Lies That Go Unchallenged in Media and Government

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Charles Colson tackles five major myths that are prevalent in our society, and which undermine the historical foundation of American government: (1) Judges should interpret laws to help the underdogs in society; (2) Each person has the right to make decisions about life, death, and relationships without outside interference; (3) Religion should be a private concern; (4) Government should play a greater role in granting unrestricted freedoms; (5) My problems stem from others who are exploiting me. Using sound ...

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Overview

Charles Colson tackles five major myths that are prevalent in our society, and which undermine the historical foundation of American government: (1) Judges should interpret laws to help the underdogs in society; (2) Each person has the right to make decisions about life, death, and relationships without outside interference; (3) Religion should be a private concern; (4) Government should play a greater role in granting unrestricted freedoms; (5) My problems stem from others who are exploiting me. Using sound biblical truth and concise examples, Colson helps readers gain a full understanding of underlying motives, events, and repercussions of these lies that often go unchallenged in our society.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781414301679
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Series: Lies That Go Unchallenged Series
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.79 (d)

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LIES THAT GO UNCHALLENGED IN MEDIA & GOVERNMENT


By CHARLES W. COLSON

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Prison Fellowship
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-4143-0167-7


Chapter One

LIE 1 Judges should use their power to interpret laws in order to help the underdogs in society.

Underlying Worldview: The judicial branch of government is more progressive and enlightened than the average American who participates in making our laws. Judges should not just interpret existing laws in light of the Constitution but help create a better society in which freedom derives from the individual rather than from a set of universal, God-given laws.

Response: We need to elect representatives who will curb the power of the judiciary and expose rulings that are not in line with the original intent of the law.

Have you ever been surprised (and confused) by the rulings of high courts, especially when they have overruled a lower court whose decision made sense? Or perhaps a higher court has reversed the bizarre judgment of a lower court. Why is there so much disagreement? Today's judges can be divided into two camps: those who strictly interpret the Constitution and those who extrapolate from it in order to make it "fit the times" and support their version of fairness and social change.

The United States Senate is to advise the president in his appointment of judges to the highestcourts in the land and to confirm his choices. The Senate has instead turned this process into an ideological circus. Minority liberals force each judge to pass a "litmus test" regarding abortion and other "causes" of liberal interest groups, or they will obstruct his or her confirmation. This is done through a misapplication of Senate rules that extends the process ad infinitum.

The purpose is to pack courts throughout the land with a judiciary willing to create special rights for those outside of traditional morality. These judges, in turn, reinterpret the Constitution to foster a new society with laws that are free of Judeo-Christian values, promoting more government intervention into traditional freedoms while decreasing individual moral responsibility. Technical legalities are now less important than pragmatic social effects. Supreme Court justice David Souter said that there was no constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide, and yet he did not strike the euthanasia ruling in Oregon, stating that he wanted to know how it would work out there first.

Judges are so obsessed with allowing personal freedoms that they will not even protect children from the worst pornography. An Ohio court refused a law to install filters on library computers because that might get in the way of an adult's easy access to pornography. This was more important than shielding children from even the most damaging perversions.

What causes do these liberal judges espouse, and what are the views that they twist the laws to fit? Justice Bruce Gaeta was presented with a case in which a forty-something female junior high school teacher had sex with a thirteen- year-old male student. Justice Gaeta dismissed it, saying that it was a way for the boy to satisfy his sexual needs and that society shouldn't be worried. No wonder laws are being reinterpreted today!

Other popular causes are euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality, and a variety of religious freedom issues in government and education. Law-abiding citizens increasingly face the dilemma of having to obey immoral laws. In reaction to a court decision favoring euthanasia, Father John Neuhaus warns, "Our public life will move from widespread alienation and protest to open insurrection." In fact, the Massachusetts court admitted that it was "reformulating" marriage with its decision to legalize same-sex marriages. The legislature that represents the people of that state had no such convictions.

How do we dispel the lie and replace it with truth? The judicial world seems far removed from our everyday lives. People with a Christian worldview need to become aware of what judges stand for on a local, regional, and national level and support candidates who will enact a fair process according to the Constitution for confirming judicial appointments.

We also need to communicate to fellow Christians and to the culture at large the subtle lies behind the interpretations of these judges as they supposedly relate to the fuller meaning of the law.

CONGRESS AND THE COURTS

Restoring the Constitutional Balance

Note: This commentary was delivered by Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley.

In late 2003, the Senate held its longest debate in nearly a decade. The subject under discussion wasn't health care, war, or education but something even more vital to the health of our democracy: the constitutional balance of power between the executive and the legislative branches.

The issue was the refusal of Senate Democrats to allow a vote on four of the president's nominees to the federal courts of appeals: Charles Pickering, Priscilla Owens, Bill Pryor, and Janice Rogers Brown.

Republican senators made the point that judicial nominations shouldn't be pigeonholed in committee or blocked by a handful of senators using archaic Senate rules. As Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist put it, "All we ask is for a vote, an up-or-down vote." Frist's position is fair, reasonable, and right.

It sounds even more reasonable when you consider the minority's reasons for blocking the vote. All of the nominees were highly qualified, so that wasn't the issue. The opposition was about ideology and politics-period. Judge Pickering's principal offense was that he suggested to a defendant that when he got to prison, he get involved in Prison Fellowship programs.

The treatment of Bill Pryor was especially egregious. He had the temerity to tell a Senate committee that he was pro-life without exceptions, which is the only position that a faithful Catholic can take in good conscience. In preventing a vote on his nomination, his opponents created a "viewpoint test" that says, in effect, "No Faithful Catholics Need Apply." This is the kind of religious test for office that the Constitution specifically prohibits.

To most people, talk about judicial nominees sounds a bit arcane and boring. Others are interested in federal judges, but never pay attention to what happens in their home state. In some jurisdictions, the people vote for judges, but few know about the candidates. It just doesn't seem to matter that much.

Shortly after this, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts declared that restricting marriage to a man and a woman is unconstitutional and abridges the civil rights of homosexuals. Same-sex "marriage" is now the law in Massachusetts-a reminder of how important the selection of judges is at every level.

The courts-not the people of Massachusetts-unleashed one of the biggest social experiments in history. And since homosexual conduct is contrary to biblical teaching and to the way that humans were designed to function, the results will be predictably disastrous for individuals, marriages, children, communities, and the culture.

So what can be done? In Washington, President Bush should make each of the blocked nominees a recess appointment as soon as Congress leaves town. This has been done before, most recently by President Clinton.

In the place where you live, an election year is only a short time away. The president, governors, and senators that you elect or fail to elect will determine the judges you get. And Congress will vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment that affirms that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

This is no time for Christians to retreat into their shells. This is a time for all of us to pray and to act with love and dedication.

TRUTHS TO CONSIDER

Those who oppose the nomination of highly qualified judges based on sheer ideology are using archaic rules meant for a different purpose, thus obstructing the proper balance of power that should exist between the legislative and judicial branches.

Homosexual marriage is one of the greatest social experiments in history-and one that will adversely affect our culture in individual and communal ways.

Christians need to pray, act, and vote in order to have judges nominated who will stem the horrendous tide of immoral decisions that will eventually destroy our marriages, communities, and culture.

GROUP STUDY

Personal Transformation: Have you ever used rules, privilege, or position to gain an unfair advantage over someone else? How can you avoid these temptations?

Renewing the Church: The Bible tells us to pray for kings and for all those in authority. We often pray for our Congress and president, but do we pray that our judges will be properly appointed and that their decisions will uphold the Constitution?

Influencing Culture: Regardless of their political views, people need to understand how judges are circumventing laws enacted by the people and how Congress is obstructing presidential appointments. How can we effectively explain these things?

INTIMATIONS OF INSURRECTION

Accommodation or Faithfulness?

The Barmen Declaration relates to a decision by German theologians to proclaim independence from the Nazi state and from a church that had sold out to Hitler.

America is rapidly approaching the same point of moral disintegration as that faced by the German church. Today's believers face the same choice between conscience and submitting to laws that they know are evil.

Father John Neuhaus recognizes this dilemma in an issue of First Things. Neuhaus points out that a growing number of believers are finding it impossible to remain faithful to our laws in the wake of court cases that are, quite simply, destroying our country's traditional moral fabric.

Neuhaus makes particular reference to the Ninth Circuit Court's decision to legalize assisted suicide and invite euthanasia. If that decision stands, Neuhaus warns, "Our public life will move from widespread alienation and protest to open insurrection."

Is Neuhaus overreacting? I don't think so. Consider what happened following President Clinton's veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. In an extraordinary act of witness, two Catholic cardinals joined a protest in front of the White House. The president's own envoy to the Vatican publicly sided with the Catholic Church. Even Billy Graham, who has never once spoken out publicly against abortion, criticized the veto during a private visit with the president.

Perhaps most incredible, the Vatican condemned President Clinton, calling his veto "shameful." The Holy See stated, "The fact that this presidential decision legalizes this inhuman procedure morally and ethically imperils the future of a society which condones it."

In my address before Congress on the National Day of Prayer in 1996, I agreed with the Vatican that partial-birth abortion is "more akin to infanticide than abortion." But even as I was doing that, some thirty Christian leaders had the audacity to say that President Clinton was right to veto the bill. They were convinced that "none of us can discern God's will as well as the woman herself."

It's a clear example of the difference between being faithful in a fallen world and presenting the notion of God as a "little voice" in each of us. When a woman's conscience advises her that it's all right to kill a baby four-fifths delivered, God has been remade in a human image.

American Christians today are at a critical juncture that brings the parallel between America and Nazi Germany vividly to mind.

The signers of the Barmen Declaration, to their everlasting credit, parted company with the Nazis. They also parted company with many established church leaders. They asserted the truth of the gospel as the rest of the German church sold its biblical birthright for a mess of Nazi pottage.

I hope the significance of what I'm saying is not lost upon you. Think-and pray-this crucial issue through.

Before long, American Christians-like the German church before them-will be forced to choose between conscience and accommodation.

TRUTHS TO CONSIDER

A growing number of believers are finding it difficult to obey the law because government intrudes into the moral arena to the point that taking a human life, through partial-birth abortion or euthanasia, is considered a matter of individual choice.

Committed Christians who choose to obey God before government may also have to part with others in the American church who do not take a courageous biblical stand but instead accommodate the world.

We cannot rely solely on our conscience as God's "little voice" because our fallen nature cannot completely be trusted; God's Word and the church provide a balance to our individual perception.

GROUP STUDY

Personal Transformation: Do you make excuses or rationalize incorrect behavior that is intended to avoid disapproval or persecution from others? How can you remain in touch with your true values?

Renewing the Church: The Catholic Church is able to make official global pronouncements on moral issues. What can your local church or denomination do to clearly communicate your stand on social and moral issues at a local or national level?

Influencing Culture: With abortion, most people don't dwell on the horrible process itself. We need to avoid euphemistic terms and talk about what it's like to kill a child four-fifths delivered, in order to expose what really goes on.

JUDGE PICKERING

The Confirmation Process

In early 2002, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. What a travesty! A good and decent man was maligned and the Constitution assaulted. The words advise and consent were used in a way that the Founders never intended. Pickering's nomination was opposed by a coalition of liberal interest groups that invoked many of the same reasons they used in banning other conservative nominees: his views on civil rights, women's rights, and, in this case, his alleged disregard for the separation of church and state.

As evidence of the latter, they cited Pickering's words when sentencing a young man for murder: "It is not too late for you to form a new beginning.... You can become involved in Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship or some other such ministry and be a benefit to your fellow inmates and to others and to their families." It says something about how distorted the confirmation process has become that an act of compassion can disqualify a man from sitting on the Federal Court of Appeals.

Then again, neither Pickering nor the court of appeals was really the issue for these interest groups and their allies in the Senate. Their treatment of Pickering was meant as a warning to President Bush about nominating a pro-life conservative to the Supreme Court. They were saying that any nominee that they even suspected disagreed with them on abortion could expect the same treatment Pickering received. His or her record would be distorted in the Senate and in the press. None of this is what the Founders intended when they gave the Senate the "advise and consent" role in judiciary appointments. As Douglas Kmiec, dean of Catholic University School of Law, wrote, the Founders never intended that the Senate "micromanage" the confirmation process. He quoted the Federalist Papers, saying that the role of the Senate, while powerful, would generally be "silent."

According to Alexander Hamilton, the Senate was to be a check "upon the spirit of favoritism in the President." The "advise and consent" role was intended to "prevent the appointment of unfit characters from ... family connection, personal attachment, or from a view to popularity." In other words, it's designed to guard against cronyism, nepotism, and manifestly unfit judges. None of these criteria applied to Charles Pickering, who had received the highest American Bar Association ratings. The defeat of his nomination showed how far we've strayed from the Founders' intentions.

Christians must not remain quietly on the sidelines. According to Mariam Bell, the Wilberforce Forum's director of public policy, "If the senators don't hear from their constituents, they will be emboldened to continue this type of tactic from here on out." If we don't voice our opposition, the only judges who will ever be confirmed are those acceptable to liberal interest groups and their allies in the Senate. That's why it is vital that we flood the senators' offices with calls, e-mails, faxes, and, if possible, visits. The Senate Judiciary Committee needs to know that the war for the federal judiciary is far from over.

TRUTHS TO CONSIDER

The rejection of Judge Pickering did not fall under the categories of family connection, personal attachment, or mere popularity that are the conditions for denial.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from LIES THAT GO UNCHALLENGED IN MEDIA & GOVERNMENT by CHARLES W. COLSON Copyright © 2005 by Prison Fellowship. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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