Tag Archives: Constitution

Pray For America Today

Dear Heavenly Father,

This world is a mess, but then you know that already. The USA is in a real mess, and you know that, too, but Jesus teaches us to come to you with our concerns. He taught us to know that you care about us and our concerns, even our petty concerns. Thank you for that reassurance.

Still, we don’t think the state of our nation is a petty concern. Please be patient with us as we lift up to you our worries.

We thank you for the courageous people who followed your guidance to start our nation in 1776, and we thank you for your blessing and guidance ever since. This country has blessed people all around the world, and we give you the glory for that fact. We know that when our nation has been obedient to you, we have been blessed, and when we have wandered, we have simply not been in the right place to be blessed. We see that recent developments are destructive and have taken us far from the center of your will. We see that the troubles which beset us clearly point us to the error of our ways.

We recognize that you gave us our Constitution for the blessing of peace and good order for the people who live here. We thank you for the preservation of peace and good order in our country. We are richly blessed, and many people around the world see this country as a shining light. On our worst days here, many people know that your guidance and care for us makes this place the best place in the world for humans to live.

Father, our contentious election process has stretched over the past 18 months like a vicious, never-ending storm. Please protect us from the pain of this campaign season and endow us with the wisdom to select a good president. We know well that no president can govern with righteousness except you lead him or her, and we ask that our president, now and hereafter, may hear your voice and obey. We pray that all citizens may see your blessing in the process of voting for the next president.

We also ask that regardless of the outcome, we will trust you above all earthly powers for our blessing and protection. We ask your guidance for the one who is selected. We ask your guidance for all who are and will be part of our government. We know that our government exists as your servant to keep peace and good order on earth, and we know that government is the servant of your authority, not a replacement for it. Hear our fervent prayers that you may guide the process of electing the next president, and that you may guide the winner according to your holy and eternal purposes. May all your children turn to you for comfort, not to the election, and may all citizens be able to make peace with the outcome and trust you for everything good.

Forgive us our fractious, embattled behavior, Lord. Forgive us for the sake of Jesus who died for all of us.

In his holy Name we pray,

Amen

For suggestions for further prayer, go to this week’s Prayer Guide.

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Christians Can Officially Stop Worrying About Gay Marriage

When the Supreme Court’s decision in the case referred to as Obergfell was published, confessing Christians were outraged. Conservative voters were outraged, too. There were even people who might otherwise have been classified as progressive or neutral or independent who also objected. American citizens objected for various reasons, most of which centered on the consequences they feared. A ruling that created a whole new definition of marriage upset many people.

One of the reasons people objected to the use of the word marriage for a union of two people of the same sex is that the human race has never before defined marriage that way. No matter how primitive a culture is, the union of two people of the same gender has never before been called a marriage. Archeological and anthropological studies reveal that every human culture to date has relied on a marriage bond between a man and a woman as a pillar of the society. It makes sense; only that union can produce children, and most cultures did not want to go the way of the Shakers. There has never been any evidence of any past culture where the union of two people of the same gender was called marriage. Redefining the word marriage completely redefines human culture.

Of course, everyone who objects to such a transformative redefinition of the culture expects that there will be consequences. Some have predicted that there would be revolution, actual mortal combat, perhaps as violent as the one in 1776. Others have suggested that the country would be divided again, with some states seceding from a union that allows such a dramatic redefinition of marriage and human culture.

Some have also predicted that a culture that allowed same-sex unions to be considered equivalent to the marriage of two people of opposite sexes would immediately legitimize pedophilia. In their eyes, the destruction of any moral pillar might be considered to delegitimize all the others. Some people proclaimed that God would punish a nation that legitimized the whole notion of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Some even predicted that that a culture which allowed a same-sex union to be called a marriage would ultimately outlaw all religious behavior. The advocates of same-sex marriage currently enjoy themselves by making fun of such predictions and scoffing at the very idea. They particularly enjoy belittling Christians who trust biblical teaching and try to live by it. The Bible does not equivocate on the subject of homosexuality; in the Bible, such behavior is a sin.

It is fairly easy to see that so far, there has been no revolutionary war,  and no states have seceded. Yet even if one crosses revolution and secession off the list of the consequences of Obergfell, there actually do appear to be consequences. If one allows the full scope of all various definitions of the word revolution, then it begins to appear that there is, indeed, a revolution and that a country utterly unlike the United States of America is being created by this revolution.
Start with the idea that pedophilia will be normalized and legitimized. While the support for such behavior is far from being widespread in the country, the Obergfell decision makes it easier for people to advocate any sexual perversion whatsoever. If one deviant sexual behavior is suddenly declared to be normal, on what basis is any other sexual behavior considered to be deviant? If one deviant behavior can be legitimized as a cure for loneliness, then what others can be excluded? Where is the standard by which sexual behavior is evaluated? Who gets to say what is normal and what is abnormal? On what basis do you tell anyone that sexual behavior of any kind between any two people, or even between people and animals, is abnormal? Deviant? Perverted? When the standards fall, then it becomes difficult to tell pedophiles that they are sick and need help.

As for the prediction that  God will mete out punishment, people who doubt God’s existence certainly would not recognize or acknowledge God’s punishment even if they saw it with their own eyes, yet these are the people who presume to tell us that God is not punishing homosexual behavior, same-sex couples who marry, or anything else, for that matter. Since God does not always make public announcements of his punishments or “sign” his work, it is pretty silly for these people to declare that God is not punishing anyone. How would they know? If they saw it, would they acknowledge it?

As for the prophecy that as a consequence of gay marriage, the nation would outlaw religious belief, the fact is that animosity toward people of faith, no matter what faith they hold, is at an all-time high for the USA. Obergfell may not be solely responsible for this state of affairs, but it is certainly part of the climate that energizes such an attitude. A chaplain for veterans is told that even he may not give a patient in a VA hospital a Bible. A school administrator is told that there will be no praying during commencement exercises at graduation. A football player is publicly maligned for kneeling in a prayer of thanks after he makes a fabulous play. Employees of a restaurant are told not to say, “Merry Christmas” even if customers say those words to them. Children in the school lunch room are reprimanded by teachers if they pray over their food. Recipients of federal grants are informed that they may not use grant money to fund “inherently religious activities,” such as “worship,” “religious education,” or “proselytizing.” Since all the terms presented in quotation marks are subject to a wide variety of definitions, depending on who creates the definitions, the scope of forbidden activity is quite uncertain and subject to a great deal of dispute. Suppression of and scorn for words and deeds consistent with a life lived in submission to God and his authority is becoming common. Obergfell is certainly part of the social climate that is leading many people to declare that people who live according to biblical teachings are extreme.

For example, when Indiana tried to pass a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, social activists declared that to allow a Christian the religious liberty to refuse business that conflicts with his Christian principles is to allow the Christian to discriminate while pretending to be a faithful Christian. People who are not Christians declare that a Christian baker is obligated by US law to bake a cake and prepare it to be served at a wedding of two people of the same gender, no matter what his religious convictions are.

People who are not Christians declare that no Christian principle that conflicts with the objectives of their social advocacy can be permitted, because to permit it is to permit discrimination; this is another example of a term whose definition is being changed in such a way as to limit the exercise of Christian faith. Those who interpret the “free exercise” clause as a notion that encourages discrimination believe that they must suppress religious liberty in order to allow progressive social goals to evolve. Social activists reject the most clear meaning of the First Amendment, which recognizes that Christians submit to God as a higher authority than the social goals of society.  Obergfell is just one example of a way in which the culture suppresses religious liberty, but the same court that issued Obergfell is unlikely to issue any future rulings that strike it down or lessen its impact. In the Obergfell decision, social activists have found a weapon to begin to degrade the entire concept of religious liberty, a right granted to human beings by God that encourages human beings to put God ahead of the state. Social activists consider the state to be the source of all rights, and they define rights as privileges granted by the state, not powers invested in human beings at the moment of creation–people who reject the idea that each person is created by God naturally reject God as the source of human rights.

Gay marriage by itself does not cause pedophilia, God’s punishment, or the end of religious liberty. However, the path of social advocacy, culture change and government rulings has been inexorably modified by Obergfell, and it is quite reasonable to assume that if the nation as a whole chooses to do things and promote behaviors that God forbids, he will allow or perhaps orchestrate consequences that people will not think are pleasant. The book of Revelation speaks metaphorically, but the metaphor tells us that when God begins to react to what people do, people will hate and fear his actions so much that they would prefer burial under a rockslide to living in the presence of Almighty God.

There are social and political activists who utterly scorn all the statements by Christians who say that our country is sinking deeper and deeper into sinful attitudes and behaviors. They are willing to scorn God, because they utterly scorn the Bible and everything it stands for. As a person who believes that the Bible is God’s Word to human beings, intended to be our guide for faith and life, I believe that while revolution and secession may not happen to our country as a direct consequence of Obergfell, it is completely obvious that pedophilia, God’s punishment, and the suppression of religious liberty is happening already. There is a cultural revolution in place, and many people whose principles collide violently with the momentum of the revolution may very well look for ways to “secede” in some way or other from an immoral, godless culture.

What is the impact of Gay Marriage? The mindset that allows and promotes gay marriage is destroying the culture. Children’s minds are being poisoned by aggressive force-feeding of secularism in schools. Already children 10-20 have been indoctrinated in school to believe that homosexuality is only one of many “normal” variations in sexual behavior. They believe that cohabitation instead of marriage is normal. They believe that marriage is unnecessary. They believe that the government, not the parents, should set the moral climate. These things did not begin with gay marriage, and the moral disintegration does not end with gay marriage.

Those who doubt that God will punish the nation for going along with gay marriage should remember that the Israelites exhibited the same disregard for God that advocates of gay marriage exhibit. As a consequence, the stone on which God’s finger had written his commandments was ground to dust, thrown in the water, and forced down the throats of the Israelites. That story is a metaphor. God’s punishment will fall on the nation that flouts the law of God. Christians who are obedient to God can stop worrying about the consequences of same-sex marriage, but those who advocate and promote it still have a lot to worry about.

Christ has Already Overcome the World

For Christians, life in the USA today feels like a war. There is a reason for that feeling. Jesus told us long ago, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV)

Prayer_Christ _in_the_Garden

The Founders and Framers of the USA were wise men. They were all men of faith, even though they might not all have expressed it in the same way. They all recognized the significance of faith in their own lives, and all were well aware that their lives would have been very different if the original colonists in North America had brought with them the power structure of state churches in the Old World. Some of the most egregious offenses to religious liberty in the New World were simply old bad habits. Some of the colonies had state religions, while others eschewed any such thing. After independence from England, when the colonies recognized that they needed each other for security and trade, they also discussed whether to have a state church. In the government they designed in the Constitution, a national established church was forbidden. State churches in individual states were not forbidden, and some were already in place. However, over time it became clear that the interests of liberty-loving citizens would best be served by keeping the church out of the political structure.

A study of the Bible makes it very clear that when religion integrates with politics and power structures, it becomes like them. Priests, pastors, and any other religious leaders are not immune to the temptations of power. Immersed in the political structures, they start acting like political animals. The oil of political progress, compromise, comes to seem like gospel, and when that happens, the Gospel is discarded in favor of “bipartisanship” or “getting things done.”

This does not mean that laws ought not to embody God’s moral teachings. The Founders never advocated that the nation put religion in a locked box and make up morality as the notions came to them. The people who fought for independence and then wrestled with the concept of self-government believed profoundly in the importance of morality expressed in the lives of citizens, especially in the lives and actions of citizen leaders. They firmly believed that the Constitution was shaped by their faith, and they believed that law and order in the new nation would also be shaped by moral and ethical constructs of people of faith. They did not believe it was wrong to live and act by faith; they did believe that it was wrong for government to tell people what faith they had to live by. The Founders and Framers expected that people would want the body of law in the new nation to have a moral and ethical flavor in keeping with their personal moral and ethical principles. Government of, by and for the people should have the same moral flavor as that of the people governed.

The design of the Constitution means that Christians must influence the culture by being distributed throughout, expressing and acting on faith wherever they are. Jesus said the same thing when he said that we were to be salt and light. Instead of being the power at the top, Christians best influence the culture by being distributed through all the layers of the culture. When ordinary citizens like Crystal O’Connor simply live and act on their faith, the faith is most faithfully preserved and protected, and the culture is most powerfully influenced. As a consequence of her act, people who donated to a crowdfunding project on her behalf cast thousands and thousands of “votes” for faithful obedience to God’s moral teachings.

The crucifixion of Jesus demonstrates what the powers that be in the world will do to expressions of faith. The priests and church leaders were utterly absorbed in the political structure of Jerusalem and the Roman Empire. Their influence as God’s witnesses operated like a mold, not a seasoning. A mold is strong, solid, and unforgiving. A culture pressed into a mold will have all the noncompliant elements carved off. A culture seasoned with the salt and light of faith in Christ promotes the best expression of all the different ingredients.

There is a nonreligion in the USA today that is creating the role of the state church. This religion says that there is a mold all people must fit, or be carved and prodded till they do fit. The peculiar aspect of this nonreligion is that it loves all religions except Christianity. This nonreligion read news that Muslim bakers refused to bake wedding cakes for same-sex ceremonies that pretend to be weddings, but the nonreligion was not even interested in hearing about it. There was no Twitter war against a Muslim bakery that rejected participation in homosexual sin.

This nonreligion advocates “interfaith dialogue” where many religions get together, pour all their convictions down the disposal, and agree to adopt the secular language of diversity and inclusion. Instead of worshiping their individual gods, the various religions agree to worship the god of “getting along” by never differing from one another over such trivial issues as a real god or a fake god. Much better to light some candles and hum a meaningless syllable for hours than to fundamentally transform sinful human nature into something better.

Christians will never win this war. Christ wins this war. It is a secular teaching that if you believe something strongly enough you can make it real. Christians do not believe in an idea. Christians do not believe in themselves. Christians believe in Christ. Our faith, our words and our deeds participate in the victory, but they do not bring the victory to pass. Right now, the world is simultaneously trying to ignore us and to clobber us. It will not succeed in either goal, because Christ himself has overcome the world. The world’s apparent victory at times is only temporary. People like Crystal O’Connor participate in the ultimate victory of Christ before it even happens by testifying to their faith by word and deed. May all Christ’s followers be encouraged and motivated to do the same thing. We will not bring the victory of Christ to pass, because on the cross, he has already won the victory. If we fail to testify to it by our faithful words and deeds, it is not Christ who loses. We lose.

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABaltasar_de_Echave_Orio_-_The_Prayer_in_the_Garden_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/Baltasar_de_Echave_Orio_-_The_Prayer_in_the_Garden_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

By Baltasar de Echave Orio (ca. 1558 – ca. 1623) (Spanish) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What the Supreme Court Decision on DOMA Actually Means

The homosexual couples who are celebrating that DOMA is ruled unconstitutional should take a little time later today to think about what it means when a federal law can be ruled unconstitutional by revising the definition of a word which has had a single meaning since the first humans appeared on earth. If the meaning of the word “marriage” changes, because five justices want it to change, because they have a social agenda, and if the social agenda of Supreme Court justices agenda trumps the Constitution, then we do not live in a constitutional republic any longer.

It is not a first principle of Christian faith that people must live in a constitutional republic. The first principle of Christian faith is Christ — crucified, buried, risen and ascended to heaven. Christians have lived as Christians under all sorts of governments. Christians gratefully receive forgiveness from their sins through Christ and serve him faithfully. Our first allegiance in all choices is Christ, but our allegiance to him does not require us to overthrow governments that are not constitutional republics.

However, until recently, Christians thought that, as citizens of the USA, they did live in a constitutional republic. They believed that the Constitution meant what the plain language of the document means, and they just naturally assumed that all other language considered against the frame of reference of the Constitution would be considered in accord with the plain meaning of plain language.

No longer. By court fiat, a definition of the word “marriage” which has been the definition since the first humans appeared on earth, a definition that has been consistent in all cultures at all times in all places, has suddenly been revised. For all the time of human history, marriage has meant the union of a man and a woman. By an act of the Supreme Court, that word means something else today. We don’t even know what it means, because in doing away with the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the court leaves the definition empty. The word “marriage” now means nothing, at least in the court of US law.

A lot of homosexuals think that everything in this post is homophobic. That is not the right word. This post is grief. Grief at the death of the late, great USA, and grief at the end of marriage and family as we have known it. Most profoundly, it is grief that there is no longer any basis on which to assume that any right or freedom of human beings is protected by the Constitution, because as of today, the words in the Constitution mean whatever the court decides they mean on any given day.

The real horror that lies ahead is not, therefore, whether gays can “get married” or “be married.” The real horror is what happens next. Christian know that in politics, some people win and some people lose. If it were simply a matter of acceding to a political loss, Christians would be sad, but not crushed. Unfortunately, in states where “gay marriage” has already come to pass, suits are being filed that tell the story. A florist is being sued, because she exercises her faith, which specifies that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, by refusing to participate in something her religion defines as sin. A school is being sued, because they exercise their faith by rejecting the application of a child with two male parent, something considered to be sin in their religion. People with religious convictions who want to live their religious convictions may well be required to go along with the “gay marriage” idea whether or not it conflicts with their faith. Contrary to public statements on the matter, when the definition of “marriage” changes, everything changes.

For now, Christians continue to believe what they believe and to state their beliefs. That may not be true very much longer. Gay couples think this is fine and a well-deserved reproach to Christians. They should be very sure to remember one thing: if the Supreme Court can simply redefine a word as ancient as “marriage” it can certainly redefine other words that specify other social and political issues dear to the hearts of everyday citizens. Speech. Assembly. Search. Due Process. These words can be redefined by declaration. Beware.

The Ninth Amendment is Your Amendment, Too

The Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

This amendment is in danger of being forgotten and abandoned as the US government makes serious efforts to pretend that the text of the Constitution is “living and breathing,” which is to say, that the text is subject to reinterpretation in the light of a contemporary government agenda that is unconstitutional. Citizens need to be assertive about the rights protected by this amendment. The recent denial of refugee status to the Romeike family who fled Germany because the German government prohibits them from teaching their children any values that the government does not approve is an example of the potential for an unenumerated right to be suppressed and lost.

The crux of the matter in the US lies in the intention of the Founders who worded the Constitution specifically to limit the power and growth of the federal government. Students of American history will recall that prior to the American Revolution, the thirteen colonies that ultimately broke away from the British Empire were governed as if each was a nation of its own – a colonial nation, but a nation, nonetheless. If one views a map of Africa today, one will see several nations along the west coast of Africa which once were colonies in the British Empire. When those colonies obtained independence, each stood alone in the effort to become independent, and each stood alone after independence. In North America, the thirteen British colonies along the east coast of the continent worked in concert under the leadership of a gathering of representatives from each colony, a group which called itself the Continental Congress. Each colony functioned as an independent state which chose to cede some of its power and sovereignty to the group which chose George Washington to head their military efforts. The colonists used the term “state” in the sense of being an autonomous, sovereign nation in its own right. After the Revolution, the former colonies continued to think of themselves as independent nations which simply ceded some authority and power to the group in order to achieve better military defense and to protect international and interstate commerce. At no time did those states believe themselves to be departments of the federation. At no time did they believe that they or their citizens had surrendered any rights and powers to the federal government except the ones named in the Constitution and its amendments. During the circulation of the Constitution for purposes of ratification, the Ninth Amendment was proposed precisely for the purpose of preventing the loss of unenumerated rights. The federal government was to be limited to the powers enumerated, but the citizens were not to be limited in that manner.

The Ninth Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights passed during the First Congress after ratification of the Constitution, was intended to assert and reaffirm the fact that the Constitution only named rights and powers which the states had ceded to the federal government. The Ninth Amendment, more than any other words in the Founding documents, asserts that citizens of the United States of America have broad and comprehensive freedom to manage their own affairs without interference from the government.  The men who created the Constitution actually believed that human freedom including a vast treasure of human rights was bestowed on every human being by God himself. Those who wrote and those who voted to enact and those who ratified the Ninth Amendment would be appalled to hear a contemporary Attorney General of the United States of America say that no liberty was lost by anyone if a law that cancelled a basic human right applied equally to everyone.

This notion is the logic behind the recent denial of refugee status to the Romeike family. The family fled Germany because German law forbids parents to educate their children themselves and specifically forbids them to teach any alternate social or moral value system different from that of the state. The law dates back to the Nazi era and is a deliberate expression of the Nazi view that children belonged to the state, not to their parents. The law is enforced by forbidding parents to homeschool their children, and enforcement extends to measures such as huge fines and even the loss of parents’ custodial rights to their children, who are removed from the home and placed with families who agree to comply with the law requiring children to attend state-operated schools.

The Romeikes are being denied refugee status because the Attorney General of the United States of America does not recognize a universal human right which is protected in the United States by the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution. It could be anyone. It could be you. The fact is that in the United States, education is compulsory everywhere, for good reason, but in the United States, there is currently no prohibition against homeschooling. Until now, every parent in the USA had every reason to believe that the Ninth Amendment protected the right of parents to choose and control the education of their children. Even though education is compulsory, the parents have the right to control the content of that education, including the right to educate their own children according to their own values. For American citizens, the universal right of parents to control the education of their own children has meant that families who object to the teaching of homosexual practices have the freedom to homeschool their children and teach their own values in sex education. Families who believe that God created the universe in which we live, and that God created the first and all subsequent human beings, may homeschool their children and include that teaching in the children’s education. Parents who believe that their children need the freedom to pray openly during the school day as part of the education process can homeschool their children in that environment. To date, the Ninth Amendment has upheld the universal human right for parents to control the education of their children.

Interestingly, both the USA and Germany are signatories to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in Article 26, section 3, “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” Obviously the national commitment of Germany to the rights contained in this Declaration has not extended to its law controlling education. While some citizens may have thought that the fact that the US signed that declaration meant that parental control of the education of their children is protected, the evidence of the Romeike case suggests otherwise.

In the United States, for most of its history, education was managed locally and within the states. Only since the inception of the federal Department of Education has the federal government extended its tentacles into local schools. The demands and mandates delivered and enforced upon public schools around the nation would have no effect if the schools dissociated themselves from federal money, but the perceived need for money has led the schools to give away their own rights, and with them the rights of parents to have a voice in their children’s education. As a result, there arises the specter of a Congress which might have the same view of this human right as the current Attorney General. A Congress which believed that if a human right is denied to all people equally, then it is not persecution, might very well pass a law that forbade American parents to homeschool their own children, and American parents might be at risk of arrests, fines and loss of custody of their children, just like the Romeike family. Where will that family go in all the world to find a country that actually enforces the protection of the universal human right for parents to control the education of their children? If they cannot be granted refuge in the land of the Ninth Amendment, then where will they go?

Christians have a profound reason to be concerned about this. Christians need to recognize that when they assert their First Amendment right to the free exercise of their religion, they may not be able to claim that protection for the education of their children. Certainly most Christians believe that God expects parents to educate their children in the faith. The attitude of the current Attorney General suggests that he does not share that understanding of the “free exercise” of religion. Likewise, the narrowly worded conscience exemption for employers who object to the mandate to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion as preventive health services in an employee insurance package points to a very narrow interpretation of the meaning of religion and the meaning of the exercise of religion by the federal government. Christians would be very wise to include prayer on this subject in their daily prayers. However, it seems likely that God would act on those prayers through human beings obedient to his call to speak up and speak out for the rights protected by the Ninth Amendment as well as all the rights protected by the First Amendment.

When the Constitution was being circulated among the states for the purpose of ratification, many people were concerned because it did not enumerate all the possible rights that might need to be protected. The original authors of the Constitution responded to this concern at first by pointing out that the Constitution defined a government of limited powers.  They recognized that people feared the possibility that if something were not forbidden to the federal government, it would assert its authority there and claim that no law prevented its doing so. Many is the child who has engaged in destructive anti-social behavior and claimed the right to do so, because “there is no law against it.” The authors of the Constitution specifically designed the Constitution to list the powers of the federal government, and their understanding of the document was that if a power were not granted to the federal government, then the federal government did not have that power.

Other people claimed that in the absence of a prohibition, aggressive and assertive political leaders would encroach on the powers of the states and the rights of the people, perhaps in the name of some universal good, but nevertheless in violation of the intent of the Constitution. Fortunately for the country, those wiser voices prevailed. The Ninth Amendment was written to assure that people could not be deprived of any of their natural rights due to a failure to list them in the Constitution. A reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will immediately confirm the problem of listing all the rights people possess by virtue of their being human. The Founders were wise not to attempt it as part of the discussion of the design of government for the thirteen new states in the United States of America.

A refugee from persecution in some other country is not considered a citizen of the United States of America, and that means that the Constitution does not give the refugee the rights of a citizen. The protection of universal human rights within the Constitution and other founding documents, however, implies a respect for those rights. It is our respect for those rights that creates a sense of obligation to identify individuals and families fleeing persecution by governments that ignore or defy the existence of those rights. A refugee who has fled for his life from a country where his faith or his political views make him a target for violence will find safe haven here. A refugee who is not only forbidden free exercise of his faith but is also at risk of imprisonment and torture in attempts to compel him to recant will find safe haven in the USA. It is hard to believe that parents who flee a government that has assessed huge fines and threatened the kidnapping of their children because it does not protect the universal right for parents to control the education of their children would be deported back to the very government which has threatened them.

Christians must care about the protection of fundamental, universal human rights. The right of Christian citizens in the USA is at risk as certainly as the rights of refugees seeking asylum. Even if this case were centered on an atheist family fleeing persecution in Bhutan or Buddhist family fleeing persecution in Uzbekistan, Christians should be concerned. When the Attorney General of the USA says that a law that suppresses free exercise of the right of parents to control the education of their children does not create persecution as long as it prohibits everyone equally, then something is terribly wrong. Christians must pray about this problem, but Christians must act to assert protection of the God-given responsibility to educate children in the values of the parents. Ignore this problem at your peril.