The Judicial Crisis - A Judeo-Christian Concern
Posted: May 22, 2003
© 2002 Contender Ministries
“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” – President George Washington
The judicial nomination crisis in the United States has been the front-runner of political headlines of late. The Bush administration has publicly scolded the senate democrats for using extreme tactics to forestall the confirmation of the president’s various judicial nominees. Democrats and some special interest groups are doing everything possible to prevent the appointment of conservative justices to federal benches. This is an issue that Christians – indeed all who espouse Judeo-Christian values – should care about, and it goes beyond issues of partisanship.
According to the White House, during President Bush's first two years in office, only 53% of appeals court nominees were confirmed compared to a rate of over 90% during the same period for the last 3 Presidencies. In the cases of two nominees, Priscilla Owen and Miguel Estrada, the democrats in the senate have resorted to a filibuster in order to prevent the republican majority from confirming their appointments. One has to wonder why these nominees are being so strenuously opposed. According to the National Organization for Women (NOW), Priscilla Owen must be opposed because she is personally opposed to abortion and supports parental notification laws for abortion. NOW opposes Estrada because he is personally against abortion, and they are afraid that his views will taint his ability to render impartial judgments. According to their website, NOW states that the Bush administration’s judicial nominees are going to strip women of “reproductive [abortion] rights, civil rights, lesbian rights….”
What’s at stake? The very moral fabric of this country. The judicial nominees awaiting confirmation are what are referred to as “strict constructionists.” They are judges who hold not only to the letter of our constitution, but also to the intent with which the founding fathers of our nation framed that document. Let’s take a brief look at the constitution and the intent of its framers and initial protectors.
The first amendment to our constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” This has come to be known as the “establishment clause.” Now this constitutional amendment was intended to apply only to the federal government, not to the individual states. In fact, some of the states did have established religions at that time. Many state constitutions even required that elected officials profess a Christian belief! While some will argue that the establishment clause builds a “wall of separation” between the government and religion, that was certainly not the intent. The intent was only to prevent the federal government from establishing a state religion! In fact, on the same day that congress passed the bill of rights, they submitted a bill to President Washington calling for a national day of prayer and thanksgiving, which he signed. This same congress voted to pay for congressional chaplains, and passed legislation which, in part, funded missionary work to the native American Indians.
President Washington told the Baptists of Virginia, “If I could have entertained the slighted apprehension that the Constitution framed in the Convention where I had the honor to preside might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to
it.” President Thomas Jefferson responded to concerns raised by the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut by telling them that a “wall of separation” exists between church and state. This letter, when read in its entirety, leaves no doubt that Jefferson’s only intent was to reassure the Danbury Baptists that the federal government would not infringe on their rights. Yet revisionists have used Jefferson’s “separation” statement to justify their efforts to rid the public arena of any religious expression.
A review of the writings of the era show that our founding fathers were deeply religious people who held religion, morality, and government as indispensable and inseparable allies. George Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable
supports.” Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying, “We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better that the builders of
Babel.” And Thomas Jefferson said that religion is “deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best
To this end, laws concerning morality were passed and enforced. Sodomy, pornography, and blasphemy became illegal as well as sinful. Over the last two hundred years, much has changed. Moral decay has brought us to the brink of Babylon. Revisionist justices have reinterpreted the constitution in light of their own sinful nature and moral depravity. Judicial opinions rendered over the last 60 years, and especially over the last 40 years, have served to separate any form of religion, morality, and virtue from the public arena. Prayer and the Bible have changed positions with sodomy and pornography as constitutional and societal evils.
Those who oppose the current judicial nominees are believers in the relativist, revisionist, amoral judiciary. They want free access to abortion on demand – regardless of the term of pregnancy or the age and vulnerability of the abortion seeker. They want homosexuals to be given preferential – not equal – treatment. They want to prohibit our school children from hearing that abstinence from sex is an effective means of birth control, while they provide them with condoms and teach them that there are no sexual sins. They resent the faith of our fathers, and fear the convictions of the current slate of judicial nominees.
John Witherspoon, one of the signers of America’s Declaration of Independence said, “The people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial
branches.” While the judges are not elected by the people, they are confirmed by those whom we elect. The moral direction of our nation is at stake. That makes this an issue that transcends partisan politics. It is incumbent upon us to contact our senators to urge confirmation of those nominees who share our moral worldview. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any
people.” Knowing this, Thomas Jefferson said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep
forever.” Indeed, we should all tremble.
1. Washington, Writings (1932), Vol. XXX, p.321 n., May 10, 1789
2. Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States…Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore: George and Henry S. Keatinge, 1796), pp. 22-23.
3. James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree & O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, p. 985, June 28, 1787.
4. Thomas Jefferson. David Barton, The Myth of Separation (Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 1991), p. 176.
5. John Witherspoon, Works (1815), Vol. IV, p. 267, from “A Sermon Delivered at a Public Thanksgiving after Peace.”
6. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1794), p. 237, Query XVIII.