The Supreme Divide

Lady Justice

“I, ________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

All Supreme Court justices since the 1860’s have affirmed this oath, including our present sitting Justices. The foundation of the oath is to swear (or affirm) to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. A straight forward charge to these judicial pillars.

There were some landmark Supreme Court decisions this week.

  1. Obamacare was challenged on the wording in the bill that government subsidies would only be provided for “the states that setup exchanges”. The Court saved the bill by interpreting the phrase “the states that setup exchanges” to mean that any exchanges setup by the states or the federal government, eliminating the checks and balance of the Legislative branch writing the laws, the Judicial branch interpreting the laws, and the Executive branch executing the laws. The Supreme Court, instead of interpreting the law as written, chose to rewrite the law. If congress writes a sloppy or unclear bill then it’s the Supreme Courts job to return the bill so that Congress can write it correctly. Instead judicial activism was exercised. This was a 6-3 decision.
  2. Same sex marriage is now a national right according to the due process in the fourteenth amendment.The dissenters did not vote that same sex marriage is wrong since it’s not a power granted in the constitution and is reserved for the states decide. The majority believed that this is a federal right after a 5-4 decision.

How can nine smart, seasoned lawyers come to polar opposite conclusions when the goal is to “protect and defend” the Constitution? The answer is the two different philosophies for interpreting the Constitution: living constitution (loose constructionism) and original intent (strict constructionism).

Living Constitution

Living Constitution was introduced by the father of modern Progressivism, President Woodrow Wilson, in his book Constitutional Government in the United States where he wrote:

Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice.

During his 1912 Presidential campaign Wilson publicly asserted

Society is a living organism and must obey the laws of life, not of mechanics; it must develop. All that progressives ask or desire is permission – in an era when “development,” “evolution,” is the scientific word – to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine.

Wilson believed that just like organisms evolve per Darwin’s theory that so does the Constitution evolve over time.

Justice Ginsberg defends this approach by saying the Constitution must allow for broad interpretation.

“It’s intended to be looked at in the context of contemporary events, in the context of history, in the context of past precedent, and the intent of the framers. Put all those things together and hopefully what you get is the right answer to some perplexing issue that the court is confronting,”

During an Egyptian TV interview Justice Ginsberg responded,

“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.”  The justice then added, “I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, have an independent judiciary. It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done.”

Justice Ginsberg swore to protect and defend our constitution but believes that South Africa has a better constitution.

The liberal justices (Sotomayor, Ginsberg, Kagan, Breyer) were nominated by Democratic presidents and usually vote in lock step due to their belief in a living constitution that changes according to the cultural and social climate of the present.

Original Intent

Original Intent is the belief that the goal is to interpret the Constitution according to the intent of authors of the Constitution. This approach interprets the Constitution literally, peruses the Federalist Papers, and any other early writings that could provide the author’s intent. This concludes that the Federal Government only has power explicitly granted in the Constitution and all other powers are implicitly granted to the States. This belief is that the Constitution is resilient enough for our country unless new amendments are ratified.

The conservative justices (Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Roberts) were nominated by Republican presidents. Alito, Scalia, and Thomas usually vote together due to their original intent philosophy. Kennedy and Roberts are now swing voters who drift between living Constitution and original intent decisions.

Conclusion

The founding fathers were brilliant men that understood human nature, the corruption of man, and the lust for power. Our constitution is meant to provide constraints on the Federal government and to enforce checks and balances on the federal branches (Legislative, Executive, Judicial). Ratifying Constitutional amendments is meant to be difficult to provide constitutional stability. States’ rights are intended to flourish except where federal rights are explicitly granted.

The Constitutional foundation is crumbling as officials deem it an obstacle for what they want. A living constitution means that the constitution means whatever the interpreter wants it to mean. Therefore the Constitution is deemed as a necessary evil until it can be modified by the court to be a better document. This thinking is dangerous and a threat to our country.

I Am The Way and The Truth and The Life

i am the way truth life

In the book of John, Jesus Christ says the phrase “I am the…” sixteen times with 10 of them different:

  1. Bread, bread of life, living bread
  2. Light of the world (2)
  3. Door, door of the sheep
  4. Good shepherd (2)
  5. Son of god
  6. Resurrection
  7. Vine, true vine
  8. Way
  9. Truth (reality)
  10. Life

This article will focus on the last three: Way, Truth, and Life.

“I am the” is a powerful phrase. The “I” is Jesus Christ speaking about himself. He is expressing ownership for his claims.  The “am” means present tense. He doesn’t say “I was” or “I will be” but “I am” meaning at this moment the following trait applies to him. The word “the” is the definite article. He could have said “I am a” which means one of many. Instead he marked himself by the word “the” which means distinct from all others. “I am the” are three very common and simple words but significant.  Now let’s look at

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

In the Greek this phrase is “I am the way and the truth and the life”. The additional “and” changes the emphasis from the end of the sentence to each item in the list. We will consider the meaning of all three: the way and the truth and the life.

The Way

Jesus said “I am the way”.  The way is the path, avenue, or road leading to a destination. Jesus is the only path to the ultimate destination, eternal life.  This is accomplished by the new birth which is Christ in you, the hope of glory ( Colossians 3:15).

John 7:14(NASV)

For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

This verse adds to our understanding that the way is narrow. This means that Jesus Christ is the only way. All other ways are ways but not “the way”. This requires us to learn and obey God’s thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Staying on the Way improves our lives and the lives of others as we align our thoughts and ways with God’s thoughts and ways.

The Way is narrow and leads to a gate. This gate represents the entrance to the kingdom. Also he said that few find it. Why do few find it? First of all you find something when you are looking for it. Most of the world is not looking for the gate because of the belief that there are many gates and that the road is wide. This is a lie of Satan. Let’s look at John 14 again.

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

No man comes unto the Father but by Jesus. It’s interesting that he did not say “no man comes unto God, but by me.” That’s because it’s a family relationship. It’s the born from above son’s of God that call him father. We not only call him father but Abba which means Daddy. It’s an intimate term used by children. It supersedes our God relationship. President Obama has two daughters, Sasha and Malia. He is their president but they do not address him as Mr. President when he says goodnight. Instead they say “Goodnight Daddy”. He is still their President but the Daddy relationship supersedes the Presidential title.

The Truth

There are a lot of reality shows on TV today. There are eating shows (Anthony Bourdain), makeup shows(Face Off), cooking shows(Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped, America’s Test Kitchen, Top Chef), family shows(Keeping up with the Kardashians,  19 Kids and Counting), singing completions (The Voice), supernatural experiences (Paranormal Witness), fishing shows (Deadliest catch), dancing competitions(Dance Moms, Dancing with the  Stars), Courtroom cases (Judge Judy), Police(Cops), Real estate (Million dollar listing NY), Pawn shop (Pawn stars), dating(Parental Control), Amazon.com list over 1000 different reality shows.  Most of them are not “reality” shows (with the exception of sporting events) because the shows are scripted and manipulated. These shows appeal to us due to a desire to see something odd, exotic, extravagant, competitive, or weird. There is another reality.

Jesus said that he’s “the Truth”. One of the translations for truth is reality. Jesus is the Reality! Since Jesus is the Word then the Word of God is Reality. You can trust the rightly divided Word of God to align with biology, geology, astronomy, history, and any other subject.  The world knows facts and theories, some of which change over time but the Word of God is always true.

The Life

There are many words for life in the Greek. Bios is the word for physical life. We derive the English word biology from it. Psuche is the word for soul life where the intellect, emotions, and will exist. We derive the English word psychology from it. The last word, zoe, applies to Jesus Christ and represents spiritual life which results in eternal life. All three of the life forms are mentioned In the following verse.

1 Thessalonians 5:23(NIV)

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Adam was a three part being as God intended: body, soul, and spirit. When Adam committed treason in Genesis 3 then he lost the spirit of God and became a body and soul man.  Man was incomplete until the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was made available so that man could be complete again by adding spirit to his body and soul. Now man had the ability to communicate with God via the spirit and operate all nine of the manifestations of the spirit: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, faith, miracles, gifts of healings, speaking in tongues, speaking in tongues with interpretation, and prophesy.

Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. Therefore we can live Life as we walk by the Spirit being Real as we are on the Way to eternal life.

Jesus said In John 16:7(NAS)

7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

This must have baffled his disciples to think that it would be better for Jesus to leave than to stay. But he told then that he was speaking the truth, the real deal. Instead of only one Jesus present on the earth then the sons of God with Christ in them would have the life of God, the love of God, and the Word of God in their nature. We do not have to find Jesus because we carry Jesus with us. Rejoice in the privilege to be a Son of God and walk as worthy ambassadors representing our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Foundation of Freedom

John Adams - freedom

Freedom is one of the sweetest words in the world. All people desire freedom. In the US, we enjoy some of the greatest freedoms in the world but take them for granted. What is the foundation of our freedom? Freedom is bestowed by God. The first record of freedom is in the Bible. God gave all angels freedom of will including Lucifer. This opportunity resulted in the following declaration by the Devil in Isaiah 14.

13 For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  

Satan declared “I will” five times asserting his pride. I never realized that God gave angels free will because I thought they ALWAYS obeyed the Lord. Lucifer was not the only angel that asserted his freewill since a third of the angels were cast out of heaven because they chose to follow Lucifer instead of God (Revelations 12:4). Then God gave the first man, Adam, freedom of will along with rewards for obedience and the consequences for disobedience. In Genesis 2

15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.

Adam had one rule to remember, he could freely eat of every tree except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would result in death on the same day. In Genesis 3 they broke the rule.

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.

On that day Adam and Eve were evicted from paradise, received the curse, and lost the spirit of God. Adam’s disobedience reverberates today.

The U.S. Constitution asserts our freedom of will in the first amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The founders understood the importance of freedom of will because it is the foundation of our freedom. Our opportunity to think freely is restricted by our infringement of another person’s freedom of will. We can disagree with the government but we cannot yell fire in a theater or threaten our neighbor with bodily harm. We can not and should not try to control how others think by imposing our views. This week a white supremacist on psychotropic drugs entered a black church in Charleston, SC to brutally murder nine black members during a daytime prayer meeting. This act of violence is reprehensible and unconscionable.

Our President attributed this act of violence to inadequate gun control and racial hatred. John Stewart claims that the murders occurred because the the Confederate flag still waves over the state Capitol and there are streets in Charleston named after Confederate generals. More gun control and racism are the common politically correct responses to mass murders. Page two of the story is usually not covered by the media: prescriptions and demon spirits.

  • Most of the heinous murders in the last twenty years have involved prescription drugs for mental issues. Here is an article supporting the correlation between Mass shootings and psychiatric drugs The pharmaceutical companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars: in advertising to the news agencies, to government lobbies, and to medical school research. None of these groups want to impede the river their river of cash by reporting negative news.
  • These psychotropic drugs open up the mind to receive demonic spirits. I believe that the young man in Charleston was devil possessed since sane people do not commit heinous crimes because they have a conscious. Demon spirits like to focus on Christians and the Church because of their expulsion from heaven. Explaining demon possession is outside the scope of this article but it’s real, dangerous, and impervious to the five senses.

The murder was sick, twisted, and racist. There are no whites rallying behind his acts proclaiming him as a hero. Freedom of will is a double-edged sword that gives authoritarians the willies. Congress is not authorized to legislate and arrest us for how we think, no matter how much they disagree. Political correctness seeks to control how we think about: racism, feminism, guns, sexual preferences, drugs, environment, evolution, etc. It is not against the law to be stupid, ignorant, or politically incorrect. Freedom is never free because somebody had to pay the price. Embrace both your and my freedom  because to deny my freedom  is to deny your own which begins the erosion of our foundation of freedom.

Is Whistleblowing Always Wrong?

whistleblower

Most of us learned in elementary school that tattling is unacceptable. But then as we get older, we are confronted with exposing the grievous wrongs of others. Socially it is very uncomfortable and can be damaging to your reputation. However, the moral side taps you on your shoulder and says, “What are you going to do about THAT?”

NSA whistle blower Eric Snowden’s story has intrigued me since he splashed on the news. Why would a 29 year old systems analyst, living with his girlfriend in Hawaii while making over $120,000 a year, choose to discard his life by transporting over 200,000 classified government documents to Hong Kong resulting in a multi-national man hunt? What could motivate somebody to turn their life upside down permanently?

Eric says that his moral compass was so disturbed by the extent of government spying that the exposure to the public was worth the damage to his life. That is a martyr-like decision.

The documents have been screened by journalists and sparingly released to the public. The extent of the government overreach has included:

  • Exposure of James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, lying to Congress
  • The House has stopped bulk collection of all phone metadata.
  • A federal judge has said that the NSA phone surveillance program is unconstitutional
  • Tech Companies could lose billions due to privacy breaches (foreign businesses not trusting US cloud services)
  • Britain will have its FIRST-EVER open intelligence hearing.
  • Germany opened an investigation into the NSA’s tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone
  • Brazil chose to award a $4B jet contract to Saab instead of Boeing. The reason is unknown since contract decisions are private.
  • President Obama admits there would be no surveillance debate without Snowden leaks.
  • The Patriot Act, a law signed by President Bush in 2001, was not renewed in 2015

Our government is intended to have checks and balances to prevent any branch from overstepping their constitutional authority. Snowden revealed that in the name of terrorism the President, NSA, and FISA courts (3 judge courts instituted under Patriot Act to issue warrants without and record keeping or defense opportunity) were all given unrestrained LEGAL authority to violate our constitutional rights.

Could Snowden have accomplished his goal with fewer documents? I think part of his leverage is that he possesses damaging information that he does not want to release but will for self-preservation. I also don’t think that he had time to filter the docs for his desired info. His journey has been risky, dangerous, and highly complicated.

Will Snowden be remembered as a traitor or a freedom fighter? I think that his legacy will depend on if his documents are leaked to the wrong journalist or government. Unfortunately, sometimes whistleblowers are needed to provide the missing checks and balances due to immoral leaders in authority.

The Battle for Our Children’s Minds

battle of the mind

There is a hidden battle in every home for our children’s mind. The battle is fierce and real with devastating consequences. This is a problem that has subtly infiltrated my home unwittingly. What is that battle? The influence of modern technology by advanced personal devices and applications. Here are a list of some of the enemies.

  1. Facebook

Facebook is a social media application. Facebook labels all personal connections as a “friend”. This means that a list of 1000+ “friends” is really a handful of friends and many acquaintances. Postings, pictures, and comments/likes can be viewed by friends or anybody on Facebook depending on the privacy settings. These are virtual relationships where you can know many tidbits about somebody: their friends, family, pictures of their food, at the movie, at a restaurant, emotional state, and follow their vacation.

Unfortunately, some people do not understand that this is social media and everybody is not their friend. I have seen family squabbles, bullying, and phone numbers discussed.

If you take a picture with your phone, and location services is turned on, then anybody can know the location of the picture. The location is displayed as GPS coordinates. If a child is in a picture then anybody can right click on the picture to find the longitude and latitude. If it’s a park that you regularly go to then a stalker could visit the park and can recognize your child’s face.

  1. Youtube

Youtube has millions of videos from amateurs and professionals. This includes full time vloggers which produce daily regular content for their subscribers. Some of the popular vloggers are internet rock stars. This can consume a lot of time living vicariously through their postings.

  1. Twitter – Send up to 140 characters to update your followers with a mobile device. Popular with businesses and many artists. Here is a link to a twitter post gone awry.
    This nightmare came true for Justine Sacco, a PR consultant who posted an offensive tweet—just 12 words to her 170 followers—while boarding a flight to South Africa.
  2. Instagram

Instagram is a social media app to share pictures and comments without the ads or drama of Facebook. Some people post to Instagram and the pictures are automatically posted on Facebook or Twitter.

  1. Snapchat – Similar to Instagram but there is a time limit for viewing the pictures.
  1. Yik-Yak – a social media smartphone app for people within a 10 mile radius. It’s core audience is high school and college students to make anonymous posts which facilitates gossip.
  1. Texting

Texting is for one-on-one or group communications. This is usually short messages on a phone that texts. Texting while driving is dangerous.

Most of these forms of communication are informal. Acronyms and emoji’s (image to express an emotion) are common. The language is lazy and careless which develops bad writing habits. The usage of the words: like, epic, and awesome corrupts and diminishes these words. These modes of communication do not prepare our kids for the real world.

One of the biggest drawback to these communications is they become an information bubble which is out of touch with current events, history, and critical thinking. Also, youthful indiscretion produces embarrassing pictures, unfortunate comments, and too much personal information shared.

Take the time to google your name and check out the results. It’s good to know what information is available for public consumption. Any employer, background investigator, boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, or acquaintance may know more about you than you would like them to know.

Helpful apps

  • Waze – Free user updated gps mobile app. Waze is a free gps app with a twist. The drivers update the app when caught in traffic, if there is a wreck, detours, etc. This means a real time map with alternate route options.

Sweet Death

hfcs

Excessive sweets consumption is a modern health problem due to our advancements in farm production, distribution, and government support. Sugar provides empty calories which overload our organs. People used to eat 20 tablespoons of sugar/year but now ingest that amount a day. Tooth decay, obesity, and Type 2(adult onset) diabetes are some of the side effects. The transition from cane sugar to High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has accelerated our national health problems.

History of sweets

100 years ago sweets were a scarcity in the United States. Cane sugar was grown in South America, Mexico, and some southern states in the US, honey was available from a few beekeepers and chocolate was imported from Europe. For most people sugar was only eaten a few times a year. With advancements in farming and transportation sugar could be grown, processed, packaged, and shipped to local grocers for sell to local residents. This resulted in sugar presence on the shelves year round. With this ubiquitous availability, people became accustomed to having sugar weekly if not daily in their desserts, coffee, and tea. Soft drinks became more popular with the introduction of Coca-Cola in the late 1800’s at soda fountains and later offered in sealed bottles.

In early 1970’s Archer Daniel Midland (ADM), a mega food conglomerate, produced a new sweet alternative – High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – which is produced by chemists. HFCS is cheaper, more stable, and has a longer shelf life than sugar. HFCS begins with GMO(patented, genetically modified from Monsanto) corn which is heavily subsidized by Congress as part of the Farm bill.

Quantities Changed

Soda manufacturers originally sold sodas in 6 or 8 oz bottles but serving sizes started to grow. Smaller bottles contained pure sugar which satisfied the body and became offensive if you ate too much. Switching from sugar to HFCS increase soft drink companies profits by reducing costs.

soda sizes

Since 8 ounces of soda satisfies the body then how can we enjoyably drink 32 ounces? HFCS never triggers the satisfaction mechanism of the body. That is why people will continue refilling their sodas at the self-serve fountains in the stores. This causes the body to be saturated with HFCS.

Health Impact

HFCS wears out most of the organs in our bodies including our livers and kidneys. Mice ingesting excessive amounts of HFCS lose their hair and get cirrhosis of the liver, common among alcoholics. The side effects of HFCS are similar to alcohol on an alcoholic’s body. Unfortunately, HFCS is also in many processed foods and not just sodas. Foods containing HFCS.

Drinking one can of Coke (or any soda) shuts down your immune system for four hours. This increases your health risks for colds and the flu. Drinking multiple sodas a day compounds the problem.

HFCS Deception

Some products now promote that they are HFCS free due to consumer demands.

ketchup - non-hfcs

This concerns ADM and their three billion dollar HFCS business. In response they did not choose to make their product safer but to change the name.

Due to the backlash, a request to change the name of the regular HFCS-55 (55% fructose) from HFCS to “Corn Sugar” was rejected by the FDA in 2012.

The new strategy resulted in a new product HFCS-90 (90% fructose) was introduced and approved with the label “fructose”. Fructose is a natural sugar that makes fruit sweet. Now there is no ability to distinguish if the fructose is natural or made in a lab.

Now products with HFCS-90 can be included in products with the label “No High Fructose Corn Syrup”. Don’t be fooled because it’s still HFCS with intensified side effects.

Conclusion

Consuming excessive amounts of sugar is bad for your health. Consuming HFCS compounds your health problems. Stay healthy by limiting your sugar intake and eliminating all HFCS products.

My Favorite Internet Sites

Colored building by ocean

This is a living list of some of my favorite sites on the internet which shape my thoughts, both personally and globally.

Reality Zone – A collection of significant news items not promoted in the main stream media.

Proverbs Commentary – A thorough examination of almost every verse in Proverbs delivered with spiritual acumen and depth  in an unabashed style.

Know Your Enemy video series – A exposure and history of the workings of Satan by a tireless Scottish disciple, Mark Fairley.

Drudge Report – A popular meta news site with links to articles and commentators.

Spiritual Twist – A unique Christian Youth Theater in Garner, NC led by the incomparable Natalie Snapp. Natalie is one of the best leaders i have ever met, inside or outside of the Church. Original plays and music are performed by a children 4-18.

War of Words – Paul Tripp – A moving video on the power and significance of our words. Paul Tripp is one of my favorite teachers.

TED Conference – A leading edge exposure to the latest in Technology, Education, and Development. I love that they force a presenter, who has worked on a project for years, to condense their presentation to 18 minutes thus imparting the essence of their passion.

Bible Study Tools – A comprehensive site for Bible reading and studying. There are a plethora of material including bible versions, commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, etc.