Monday, June 29, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
BELIEVERS ARE TO BLAME!
by Steve Fair
On Friday, the SCOTUS ruled 5-4 that same-sex couples in the United States have an equal right to marriage. Because of their ruling the only way this can be undone is by a formal amendment to the Constitution or a future court overturning the ruling. Neither is likely to happen. President Obama called the Supreme Court decision requiring states to recognize same-sex marriage "a victory for America." "Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities of changing times. Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens," he continued. "And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt."
The decision on Friday opened same-sex marriage legally in the remaining fourteen states that did not recognized gay marriage, and will give new legal protection for those who got married in other states. The court ruling said the prohibitions violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of due process and equal protection.
Former Arkansas Governor and 2016 GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee slammed the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on same-sex marriage, suggesting Christians will have no choice but resort to civil disobedience in order to follow their faith.
“This case wasn’t so much about a matter of marriage equality, it was marriage redefinition,” Huckabee said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” Sunday. “And I think people have to say, ‘If you’re going to have a new celebration that we’re not going to discriminate, may I ask, are we going to now discriminate against people of conscience, people of faith who may disagree with this ruling?” That is a great question. Does tolerance extend to those who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality?
President Obama seemed to imply that if you have a differing view from the court that you were not in any danger of being in trouble with the government. He said, “I know that Americans of good will continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition, in some cases, has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs. All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact and recognize different viewpoints, revere our deep commitment to religious freedom.” John Nolte on breitbart.com described the comments as, “if you like your religion, you can keep your religion.” I agree. The President seems to be understanding, but his track record on keeping his word and predicting how he will govern in the future has been less than stellar. He may recall he said, ‘those who wanted to keep their doctor could keep their doctor,’ repeating the phase 37 times according to Politico during the time he was trying to sell the Affordable Care Act to the public, but that has not been the case with the ACA. Will it be the same on same-sex marriage? Time will tell.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia, writing the minority opinion on Friday’s ruling said the SCOTUS now represents ‘a threat to American democracy.’ His point is when the vast majority of Americans voted to ban same-sex marriage and the court simply ignores the will of the people, it is a true threat to self-governance. In his most condemning statement Scalia said, “The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003. They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a ‘fundamental right’ overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since.”
The definition of marriage didn’t change on Friday just because five black robed judges ruled that it did and God didn’t lose control on Friday. He is still sovereign. Their ruling does reveal America is under the severe judgment of God. That judgment is not because of the gay agenda or the libertarians or the self righteous. It is because His people (true believes) have not been faithful to spread the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Professing believers have been more concerned with filling buildings than talking about the depravity of man and his need of redemption. Until believers in our country start doing their job and proclaiming the good news, we can expect more of the same. God have mercy on America!
Two websites that have interesting information on the ruling:
The first is the SCOTUS blog. There are several columns- both pro and con- on the ruling: You can access it via this link: http://www.scotusblog.com/category/special-features/same-sex-marriage/
The second is an article by Pastor John McArthur. You can acccess that via this link: https://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A170/Gods-Plan-for-the-Gay-Agenda
Monday, June 22, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
CONGRESS IS THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY!
by Steve FairThe Supreme Court will take up two very important cases in the final two weeks of the current term. The first is King vs. Burwell which will determine whether the Affordable Care Act lawfully gave the Internal Revenue Service authority to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is generally conceded the ACA didn’t expressly address the federal exchanges, but was implied. In oral arguments March 4th, seven of the nine Justices seem to have staked out their position, leaving Justices Roberts and Kennedy the swing votes. This case made its way to the high court because two lower courts disagreed in their appellate opinions.
Oklahoma Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick says King vs. Burwell is a simple case. “King v. Burwell presents a straightforward question of statutory interpretation, the sort judges decide routinely and readily. The case is a symposium-worthy blockbuster not because of the question presented, but because of the statutory vehicle that delivered us that question,” Wyrick says.
But because this case is about the Affordable Care Act, Wyrick sees it being transformed into a more complicated and partisan case than it should be. “A false narrative is being created: that resolution of the case in the challengers’ favor would require the abandonment of all basic principles of textualism. This way, a loss can be blamed on politics, rather than on the true culprit: the IRS’s decision to execute the law it wishes Congress had enacted, rather the law Congress actually enacted,” Wyrick says. A decision on King vs. Burwell could come as early as Friday morning.
The second major case is Obergefell vs. Hodges. This is the same-sex marriage case. It will rule as to whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and does it require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state? Oral arguments were presented before the court April 28th for 2 ½ hours. Justice Kennedy appears to be the swing vote again. A decision is expected as early as Friday.
If same-sex marriage is ruled to be the law of the law, it will attempt to define something God has already defined. In the Garden of Eden, it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. No matter what nine black robed judges say marriage is between one man and one woman and no Supreme Court ruling will change that.
These cases highlight a situation all Americans need to consider: the SCOTUS has more power than any other branch of government! The Supreme Court for a long time — indeed, since 1803 when it declared it could void statues or laws — has claimed for itself the ultimate authority to decide what the Constitution means. Much of the debate is whether the Constitution is to be interpreted literally, just as it was written, or whether it is meant to be a living, breathing document that changes over time. There are a number of examples where the court has overturned laws and ‘legislated from the bench.’
Many of these decisions have been after voters have overwhelmingly made a decision and the courts decided to overturn the decision of the people. And it is not just the SCOTUS. Right here in Oklahoma, the State Supreme Court has overturned legislation and ruled State Questions unconstitutional. An activist judiciary is a real threat to self-government.
The intent of the founders of our country was for the legislative branch to be the most powerful with the Executive branch being the weakest. Evidently President Obama doesn’t believe that because on the White House website, it says, “Each branch of government is balanced by powers in the other two coequal branches.” Co-equal? Not right! The legislative branch is the closest to the people, and that is why it was made the most powerful branch of government. Article 1 of the Constitution gives explicate authority to the legislative branch to impeach the judicial and executive branches. Just because Congress lacks the political will to do it doesn’t mean they don’t have the constitutional authority to do it. Of course, if the case went to the SCOTUS, they would likely rule an impeachment of a Supreme Court Justice unconstitutional.
Monday, June 8, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
G7 should be dismantled!
by Steve Fair
President Obama is attending the G7 Summit this week in Germany. The G7 was started in 1975 as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from Italy, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States. The seven countries represent about half of the world’s gross domestic product. The G7 has been criticized because four the world’s largest economies (Brazil, India, Russia and China) are not included in the club. Russia was in the group- then the G8- until they invaded Ukraine.
According to the G7 website, the agenda at this week’s meeting will include discussion on not just economic issues, but also foreign policy, and climate change. “The G7 sees itself as a community of values that stands for peace, security and a self-determined life all around the world. Freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as prosperity and sustainable development are key principles of the G7,” the site proclaims.
First, the real goal of the G7 is to erode the national sovereignty of every participating nation at the G7. Initially the G7’s goal was attempting to influence and control monetary policy across national boundaries, but now every issue is on the table, not just economic ones. The G7 monetary experts would love to have a global currency, but that discussion has taken a back seat to climate change. The most often discussed issue in recent years has been carbon emission reduction. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hoping to secure commitments this week from her G7 guests to tackle global warming to build momentum in the run-up to a major United Nations climate summit in Paris in December. The German agenda also foresees discussions on global health issues, from Ebola to antibiotics and tropical diseases. The supposed peace, security and self-determined life tenets from the G7 mission statement are largely forgotten by the modern G7.
Second, most US Presidents have recently used the G7 to solicit support for foreign policy. That is why last year Russia was kicked out because their unwillingness to withdraw from the Ukraine. On Monday, President Obama asked this question of Vladimir Putin; “Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire? Or does he recognize that Russia’s greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries?” Fact is Putin is invading Ukraine because he needs the population to keep Russia relevant in the 21st century. Russia’s low birth rate is long term an issue. Russia is dying. The Ukrainians have a high birth rate which helps solve that issue. Obama and the other G7 leaders should recognize this isn’t about territory- it’s about population. The real irony is for the G7 club to rebuke another country for ‘not honoring another countries’ sovereignty.’ That is laughable. The real purpose of the G7 is to break down the sovereignty of the member nations, not reinforce it.
Third, so long as there is a G7, the U.S. should probably be there, but without us, the G7 wouldn’t have near the clout it does now. The U.S. accounts for nearly 20% of the world’s GDP, but twenty five years ago, the US accounted for 25% of the globe’s GDP. Japan, France, German and Italy’s clout on the world’s GDP is half of what it was twenty five years ago. Fact is the G7 countries are losing market share to emerging economies (China, India) and instead of discussing ways to compete globally, the spend more time discussing climate change. The U.S. should participate by leading to dismantle this worthless club. It is nothing but a tool of the United Nations to create a global government. Nothing that happens at the G7 benefits the U.S.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
On October 26, 2001, just over a month after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into the law The Patriot Act. It was designed to help law enforcement have the tools to identify and track terrorists. Key tenets of the 2001 Patriot Act included allowing government the authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism. It also allowed law enforcement to wiretap suspected terrorists with no court order. It also required that banks report to the government any large withdrawals from bank accounts. Perhaps the most controversial part of the Patriot Act was the bulk data (cell phone/computer usage) the NSA was authorized to collect from the general public and hold it for five years.
Most of the general public was unaware of just how extensive the collecting was until former CIA computer worker Edward Snowden leaked classified documents to the main stream media. Snowden has been charged with violation of the Espionage Act, but he considers himself a whistle-blower. He has been granted temporary asylum in Russia. Some have hailed Snowden as a hero, others a traitor, but whatever your opinion, it is for certain, the government was collecting massive amount of personal information on innocent citizens without their knowledge and we might not have known if Snowden hadn’t ratted on his former employer.
On Sunday night, the U.S. Senate voted allowed the Patriot Act to expire. The U.S. House has already passed a bill- USA Freedom Act- that would shift the data collection from the government to the service providers. The Senate voted 77-17 to take up the House bill this week. The National Security Agency supposedly shut down the bulk metadata collection program officially at 7:44 p.m. Three observations about the debate:
First, the nature of human government is to grow in scope and power. Throughout history, government, including our own, has effectively used fear to keep the folks in line. Fear works best in wartime. In the midst of the war with France, in 1798, the Alien & Sedition Act was passed which increased the residency requirements for American citizenship from five to fourteen years. Designed by Federalists to limit the power of their political opponents, the enforcement ended after Jefferson was elected president in 1800. President Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus, the legal procedure that prevents the government from holding you indefinitely without showing cause, in the midst of the Civil War. President Roosevelt sent 100,000 Japanese Americans to internment camps after Pearl Harbor, because the general public was scared. This coming from the president who said Americans ‘had nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Government uses fear to increase their power.
Second, government isn’t the only group to use fear as a tool. Politicians use it- on both sides of the aisle. Conservative politicos tell citizens to fear the government's overreaching authority. Liberals say citizens should fear the conservatives. Debates on issues have evolved into carefully rehearsed speeches pandering to a political base, used to position for re-election or higher office. During the recent debate on the Patriot Act, both sides of the political spectrum used fear as the primary point in their argument. And using fear works. According to a 2005 Gallup poll, teens between 13-17 were asked what they feared most and the top ten in order were: terrorist attacks, spiders, death, being a failure, war, crime or gang violence, being alone, the future, and nuclear war.
Third, what and who should we fear? Should we fear those who can kill us? That would make sense. We should have the God given right to defend ourselves and our loved ones against anyone who wants to kill us. Should we fear those who can disrupt our way of life- hurt us economically? That also seems to make sense, but how do we deal with dishonest merchants and overreaching government? How do we identify those economic enemies? Fear is a human mechanism that can protect us or debilitate us, depending on how we respond to it.It is clear from scripture that government is given the ‘power of the sword,(Romans 13)’ to provide citizens some measure of security, but no government, politician or man can give us true security. Security comes only from God. Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, not the fear of government or terrorists.