Culture Wars and the Courts

Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum has a sample resolution for use, presumably by city councils and state legislatures, that is little more than a list of religious right talking points about the evils of an independent judiciary. Before the resolution begins, they rant a bit:

The last time I read the U.S. Constitution (which was quite recently), the document still began with the words, “We, the People of the United States . . . .” If this declaration means anything today, it means that the American people have a right to know — necessity of knowing — the basic philosophical and constitutional positions of their leaders — before those leaders are chosen. It also means that we have the right — and necessity — of exercising oversight of our leaders on an ongoing basis.

This is true even, or especially, with appointed federal judges. Reconstructionist (i.e., “activist/liberal”) judges are leading the assault on America’s Judeo-Christian foundations in our nation’s Culture War. (This “Culture War” is a climactic battle between the Judeo-Christian and Humanistic worldviews.) Indeed, these Reconstructionist federal judges (particularly U. S. Supreme Court Justices) have changed the nature of the courts, the Constitution, and the culture in this War.

Very annoying that they use the term “reconstructionist” in this manner; that term has an accepted use, identifying those hardcore Calvinists who want the Old Testament law installed as the civil and criminal law of the land. But on the substance, they miss what the right wing always misses about the judiciary — it was designed explicitly and intentionally not to be beholden to “we the people.” Those Founding Fathers that they claim to support so much did that on purpose and explained exactly why they did it that way. Much like the Bible, the religious right claims to believe in it without having actually read it.

Here’s the resolution:

WHEREAS, the Constitution of the United States is, and must be, the Supreme Law of the Land, superior to all court decisions;

WHEREAS, the Constitution must be interpreted in the light of its text, constitutional tradition, and its Judeo-Christian foundation;

WHEREAS, the Constitution contains nothing that requires a “wall of separation between church and state”;

WHEREAS, a total separation of religion and law/government is impossible;

WHEREAS, the Framers of the Constitution did not intend that a total separation be attempted;

WHEREAS, the English Common Law in which American law is rooted was Christianized;

WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court does not require a total separation between “church and state”;

WHEREAS, Reconstructionist (activist/liberal) federal judges have blatantly assaulted these fundamental Constitutional principles and have re-written them under the guise of interpreting them;

AND WHEREAS, We, the people, still possess the ultimate human political power in this nation and have delegated to the President and Congress in the Constitution very broad powers to establish and empower national courts;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT ________ actively supports

  1. the Congressional denial of jurisdiction to courts to hear challenges to either the verbal or non-verbal acknowledgement of God — i.e., “God” meaning the Deity central to the Ten Commandments – on public property and in official utterances such as (but not limited to) the Pledge of Allegiance and national motto.
  2. Congressional refusal to recognize, fund, or otherwise enforce court decisions that prohibit either the verbal or non-verbal acknowledgement of God — i.e., “God” meaning the Deity central to the Ten Commandments — on public property and in official utterances such as (but not limited to) the Pledge of Allegiance and national motto.

It’s nice that they admit that phrases like “under God” and “In God We Trust” are referring to the “Deity central to the Ten Commandments.” That really should end all that “ceremonial deism” nonsense by which the courts, perhaps ironically given the context, have continued to uphold such things. I wish the courts really were half as good on these issues as the wingnuts think they are.

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  • eric

    This “Culture War” is a climactic battle between the Judeo-Christian and Humanistic worldviews

    Woo hoo, top billing! Suck it, Islamists! 🙂

  • doktorzoom

    As others have said, sometimes it feels like these people prefer the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution…

  • Phillip IV

    BE IT RESOLVED THAT ________ actively supports (…) Congressional refusal to recognize, fund, or otherwise enforce court decisions

    Uh, doesn’t that actually amount to sedition?

  • Michael Heath

    Eagle Forum

    “We, the People of the United States . . . .” If this declaration means anything today, it means that the American people have a right to know — necessity of knowing — the basic philosophical and constitutional positions of their leaders — before those leaders are chosen.

    I whole-heartedly agree. This passage is particularly well-written. What makes it particularly ironic is that Phyllis Schlafly’s tribe distinguishes themselves by their leaders purposefully avoiding the scrutiny of the media on these matters. So here we have weapons-grade projection. Even Mitt Romney is avoiding interviews. Conservatives have even created their own faux-media to avoid being transparent regarding the legitimacy of their constitutional positions while falsely posing as if they have been scrutinized.

    I think this point is also a valid counter-argument to my wanting judges to be appointed rather than elected in order to achieve a more technocratic government with stronger checks and balances and increased fealty to the very Constitution conservatives falsely claim fealty to when they are its biggest enemy. However I also think we can establish a process which mitigates the justified concern about a lack of transparency by those nominated by having a rigorous nomination process with set minimal standards which truly reveal a nominees expressed and past positions.

  • Gregory

    #3 – Yes, by the very definition of sedition: “Incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.” – Merriam-Webster.

  • Aquaria

    This is phenomenally stupid and insane for an organization started by a supposed lawyer to be vomiting up.

  • gshelley

    Any comment on the case Greg Laden and Blue Collar atheist covered where the Supreme court refused to even hear an appeal to a ban on church services on school property? Given various previous cases such as Lamb’s Chapel, I was a little surprised that not only did the Supremes not think the same rules applied in this case, they thought it so obvious that they didn’t even need to take the case to clarify the law, and none of them had enough of a problem with the decision not to release a statement complaining about it.

  • Aquaria

    WHEREAS, the Constitution contains nothing that requires a “wall of separation between church and state”

    I always like to tell the religiturds who try this one on me that “freedom of religion” isn’t in there, either. And then I hand them my pocket Constitution and tell them to get back to me when they find it in there.

  • mikeym

    At the time the Constitution was written, the 19th century versions of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle forum were incensed that “We the people” were establishing the government instead of “Our Heavenly Father.”

  • Islam counts the Torah as the Word of Allah, so doesn’t that make Allah “central to the Ten Commandments”?

  • slc1

    Re Aquaria

    Equally to the point, I defy these folks to show me where in the Constitution it permits the government to form a separate air force, like it does an army and a navy, which are explicitly spelled out.

  • Modusoperandi

    “Very annoying that they use the term ‘reconstructionist’ in this manner…”

    Dogwhistle! Dogwhistle!

  • I wonder if they’ve ever thought through the implications of having Congress declare that the laws it passes cannot be reviewed by the courts. It would effectively mean that nothing could ever be unconstitutional, because Congress would just declare it so and tell the courts they couldn’t decide otherwise.

    This is what we get from the people who claim to revere the Constitution.

  • d cwilson

    They revere the Constitution so much, they detest the parts that clearly show the federal government was not founded in the Christian bible.