Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

Archive for the ‘Thomas Jefferson’ Category

Federal Health Care Nullification Act

From Tenth Amendment Center:

“While lawsuits by State AGs have been getting considerable attention in the media, we at TAC feel that it would be a poor strategy to rely heavily on such efforts to stop the newly-signed health care law. As Thomas Jefferson told us—whenever the federal government assumes powers not delegated to it, those acts are ‘unauthoritative, void, and of no force’ and that a ‘nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.’

“Nullification is not an act of going to federal politicians or federal judges to repeal an unconstitutional law. It’s not about getting ‘permission’ to exercise our rights…it’s about exercising them whether the federal government wants us to or not. It’s taking action to make an unconstitutional act null and void right within your own state boundaries. In this spirit of American resistance, the Tenth Amendment Center is pleased to announce the release of our ‘Federal Health Care Nullification Act’—which you can learn more about below. Please call on your states to introduce and act on this legislation. Such resistance will not be easy, it will not be short, but it must be won.

“The Federal Health Care Nullification Act

“A. The Legislature of the State of _______________ declares that the federal law known as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers, and is hereby declared to be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, is specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.

“B. It shall be the duty of the legislature of this State to adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” within the limits of this State.

“C. Any official, agent, or employee of the United States government or any employee of a corporation providing services to the United States government that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this act shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5000.00), or a term of imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years, or both.”

Of course, this still promotes a minarchism—a small state government, and so is not wholly consistent with the principles of Christian anarchism. Nevertheless, it is a start in the right direction.

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Obama and the “National Day of Prayer”

The president is doing something right. OK, half right. He is reducing presidential promotion of a “National Day of Prayer.” See here:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/06/prayer-day-no-show/

On the other hand (the reason we only give him “half” here), he is issuing a presidential proclamation designating May 7, 2009 a “National Day of Prayer.” His political foes, of course, are apoplectic about his “lack of support” for Christianity. Actually, the further apart the state and the church stay, the better for both. Close association corrupts both parties.

Imagine a proclamation by Caesar that there would be a “National Day of Prayer” happening in the time of Christ. How do we think Jesus would respond? Would He be ecstatic, or wary? What need the church of a declaration of a day of prayer by a secular or pagan state? Ellul is right:

Jesus . . . treated power with disdain and did not accord it any authority. In every form he challenged it radically” (Jacques Ellul, Anarchy and Christianity, p. 56).

If Ellul does not suit us, how about Thomas Jefferson in 1808:

Sir,—I have duly received your favor of the 18th and am thankful to you for having written it, because it is more agreeable to prevent than to refuse what I do not think myself authorized to comply with. I consider the government of the U S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise, of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the U.S. Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority. But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting & prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the U.S. an authority over religious exercises which the Constitution has directly precluded them from. It must be meant too that this recommendation is to carry some authority, and to be sanctioned by some penalty on those who disregard it; not indeed of fine and imprisonment, but of some degree of proscription perhaps in public opinion. And does the change in the nature of the penalty make the recommendation the less a law of conduct for those to whom it is directed? I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct it’s exercises, it’s discipline, or it’s doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting & prayer are religious exercises. The enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, & the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands, where the constitution has deposited it.

I am aware that the practice of my predecessors may be quoted. But I have ever believed that the example of state executives led to the assumption of that authority by the general government, without due examination, which would have discovered that what might be a right in a state government, was a violation of that right when assumed by another. Be this as it may, every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, & mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the U S. and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.

I again express my satisfaction that you have been so good as to give me an opportunity of explaining myself in a private letter, in which I could give my reasons more in detail than might have been done in a public answer: and I pray you to accept the assurances of my high esteem & respect. (Thomas Jefferson, letter to letter to Rev. Samuel Miller, from Washington, January 23, 1808; Merrill D. Peterson, ed., Thomas Jefferson: Writings, New York: Library of America, 1994, pp. 1186-1187. )

I will not observe the proclamation. Like Daniel, I will persist in my pattern of prayer regardless of the state (Daniel 6:10).

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