Peroutka: Maryland Legislature Illegit Because Theocracy

Michael Peroutka, the Christian reconstructionist and white supremacist, has a video in which he argues that the Maryland state legislature and every law they now pass is illegitimate because they haven’t behaved like a proper theocracy and followed “God’s laws” by recognizing same-sex marriages.

In order for an enactment of a legislative body, such as Maryland’s General Assembly, to be legally valid and legally enforceable, it must satisfy two standards.

Firstly, the enactment must not violate what our Founders, in the Declaration of Independence, called “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Another way of saying this is that an enactment must not violate God’s law. (For example, an enactment that allowed the taking of innocent life would violate God’s Commandment “Thou shalt not murder,” and would, therefore, not constitute a law – even if it were enacted and signed.)

Secondly, the enactment must not violate the limits placed on the government by the Constitution of the United States or the constitution of your State. Another way of saying this is that the legislature of Maryland cannot do what it has no authority to do.

When we review the behavior of the Maryland legislature against this background, we are faced with overwhelming evidence that neither of these legal standards is followed by them, or even considered by them on a regular basis.

For example, in recent legislative sessions they have, among other things:

1) Tried to redefine “marriage,”

2) Tried to restrict the right of the people to keep and bear arms, (SB281)

3) Declared that little girls must share bathrooms with older men who are “gender confused,”

4) Placed a tax on the rain.

In earlier times, our Founders referred to such enactments as “pretended legislation.”

When the people of Maryland consider this pattern of behavior, are they justified in declaring that the Maryland legislature is no longer fit to do the job they are sworn to do?

Are they justified in declaring that the Maryland legislature has engaged in what the Declaration characterizes as a “long train of abuses and usurpations,” which is designed to reduce them to despotism?

Is it possible that those who are sworn to uphold the law, such as police and sheriffs and judges and prosecutors, may soon come to the conclusion that the enactments of this body should be ignored because they are based not in law, but in lawlessness?

Indeed what can the people do – what should the people do when those who are entrusted with making and enforcing the law actually become the lawbreakers? What happens when they use the “law” to break the law?

Here’s the video:

"That's a very big "IF" there as noted by others here."

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  • gog

    So, TL;DR: Decalogue supersedes Constitution no matter what.

  • pixiedust

    “4) Placed a tax on the rain.”

    Marylander here. Just in case no one else knows what #4 is, the state government has a requiring certain Maryland counties to take action (i.e., spend money) on managing stormwater run-off. Nitrogen, phosphorus, etc. is making its way to the Chesapeake Bay. We’ve been trying for decades to “save the bay” and while it hasn’t gotten much better, at least it hasn’t gotten much worse. (I’m open to correction from anyone who follows the technical issues of bay pollution b/c I don’t.)

    Since stormwater comes from storms, Republicans here thought it clever to dub this as “the rain tax”.

    It didn’t help the optics that the state exempted some counties (I don’t know why but I’d guess politics was part of it) nor that the Maryland county that is west of the eastern continental divide (and hence drains into the Gulf of Mexico and not the Bay) was originally included in the stormwater legislation.

  • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

    “tax on the rain” ???

    Well I suppose that’ll stop the Glord Almighty from flooding the Univers again, bastard won’t be able to afford it!

  • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

    Univers + “E” (been doin’ too much typesetting)

  • alanb

    How dare the Maryland Legislature try to save the Bay and strengthen a fishing and crabbing industry that will bring in additional tax revenues. We can’t afford that!

  • eric

    “Indeed what can the people do….”

    The people can (and do) learn that the DoI’s preamble is not a legally binding document. A fact you seem to have missed.

  • Mr Ed

    We are seeing the birth of a religion with wing nuts constantly invoking the Founders as mythical beings.

    Firstly, the enactment must not violate what our Founders, in the Declaration of Independence, called “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

    In earlier times, our Founders referred to such enactments as “pretended legislation.”

    Like the Garden of Eden the Founders lived in some christian/libertarian/conservative halcyon time which we can only try and emulate.

  • tubi

    @6

    That was exactly what I first reacted to. The Declaration of Independence is an important historical document that lays out the justifications for the colonies’ intention to separate themselves from England.

    What it does not do is lay out anything to do with how we expected to govern ourselves post-separation.

    It’s so simple.

  • freethinkercro

    I live in this clod’s district. The bad part is, subject to a recount, he won the Republican primary on Tuesday (by 36 votes).

    The Democratic race had a a guy running from the same right-wing organization. Fortunately, he didn’t win. Unfortunately, this district swings Republican, so it is likely that Peroutka will be my next county councilman. Ick.

  • John Pieret

    Unfortunately, this district swings Republican, so it is likely that Peroutka will be my next county councilman.

    On the possible bright side, if he can get the county council to ignore state law because the state legislature and all its laws are illegitimate, you could see them all frogmarched out of court after being held in contempt.

  • D. C. Sessions

    What he doesn’t mention is the document intermediate between the DoI and the Constitution: the Articles of Confederation. Although rarely mentioned, the Articles are actually the Constitution that the Right (especially in the South) continue to pretend that we have. Think of it as slightly less holy than the DoI but more so than the Constitution.

    Thus all that talk about the country being intended to be a weak central government, State supremacy, etc.

  • Al Dente

    The Declaration of Independence was a political and propaganda document. It has no standing as a legal document, unlike the Constitution.

  • badgersdaughter

    Not to be crude, but I’ve personally got a lot of mileage out of asking people who raise the bathroom issue if they really suspect gay men (which they always think transwomen are) of wanting to sexually approach girls and women. I asked a guy once if he’d rather have “gay men” using the men’s room instead, and he almost turned himself inside out trying to figure out whether it was safe for him to use a public restroom ever again. (Snort.)

  • https://www.facebook.com/wes.aaron.5 Wes Aaron

    Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t our founding fathers reject religion as government every time it was brought up? That the god they were more associated with is a deistic god? Meaning he cares not for us and it is up to our own means to live as a country.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    Amazing. He quotes the part of nature’s law and nature’s god, an expressly deistic phrasing, meant explicitly as a non-Christian basis for government, and somehow concludes that it means Jesus.

  • Michael Heath

    pixiedust writes:

    Nitrogen, phosphorus, etc. is making its way to the Chesapeake Bay. We’ve been trying for decades to “save the bay”

    I learned of this reading James Michener’s book on Chesapeake Bay. He published that book in 1978 where I read it several years later. Mr. Michener was a gateway from me reading fiction to non-fiction.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Democrats won’t win the Presidency every time. Eventually one of these clowns will get the top job.

    And he’ll take you so far back into the Dark Ages you won’t even know you had Founding Fathers.

  • Sastra

    Firstly, the enactment must not violate what our Founders, in the Declaration of Independence, called “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Another way of saying this is that an enactment must not violate God’s law.

    No, that is not another way of saying it. The Founders intended to more or less equate the two, in that God’s nature was embodied in His creation and thus you could find out about God’s nature simply by consulting nature alone (ie without Special Revelation.) Are people born with signs around their necks saying “no gay marriage?” Ok, looks like nature is neutral here.

    For example, an enactment that allowed the taking of innocent life would violate God’s Commandment “Thou shalt not murder,” and would, therefore, not constitute a law – even if it were enacted and signed.

    I’m sorry, this is gibberish. “Murder” is killing which is wrong by definition. People argue over what sorts of killings are wrong (murder) and which sorts are okay (not murder.) A commandment which says “thou shalt not murder” is empty. Sure. Now tell us where that line is.

    No country would or could make a law allowing ‘murder.’ Once it’s allowed, people can legitimately argue that it’s not wrong.

  • Michael Heath

    Al Dente writes:

    The Declaration of Independence was a political and propaganda document. It has no standing as a legal document, unlike the Constitution.

    This is a strawman; it’s defectively narrow description of the DofI where it fails to acknowledge how some constitutional experts use the DofI.

    The D of I provides a contextual standard within which some interpret the Constitution. That’s key in the U.S. since our Constitution isn’t structured like statutory laws like say, Germany’s is. Instead it’s structured around principles which require interpretation where our improving understanding of reality causes us to evolve our understanding of what is just.

    Michael Peroutka’s argument fails not because he references the DofI. Instead it fails because he makes a massive non sequitur by leaping from “the laws of nature and nature’s god” to his convenient interpretation of the Bible. He also fails by ignoring this passage from the DofI:

    . . . that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . .

    Where ‘nature’s god’ and ‘Creator’ purposefully go un-referenced or un-defined. We can’t get from Peroutka’s point A to his preferred point Z. In fact the consent argument destroys Peroutka’s argument.

    However, I can get from my point A to Z on the DofI’s standards to the U.S Constitution. Consider the above passage regarding the DofI’s assertion we possess unalienable rights and demand governance comes from the governed rather than anybody’s holy dogma. Now consider the equal protection and due process clauses to the 14 Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is the law of the land:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Does the U.S. Constitution adhere to the just governance standard of the DofI? Emphatically yes. So fuck Michael Peroutka for attempting to distort a document arguing for liberty and government gaining it’s power from the people rather than the Christian god. His bigotry, idiocy, and dishonesty is noted. That is his weakness; neither of you do justice on why the DofI is such a critical document when it comes to securing our liberty and demanding government by consent of the people.

  • moarscienceplz

    Yep Michael Heath nailed it. In the combined total of the Declaration and the Constitution there are exactly two references to the god that Peroutka thinks is so, so important, yet he totally ignores the second reference because it completely refutes his position, and he twists the first reference into a shape that would be totally unrecognizable to Thomas Jefferson who wrote it.

  • Trebuchet

    In case anyone’s forgotten, this is the same clown that donated a scientifically valuable dinosaur fossil to the Creation “Museum”. After carefully destroying it’s surrounding material so it couldn’t be studied.

    Funny how they’re always so concerned about the 10C but violate the one about “false witness” on an hourly basis.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1399822355 markmckee

    I think the identifier for the word creator in the DOI is important. It does not refer to THE Creator, it refers to THEIR creator. This word “their” thus leaves to the reader which god is being referenced.

    Thus right there in the DOI is language that negates that it is referring to the christian god.

  • cactuswren

    badgersdaughter @ 13: What I’ve run across is people who seem to think cismale high-school students — teenaged boys — will deliberately set themselves up for years of relentless bullying by posing as transwomen, so they can get into the “wrong” restrooms and locker rooms and See Nekkid Gurls.

  • lorn

    Ya’know … this guy would have something resembling an argument if the phrase “law of nature and natures God” come from the constitution instead of just the Declaration of Independence. The declaration of independence seeks to establish the justification for the colony becoming an independent nation. It contextualizes the situation between the colony seeking independence and the crown. It does not establish any legal precedent for how this proposed independent sate might operate.

    This use of the Declaration of Independence is an interesting historical footnote but it is largely irrelevant in the case cited.

  • jws1

    @#24: “It does not establish any legal precedent for how this proposed independent state might operate.”

    Yes it does, as Heath noted above; it says that the new govt will operate on the consent of the governed, as opposed to interpretations of revelation.

  • dingojack

    D C Sessions (#11) – So the DoI is this new religion’s Genesis, the Articles of Confederation are the OT and the Constitution is the ‘good news’ brought to you by Jesus (and his prophets, the holy Founding Fathers — peace be upon them), wrapped up with a few suras of miscellaneous rules that are attributed to holy men of later ages.

    Too bad US evangelism seems to be, on the whole, rather unsuccessful. Could it be that conversion at the point of a sword is not that effective? *

    :) Dingo

    ———–

    * Afghanistan and Iraq anyone?