Is the modern state of Israel a direct recipient of the Abrahamic Covenant?

Yes, and because of the Covenant, the Unites States should defend the modern state of Israel.
33% (5 votes)
Yes, but the United States does not have a special duty to directly defend Israel.
7% (1 vote)
No, and the United States has no special obligation to Israel.
33% (5 votes)
No, but the United states still has a special obligation to Israel based on some other theological precept.
27% (4 votes)
Total votes: 15
5475 reads

There are 34 Comments

Sean Fericks's picture

I think this topic is germane to the debate over Ron Paul's foreign policy. It seems some politicians like Rep. Bachmann and Gov. Perry might take the first position. I would like to better understand the theology behind the issue.

Wayne Wilson's picture

For starters, I am not going to pick one of the four alternatives, because Israel has never asked us to "defend" her. But I will start off by saying that the United States does have a biblical obligation to "bless" Israel...to be a friend and ally...if we wish to be blessed.

We also have a moral obligation to do as the great power of the western democracies, a political system I hope we believe is worth defending anywhere. Yes, now I am using the word "defend" because this is not directly related to the covenant. It is in the interest of American values to stand up for another free nation, a democratic nation, and a nation with the deepest ties to what is best about western civilization. Perry and Bachmann, I believe, would stand for Israel on this basis, not a theological one.

That Ron Paul is anti-Israel is clear from his shameful actions overseas, although here in the states he claims neutrality. He curses Israel by supporting the entire meme of facsists and terrorists. His disdain for Israel seems to be rooted in anti-Jewish conspiracy theories promoted by people he has been close to for years.

Now, below I have repeated what I shared on the other post....

I do believe the promise to Abraham that God will "bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse" applies to the Jews generally and certainly the Jews in their homeland. The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. All the prophets affirm that this promise will be the reality as God's plan for his people comes to fruition at the end of the age (Isa. 49:22; Isa. 54:3,17; Isa. 60; Ezek. 37:28; Zech. 14:16-21, etc.).

Between the Promise and the End, we have the evidence of history that those nations/governments that have been kind to the Jews have flourished, while those who have sought their destruction have faltered or disappeared, often disasterously.

That does not mean the modern Israeli government is never wrong, or never guilty of injustice (they are unredeemed humans for the most part, after all). However, by happy Providence, in addition to the Promise, they share our values of democracy and human rights as well. Arab citizens of Israel have more rights in Israel than their brethren in Muslim controlled lands. Therefore, by common faith in the promises to Abraham, and in shared western values, they are allies and should remain so.

It is no surprise to me that in an era when our nation seems destined for decline, popular politicians at both ends of the spectrum (European-style Socialist and Libertarian) should share a disdain for Israel, and thus finalize the loss of blessing we already are beginning to experience as we drive from our laws divine moral principle and embrace that which pollutes the land. This is one of those times in history when things are very plain.

Sean Fericks's picture

I watched the two links you provided. I do think Dr. Paul was foolish to go on PressTV, but I don't think his responses were anti-Semitic. He acknowledges that the Palestinians are basically living in a large ghetto, and that they were displaced by Great Britain during WWI in order to make room for . Their plight is pretty sad. The Turks abused them, the Jordanians and Egyptians would not let them in, and they have been moved into the Gaza Strip and West Bank so that the citizens of will not have to fear their more radical elements. They have been fighting a desperate and loosing battle for years and it really stinks to be in their situation. RP made it clear that he wants the US out of the region, and to let Israel and the Palestinians settle things on their own by their own free hand. He believes our interference inflames the problem. And we do meddle: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405297020440900457715920255608707...

Regarding the Leno Show: Paul said that Michele Bachmann hates Muslims. At least, hyperbole, at most, slander. Kind of like you insinuating that Ron Paul is for Muslims because they wan to rid the world of the Jewish problem. At least, hyperbole, at most, slander. I think that we need to tone down the accusations (Ron Paul included) and listen to understand each others' views. Ron Paul wants us out of the Middle East. Michele Bachmann is ready to take on Iran. I don't think either of them hate Jews or Muslims.

[QUOTE=Wayne Wilson ]He is as pro-Arab as any American politician has ever been, and based on his slanderous comments against Michelle Bachmann, I would say Pro-Islamic as well, but that just may be because they want to rid the world of the Jewish problem.[/QUOTE ]

On the marriage issue, RP takes the limited government approach. It is simply not the place of the federal government to legislate marriage. Find it in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Some want to extend the federal government's power by amending the Constitution to grant the federal government that power. I am against it. I actually think marriage should be taken out of the governmental realm completely. We should be allowed to contract however we wish, and rely on our state governments to enforce those contracts when things go south. I do think it is comical that Sen. Santorum thinks that a marriage amendment should be a large priority. We have so much else to worry about.

BTW, who are you pulling for?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Sean Fericks wrote:
I actually think marriage should be taken out of the governmental realm completely. We should be allowed to contract however we wish, and rely on our state governments to enforce those contracts when things go south.

Sean,

Are you suggesting there should be no laws regarding marriage? Same sex? Polygamy? Incest? Beastiality? Children? Anything?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Sean Fericks's picture

There should be laws protecting children (and there are), but there should not be laws preventing consenting adults from making marriage contracts among themselves. Since animals cannot contract, I don't know how your concern of bestiality would work. Animals are probably protected by some state laws against that kind of thing since they cannot speak for themselves. But other than that, I think the state should stay out of the marriage business.

Wayne Wilson's picture

So, Sean, just to get it right, so I don't misunderstand you:

if Miss A believes that largely black street gangs, like the Bloods and the Crips, should be dealt with more firmly by law enforcement, and I said "she hates blacks, hates them, and wants to go get 'em", you would charitably interpret my comment as hyperbole, correct? You would have no reason for thinking I was slandering Miss A? Even accusing her of racism?

By the way, I did not say Paul was anti-semitic (though many Jews believe he is based on his newsletters), I said he was anti-Israel and would like to see Israel destroyed. These are the sentiments he expressed to a top congressional aid of his repeatedly:

Quote:
"Is Ron Paul an Anti-Semite? Absolutely No. As a Jew, (half on my mother's side), I can categorically say that I never heard anything out of his mouth, in hundreds of speeches I listened too over the years, or in my personal presence that could be called, "Anti-Semite." No slurs. No derogatory remarks.
He is however, most certainly Anti-Israel, and Anti-Israeli in general. He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs."

In other words, there is a basis for my belief Paul is anti-Israel, and not neutral. The above comments are one reason, but his own words to Iranian TV speak for themselves.

Questions:

1. Do you think Dr. Paul was completely ignorant of the Nazi holocaust when he chose to use the words "concentration camp" to describe Gaza to Iranian TV (words you turned into "large ghetto")? If he was not ignorant, why did he choose these words in your opinion?

2. Do you think the Israelis are the "aggressor" in Gaza as Dr. Paul said to Iranian TV?

3. Why did he describe Palestinian rocket attacks as "home-made bombs"? Do you think he did this because rockets are offensive in nature, and "home-made bombs" sound defensive?

4. What do you think of Palestinian culture that uses children's books and TV programs to encourage the slaughter of Jews? How many "concentration camps" in world history have their own TV stations?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZTcYKwnehY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtt8V25lGmc&feature=related

5. Finally, you never answered the morally clarifying question from the previous post: If Israel unilaterally laid down all their weapons for one year, what would happen to the Israeli people? And if Israel's Arab neighbors unilaterally laid down their weapons for one year, what would happen to them?

Sean Fericks's picture

Wayne, although I don't believe that Ron Paul is racist or anti-Israel, I do believe he has foot-in-mouth syndrome. He also doesn't do a good enough job of distancing himself from conspiracy theorists and actual racists.

1. He should not have given the interview to PressTV. He should not have used the words "concentration camp". I still think that point he was trying to communicate is valid. The Palestinians have a raw deal. I think the term "ghetto" would better describe their plight. They don't have freedom of movement or trade. How would you describe the situation? Won't you at least acknowledge that the average West Banker (not the Hamas leader, but the average mother) is in a ghetto-like situation?

2. Both sides have appear to have been aggressors. I am just beginning to research the history of the Palestinian / Israeli conflict, but it is hard to find reliable information since the two sides are still at war. So let me phrase this as a question: Did Great Britain displace any Palestinians from their lands in order to begin the establishment of a homeland for Jews during WWI, or did Great Britain and the Jews purchase the land from the Palestinians at free market value? I would love to get a reliable history of this conflict so I can better understand it. If there was an initial displacement in order to make room for Israeli settlements, then the initial aggressors were Great Britain and the Jews. My initial impression is that the situation is somewhat similar to the United States westward expansion, including the placement of Native American populations onto reservations. Again, I need to understand this better.

3. I think that the suicide vests are "home-made bombs". He did not discuss the rockets. It is true that Israel has the upper hand (by a long shot) when it comes to weaponry. Do you think that Hamas and Hezbollah have competitive weaponry?

4. It is atrocious. I think RP would agree. But I don't know that U.S. interference will fix any of this terrible form of propaganda. How would you fix it?

5. Of course, if Israel laid down arms, Hamas and Hezbollah would take the land back and kill many innocent Israelis. If Hamas and Hezbollah laid down arms, there would be trials, and then peace. The problem is that Hamas and Hezbollah want all the land back. They believe that Israel had no right to take any of the land in the first place.

I don't know the solution. I do know that our interference has been a liability for the U.S., and perhaps a liability to peace in the region. I believe that we should freely trade with Israel, allowing them to purchase weapons, food, etc., and allowing Israel to sell to us. I condemn Hamas and Hezbollah tactics of suicide bombing, terrorism, de-humanizing propaganda, and summary executions. I think RP would as well.

I still think you statement: [QUOTE=Wayne Wilson ]He is as pro-Arab as any American politician has ever been, and based on his slanderous comments against Michelle Bachmann, I would say Pro-Islamic as well, but that just may be because they want to rid the world of the Jewish problem.[/QUOTE ]is slanderous in the much same way that RP's comment of Michelle Bachmann is slanderous. RP does not support Islam for wanting to kill Jews. Michele Bachmann does not hate all Muslims.

Perhaps you both were speaking tongue-in-cheek, or you both could have chosen better words to describe your real thoughts.

Sean Fericks's picture

But we are also missing the forest for the trees. Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich, Romney, and Perry all have a policy of a very aggressive foreign policy. RP would like to see a transformation to a passive foreign policy. We could mine all the campaigns for foolish quotes (and RP has more than his fair share), but which policy will work best for the United States? Our forces defend the European nations, Japan, South Korea, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. These are rich nations who should defend themselves and allow us to bring our troops home to defend our own borders. This is not "isolationist". Is Finland "isolationist" because it does not have troops in South Korea? Is South Africa "isolationist" because it does not have troops in Finland?

[QUOTE=Thomas Jefferson ]Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.[/QUOTE ]

We have the following big problems: unsecured borders, huge deficits, over-taxation, blowback from foreign intervention, unfunded mandates. Do we alleviate or aggravate these problems by continuing to play policeman to the world?

Wayne Wilson's picture

Well, Sean, I didn't really ask what you thought of using the words "concentration camp," I was asking why you think Ron Paul used them. And Israel didn't hit Gaza for suicide vests, but for thousands of Qassam rockets landing on its citizens. My question was and is: why would Ron Paul use the words he chose? I can't think of more anti-Israeli rhetoric he could have used to a government controlled media outlet for a fascist Islamic state. Is Ron Paul pro-Islamic and anti-Israel in the Pat Buchanan way? We have a lot of evidence to think so, only Paul is far less clever. And Paul is quite open about it...on Iranian TV, that is. Here he talks neutrality. We have Ron Paul on record supporting Islamic states and affirming their "talking points" in every way. Can you find any place where he has criticized Islamic fascism, or the agenda of Global Jihad?

I do think the Palestinians live in something of a ghetto...of their own making. If they wanted peace, they would be at peace. Israel has many, many Arab citizens with full rights and full participation in government. How many Arab states offer that to Jews in their midst? Israel is fighting for her very survival, as I think you acknowledged. The niceties go away when it gets down to survival. My solution: if the Palestinians renounced all violence, and followed the path so beautifully set down by Dr. King (worthy of this holiday) or Gandhi, they would be a happy and prosperous people today, at least as much as the Islamic faith permits. They could trade freely, build, educate, and have their cartoon characters do more constructive things.

Now let's consider the forest. The United States has the very rare, and unique privilege of being a World Power. Finland is one of the tiniest, and one of the youngest countries in the world. It has not been able to even defend itself in its short history, so I'm not sure what the point is about Finland defending South Korea. The United States is not only a World Power, it has been for last hundred years or so, the most Benevolent World Power in history. Clumsy? Sometimes... it's a very complicated and messy world.

If it is true that with great power comes great responsibility, then yes, we have global obligations. And because we are good, other nations follow us. Finland may be sitting out the Afghan War, but troops from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Britain, Spain, Italy, France, Canada, Slovenia, Hungary, Portugal, Norway, Macedonia, New Zealand, Australia, Lithuania, Georgia, and others have all participated in Enduring Freedom following our lead. All of these nations seem to recognize that the world does in fact need policing.

What would the world be like without policemen? Well, what happens in cities and neighborhoods without policemen? I've been in a few countries like that. The wolves come. The wicked and the strong take what they want. Despite the fact that they do spend a lot on defense, South Korea could never stand up to China...never. Even our forces there are small...a trigger to keep the wolves at bay. It has worked. Saudi Arabia may be rich, but its population is too small to stand up to Iran.

In the real world, there are not only powers devoid of moral principle at work —the merely brutal takers, there is also something that didn't threaten when America was young —ideologies that demand world domination. Islam existed then but it was far away (and when it threatened our commerce, Thomas Jefferson sent a fleet around the world to pay them out in an undeclared war). But in the 20th century, we fought and defeated two other world powers simultaneously. These ruthless world powers were based on the ideology of the master race (German and Japanese versions). What did we do with these conquered people? We set them free, gave them democracy, and made them our friends. Blowback. Another, secular ideology devoted to world domination is Communism. We fought it sometimes, and tried to contain it at other times. They were determined to defeat us. It was a matter of survival. It has been diminished by our strength and steadfastness. It still exists in one of the great rising powers in the world...just as ruthless as ever, but patient. And on the rise as well is a resurgent Islamic tide, committed to "Global Jihad."

What to do? We could, I suppose, do as Ron Paul suggests, abdicate the great responsibility that comes with great power, and keep all the policemen in the station, and leave the world to these wolves...and hope we're strong enough when all else is theirs. But I am not able to find a Christian or even moral principle by which I could rationalize this. Leave the weak to the wicked. Abandon the poor to the hunger of the cruel. Tell our friends we will not die for them...they are on their own.

For me, Ron Paul's scheme is unprincipled and incredibly naive. Can we police the whole world? No, but we have done a lot of good with what we've been given. And the world certainly needs policemen. Can we afford it? Yes. Easily. Our debt problems do not stem from military bases. Close them all, and we will still be in debt. We were the world's policeman under Clinton, and had balanced budgets.

Sean Fericks's picture

Just so you know I am not a tool for the Ron Paul campaign, RP was dead wrong on the killing of Bin Laden (tonight's Fox News Debate). Pakistan probably knew he was there and was probably ignoring the fact (thereby making them his ally). We had every right to kill him without endangering the mission by advertising our punch. His comparison of Bin Laden to a Chinese dissident was also absurd.

Wayne Wilson's picture

I'm glad you said that, Sean. I won't have to link to it. I felt bad for him, but his "tools" are still claiming he was brilliant last night. I would like to think that he's just old, but I think his age just kept him from masking the weakness of his ideas this time.

Sean Fericks's picture

Thanks Wayne, but I still have a real problem with the other candidates. Romney is willing to give up Habeas Corpus and doesn't understand the the Constitution specifically prescribes the method of dealing with treason. Gingrich was a near lobbyist for Freddie and Fannie. Santorum voted for No Child Left Behind. You never answered my question on who you will vote for.

Wayne Wilson's picture

I couldn't answer that question because I haven't decided. None of my candidates decided to run...ugh! All the others have good points and real weaknesses. I would vote for any of them over Obama and will strongly support whoever it is in the general election. Unfortunately, I can't say that about Dr. Paul. I would vote for Obama over him. I believe the USA can survive O'bama, especially if the Republicans hold the house, but honestly, I dont think the world can survive a President Paul.

Sean Fericks's picture

Well, it is all a mute point now, isn't it? I think Romney pretty much has it in the bag, barring some fantastic implosion. I think that after the SC primary, we will see two more drop out. RP will stay in to the end, and either Santorum or Gingrich will take second place. Within a month, we will be circling the wagons and working towards November.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/sc/south_carolina...
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/republican_pre...

Wayne, you say none of your candidates decided to run. Can you name a couple so I can know a bit more where you are coming from?

Wayne Wilson's picture

I was hoping Paul Ryan would run, because he seems very bright, and balanced, and articulate, and knows the budget inside out. I liked Pawlenty at first, but he made himself look very small attacking Bachmann the way he did. I like Mitch Daniels from my old home state. I like Mike Huckabee, and actually think he would have gotten the nod this time around. He is articulate, a regular person, and doesn't make dumb mistakes.

The idea of successful, conservative governors appeals to me... people who were open to creative and better and cheaper solutions to solve problems.

Of the current guys, I guess I'm leaning toward Santorum, though he has serious flaws in being able to articulate a positive vision and he stumbles on things that should be pretty easy to explain. I am not against government.

I think it would be a very interesting thread to discuss Libertarianism as a governing philosophy (without Ron Paul) verses Conservatism from a biblical, theological, and Christian point of view. That would be a debate worth having. I don't think Libertarians would like the world they would create if they could implement their tiny government and unfettered individual liberty ideas. I don't think it squares with a theology of human sinfulness, nor the law code designed by God for the children of Israel.

Sean Fericks's picture

I agree that Huckabee missed an opportunity (by God's sovereign will) this time around. I wish he would have run.

I think that the discussion of Conservatism vs. Libertarianism as a moral, theological issue would be very appropriate. From my (mostly) libertarian view, I see it as an issue of jurisdictions. The reason I can be against the drug war, federal interference in marriage, and even federal laws concerning abortion (states enforce laws regarding murder) is that I recognize that God did not design the government to fulfill the role of the father, nor the father to fulfill the roll of the church, nor the church to fulfill the role of the municipal government. Here is an article that explains it fairly well http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/voddie-baucham-ministries/blog/why-ron.... I don't agree with the author on all points, but I think he explains the jurisdiction argument well.

I think there is also a difference between libertarianism and Constitutionalism. I argue for rule of law, in our case, the Constitution. The Constitution grants the federal government some powers that pure libertarians would disagree with. Unfortunately, many conservatives want to go beyond the limits of the Constitution in order to move society toward a more culturally Christian view (drug laws, federal abortion laws, FCC censorship, etc.).

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Sean Fericks wrote:
Unfortunately, many conservatives want to go beyond the limits of the Constitution in order to move society toward a more culturally Christian view (drug laws, federal abortion laws, FCC censorship, etc.).

Why is it "unfortunate" for the federal government to do these things, but acceptable for the state governments to do these things - in your opinion?

Quote:
(states enforce laws regarding murder)

By the way, the Feds also enforce laws regarding murder.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Wayne Wilson's picture

I think it's a worthy discussion to consider what belongs best to the states and what best to the Federal government. Education should be local. I don't know any conservative who disagrees there. In fact, most conservatives want to return to the states things they can probably do better because they are closer to the problem However, the federal government is obviously a better place to oversee issues we care about. Questions:

How can decency standards be done at the state level instead of the FCC, since mass communications (something unforseen by the founders) are national? Would you have state governments hire hundreds of people to monitor the airwaves with their finger on the button? States had censorship boards for movies in the 20s and 30s, but how can this be done with television, radio, etc.?

If abortion is a violation of our very founding principles (the Right to Life), why isn't that a federal matter?

Are drug laws really best left to the states? What if a state decides to make lots of money by allowing total drug freedom and that state is next to yours? Will you have highway stops and patrols of every backwater to stop smuggling, and cross border sales? Isn't this really just turning states into little countries? What happens when a clean state gets fed up with a drug cartel state? A war?

Marriage? What happens when a couple of married guys from Massachusetts move the Dallas? Isn't that inviting a legal nightmare, probably resolved by the courts in favor of gay marriage for every state? Doesn't DOMA, a federal solution, solve that problem?

I don't know if you want to go as far as Ron Paul in abolishing the FBI, but federal law enforcement has been a great blessing in this country enforcing civil rights, fighting mob organizations that transcend state lines, and taking on states completely taken over by corruption. Would you like to live in Illinois with no federal agencies keeping an eye on their go-to-jail-on federal-charges governors? Actually, our federal law enforcement agencies have a pretty good track record on being free from corruption...much better than some states.

There are many things the feds don't do as well, because one size doesn't fit all. But there are also things they should do, and makes sense for them to do.

On general principles, "Righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a disgrace to any people." Since we live in a democracy, that means we must use persuasion and argument that righteousness is a better way. And we must model it. I don't think it means the federal Government is any less obligated to agree with God about marriage, decency, life, or any other matter. How is the government usurping the role of the church by supporting common and broadly held principles of righteousness that have been cornerstones of our great Republic? What I see, sadly, is the Libertarian wing simply giving way on these great issues of our time, because instead of righteousness, they raise up as of first importance a kind of autonomous freedom that Scripture does not recognize.

Sean Fericks's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Sean Fericks wrote:
Unfortunately, many conservatives want to go beyond the limits of the Constitution in order to move society toward a more culturally Christian view (drug laws, federal abortion laws, FCC censorship, etc.).
Why is it "unfortunate" for the federal government to do these things, but acceptable for the state governments to do these things - in your opinion?
Quote:
(states enforce laws regarding murder)
By the way, the Feds also enforce laws regarding murder.
These questions cut to the core of the issue. We are a nation of law. The supreme law of this land is the Constitution. The 10th Amendment[QUOTE ]The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.[/QUOTE ]specifically limits the jurisdiction of the federal government to only those powers granted it in the Constitution. It specifically gives jurisdiction over all other matters to the states and to the people. The specific arenas for legislation by the federal government are spelled out in Article 1, Section 8 to be:[QUOTE ]The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow money on the credit of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States; To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States; To establish Post Offices and Post Roads; To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court; To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.[/QUOTE ]Where in here do you find drug laws, censorship, or legislation on abortion? The founding fathers were very careful to limit the federal government's jurisdiction. This is not by accident. Nor was it to say that there should be no law regarding censorship, drugs, or abortion. It was only to say that those topics belong to the states or the people (individuals). I am for calling abortion murder, but only the states should legislate and punish murderers (with exception for murders that occur within federal jurisdiction). When I say that the federal government's actions on these topics are unfortunate, it is because the federal government is stepping outside it's Constitutional constraints and becoming a lawless Oligarchy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligarchy

I think your second statement about federal murder laws may prove my point on jurisdiction. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/federal-laws-providing-death-penalty I did not read all of the laws, so I could be wrong, but my understanding is that federal murder law is limited by jurisdiction to crimes within federal jurisdiction (crimes that cross state lines, involve federal employees, involve state employees aiding in a federal investigation, etc.).

Sean Fericks's picture

[quote=Wayne Wilson ]I think it's a worthy discussion to consider what belongs best to the states and what best to the Federal government. Education should be local. I don't know any conservative who disagrees there. In fact, most conservatives want to return to the states things they can probably do better because they are closer to the problem However, the federal government is obviously a better place to oversee issues we care about....

There are many things the feds don't do as well, because one size doesn't fit all. But there are also things they should do, and makes sense for them to do.

On general principles, "Righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a disgrace to any people." Since we live in a democracy, that means we must use persuasion and argument that righteousness is a better way. And we must model it. I don't think it means the federal Government is any less obligated to agree with God about marriage, decency, life, or any other matter. How is the government usurping the role of the church by supporting common and broadly held principles of righteousness that have been cornerstones of our great Republic? What I see, sadly, is the Libertarian wing simply giving way on these great issues of our time, because instead of righteousness, they raise up as of first importance a kind of autonomous freedom that Scripture does not recognize.[/QUOTE ]
The important point here is how we decide what issues should be federal and what issues should be state, municipal, county, individual. You appear to think in terms of pragmatism (which entity can do the job best?). The advantage to your method is that it is very flexible and can easily be adjusted to account for changes (advent of cable TV, airline travel, etc.). The most important disadvantage to your method is that it does not account for the rule of law. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. If we want to use it to defend our rights to free speech, peaceful assembly, etc., we must respect the whole social contract, not just the parts that we like today. The second disadvantage to your method is that you appeal for democracy. I suggest to you that we live under a Constitutional Republic rather than a democracy. Democracy can result in "two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for lunch". In other words, if the Christian Conservatives have the majority, all goes well for Christian Conservatives, but when the paradigm changes in favor of the Humanist Socialists, the ideals and even basic human rights of the Christian Conservatives are endangered. The Constitution was designed to avoid the mob rule of democracy.

I think in terms of law and jurisdiction. The Constitution (as supreme law of the land) lays out the jurisdiction of the federal government. I am for fighting the pro-life battle (as is Ron Paul), but on the state level because that respects the Constitution. I am for municipal decency codes (don't wear a thong and walk down Main Street), but not a federal dress code because that would violate the Constitution. I am for laws against under-aged drinking, but again on the state level.

One other thought on the issue; if you believe that the federal government is best suited to decide whether or not somebody should smoke pot, you can lawfully attempt to amend the Constitution. This is the lawful method under our social contract to bring new challenges into jurisdiction of the federal government. Any other method (congressional legislation, bureaucratic mandate, judicial activism) is illegal and violates the supreme law of the land. It makes us a lawless nation.

Wayne Wilson's picture

O, Sean, I'm not sure pragmatism is a place you want to go. Yes, I do think in practical terms about the role of the federal government, but it is not arbitrary. I am thinking within existing law as determined by the Supreme Court. I leave pragmatism pure and simple to Ron Paul.

What is it but pragmatism that makes Dr. Paul say Social Security and Medicare are "technically unconstitutional"? Technically? How come "all these endless wars" are seriously unconstitutional (even the ones he voted for), and social security is only "technically unconstitutional"? How does that work? Could it have something to do with...dare I say it... politics?

What would happen to Dr. Paul's poll numbers if he was as enthusiastically pounding Social Security as much as he does "all these wars"?

In reality, what is constitutional or not regarding federal powers has been argued since the founding of the Republic. It is not as simple as you would have us believe. Many good people believe the Declaration of Independence is an equally important foundational document to the Constitution, and that inalienable rights stand above it. The Constitution is a mechanism for protecting those rights, and an imperfect one that causes much wrangling about the practical outworking of divided powers requiring Court decisions, decisions which lead to where we live today.

Sean Fericks's picture

Wayne,

Sorry about waiting so long to respond.

I think you missed my point. You said:
[QUOTE ]I think it's a worthy discussion to consider what belongs best to the states and what best to the Federal government. Education should be local. I don't know any conservative who disagrees there. In fact, most conservatives want to return to the states things they can probably do better because they are closer to the problem However, the federal government is obviously a better place to oversee issues we care about....

There are many things the feds don't do as well, because one size doesn't fit all. But there are also things they should do, and makes sense for them to do.[/QUOTE ]
My point is that your statement does not consider the limits that the Constitution imposes. It only considers which roles you think that the federal government will do better on than the states. It appears to me that you think mainly in this pragmatic sense. I argue that the federal government should stay out of all roles that are not granted to it by the Constitution. This is an argument from law, not pragmatism.

True that RP says that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. They are. The Constitution simply does not delegate welfare to the federal government. The 10th Amendment leaves this role to the states or to the people. The federal government is banned from usurping this role by the Constitution. RP does acknowledge that "pragmatically" we cannot immediately end the federal welfare state. In order to bring the federal government back into compliance, we need to slowly draw the programs down, keeping our promises to those who are currently dependent, and then weaning our nation from the national welfare teat. That is a "pragmatic" means to a principled and Constitutional end.

I disagree that the Supreme Court "determines" law. The function of the court is to interpret the law, not determine the law. I suggest using the same hermeneutic principles for interpreting the Constitution that we do for interpreting the Bible.

True that the Declaration of Independence is an equally important foundational document. As Rick Santorum recently said, the Declaration is the why. The Constitution is the how. Sometimes, the Constitution needs to be amended in order to better comply with the inalienable rights described in the Declaration. If so, the Constitution tells us how to do this. It is not through judges or mere Congressional action, and certainly not though Executive Order. It is by the amendment process.

Please describe to me where the Constitution delegates broadcasting standards or drug law to the federal government. Please cite the clause and defend with a reasonable hermeneutic.

Wayne Wilson's picture

Sean,

I will not apply biblical hermeneutics to the Constitution, for the Constitution is not worthy of having those rules apply. It is not Infallible. It is the product of human minds and political compromise. A biblical hermeneutic requires an infallible document as the starting point. The Constituion is no such document.

From the beginning of the Republic, there were tensions over the relationship between state's rights and federal power. I'm sorry, but I will insist the Constitution gives the courts the power to resolve those tensions. We may disagree on the wisdom of their decisions. You may not like it, but unless you want violence, you will have to live with it, and there is not a thing Ron Paul can do to change it (and that is where he has people deceived, thinking he can).

Libertarians, of course, claim to understand the Constitution and the implications of it perfectly. But others wrestle with the implications of it, the limits of it, the vagueness of it and the unanswered questions in it. It is a brilliant document, but it isn't the Word of God. It was written by humans living in the 18th century. They thought it out well, giving it substance and flexibility, and most importantly, checks and balances. But they couldn't foresee everything, not even some rather basic things, such as — can a state withdraw from the union? A giant war had to settle that one. It's been settled, probably in a way Dr. Paul would disagree with.

Obviously, what certain clauses mean have been argued from the beginning, especially regarding federal power. Ultimately, the courts have decided how far one can expand the commerce clause, the necessary and proper clause (founder John Marshall's early decision that it held an implied power to create a federal bank was drawn from this), and the supremacy clause. The necessary and proper clause, Marshall said, is listed among the powers of congress, not its limitations. It was meant to expand federal power as needed to implement constitutionally appropriate legislation, not limit it. And so the argument goes on today about how far that can go. The meaning of the Supreme Law of the Land then, right from the start, was argued about and had to be interpreted by the courts. How else can it be settled...by asking an ObGyn?

We can all have our opinions about this or that, but courts must rule, and they have. I think the 10th amendment is given less weight than it should, but I believe it was decided early on by the framers not to use the word "expressly" to describe those powers the federal government had. It was considered, but left out. That left room for some stretching from the beginning.

So, yes, I suppose there is a pragmatic interest in the scope of "necessary and proper." I, for one, am glad that there is, because I would prefer a government that works, than one which doesn't.
It makes sense that these implied powers would tend to expand, and for several reasons:

1) The constitution doesn't really address the problem of massive, systemic injustice in a state or
states. Do we just wait til enough states can pass an amendment to right terrible wrongs?

2) Modern life is far more interconnected and intertwined than the world in the 18th century. This
fact alone tends to expand the powers implied in things like the commerce clause.

3) The founders did not envisage assaults on the eternal verities that were assumed by all men in
their day, such as what marriage is.

The polygamy issue decided by the Supreme Court in the 19th century — upholding traditional marriage, was really decided on the basis of long held law and culture of our western, Christian civilization. Justice Waite said congress could limit certain activities because they were "in violation of social duties or subversive of good order." In Davis vs Beason, the court's reason for disallowing polygamy was because "few crimes are more pernicious to the best interests of society, and receive more general or more deserved punishment." You will call that legislating from the bench. I would call it conservative...preserving the moral heritage of our civilization which our Constitution was meant to serve, like the Righ to Life. In other words, some things are higher than pure individual liberty, and the proper ordering of a moral society can limit some behaviors. Later, I believe, opium dens came under similar condemnation, being so destructive to so many. The courts found, I believe, a rationale for federal drug laws in the commerce clause. (By the way, the DEA, which Dr. Paul wants to abolish, has been very successful in reigning in some of the most addictive and soul-destroying drugs out there, and by means only the federal government could employ, especially in bringing in the assistance of foreign nations. See the recent Frontline documentary on The Meth Epidemic).

So, we might say that the constitution comes in the stream of western culture, and depends on that culture for the survival of true liberty. Preserving the pillars of our civilization preserve the basis for constitutional law in the first place. Is that arbitrary? No. You can't read in to long-standing definitions and customs what isn't there. Marriage has always meant something. Suddenly people pop up and say it should mean something else. It seems reasonable for the federal government to say, "No, it means this. It has always meant this." Why the federal government? Because we all live in the same country, and people move across state lines.

We can also say that the Constitution's provisions for federal power have always been matters of argument, and answers have been determined by the courts. If you don't like the answers of the court, then you can amend the Constitution. Now that some courts have turned against western civilization, a marriage amendment would be a very good idea. What is surprising to some is that Ron Paul opposes it. I am not surprised. His mere cultural-Christianity views homosexuality as harmless to society.

Wayne Wilson's picture

Oh, yes, I forgot to answer your question about broadcast standards.

Do you believe that the federal government has no role in the allocation of band width for broadcasting, that any state or individual should be able to over-power, or step on any other use of the airwaves? Whoever can generate the biggest signal wins? After all, it doesn't mention it in the Constitution.

I assume you will say: well, that comes under the commerce clause, since it would be chaos in broadcasting to allow the states such freedom. In fact, the Federal government "owns" the airwaves, and licenses their use. Exactly.

I would say, same with decency laws. If the Federal government controls interstate commerce, why shouldn't there be federal decency standards? Broadcasting goes across state lines, as do retail establishments that sell magazines and DVDs. Now, you could make an argument that indecency produced in a state and only sold in that state, that in no way will be broadcast or sold betond state lines, should be a state concern, then I will give you that leeway. Know of any examples?

Sean Fericks's picture

I think we are missing the point of the original intent of the commerce clause. The original intent was to free up commerce across state lines, not to grant the federal government the power to control any good or service that may cross state lines. Basically, it was to prevent trade wars between the states.

I would not get the federal government involved in broadcasting. I think the states would do a fine job of working out a system themselves. If there was conflict between two states, I think the federal government may be able to step in to mediate the problem under the commerce clause. But it certainly should not regulate the type of material going out over the airwaves. It is not granted that right in Article I, Section 8. It is also specifically prohibited in Amendment I.

http://www.originalintent.org/edu/federaljur.php
http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/01/26/the-courts-and-the-commerce-c...
http://lawreview.uchicago.edu/issues/archive/v68/winter/commerce.html

Sean Fericks's picture

[QUOTE=Wayne Wilson ]I will not apply biblical hermeneutics to the Constitution, for the Constitution is not worthy of having those rules apply. It is not Infallible. It is the product of human minds and political compromise. A biblical hermeneutic requires an infallible document as the starting point. The Constituion is no such document.

From the beginning of the Republic, there were tensions over the relationship between state's rights and federal power. I'm sorry, but I will insist the Constitution gives the courts the power to resolve those tensions. We may disagree on the wisdom of their decisions. You may not like it, but unless you want violence, you will have to live with it, and there is not a thing Ron Paul can do to change it (and that is where he has people deceived, thinking he can).[/QUOTE ]

I think this is the crux of the matter. While I agree that the Bible is far and above the Constitution, this does not mean that we should not apply the same rules to each document when attempting to determine their meanings. If the goal is to determine the original intent of the authors, why not use the same rules? What about the Constitution makes it "unworthy" of an attempt to discover it's original meaning? I am calling you on a straw man argument here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man You are attempting to make it sound like I hold the Constitution on the same plane as the Bible, when you really ought to say how a good hermeneutic for the Constitution is different than a good hermeneutic for the Bible. I suggest that both methods should be very similar, and that the goal is to find the plain and original intent of the author.

You also pointed out that the Constitution could not anticipate future events, and thus must change with the times (this is one way we would both agree that the Constitution differs from the Bible). The framers agreed, and they specifically designed the Constitution to change with the times (not by judicial fiat) via the amendment process. We have 27 amendments to prove that the system can work.

I agree that the courts are in place to resolve power tensions, but they are to attempt to bring the disputes in line with the Constitution. What you are suggesting with the FDA and the FCC is a thwarting of the original intent of the Constitution. All branches of the federal government are guilty of this, and "living document" justices are a cancer in our Republic.

Regarding the Civil War. The South was probably in the legal (as in Constitutional) right, but they were definitely in the moral wrong. Also, the Constitution was a hypocritical document prior to the 13th Amendment in that is was based on the proposition that all men are created equal, but yet it legalized slavery.

Sean Fericks's picture

[QUOTE=Wayne Wilson ]We can also say that the Constitution's provisions for federal power have always been matters of argument, and answers have been determined by the courts. If you don't like the answers of the court, then you can amend the Constitution. Now that some courts have turned against western civilization, a marriage amendment would be a very good idea. What is surprising to some is that Ron Paul opposes it. I am not surprised. His mere cultural-Christianity views homosexuality as harmless to society. [/QUOTE ]
Actually, RP is not a mere cultural-Christian. We have plenty of cultural Christians around who follow the trends and back the culturally-Christian-correct positions. From what I have seen and heard, Ron Paul is a genuine believer (I could be wrong), but not beholden to James Dobson wing of the GOP. RP has publicly stated that marriage should be between one man and one woman, but that the federal government should not become the marriage police. I agree wholeheartedly.

Sean Fericks's picture

Regarding the "necessary and proper" clause, you have made the same error as you did with the commerce clause. We need to look at original intent, not what a few men in black robes decided to say it meant so that President Roosevelt could move his "New Deal" forward. I suggest reading the Federalist Papers. A shorter treatise is here:

http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1042&c...

Note that in the third paragraph on the second page, the author acknowledges those who hold to original meaning as "one among several legitimate modes of constitutional analysis". Again, allowing ourselves to determine the meaning of the text contrary to original meaning is a cancer on our society (in regards to both the Bible and civil law).

Wayne Wilson's picture

Sean, I want an honest answer to this question: if you asked someone this question

Quote:
Can you talk about your faith background? For instance, did you have a conversion experience?

And they gave you this answer:

Quote:
"Not as some others describe it. I think the most important religious experience I had was when I was raised in a Lutheran church where confirmation was very important. Church was obviously very important. We all went to church every week as a family affair. But confirmation was when we got to be teenagers and make a decision to go through the lessons and study and learn and make a commitment. At home, birthdays were something, but no parties. Of course it was during World War II and the Great Depression, so there weren't a lot of parties, but there was an acknowledgment. But confirmation was a very important event. Everybody in the family came and it was acknowledged. Yes, I remember that very clearly, because we were old enough to make a commitment and that was when the commitment was made."

What would you think about their probable spiritual condition?

Wayne Wilson's picture

Quote:
I think this is the crux of the matter. While I agree that the Bible is far and above the Constitution, this does not mean that we should not apply the same rules to each document when attempting to determine their meanings. If the goal is to determine the original intent of the authors, why not use the same rules? What about the Constitution makes it "unworthy" of an attempt to discover it's original meaning?

I thought I was pretty clear, but I'll try again. The whole idea behind biblical hermeneutids (what makes it work) is that the Bible is an infallible document from the mind of God. Therefore, it is internally consistent, perfect, and exactly what He wants to communicate for our salvation and the patterning of our lives.

The Constitution is none of that. It is a political framework for a new experiment in government, which has within it unresolved tensions, lack of clarity, compromise. It is begging for interpretation, which from the beginning, courts have had to decide. There has never been a time when this wasn't so. The courts have determined since the days of Justice Marshall (on the court from 1801-1835). He was a founder, and a Federalist. He took an expansive view of the inumerated powers, though he acknowledged their limits . It's been that way ever since.

Your own opinions reveal the weakness inherent in a hyper-Libertarian view of things.

Quote:
"I would not get the federal government involved in broadcasting. I think the states would do a fine job of working out a system themselves."

You clearly know nothing about broadcasting.

Quote:
Regarding the Civil War. The South was probably in the legal (as in Constitutional) right, but they were definitely in the moral wrong.

So what do you do? End the experiment? Amendments wouldn't pass because the injustice was perpetuated by too many states. When you say the South was legally right, you have kept to Dr. Paul's opinions about the Constitution, and lost the thing you were hoping to protect... a nation. Lincoln thought the nation, the experiment was worth preserving, even though he violated the Constitution (by your view) in doing so. Personally, I'm glad he did.

So, too, I believe, will it be if the states become little countries under your view of things. Those tensions built into the system will tear the nation apart. Now I'm not really worried about that happening. Americans will never go for such a Libertarian system. It is a utopian dream in this day and age, but your own views of the great moral battles of the day reveal the tragedy of Dr. Paul's philosophy. Sadly, at the most critical time, Dr. Paul is taking a whole generation of young believers out of the fight on the big moral issues of the day. You, too. They will not defend marriage, nor the unborn where it matters. They will sit it out, because Dr. Paul says the federal government shouldn't protect life, or the definition of marriage. So, again, to keep a principle you will lose the thing you hope to protect...a good nation. You betray the weakness with this

Quote:
RP has publicly stated that marriage should be between one man and one woman, but that the federal government should not become the marriage police. I agree wholeheartedly.

That's right. He has a personal opinion, and he would do nothing to make it the law of the land...to conserve what has been true since recorded history. He believes all government (federal and state) should be out of marriage altogether...not recognize it, support it, encourage it, or bless it. That's exactly what the homosexual agenda wanted from the beginning...to undo our civilization. Play! Have fun! Make up your own rules! It's our system! Well, as I tried to say earlier, that system only works within our culture built on moral principle enshrined in custom and law. End that, by allowing human depravity free reign, and you lose it all.

Wayne Wilson's picture

These are desperate times, and fear makes people look for simple and unconventional answers. If it is true that "Righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a disgrace to any people," then any path away from righteousness ultimately serves Satan's interests. Modern political philosophies tend to move away from righteousness in two directions: Socialism, which makes the government God, and extreme autonomous individualism, which makes man God. Both are enemies of righteousness. Both ignore the political implications of human depravity.

Dr. Paul falls in to the latter error. He is a cultural Christian, a religious person, but he does not look to the Word of God for guidance, and he has no commitment to biblical righteousness, only a radical individualism. For him, "In those days there was no King in Israel, every man did what was right in his own eyes" is something of a political standard rather than a lament. To be fair, he would want the local government to enforce contracts, property rights, and prevent direct physical harm, but there it ends. Any other causes of social or societal decline he would let loose on a population, which explains his mocking candidates who are willing to stand up against Same-sex Marriage. In his sub-Christian theology, we are "all children of God," so moral standards are entirely personal, and never societal. I find it fascinating that at this critical time, when the marriage question is at the tipping point, many of God's people have been lured away from the fight by Ron Paul. In the spiritual realm, I wonder which kingdom rejoices at this?

It is also fascinating that at a time of resurgent Islamic radicalism committed to Global Jihad, Ron Paul should woo Christians into having the greatest force for good in the world retreat to within its borders. Dr. Paul's willingness to slander a Christian woman on national television for her concerns about radical Islam; and his refusal to apologize. reveals how willing he is to minimize real evil when it conflicts with his political ideology.

Follow no man blindly, especially a once-born man.

Sean Fericks's picture

Regarding his spiritual condition, the quote you gave was pretty non-descript. He may well be a believer, but he could have done better to explain what he "committed" to. And what of repentance? Certainly not the best example of a testimony.

Wayne,

Since you mentioned that your last post are your final thoughts, I will give mine. I have thoroughly enjoyed the conversation, and I know I have learned from it. I still think it all boils down to whether we want to obey the rule of men or the rule of law. The advantage to allowing congress to go outside the bounds of the Constitution is flexibility (as you have so well demonstrated). The disadvantage is that as society grows worse, that flexibility is used to ill effect. The advantage to adhering strictly to the rule of law (the Constitution) is that men are restricted in their tendency to control our lives in evil ways (which I like). Of course the disadvantage is that the amendment system is (intentionally) very burdensome and does not allow us to change quickly.

We agree that the Constitution is an imperfect document, and that the courts were designed to resolve contradictions and tensions. But this does not excuse congress and the courts from interpreting the Constitution in ways that the founders never intended. The courts and congress should not do end runs around the Constitution just because it is expedient to their interests.

Obviously, we disagree on where the lines should be drawn on jurisdictions. I attempt to keep my jurisdictional theory in accordance with the Constitution. I believe yours is free of its bounds.

BTW, pragmatically, I think we should shoot for the 10th Amendment states' rights tactic on the abortion issue. I think it has the best chance of getting through. However, I would support a Constitutional Amendment banning abortion (remote possibility). I also work to change the law at the state level. Unfortunately, Roe v. Wade makes it where Nevada cannot ban abortion.

Again, thanks for the conversation and I would be interested to find out who you end up voting for in the primaries. Tomorrow, I will caucus for Ron Paul. Mitt Romney will win Nevada by a large margin and most likely the nomination. I will vote for him against President Obama. I will try to serve my wife and three sons, my church, and my community in a Christ-honoring way, and that is one thing we can both agree on.

Wayne Wilson's picture

I have enjoyed it too, Sean. You're a good man. I am very pleased to hear you will vote for whoever wins the nominations against Obama. I hope you will encourage the other Paul followers to do the same.