Quo Vadis America:
Three Threats to Freedomby John Loeffler World Affairs Editor
"This is America. That can't happen here." It's a popular phrase among Christians who have been warned about the rapidly deteriorating protections in this country and the possibility of oncoming persecution. In Jeremiah's time, the Israelites chanted a similar mantra: "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord."1 This was the narcotic which allowed them to ignore Jeremiah's warning of imminent destruction. After all, the Lord's temple was among them, therefore God would never allow Jerusalem to be destroyed. They gambled on that and lost. American Christians are gambling at the same table. Same game, different century.
Since the early 1960s, America has undergone a series of radical cultural changes. We experienced the civil rights movement and made great strides in overturning the history of racism in this country. Spurred on by that and the flower child revolution, which rejected the established order and sought its own brand of freedom, Americans began to imagine they had all sorts of rights and commenced a decades-long battle to obtain them, oftentimes warping the very fabric of the Constitution to do it. At the same time, America began its rejection of God and launched into a new hedonism. We began new discrimination by giving preferential treatment in public life to a plethora of groups, excluding others. We began a failed crusade to eliminate poverty by spending money. Schools began operating as psycho-centers, where personality would be shaped rather than minds educated. There was a pronounced shift to untested experimental programs, away from having schools represent parents to teaching children to think "independently" and replace the values of their parents with secular ones.
The product of that era is now evident in a soaring poverty rate, a national budget gone bankrupt, and an illiterate populace that is both ignorant of its history and atheistic, being controlled by a government no longer accountable to its people, circling the wagons to defend itself from its failing policies with a continual stream of lies.
The Christian Right, meanwhile, has spent the past few decades battling the sociological results of the 1960s worldview changes rather than the causes, arriving on the scene over two decades late, a dollar short and agreeing to play by the other side's rules, guaranteeing eventual failure.
There is now a more radical paradigm change to global pantheism underway. This movement is hostile to Christianity and, once again, the Church is ignoring it. Last time around the church was allowed to do its thing as long as it didn't get in the way. This time will be different. The new paradigm has all intents and purpose of forcing its pantheistic will on Christianity in the name of tolerance.
For that to happen, the rights which protected our culture for 200 years have to be swept away. The new paradigm hates inalienable rights and insists on defining new ones, while appealing to popular consensus for their validation. If just a few more changes occur in the way laws are defined, enforced, and relate to each other, we will have very little freedom left. This loss will directly impact the American church, soft after 200 years of good living and incapable of envisioning itself under persecution.
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and religion. But now religion can't be practiced on many occasions. We now have freedom from religion. Speech may be technically free, but those who say politically incorrect things are ridiculed, called purveyors of hate, and excluded from public discourse. The chief no tolerance for free speech zone in America today is found in academia and government circles.
In creating the Second Amendment, the founding fathers recognized that as long as there was an armed populace, a government could not arbitrarily force its dictatorial will on the people. Although the right to bear arms was not to be infringed, there are now over 20,000 laws controlling or prohibiting arms.
The Fourth Amendment is for all purposes dead, and with it the property rights so essential to a stable society. Seizures of property due to a plethora of laws and regulations are commonplace. Now if the government wants it, charges can be trumped and the property taken, often without trial. Just imagine what will happen if "hate speech" laws ever link up with forfeiture statutes. People will be afraid to speak for fear of having their property seized.
The Fifth Amendment, with its protection against double jeopardy, is buckling badly. The reason for this provision was to prevent government from endless charging and recharging of a person until his resources were exhausted. But now we can be punished for the same crime in several ways, at both federal and state levels, and by having property seized or by means of other "civil" procedures.
The Tenth Amendment, wherein all powers not specifically designated to the federal government are reserved to the states and the people is worse than dead; it's rotting. The federal government has entered areas never specifically designated to it and the states, rather than asserting their legal rights, pant for handouts from the federal trough and are willing to prostitute themselves to obtain them.
Threat #1: International Treaties
There are several end-runs which are also endangering what remains of constitutional protections. The first great end-run is the signing and ratification of international treaties, which become the law of our land. Most of these treaties originate at United Nations conferences. The UN is a nondemocratic organization, which makes no secret about its love of socialism and its goal of bringing the planet under its "global governance." At the recent UN conference in Istanbul, Turkey, it was Fidel Castro who got a standing ovation after making a speech trouncing the U.S. Red flag waving, anyone?
The treaties have language which is intentionally broad and vague, having one meaning to the people drafting them but another to the public. They are debated in the public arena by means of clichés and face merit, rather than on the legalese they actually contain and how the language will be enforced. Much of the U.S.'s sovereignty is being deeded away to international organizations who have no understanding of rights or protections as we understand them. Current pending treaties will deed away control of our children, river beds, the oceans, and property rights, among other things.
Threat #2: Regulation
Congress has defaulted much of its responsibility for making laws to a fourth branch of government not sanctioned by the Constitution -the Bureaucratic Branch. Congress passes laws creating agencies and enables those agencies to create "regulations," which are then imposed on the populace with the force of law. As Congress defaults on its responsibilities, the agencies are now acting as unaccountable lawmakers, imposing more and more regulation. Enforcement of these regulations is becoming equally abusive and the process of redress along with it.
If the Senate doesn't ratify the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming, President Clinton has already said he's going to instruct the EPA to implement regulations which would impose the treaty on Americans anyway. End-run and TOUCHDOWN! The Senate's participation is immaterial. Congress is rapidly becoming a useless debating society as it fails to assert its right as a branch of government.
Threat #3: Executive Orders
Executive order was the means by which Germany was converted from a Republic into a Nazi dictatorship in just three months. Executive Orders are issued by the president and appear in the Federal Register for 30 days. If there is no challenge by Congress, the order then becomes law. Similar to EOs are Presidential Decision Directives, such as the secret PDD25, which allows for the use of U.S. troops in UN operations without congressional approval-in violation of the Constitution.
There have been thousands of executive orders written by presidents since the 1940s. Most of these consist of administrative housekeeping. However, a few orders involve much more than the efficient management of the nation. They virtually suspend constitutional rights and provide dictatorial powers to the executive branch of the government in a time of real or contrived emergency. There is no provision for how long a state of emergency can last.
If the president were to declare an emergency, for whatever reason, Congress's consent isn't required. Executive orders give the government the power to act as an unaccountable dictatorship. In addition, authority does not flow from the president to the governors of the various states during the emergency, but rather through the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and his regional directors. The states are totally bypassed.
Quo Vadis America?
Twenty years ago, evangelical philosopher Francis Schaeffer warned that America's turning from God and embracing relative truths could have no other result but to convert America into a dictatorship within a generation or so.
A free society depends on voluntary compliance with law. Christians comply because they believe in a God who watches our every move and holds us accountable, even when government does not. Those without belief in God and absolute truth have no motivation whatsoever to comply voluntarily and so an ever-increasing corpus of law must be imposed by violence on citizens by government to achieve order. In doing so, the government separates itself from morality and oftentimes can become the chief lawbreaker.
The tragedy is that the Church is so desperately slow to recognize this. Despite the decay of the very wall that protects them, she repeats over and over again, "This is America, it can't happen here." Same game. Different century.
The Attack on our Rights: What Delicate Balance? Part 1 - John Loeffler