Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Interpretation of Trump's Travel Ban and the Interpretation of Scripture

Very big in the news, maybe even huge, has been the travel ban, executive order, issued by President Trump (yes, he's the president).  Executive orders are supposed to be constitutional.  I was going to write, "must be constitutional," but in light of the condition of the judiciary of the United States, it is better right now to stick with "should be."  They don't have to be any more, as seen in the previous administration.  If a president can get away with breaking the law, then he is free to break the law.  In this case, the judicial branch is very interested in a executive order.

The Trump travel ban order, as most sentient human beings now know, temporarily bans almost everyone from six countries, that are Muslim countries, from entering the United States.  They are also countries with very unstable governments with massive numbers of refugees and very little vetting capacity of their emigres.  I could take this a totally different direction than what I'm writing, and I would enjoy that, but I'm going to stick with the primary point here without digressing too much.  President Trump, it would seem, has three big constitutional aspects going for him.

One, the Trump travel ban fits the text of already accepted law of the United States.  It's very old, the text of it is very forthright, and it has been practiced now many times by presidents.  Two, the executive branch is in charge of foreign diplomacy and has immense immigration power according to the constitution. Three, the president is the commander in chief and is in charge of the national security of the United States again according to the constitution.  That's why all these departments, homeland security, etc. fall under his domain.  He's in charge of that according to the constitution, the one he swore to protect and defend, as did the judges.  On a very practical note, many have said that it is definite that there will be terrorists among the refugees from these countries.  Many others have said that many of these people, refugees and most of the others, hate the United States and would kill Americans if they were in their countries.

I believe I am correct in thinking that the perspective of liberal activist judges is, of which there are many right now in the U.S. judiciary, just oppose Trump.  Just make it difficult for Trump to do anything no matter what it is.  Slow him down.  Muck up his work.  Create diversions.  Make life harder so that he gets less done, maybe gets nothing done, even if you as a judge are violating your oath of office and deserving of impeachment.  When Trump says, "so-called judges," which Bill Mahr said was crazy, he means that they are no longer judging.  Judges judge legality.  They don't stop the execution of the law because of their own personal views.  They were not voted into their positions.

Crazy is a subjective term anymore, just like an activist judge is subjective.  Most crazy people, and there are more than ever, I would say, are reprobates, who are deluded.  They can't think straight, so they are as good as crazy.  They think that a good argument is a string of expletives.  Romans 1 says their foolish hearts are darknened.  They can't see straight because of the darkness.

The activist judges also do not judge based on the law.  They give new definition to "opinion."  A solicitor general from the Reagan administration is still alive, and he says that President Trump will win the court case if the judges judge based on the four corners of the law.  It's called a four corners interpretation.  I really do like the term, "four corners."  If they just stay with the law, and not go outside of that, wander creatively into their own ability to judge motives, etc., then they will rule for the president.

The judges are supposed to judge based on the constitution and based upon laws written by Congress and signed by the president.  They don't judge based upon perceived motives or various contradictory statements made by politicians.  They don't judge based upon what kind of outcome they think that the decision will make.  They aren't supposed to let their life experience make their decision or based upon their strong feelings for those affected by the laws.  They don't look at what other nations do, to see how they are working there.  The ones writing the laws legislate.  When judges do, this is what is called "legislating from the bench."

I recognize what the judges are doing in the travel ban as a common practice in the interpretation of the scripture today all over Christendom.  Like the solicitor general put it, churches and their leaders should judge scripture "within the four corners," purely on the text.  What I see happen is that they will read something into the text because of the effect it will have on the people, as if it is their prerogative to rewrite scripture with a faulty interpretation.

Consider the idea of people's feelings being hurt or that their lives will be upended in some way.  The refugees can't come.  The relatives of the refugees here aren't happy.  People hate Trump and they don't want anything he does to succeed.  A lot of factors could enter into interpretation outside of just what the text says.

Many churches don't want to evangelize, so rather than the many, many passages in the Bible on evangelism guiding those churches, their repulsion with evangelism instead directs the interpretation of those evangelism passages.   Professing Christian women often don't like their role or the symbolism of their roles in passages of scripture that teach on the designed distinction in dress. Those passages were interpreted and applied only one way through centuries and now change in meaning to conform to the worldly thinking.  Now they mean something they have never meant, because the interpretation is no longer in the four corners of the text.  Activist Christians or churches legislate into the text of the Bible their own preferences or personal tastes.

The activist approach to scripture changes who is in authority.  This fits the definition of apostasy in 2 Peter 2.  Men follow their lusts and they change scripture or attack the authority of scripture to make space for their lifestyle.  People who preach scripture according to its text are marginalized with attacks, being spoken evil of.  In the country, it's Trump.  Among churches, it is the disfavored interpretation that requires a change in lifestyle.  Rather than live the scriptural teaching, attack the teacher, so that his teaching means nothing anymore.

When the feelings or opinions or desires of men guide interpretation, the Bible no longer has authority.  God is still the Lawgiver.  Punishment for the violation of His law still stands.  Some would redefine grace here.  God's grace reaches out to people who don't want to obey His laws in order to say, 'you don't have to do that, because God is gracious.'   But that isn't the grace of God.  God's grace isn't license.  God gives grace to the humble.  The humble are those who love God's law.  They love His ways.  Grace isn't a means by which someone can take a different way than what God says.

We live in a country that doesn't want to follow law.  The laws must follow the present whim of society.  Whoever says otherwise is now an enemy, who must be silenced.  This has already been occurring in churches.  Churches, who most are to represent the way of God, have prepared the path for what we are seeing.  If churches can't respect the laws of God, as His subjects, but expect God to acquiesce to their own opinions, how could anyone expect the world to do otherwise?

On the right in America, you hear the cries for constitutionalism, strict constructionism, and textualism from Scalia-like judges.  I like that.  I want respect for the constitution.  Ted Cruz is one known for it.  I would join Cruz in that.  Certain Mormons even believe that the constitution is inspired like God's Word.  However, are Cruz and those like him the same with the Bible? On the Bible, you see a tremendous amount of license with the same men who revere the constitution.  The respect for the constitution should proceed from the respect for the Bible.  If men believe we derive our rights from God, then they would respect His Word even more, but that is not the case today.

We are hopeless as a nation if we won't take the Bible seriously.  If we go to scripture with an activist presupposition, we will conform the Bible to feelings, worldly accomodation, among other self-will. The liberal activist judges conforms the constitution his life experience.  What will work?  Who will be hurt?  He doesn't really have authority to leave original intent.

The Bible deserves more respect than the constitution, the highest possible reverence. We don't get to challenge its interpretation and obvious application with what people want to do.  This is a form of apostasy and will culminate in total apostasy.

I don't like what has happened and continue with our judiciary in the United States.  I hate worse what is occurring in churches and with church leaders.

1 comment:

Lance said...

Dynamic Equivalency is actually an outgrowth of Dynamic Inspiration allowing for a type of Fluid Contructionism to enter into the interpretation of the Bible. Every new generation interprets the Bible according to their own cultural relevancy view of the world. This now defines the Post Modernity.