Immigration Laws and the Onslaught of Unintended Consequences 4

Who decides what the Constitution means?

The first few decades of the 21st century have brought to America a new realization of the primary weakness of our form of government: it only works if everybody believes in it and their actions support it.  As John Adams said:

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Once upon a time, all Americans generally agreed what the Constitution meant and followed our political traditions without too much divergence.  Those days are over: modern politicians and opinion makers instead examine our founding documents with a fine-toothed comb, looking to see how much they can get away with.

The question isn't, "How best can be preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and the United States of America?"  Today, the question is, "How can I accomplish my own ends while remaining technically within the Constitution, or arguably so... or at least in some sort of gray area where the Constitution doesn't apply clearly?"

That's how we got nonsense like giving illegal aliens Constitutional rights and their children U.S. citizenships.  Our Founders didn't ban such obvious insanities because it never would have occurred to them that any well-meaning leader would have ever tried such a thing, or that the voters would have tolerated it for a single moment.

Yet here we are, and the mess created by decades of malfeasance is nigh impossible to clean up.  In the earlier articles in this series, we've seen how, while President Trump's idea of denying anchor babies U.S. citizenship is right in principle, in practice it would create an appalling, ineffective mess because our bureaucratic systems simply aren't able to support distinguishing between people other than by their birth paperwork.

The underlying problem is both more complex and more severe: The authors of the Fourteenth Amendment, which defines who is entitled to American citizenship, explained their intention that it apply only to those who had complete allegiance to the Constitution - their exact definition of their Constitutional term "subject to the jurisdiction thereof."

By the same logic, we ban Nazis from coming to the United States, and ought to ban Islamofascists: their beliefs directly contradict the principles of the Constitution.  It is not possible to be a loyal Nazi or a fundamentalist Muslim, and also to be a loyal American - they are simply mutually incompatible.

Why is this relevant to anchor babies, next to none of whom are Nazis and thankfully few of which are Muslim?

A Post-Christian America

Shelves of books have been written documenting how America's founders viewed their new country as a Christian nation.  Our Constitution and laws were based on Christian principles; just about every Founding Father has been quoted as stating the absolute requirement for God and the Bible in schools, government, and society.  It was never their intention that Christianity be a requirement to be an American - there were Jews as well as some Indians who were acknowledged as citizens, plus a scattering of other peoples - but the fundamental liberties underpinning the Revolution were stated as originating from "nature, and Nature's God" as understood in the Bible.

Indeed, the political writings of John Locke influenced our Founders; in Treatises of Civil Government, he wrote:

Human laws are measures in respect of men whose actions they must direct, howbeit such measures they are as have also their higher rules to be measured by, which rules are two, the law of God, and the law of nature; so that laws human must be made according to the general laws of nature, and without contradiction to any positive law of scripture, otherwise they are ill made. [emphasis added]

Our Founders did not design a theocracy, and wouldn't have wanted to live in one - but it was their understanding that their nation, its government, and laws, would be at least generally compatible with the teachings of Christianity.

Now, our Founders didn't necessarily expect that our laws to enforce everything found in Holy Writ.  God takes a dim view of lying, for instance, but save in specific instances like perjury and fraud, general lying has never been a crime.  America's traditional laws have never directly mapped the Bible, but until very recently you could follow both without any conflicts or trouble.

Several hundred years after the passing of our Founders, though, that's no longer the case.  In merely the most blatant current example, the Bible states God's opinion on homosexuality thusly:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

- Leviticus 18:22

Contrary to the frothing lunacy of the left, no serious modern American Christian believes that this deputizes them to go out and kill homosexuals - which cannot be said of Muslims who throw homosexuals off buildings.  It is not now, nor has it ever been, the position of religious Americans that our government is obliged to enforce every command of Scripture.

As John Locke maintained, though, it has been expected that our laws would at least not require people to violate their sincerely-held religious beliefs.  This idea is called "liberty of conscience."  It's been applied even to marginal if not loony beliefs, and not just to Christians: Jehovah's Witnesses cannot be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance even in wartime, and American Indian native religions are allowed to use mind-altering drugs that would be illegal for nonbelievers.

This attitude of tolerance of and respect for others' beliefs has changed, at least as regards traditional Christians who take the Bible for what it says.  We are all aware of famous examples of bakers, photographers, government officials, and others who have had their lives ruined by the force of government because they refuse to bow down to the postmodern concept that a homosexual coupling is a marriage, in violation of their deeply-held religious beliefs.

How did this completely un-American idea enter into the law?  From the Supreme Court in Obergefell, which found homosexual "marriage" to be not merely allowable, but indeed a Constitutional right.

There is no higher legal authority in our land than the Constitution; indeed, that is what our leaders, military officers, and naturalized citizens swear allegiance to.  And our highest court has declared that that sacred document demands something directly contradictory to the Holy Writ that a sizable minority, if not a majority, of Americans hold allegiance to.  In fact, that text even says something quite specific and relevant to the discussion:

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

 - Acts 5:29

Most American Christians have forgotten this because it hasn't been an issue for centuries, but some are starting to remember:

North Carolina pastor Rit Varriale wants to see churches fly the Christian flag above the American flag as a biblical statement, reversing flag etiquette that calls for the American flag to be flown in the prominent position...

"If you stop and think about it, [flag etiquette] is inconsistent with what the Bible teaches us," Varriale said. "We are first and foremost Christians who are called to serve the living God."

Put another way: Pastor Varriale and similarly devout believers consider God's Word to demand higher allegiance than the Constitution, or at least to our Supreme Court's current interpretation of it, specifically with respect to abortion and homosexuality but no doubt on an ever-increasing number of issues as our nation moves further away from its generic-Christian heritage.

Now, of course, the Constitution says nothing whatsoever about homosexuals, any more than it does about abortion, transsexuals, or any of the other rights invented by the Left.  The Framers of the Constitution would have found these postmodern views incomprehensible and abhorrent.  But that's not what matters in law: what matters is what the Supreme Court says, until it says something else.

Christians who believe in the dictates of their Scripture simply cannot obey this kind of diktat.  Recent Supreme Court decisions, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop, have been reluctant to attempt to force them to; but the Court has also declined to state that the First Amendment flatly protects religious practice from legal harassment, which leaves the issue up in the air.

Standard academic legal teaching, more and more, is that religious rights are subordinate to sexual rights.  None of this is at all new; the culture wars have been boiling for a lifetime.  But President Trump's well-intentioned proposal to end anchor babies and birthright citizenship creates an explosive combination.

Follow the logic:

The argument underpinning Trump's Constitutional and legal authority to end birthright citizenship is based on the restrictive text of the Fourteenth Amendment - that citizenship is only for people born "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States and its Constitution.

The Senators who wrote the Fourteenth Amendment explained this phrase thus: "What do we mean by ‘complete jurisdiction thereof?’ Not owing allegiance to anybody else."

The tenets of Christianity expressly state that God is the highest authority over an individual's life and choices.  Christians do not owe primary allegiance to the law, the Constitution, or to the Supreme Court.  Christians are indeed to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, but more importantly, to render to God what is God's.

Therefore, by definition, devout Christians place themselves outside of the "complete jurisdiction thereof" when they refuse to acknowledge politically-correct anti-Biblical newly-created leftist Constitutional "rights."  Thus, by Mr. Trump's logic and the plain text of the 14th amendment, their kids aren't citizens.

Solving That Annoying Voting Problem

Nobody is going to get very far with this apparently insane argument... today.

But it wasn't that long ago when the idea that legalizing homosexuality would lead to homosexual marriages or that homosexual marriages would lead to polygamy was ridiculed by all sides.  It wasn't even a decade ago when Democrat party leaders like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton believed, or said they believed, that marriage should be between one man and one woman only. 

It was within living memory when Democrat President Jimmy Carter banned immigration from Iran because that country had been taken over by a toxic Islamic fundamentalist government.  Nobody batted an eyebrow because the common sense of his executive order was so obvious.  Today, when Donald Trump tries to do the exact same thing, unholy hell is raised and leftist judges rule that his executive orders are invalid.

Just a few decades ago, Mr. Rogers solemnly told his audience of children that “When you’re born a boy baby, you grow up to be a bigger boy and then a man! When you’re born a girl baby, you grow up to be a bigger girl, and then a woman!”  Today, if you say that, you'll likely get fired.

So when Donald Trump hands the Left this giant, gleaming hammer to knock their hated religious enemies out of politics, and perhaps even out of the country altogether over time, what possible reason could there be to think they won't use it?  The merest glance at Twitter finds a myriad of leftists wishing conservatives dead - why wouldn't they want their citizenship stripped from them if that became possible or even barely plausible?

If they have to wait a decade or two, well, that's nothing: the Long March Through the Institutions took nearly a century, but thanks to the early efforts of John Dewey and his followers in teachers colleges, then public schools, then universities, then the media, government bureaucracies, and finally business - we've arrived at a point where just about all our major cultural and national institutions are entirely run by and for the Left, despite just about half the American people being entirely opposed.

The Left thinks about the next decade or century; the Right is lucky if it knows what day it is today, never mind tomorrow.  Perhaps it's time that changed!  Remember the ancient rule:

  • If you plan for 1 year, grow rice.
  • If you plan for 20 years, grow trees.
  • If you plan for 100 years, grow men.

This rule is as true today as it was a millennium ago, but we can't even agree on what a man is anymore - or an American.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Immigration.
Reader Comments

Does the left grow men? I think not.

December 3, 2018 9:44 PM

Not sure that I'd mix the ruse of anchor babies letting adult 3rd worlders get 1st world welfare benefits with the breakdown of religious moral order. The former is a scam for 3rd world high school drop outs and criminals to get the US tax payer to give them a better life style. The latter is the loss of a principle of authority in a post religion society for first worlders. I think most folks would understand the concept of getting scammed by a bunch of 3rd worlders not qualified to live in the country. The decline of moral authority seems to be a lot bigger issue and could confuse people who would easily understand the simple concept of getting ripped off. As Mao said, a journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step. Let that first step be the snuffing out of the clearly immoral anchor baby gambit.

December 3, 2018 10:18 PM

"United States" means:

When used in a Geographical sense "United States" means the collective of the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and no other thing, per IRC § 7701(a)(9).

When used in a Governmental sense "United States" means the District of Columbia; to wit:

The Congress shall have Power . . . To exercise exclusive Legislation . . . over such District . . . as may . . . become the Seat of the Government of the United States . . . [Emphasis added.] [Constitution, Article 1 § 8(17)] The District is created a government by the name of the “District of Columbia" . . . [Emphasis added.][Revised Statutes of the United States Relating to the District of Columbia . . . 1873-’74 § 2, supra, n. 98]

The geographical District of Columbia is the location of the Governments of the United States (March 4, 1789) and District of Columbia (Junell,1878, supra, n. 98)—both of which are run from the same place, Capitol Hill, by the same people, Congress, who omit to divulge that the only Americans personally subject to the legislation of the Government of the United States are citizens or residents (actual or legal) of the District of Columbia.

When used in a Political sense "United States" means the District of Columbia; to wit:

"United States" means— (A) a Federal [District of Columbia municipal corporation; . . . [Title 28 USC Judiciary and Judicial Procedure § 3002(l5)]

The District of Columbia is a Federal corporation (municipal) of which the President of the United States is CEO,145 incorporated for political purposes continuously since ·February 21, 1871 (supra, n. 98), "and having subordinate and local [District of Columbia] powers of legislation” (supra, n. 97) known as administrative law.
From "Why the 14th Amendment is a Political Trojan Horse", by Thomas Clark Nelson

December 5, 2018 3:06 PM
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