Constitutional Supremacy

I lived in Oklahoma for a while, and I don’t love the state. My antipathy has nothing to do with politics, though. I don’t know if it will stand, but I fully support this effort:

Oklahoma House Passed Bill to Let State Declare Biden Executive Orders Unconstitutional (

On the whole I think this Newsweek article is balanced and fair. I do take issue with their wording of one particular paragraph:

“The 10th Amendment says powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. However, the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause also states that federal law generally takes precedence over state laws and even state constitutions.” What they are saying, is, in effect, “The states reserve all rights that are not granted in Article I, Section 8 (The Enumerated Powers), unless the Federal Government passes a law usurping that right! But the 10th Amendment expressly prohibits such Federal laws!

Contrary to what you may have heard, the Constitution of the United States is clear and simple. You may have to look up a word or phrase here and there (e.g., habeas corpus, or Bill of Attainder), but once you’ve done that, you don’t have to have a Harvard law degree to know what it means! The Constitution is the supreme law of our land. If Congress passes a law that violates the 10th Amendment, then that law is by definition invalid! If the President attempts to enforce that law, then he is in violation of the Constitution, and the states can and should defend their Constitutional rights! If the courts, including the Supreme Court, uphold such a law, it is still unconstitutional, because it is absurd to think that an office created by the Constitution can userp the Constitution!

What Oklahoma is trying to do is yet another of many historical attempts by states to nullify unconstitutional Federal laws and actions. Yes, it has been tried before, with little or no success. The concept goes back at least to Thomas Jefferson. In 1791, as Secretary of State, he wrote an opinion letter to President George Washington regarding proper remedies for an unconstitutional law coming out of the US Congress:

“The … shield provided by the Constitution to protect against the invasions of the legislature: 1. The right of the Executive. 2. Of the Judiciary. 3. Of the States and State legislatures. The present is the case of a right remaining exclusively with the States, and consequently one of those intended by the Constitution to be placed under its protection.”

In other words Jefferson defends nullification by means of: (1) Presidential Veto; (2) Judicial Review; and, if all else fails, (3) Nullification by the states.

The Oklahoma House Minority Leader says, “It’s interesting to me that the States’ Rights Committee only seems to exist when there’s a Democrat in the White House, and that these issues only come up when there’s a Democrat in the White House”. She’s right, of course. Unfortunately, that is the way American politics functions these days. We don’t tend to do what is correct and just, we do what is expedient, and only argue when it suits our particular ends. Sad.

Oklahoma is right in this instance, and yes, it is right no matter which party is in power!

Honoring Caesar

I’m sorry, sort of, for deciding I have to say this regarding a sermon I heard today on I Pet 2:13-17

Realizing that God is “the same yesterday, today, and always”, I think we have to recognize that it is sometimes difficult to apply scriptural concepts in the context of 21st Century America. In Peter’s time, the civilized world was ruled by one man, the Roman Emperor, whose rulings were enforced by a network of sub-rulers throughout the Empire. It was easy for Peter, under Divine inspiration, to say, “honor the emperor” and all those under him who are set over us. To follow that precept today, we have to wade through a morass of ambiguous, and mostly conflicting, levels of authority.

The implication of the message I just watched on TV is, if I understood it correctly, that we should be in submission to all levels of our American government, even if the Constitution is being blatantly undermined by those leaders.

So, who is this emperor we are to honor?  The President? Congress? The Federal Courts? The Washington bureaucracy? How about State government? Or, going the other way, the Secretary General of the United Nations, or the Security Council?

My personal opinion, based on many, many years of reflection, is that what God Himself has ordained for America is that we are a government “of the People, by the People and for the People”, with none other than the US Constitution at our top. The Constitution is our one and only emperor in America! Below that we have—deliberately—established competing layers of government that we, the voting citizens of Kansas first, and the US second (except where the Constitution dictates otherwise) must hold accountable. If this means sitting at my computer and posting memes and dissenting comments on Facebook, then I feel that I am within my spiritual authority to do so. In America, under the auspices of the First Amendment, we who are the informed are encouraged to voice our opinions yea or nay so that those who are less informed can vote effectively.

So, if “the government” tells me I can’t speak my mind on a political issue, or I can’t arm myself for any reason whatsoever, I must not submit, irrespective of the courts, because even they cannot violate the essential rights granted by the US Constitution! In a sermon several years ago, one of my pastors, evidently directing his comments to me and perhaps a few others, said that we were “disgusting” and out of God’s Will. I don’t accept that characterization!

Defining “Nationalism”

In this post, I offer my own understanding of the difference between “state”, or “country” and “nation.”

Nationalism” is a term which has come to have a rather ambiguous meaning. According to Merriam-Webster, it means “loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”
However, one has to then ask what is meant by a “nation.” We tend to think of a nation as “a sovereign state”, but I believe it is historically more correct to think of it as a homogeneous collection of “peoples”, in the Biblical sense; i.e., the Jewish Peoples, as opposed to the Jewish state of Israel, which incorporates many non-Jewish residents. A “nation-state“, in contrast, is a state consisting of one and only one, usually ethnic, nation. “Patriotism” can apply to either the nation or the state, or even a high school or college, I guess.
You can argue whether either one is a good thing or a bad thing, or what precise definition you want to go with. Personally, I consider the US to be a state, but not a nation as in “one nation under God.” It is a state consisting of a number of intermixed, but not necessarily compatible, national groups.
I study a lot of world and US history. I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think you can show me ANY state, EVER, that has included more than one nation and not had mutual hatred, or at least discomfort, in the mixture. I think that Abe Lincoln must have understood this when he proposed sending the freed slaves to either Liberia or South America. Mexico started out, after Columbus, with a mixture of Spaniards and Native Indians, and there was tremendous bloodshed between the two national groups. Eventually, over centuries, they intermarried and assimilated, and the Mexican People are now essentially an authentic People, or Nation.
Sad to say, I don’t think the US will ever get to that point. Because we are all, black or white, fallen, sinful, human beings, we will never get beyond the hatreds that now rack America, and this division is one reason the US is not mentioned, and will have no significant part in, the end-times events prophesied in scripture. To put it another way, by bringing slavery to America, we assured our own eventual destruction.