By Virginia C. Armstrong, President, Blackstone Institute
June 1999 – While sexual immorality chokes the moral atmosphere, our children murder one another in the nation’s schoolrooms, and malignant dishonesty parades through the highest office of American government, Christian beliefs and values in America today are imprisoned behind brick walls. These brick walls wear the black robes of federal judges and occupy the highest judicial posts in the land.
What issues concern you most?
Whatever issue is of greatest concern to you, your efforts to advance your cause will eventually crash into one of these brick walls in black robes. For example:
➤ Is your concern the conquest of so much of America’s public life by humanism and the simultaneous expulsion of Christian values from the public square? Then you must combat judges such as U. S. District Judge Dan Polster. Judge Polster ruled recently that the city seal of Stow, Ohio, which includes a cross, violates the constitutional “separation of church and state.” Judge Polster was nominated to his post last year by Bill Clinton and unanimously approved by the Republican-controlled Senate.
➤ Are you most concerned about the life issues? If so, you must contend with judges such as U. S. District Judge William Traxler, who recently invalidated abortion clinic regulations in South Carolina. Judge Traxler was also nominated to his post last year by Bill Clinton and approved unanimously by the Republican-controlled Senate.
➤ Is your focus the viciously anti-Christian gay rights movement? Then you will collide with the U. S. Supreme Court. This Court voted 6-3 in 1996 to deny the people of Colorado the self-governing power to simply place homosexual conduct on the same legal ground as other conduct. Four members of the six-person majority were appointed by Republican presidents.
The list of judicial barriers to the preservation and perpetuation of America’s original Christian value system is almost endless. And the walls are growing. By the beginning of 1999, the Clinton Administration, with the cooperation of Senate Republicans, had named 301 liberal/activist judges to the federal bench (almost 40% of the judiciary). Not a single Clinton nominee has been rejected by the Senate. Moreover, by early March of this year, 19 more Clinton nominees had been sent to Capitol Hill. Twelve of these disturbing candidates were nominated by the Administration but were not acted upon by the Senate last year. The foundation upon which these judicial brick walls are built is a vicious and virulent form of the humanistic worldview applied to the field of law. And the mortar which cements together the bricks representing individual decisions and judges is a set of theories known as “judicial activism/noninterpretivism.” (This position is also commonly referred to as “judicial imperialism.” The opposite position, which we advocate, is known as “judicial restraint/interpretivism.”)
The mortar in the walls
“Judicial activism” is a theory of judicial power which places the courts in the vanguard of policy-making, elevating the courts above all other agents in America –including the people and the Constitution. “Noninterpretivism” is a theory of constitutional interpretation which asserts that the text of the Constitution and the intent of its Framers are of little or no relevance to today’s world. Perhaps the most cogent summary of these theories has been articulated by Arthur S. Miller, a very prominent, influential law professor and member of the legal elite. Writing in his book, Toward Increased Judicial Activism, Miller asserts that the U. S. Supreme Court Justices are “a de facto Council of Elders [who] may be likened to the oracles of ancient Greece.” “The Constitution is a theological document…; and the Justices are the High Priests who keep it current with each generation of Americans.”
Has ever there been in history such an arrogant assumption of power with such deadly consequences for God’s people? The answer, of course, is “Yes.” In one such cataclysmic period 2500 years ago we find both inspiration and instruction for us today.
The Esther model: our day in court
The time was the Fifth Century B.C., and the place was the glorious Persian Empire. A problem had been created in the kingdom. Thanks to the malevolent anti-Semitic government minister Haman, King Ahaseurus had been incited to sign the death warrant of all the Jews in Persia. However, Ahaseurus did not know that his beautiful and beloved new wife, Esther, was a Jewess, and a most godly one.
The parallels between the dilemma of Esther and of American Christians today are striking and frightening. Esther, too, faced a brick wall clothed in the robes of despotic and capricious power. But her response was a godly and effective one and provides a model for us to follow today.
In Chapter 4 of the Book of Esther, we find this three-stage blueprint outlined. Surely it is past time for us to have our day in court, and Queen Esther shows us how.
When Esther received the news of the King’s edict, her first act was to seek all the information possible to become educated (4:5-9). In America today our level of knowledge about constitutional and judicial issues is abysmally low. A variety of factors accounts for this dismal condition; but intellectual incapacity among Christians is not a factor – intimidation, frustration, etc., perhaps, but not the intellectual inability to understand. What have been at work are forces such as the willful wall-building of the legal elites in America.
These self-proclaimed legal aristocrats believe that the public cannot and/or should not understand the workings of the constitutional/judicial system, and they have diligently promoted for many decades the “cult of the robe.” This myth, exemplified in the above-cited quote from Arthur Miller, strongly discourages Americans from participating in constitutional and judicial affairs.
But we can understand. Accurate and understandable educational materials are available, and we urge you to contact the resources listed at the end of this article.
Esther’s second step was to fast (4:15- 16). After reaching an intelligent understanding of the problems she faced, Esther summoned her people to join her in fasting. At that point in Biblical history, fasting was an expression of mourning for sin and was a form of entreaty to God to ward off present or impending calamity. The Jews led by Esther thus engaged in supplication to God on behalf of their people. Surely American Christians have never so urgently as now faced the need to obey the injunctions of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and to pray with intensity and personal identification for our nation.
To mobilize prayer for America’s federal judges, a new movement is underway. This effort, sponsored by the Blackstone Institute and known as the “Blackstone Brigade,” seeks to recruit groups of Christians committed to pray daily for a particular federal court. This prayer network includes all 113 federal courts, so 113 groups of Christians have an unprecedented opportunity to cover our federal judges with prayer. For further information, contact the Blackstone Institute listed below.
Thus armed with prayer and information, Esther’s last step was to actually become personally involved in influencing her husband, the king. Her actions and their results are recorded in Chapters 7-10 of the Book of Esther. More than was true of Esther, Americans today still have the power and opportunity to influence the courts of our land.
It is an almost universally unknown fact that our federal courts can be extensively controlled by the Congress and by constitutional amendment. Congress, in turn, is obligated to be responsive to the will of the people (regarding the courts as well as any other policy matter). And the people are also essential participants in the constitutional amendment process. Our popular power over the federal judiciary may well be the greatest sleeping giant in American government and law. But it is long past time for the giant to awake and act!
Two organizations already actively mobilizing Americans to become involved in fighting judicial imperialism are the Eagle Forum’s Court Watch Project and the Judicial Selection Monitoring Project of the Free Congress Foundation. These groups earnestly solicit your participation and may be contacted at the addresses listed below.
As we awake and act, we should be guided by three goals. The most urgent immediate goal is to oppose the flood of Clinton judicial nominations and stem the resulting hemorrhaging of justice from our body politic. Our intermediate-range goal is to design a package of court-curbing measures which should become a major issue in the elections of 2000. These elections will probably be the most critical in American history in determining the future of the judiciary and the Constitution, and the forces of reason and restraint must prevail. Otherwise, the judiciary will be lost for the foreseeable future, and perhaps forever.
Our long-range goal must be to take every action possible after the elections of 2000 to implement the court-curbing package and to fashion additional proactive and effective measures as needed. The challenge may seem overwhelming, but we Christians today can surely rely on the assurance which God gave His people centuries ago in 2 Chronicles 20:15: “the battle is not ours, but His.”
A Person was called
In Esther’s day, a problem had been created, but a person was called to cooperate with God in the solution. Because Esther heeded God’s call to her through Mordecai, God’s enemies were destroyed, God’s people were delivered, and God’s leaders were distinguished.
Will history be able to record as much about us? Who knows but that we – man, woman, younger American, older American, Republican, Democrat, independent – who knows but that we, too, are come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
For more information:
The Blackstone Institute
4102 Buffalo Gap Rd., Ste. F-190
Abilene, TX 79605
Ph. (915) 698-9221 • Fax (915) 695-2154
The Free Congress Foundation
Judicial Selection Monitoring Project
712 Second Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Ph. (202) 546-3000 • Fax (202)543-5605
Eagle Forum's Court Watch
4102 Buffalo Gap Rd., Ste. F-190
Abilene, TX 79605
Ph. (915) 698-9221 • Fax (915)695-2154