., outside the limits of the law of nature and the law of revelation]." The source(s) of law are human authority acting within the limits of God’s Higher Law.
Humanism argues that law is the product of evolutionary processes in which human authorities, especially judges, are the primary creators of law.
Illustration: Reconstructionist jurisprudence was blatant in Federal District Judge Myron Thompson’s assertion that "it is from the people, and not God, that government derives its powers" (Glassroth v. Moore).
THE NATURE AND KNOWLEDGE OF LEGAL STANDARDS — are they absolute, and where are they found?
Judeo-Christian thought insists that God’s Higher Law manifests absolute truth and absolute standards of right and wrong. These are expressed imperfectly in nature and most perfectly in Scripture.
Illustration: Of Blackstone’s six categories of law, four are directly authored by God and are absolute and immutable. They are revealed in both nature and the hearts of men and, most perfectly and completely, in the Bible. God expects man to use his reason as a tool to discover these rules. A fifth law (the "Law of nations") includes humanly-authored rules. The sixth type is the "municipal law" described above.
Humanism contends that legal norms and their meanings are relative and evolve through time as a result of human experience and/or reason (especially that of judges).
Illustration: Reconstructionist jurisprudence is blatantly obvious in the assertion of eminent law professor Ronald Dworkin that "[judges] should work out principles of legality, fairness, and the rest and revise these principles from time to time in the light of what seems to the Court fresh moral insight . . . " Judges create law and change it as they will.
Will America tomorrow continue to suffer from the laws imposed on us by Humanistic judges and their off-the-bench allies? How well we empower ourselves with worldview knowledge today will have a profound impact on the answer to that question tomorrow.