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Law and Order and Man's Depravity, Part II
Jul 3, 2020
We continue our discussion from last week regarding man's true nature of depravity and how that influenced our Founder's thinking in creating a government of law and order, checks and balances and a separation of powers. From the Federalist Papers and even a letter written by George Washington, these men knew that crafting a governmental structure made for liberty was going to be hard-fought not only to create but also to keep. And this week, on this nation's 244th birthday, we still find ourselves grappling with these ideas and on the verge of tyranny while holding loosely to the ideas that continue to preserve our liberties to this day.
Law and Order and Man's Depravity, Part I
Jun 26, 2020
With cries around the country to "defund the police" and replace our law enforcement agents with social workers, it is more clear than ever that many are deceived by one prevailing thought of the age, that people are inherently good. We even hear this in churches despite the Gospel's clarity regarding our sin nature and our need for redemption, our need for Christ. We will begin to take a look at man's true nature of depravity and how this truth impacted the Founder's thinking in structuring our government.
A Tough Week for Conservatives
Jun 19, 2020
What a disappointing week. We'll talk about two decisions that came out of the U.S. Supreme Court and a shocker from Justice Gorsuch. But also here in Tennessee, we lost the battle for a solid constitutional argument to protect the life of the unborn. The news will make its rounds and Tennessee GOP lawmakers will pat themselves on the back about how pro-life they are leading into the November elections. And, major conservative news outlets will shout, "victory!" But don't be fooled. Nothing special happened here in Tennessee. We just did what everyone else has already done and the bill will soon be headed towards another bitter defeat in the courts. It could have all been so different.
What is the Root of Civil Unrest
Jun 12, 2020
Our nation is in turmoil. Our cities are being burned. And where is the church in all of this? Where can we find the truth necessary to bring clarity and healing to a nation so overtaken by brokenness? May we submit that in order to find the right solution to a problem, we need to first ensure that we are asking the right questions. But it seems the left already has all of the answers. And as history tends to repeat itself here in America, the church simply follows the cues of a broken culture.
When We Don't Get Our Way in Court
Jun 5, 2020
Church leaders across America were disheartened, and some outraged at the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding Gavin Newsome's (Governor of California) restrictions on church gatherings due to COVID-19. In a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice Roberts sided with liberal justices upholding the Governor's order as constitutional. The question we are asking here is, do we want to be ruled by the courts or do we believe in federalism and state's rights, even when we don't get our way? It is a worthy conversation and one that Christians must pay attention to closely.
The Fight for Life in Tennessee
May 29, 2020
On Wed, May 27th, David had the opportunity to testify before the Tennessee House Public Health Subcommittee regarding two abortion bills in Tennessee, one being the Rule of Law Life Act. While both bills might have the goal of protecting the life of the unborn, we believe that only the Rule of Law Life Act makes a strong enough constitutional argument to the have the potential of overturning Roe v Wade in the Supreme Court. Why? Because we are arguing for the common law absolute right to life based on the 9th Amendment of the US Constitution, outside of the precedent of the 14th Amendment rulings of Roe v Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v Casey (1992).
Confusion in the Courts
May 22, 2020
We've said it before and we'll say it again. Words matter! And time and time again, we find court opinions wrought with confusion on how to apply the meaning of words in light of prior rulings and the Constitution, in many cases, words which are all together clear and unambiguous. It is bad enough that courts are confused on the meaning of words like life and liberty. But we find now that even words like man, woman, husband, mother and biological simply don't seem to ring true anymore in the court of law. When a judge feels he or she has the liberty reinterpret a statute simply be redefining a word, we have lost the ideas of separation of powers and federalism altogether.
Substantive Due Process and Its Error
May 15, 2020
The 5th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution grants the right of due process to every citizen. At one time in our history, we knew what words meant. But as those in power seek more power, we have learned to expand the meaning of words in order to expand authority. Substantive due process now exists because the word "process" has been expanded to include "rights." This idea gives courts the ability to now act as policy makers and a secondary legislative branch by using the 14th Amendment to expand rights it deems appropriate to all Americans. Substantive due process is the mechanism by which courts have made abortion, marriage and now education not state, but federal issues. It is inherently an expansion of government.
Executive Orders and Rogue Judges
May 8, 2020
One thing we are learning from the Coronavirus is that many leaders in government including those sitting on the bench do not understand the Constitution and the limitations of their power. One of the most glaring instances was the case in Dallas, Texas where a business owner was jailed for opening her salon. But more than that, the judge required an apology, an act of contrition, or forced speech. The ruling was so outrageous, that Texas' Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General all stepped in on behalf of the business owner. And the Texas Supreme Court ordered the woman to be freed from jail. The question is, how can we execute emergency powers without throwing liberty out the window?
Understanding Stare Decisis
May 1, 2020
Essentially, the Latin term "stare decisis" refers to precedent. Courts traditionally make rulings not only based on the written law, but also based on past rulings. The idea is to cause the court, in general, to be consistent and predictable in its rulings and exact justice evenly from person to person. The problem is when the court blindly uses precedent in spite of the law, reinterpreting or bending the law to fit its interpretation and thereby becoming a de facto legislative body. Frankly, we could use less precedent and more Constitution in our court proceedings today.
A Progressive Departure from the Foundation
Apr 24, 2020
There is no question that we have lost our way as a nation. We are a people deeply divided not only on major cultural issues, but even to the core of the meaning of the Constitution and how we interpret and apply law. In essence, we will either return to the principles of our founding, or we will take an "out with the old and in with the new" approach to our future. Our sincere hope is that we would return to a deeply held desire for liberty, and a strong adherence to the separation of powers so eloquently prescribed by our Constitution.
Morality and Good Government
Apr 17, 2020
Can our republican form of government exist outside of a good and moral people? Our founding fathers didn't think so. In fact, John Adams had this to say, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." The Constitution is not some sort of magical document. Its function is primarily to both promote a government by the consent of the governed and provide for a separation of powers within the government itself. As Adams saw it, an immoral people can consent to bad government. The Federalist Papers (1787-1788) echo this sentiment. We must return to the ideals of our founding. We must return to God.
A Deeper Look into the 9th Amendment (with Adam MacLeod)
Apr 10, 2020
The 9th Amendment says, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." What are the "other rights"? Our Founders' understanding of government and law at the time of the nation's founding was deeply rooted in common law and the idea that our rights are pre-governmental. And, the government's role is to secure those rights. Professor Adam MacLeod of Faulkner University discusses the common law and its role in our government and lives even today.
When Civil Government Collides with God's Word
Apr 3, 2020
During this time of crisis and quarantine, our liberties are being tested and boundaries being pushed by civil government. And this has been alarming for churches as worshippers are being asked, and in some cases mandated not to meet for worship. But is this truly a religious liberty issue? Is civil disobedience called for in response? We will discuss some of the history behind our first amendment and how Christians should view their relationship with civil authority.
At War With Our Words
Mar 27, 2020
The words that we use have meaning. In fact, we can know much about a person by the words they use. And especially in the case of courts and legislatures, the words we use define the worldview by which we operate under the law. So, words matter. But what if words lose their meaning, or perhaps some choose to haphazardly and unilaterally redefine them? How does that impact how we understand and interpret our laws? And what of the idea of civility? Do I have to use "your" definition, or re-definition of a word in order to be considered civil, or tolerant?
Coronavirus, the Church, and the Law.
Mar 17, 2020
In the wake of the Coronavirus "pandemic," we take a look at our state and federal government's response and their respective authority to issue mandates to private businesses, churches and the public at large. How should we as Christians respond to government authority when it comes to how and when we worship in our religious institutions? There is a balance between being prudent in our obedience to government authority versus denying God's sovereignty over all things.
Democracy Belongs to the People, Not the Courts!
Mar 13, 2020
In an upcoming article in the Harvard Law Review, Lynn Adelman writes that "the decisions of the Roberts Court are contributing substantially to the fact that ordinary Americans have so little political power." Really? How about when the Court in 1973 and 2015 came up with its own definition of the word "liberty" and used the 14th Amendment to abolish amendments in over 30 state constitutions, amendments democratically passed by a majority of voters in those states? Could that perhaps contribute to "Americans having so little political power?" Let's talk about the Court's political power.
Abortion in Tennessee and the Fight for Our Constitution
Mar 6, 2020
We have discussed for a few weeks now the issue of judicial supremacy and its influence on our legislative process. Well, here in Tennessee, it's alive and well. This week, the TN Senate Judiciary Committee revealed the draft of the Governor's heartbeat bill SB2196. During the hearing, both the person responsible for drafting the bill and the bill's sponsor excitedly announced the country's most restrictive abortion laws that "the courts would allow." We don't legislate anymore here in Tennessee. We just ask the court's permission to protect our citizens. That's where we are. If you are a part of the pro-life movement and care about abortion legislation, this is the episode that you share with everyone!
A Good Bill Stands on a Solid Foundation
Feb 28, 2020
When working with legislatures, you quickly find that there are good bills and bad bills. But even bills with the very best of intentions can be bad. Why? Because of a lack of findings. Especially when your bill deals with a contentious issue such as abortion, you can almost guarantee that your bill is headed to court if it passes. And to have any hope of passing the scrutiny of the court, the bill must have ample findings such as expert testimony, documented research and so on. Otherwise, you leave the court to draw its own conclusions.
Time to Sue the Governor
Feb 21, 2020
Well, we’ve heard back on our petition to the Tennessee Department of Health regarding our state marriage forms and per the Attorney General’s office, they have decided to….do nothing. Big shocker there. We also learned conclusively that our attorney general is a judicial supremacist, which is to say that he is unwilling to defend the Tennessee state constitution and happy to relinquish law-making authority to the courts.
2020 Legislative Update with Will Burns
Feb 13, 2020
Today we have a special guest with us on the show, Will Burns. Will is our Director of Public Policy here at the Family Action Council of Tennessee and he is here to discuss some of the bills we are watching in this year's Tennessee legislative session. We'll discuss the Business Protection Act and the School Protection Act, both bills actively lobbied by us here at FACT. But we'll also be taking a look at other bills having to do with transgender conversion therapy, abortion, school athletics, family life curriculum and a couple of other topics.
How Did We Get Here?
Feb 7, 2020
If courts don’t make laws, as we learn in basic civics classes, then why do we now say that U.S. Supreme Court opinions are “the law?” Today’s discussion will talk about how the understanding of law and the role of the Judge became to change as evolutionary theory took over the Harvard law school and its critical 1938 decision that turned law on its head. At the end, there is a surprise twist as FACT is using this new approach to law to recover marriage in Tennessee as the relationship of one man to one woman.
So, the Supreme Court Has Ruled. Now What?
Jan 31, 2020
Courts do not make laws. The Supremacy Clause does not apply to court judgments and opinions. In addition to these common points of confusion, many feel as though a SCOTUS decision is the final word on a matter and cannot be challenged. But courts change their opinions all the time as does the makeup of the courts themselves. We should never settle for bad judgments, and bad law.
We Missed Clause 5 in the 14th Amendment
Jan 24, 2020
We are discussing the 14th Amendment as it relates to the decisions in Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage) and Roe v. Wade (abortion). In both of these cases, the Supreme Court was asked to interpret the 14th Amendment. As we previously discussed, these judgments have been treated by the states as law, and not simply a judgment, or an opinion, and that is the problem. Courts don't make laws. But what happens when the issue is how to “fix” a violation of the 14th Amendment caused by a state law? Is corrective action to be taken by the courts? Not according to clause 5 of the 14th Amendment. That power belongs to the Congress...not the courts.
Do We Really Need a State License to Marry?
Jan 17, 2020
As we address marriage laws in the state of Tennessee and the unconstitutionality of the Obergefell v Hodges decision in its effect to commandeer state officials to do the bidding of the Supreme Court, we also take a look at marriage licensing. Who created the institution of marriage? God? Or, the government? Many erroneously believe that in order to be married in the sight of God, one needs to first secure a government-issued permission slip. But the truth is that laws should not imply the conveyance of a "right" to marry, but instead, should "secure" the obligations of a marriage between a man and a woman, entered into by their own volition and without interference from the state.
The Supremacy Clause and Following the Law
Jan 10, 2020
This week the Family Action Council of Tennessee sent a letter to all 95 county clerks in the state of Tennessee notifying them that by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the state, they are breaking the law under the Tennessee constitution. That has caused quite a stir, especially in the gay community and obviously there is push back on our assertion. The main argument being put forth on why FACT is dead wrong is, of course, the Supremacy Clause. Well, David is going to explain why that is a bad premise and why the Supremacy Clause does not apply to this issue. In addition, we'll discuss how laws are made and are to be administered by state officials. Unfortunately, our elected officials charged with administering and executing the laws put on the books by the General Assembly (the people) are making up their own laws as they go. And it needs to stop.
Morals Legislation and the Common Law
Dec 13, 2019
There seems to be a misconception out there by conservatives that morals do not belong in legislation. That might be a firm libertarian viewpoint. But make no mistake, conservatism is a worldview by which we uphold God's law and as much as we can, work to mirror positive law (man's laws) with that which God has deemed good and profitable for all mankind. Additionally in this episode, we begin to make the journey into common law. Exactly what is it?
The Bridge Between Conscience and Law
Dec 6, 2019
In prior episodes, we have been developing our understanding of conscience and it's impact on law. Here, we begin to connect the dots between conscience, our liberty and how those ideas informed the appearance of common law in culture. Common law is simply the legal enactment of natural law, or laws we interpret from God and nature. And common law is the foundation of our US Constitution and the legal framework from which our Founding Fathers understood law.
Liberty Works Better With a Grateful Heart
Nov 30, 2019
Still exploring the liberty of conscience, David talks about his past as an attorney and hard decisions that needed to be made in following God's leading. We discuss a bit of the Chick-fil-A fiasco and apply the notion of being grateful to how we exercise our liberty.
The Law Instructs
Nov 22, 2019
No matter where you may fall on a host of issues in today's culture, one thing is for sure. The laws that we must abide by in our society instructs those who must live under the law as to what is right and wrong, acceptable and discouraged. Laws are instructive. As such, we must do away with this notion that faith does not belong in the public square. It most certainly does. Whether or not the laws under which we raise our children reflect the glory of God, is ultimately up to how people of faith will engage in political discourse.
Liberty of Conscience
Nov 15, 2019
David introduces the concept of our liberty of conscience which can be found in many historical documents including our Tennessee State Constitution. Most likely, many today would argue that this liberty, and referencing our First Amendment would simply mean that we have the right to think and therefore act however we so desire. But it would be error to disassociate this liberty of conscience from being rooted in the Word of God. Our Framers understood this. And the further we as a society stray from knowing God and seeking to live under His authority, the more we will continue to struggle with how to apply our laws and constitution to modern society.
Rights and Morality
Nov 8, 2019
Outside of authority, we discuss the origin of rights. How do rights play into morality? And if we have a right, then by law, someone must also have a duty to secure or protect that right. Rights carry duties. We also talk about inalienable rights. The truth? We have no inalienable rights if there is an ability to alienate them. We'll let you ponder on that a moment while you dig in to this next episode of God, Law and Liberty.
Where does authority come from?
Nov 1, 2019
We talk about the root of authority in law and where it comes from. We take a look into Federalist Paper 10, which talks about "factions" and how to deal with liberty in the midst of a diverse culture. Does authority come from outside of us? Or is law simply to be the dictates of the group, or faction, who happens to be in control at a particular place in time?
Episode (i) - Podcast Introduction
Oct 16, 2019
David and Gary take a moment to introduce a new podcast of the Family Action Council of Tennessee called, God, Law and Liberty. The official launch of the new podcast series is scheduled for November 2019. Stay tuned.