“You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy … Their power is the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.” —Thomas Jefferson, 1820 letter to William Jarvis
(This is a book excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence.)
Since our founders established a system in which all three government branches were accountable to the people, they would most likely be astonished today that the people for which the Constitution was written have done little about the massive growth, recklessness, and unchecked power of the United States government.
The three branches of government are no longer equal and tragically, a handful of justices now dictate public policy, overpowering the citizens they were appointed to serve. Though our founders realized man craves power and they had the insight to place checks and balances on government, they might not recognize the country today.
Not only have men taken authority not granted them by the Constitution, judicial tyranny has reached new levels in America and the abuse of power by judges seems almost commonplace. There have been many cases in recent history that should have raised concerns, but let’s touch on a few of them.
The first few years in the 1960s would prove both pivotal and detrimental to the church, culture, and family values in American society. Christians had already been dealt a blow in the previous decade as the Johnson Amendment affected churches and nonprofits, but Christianity would now be targeted in the public school system.
In the 1962 landmark ruling, the Supreme Court again misused the Constitution and without citing a single precedent, banned voluntary prayer from public schools. In Engel v. Vitale, the Court claimed that a simple nondenominational prayer in New York schools established “an official state religion.”
Justice Potter Stewart, a voice of common sense and reason, was one who disagreed with the decision, saying:
With all respect, I think the court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. I cannot see how an “official religion” is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the contrary, I think that to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation.”
Our founders were rightly concerned the federal judiciary might seize powers from the states. Thomas Jefferson was one of several who warned the courts could gain power little by little, advancing like a thief “until all shall be usurped from the states.” We truly do not give these men enough credit for their wisdom and foresight.
The Engel ruling would be the basis for many future decisions involving the blotting out of God and the Bible, banning the Ten Commandments, prayer, and the quoting of Scripture in public schools. Remember, when something good, moral, and biblical is eliminated or removed, something bad, immoral, and unbiblical will replace it.
One year later, Pennsylvania took the next hit in the 1963 case Abington School District v. Schempp in which voluntary Bible reading and prayer at the beginning of each school day was abolished…
The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal [secular] concerns of men. Noah Webster (1758 – 1843)
The path the Supreme Court sent this nation down has been disastrous for the family and future of America. This Court has ruled a life is not life, marriage is not marriage, and family is not family.
When our government ignores American citizens and refuses to allow the people to decide by voting on state issues, we end up with laws having consequences that extend far beyond the case for which the ruling was handed down.
…Here are a few more case examples many of us have long forgotten:
- 1980 – The Supreme Court ruled that posting the Ten Commandments in public schools was unconstitutional in the case Stone v. Graham.
- 1984/85 – The Court ruled Alabama schools could no longer allow teachers to hold a voluntary minute of silence at the start of each school day.
- 1992 – The Supreme Court prohibited clergy-led prayer at graduation ceremonies. In Lee v. Weisman, Daniel Weisman sued a middle school in Providence, Rhode Island.
- 2000 – The Court banned a policy allowing student-initiated, student-led prayer at high school football games.
- 2002 – Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, concerned the moral foundation of our laws in America were being eroded, placed a Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama judicial building.
…Has the conflict for the soul of America reached a turning point? Souls, truth, godliness, and righteousness are on the line, and our children are watching. Our freedoms will not last if the majority of Christians remain casual observers and spectators. Let’s encourage each other in Christ to be active, effective citizens and servants of our God and King because regardless of what elites think, all authority and power comes from Him.
For the Lord is our judge, The Lord is our lawgiver, The Lord is our king; He will save us— (Isaiah 33:22) To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless (Isaiah 40:18, 23).
*This is an excerpt from the chapter, “Judicial Tyranny” in the 2015 book, The Cost of Our Silence from Aneko Press.