Thursday, October 22, 2015

Obeying Governing Authorities

I have been listening to some “Principles and Policies” radio broadcasts about Kim Davis.  Chuck Michaelis and Barry Sheets have been talking about how Romans 13:1-7 has been used by sodomites and their sympathizers against Kim Davis on the basis that she has failed to obey the governing authorities.  Barry has said that he hasn’t found any Christian blogs that have made a response to this false argument.  So I have decided to make a response.  Before hearing their podcast, I hadn’t actually heard this argument being applied to Kim Davis.  First I quote for you the Scripture in question:

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Romans 13:1-7 (KJV)

I will go over the arguments that Chuck and Barry have already given.  Kim Davis, being a duly elected County Clerk of Courts is a “ruler” and a “minister of God” according to the way the terms are used in the above Scripture.  So according the argument of the sodomites, everybody should do what Kim Davis says.  The Supreme Court has no legal authority over the issue in question and furthermore Kim Davis cannot be in contempt because she was not one of the litigants in Obergefell v. Hodges.  Furthermore God’s word condemns both sodomites and those who approve of such practices in Romans 1.  The key issue is that governing authorities are no longer recognized by God if they fail to operate within their appointed purpose which according to the above passage is to punish evildoers.  I would add that in Acts 5:29, when told to stop spreading the gospel by the council of the elders of Israel, the apostles said, “We ought to obey God rather than men”.  The sodomites’ argument tells us that if we were living in Nazi Germany, we ought not to help Jews and others escape the concentration camps because we would be disobeying "the law of the land".

Chuck and Barry also talked the Supreme Court's misuse of power by misinterpreting the 14th Amendment as well as the misinterpretation Article III judicial power.  I don't believe that the 14th Amendment was limited to protection from racial injustices, but I would add that the original meaning of "equal protection" is just what it sounds like.  No law (at any level of government) can give someone more protection from a criminal than someone else.  The "immunities and privileges" clause of the 14th Amendment does not change the definition of marriage or require that equal benefits be given to same sex couples as are given to couple who are really married. But the 14th Amendment does unwisely extend the powers of the judiciary as they get to decide whether a state has given someone "equal protection" in a particular case.  The 14th Amendment shouldn't even be in the Constitution because it was not properly ratified.    And judicial power extends only to litigants involved in a particular case.  The principal of stare decisis is valid, but not absolute.  Judges are not the ultimate arbiters of the Constitution.

Chuck also mentioned that Davis had been married four times.  I had heard this before, but I hadn’t heard that she was not a Christian until after she was married a fourth time.  I also heard that one of her marriages was to a former husband after having since married some other man which is a violation of Deuteronomy 24.  (But more importantly she violated Matthew 5:30, Mark 10:12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:2-3, I Corinthians 7:10-11, 39 just by remarrying any man after having been divorced.)  I did hear a portion of an interview where she was asked if her decision was not hypocrisy in light of her past.  Her reply was, “I’m forgiven.”  This is an excellent point.  When people get married, divorce and then remarry and the church accepts this as an acceptable lifestyle, the institution of marriage is effectively destroyed.  Marriage was not ruined by the sodomites, but by the mainstream church.  However, no matter what sin someone has committed, if they simply repent and make Yahshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) the absolute Lord of their life, then they are forgiven.  At that point there is no hypocrisy in refusing to participate in sinful behavior including the granting of marriage licenses to sodomites.  To issue those licenses would be in itself a sin which one would need repentance in order to be saved.

The "Three Goats and Cow", Romans 13 and all other arguments that the sodomites have come up with have all been so obviously false that any critical thinking person should easily see through it.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Vote No on Ohio Issue 1, 2015

Issue 1 is a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution which would change the apportionment process and rules for redistricting Ohio house and senate districts.

Issue 1 does nothing at all about the apportionment of congressional district seats.  This is where the vast majority of the gerrymandering occurs. 

Issue 1 takes the job of drawing the district lines out of the hands of the legislature and gives it to a new board called the “Ohio Redistricting Commission”.  I oppose this because, if at all possible, all of the laws of our state should be made by the legislature.  That is the definition of a republic, which is required by the U.S. Constitution.  Having said that, I realize that redistricting legislation is a special case that deserves special consideration.  It is legislation that must be enacted in order to preserve the state.  But the commission issue 1 describes should only be used as a last resort (that is, if the legislature fails to pass a redistricting bill).  But issue 1 would do the opposite, making the legislature’s choice the last resort.  If the amendment contained enough precise rules to virtually determine the drawing of the lines, then there would be no need to involve the legislature and a redistricting board would only be charged with finding the correct map.  For example, a provision could have been added to the amendment that would say that of all possible maps which satisfy the other redistricting rules, the one that has the least variation in district population is the one that must be used.  But this amendment has nothing like that.    

The “Ohio Redistricting Commission” would consist of the same members as the current Apportionment Board plus two members appointed by the minority party leaders in the House and Senate respectively.  I oppose the addition of these members because it grants a privilege that is based on party affiliation.  George Washington said in his farewell address that political parties are bad for America.  We should not do anything to encourage them.  The addition of these two extra members favors Republicans and Democrats and discriminates against third parties and independents.
The amendment contains language that says that a redistricting plan must not favor any particular political party.  Do you really think that the “Ohio Redistricting Commission” is going follow such a subjective provision as that even with two minority party members out of seven?  I oppose any law respecting political party for the reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph.   The only way to prevent the lines from being drawn in a way that favors certain groups of people is to add more objective rules so that there is only one possible choice for how the lines can be drawn.  It is not necessary for any of these rules to take into account the party affiliation of voters.

The amendment contains language that says the districts must be compact.  It does not say how compact the districts must be in order for it to be an acceptable map.  I am in favor of compact districts, but the word “compact” is not defined in amendment and is therefore just as subjective as the concept of favoritism based on political party.  The amendment is not clear about which of these two objectives should have precedence in a case where both cannot be achieved.

The amendment cow-tows to the judiciary.  It contains language that basically says that if the court
(of competent jurisdiction) rules that it doesn’t like anything about this amendment, then we must disregard the parts that they don’t like even if they aren’t really unconstitutional.  The whole process would be subject to this scrutiny, not just what’s being changed by the amendment.  Remember, Jefferson said that the courts are not the final arbiters of the constitution.

The amendment contains basically the same constraints on the how the lines must be drawn in regards to existing boundaries of counties, cities and townships.  Issue 1 has some language that more precisely defines these rules and their order of precedence.  This is the only advantage I see in issue 1, but in my mind, it is far outweighed by all its disadvantages. 

Redistricting reform is needed, but issue 1 does not do what is really needed.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Vote No on Ohio Issue 2, 2015

Issue 2 has two purposes.  One is to prevent Issue 3 (the marijuana amendment) from coming into effect even if it passes.  The second purpose is to prevent the establishment of future monopolies through the amendment process.

I agree with the purposes of the issue, but not the way in which its framers are trying to achieve them.  The language of issue 2 claims that if it passes, issue 3 will not go into effect even it does pass.  But the Ohio Constitution says the following in Article II section 1b :
If conflicting proposed laws or conflicting proposed amendments to the constitution shall be approved at the same election by a majority of the total number of votes cast for and against the same, the one receiving the highest number of affirmative votes shall be the law, or in the case of amendments to the constitution shall be the amendment to the constitution.
So therefore the only scenario in which issue 2 would achieve its first purpose would be if issue 2 passed with a higher number votes than issue 3.  This seems highly unlikely to me.  I would estimate that 95% of the people who vote “yes” on issue 3 will vote “no” on issue 2.  A significant number of voters always vote “no” everything and this number is likely to be larger in this election.

The language included to attempt to prevent future monopolies is weak.  The Ballot Board, consisting of the Secretary of State and four others chosen by Ohio law (Article XVI, section 1), would have the power to determine if an issue to amend the constitution establishes a monopoly.  If they find that it does, then another issue would be put on the ballot stating that the opposing issue establishes a monopoly and that if this issue passes, then the other would not go into effect.  In other words, you would have to pass two issues instead of one to establish what Ballot Board considers a monopoly.  This is unlikely to do any good for the same reason that the first purpose is unlikely to be accomplished.  It essentially assumes that the voters are too stupid to decide these things for themselves.

And of course issue 2 does nothing to repeal existing monopolies that have already been placed into the constitution.  A prime example is the gambling amendment that passed a few years ago.  

So what’s the harm in passing issue 2?  Ohio already allows us to put issues on the ballot without the approval of the legislature.  This really already puts Ohio outside the definition of a republic which is a violation of the Article IV section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.  But giving the Ballot Board the authority to put issues on the ballot extends this unconstitutionality even further.  We are supposed to be a republic, not a democracy.  This means that all of our state laws must be passed by our legislature.  And any law that establishes a monopoly is essentially a Bill of Attainder which is unconstitutional under the federal constitution.  The Ohio Supreme Court already has the authority deny the enforcement of such laws.  The vague phrase "similarly situated persons or nonpublic entities" is dangerous, giving the Ballot Board and/or the courts a lot wiggle room for interpretation.  Its hard enough to get the courts apply the laws correctly when they are simple and well-written.

“Gender-Reversing” the Scriptures

Watch the video at the following URL:

This is the first time that I have ever heard a preacher preach against remarriage after divorce.  Up until now, I thought that I was the only one who believed what the Scriptures teach about this.  Some preachers teach that remarriage after divorce is wrong in theory, but they make so many exceptions that they may as well not bother to believe the original principle.  But this is not true of James Merritt.  He teaches the hardline position that fornication is the only reason for a divorce that would make it justifiable to marry another afterwards.  He correctly teaches that things like alcoholism, physical abuse, gambling, etc. are legitimate reasons for a woman to leave her husband, but not to marry another man.  I also like that he teaches that just because a remarriage might not break an explicit commandment of God, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is right or justified.

However, the Bible actually only teaches that if a man puts away his wife for any reason except fornication and then marries another woman, he commits adultery (see Matthew 19:9) and that if a man marries a woman who has been put away (Matthew 5:32, Luke 16:18) or a woman who put away her husband (Mark 10:12) it is adultery.  In other words, the exception for fornication is only for the remarriage of a man, not the remarriage of a woman in that situation. 

But Merritt uses the following argument to try to prove that if you reverse the genders in Matthew 19:9, resulting statement will still be true.  Such a “gender-reversed” statement would read :
And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away her husband because, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery...

He says that Jesus wouldn’t have talked about a woman divorcing (putting away) her husband because women were not allowed to do that at that time.  This argument has several flaws.

1.      Even though women were not allowed to divorce their husbands, that doesn’t necessarily mean that sometimes they didn’t do it anyway!

2.      The argument assumes that Jesus was exclusively directing his words to the people living in Israel (or that general part of the world) at that particular time.  In other words, the Creator of universe was completely unaware that his words would be written down and read by hundreds of millions people from many different cultures and centuries including those in which women could divorce their husbands.  In reality, Jesus’ words are timeless teachings that don’t generally need any “cultural interpretation”.

3.      The argument simply doesn’t logically follow from the fact he asserts.  Hypothetically speaking, Jesus may have omitted the hypothetical “gender-reversed” statement above for the reason that Merritt suggests.  But he offers no proof that the reason isn’t something else.  The “something else” could very well be that the statement isn’t actually true, couldn’t it?

4.      But the strongest evidence that this argument should be rejected is that Jesus does in fact specifically teach in Mark 10:12 that if a woman puts away her husband, it is adultery for a man to marry her (with no exception for fornication given).  How can you say “Jesus wouldn’t have talked about this…”, if he did in fact talk about it?  In all likelihood, the words which Jesus spoke in Matthew 19:9 and Mark 10:12 (and Luke 16:18 as well) were contained in the very same discourse that Jesus was having with the people.

I can think of another similar argument that someone might use to try, with much speculation, to prove the same point. That is, maybe Jesus actually did make the above hypothetical “gender-reversed” statement, but none of the gospel writers recorded it because women were not allowed to put away their husbands at that time and place. The reasons why this is also wrong are similar to the reasons why the first argument is wrong.

1.      Same as 1. above.
2.      The Holy Spirit guided the New Testament authors when they wrote the books of the New Testament.  There is even more reason to believe that the Holy Spirit knew that the words would be read by generations to come.  Therefore there would be no reason to omit the hypothetical statement if Jesus had actually said it.
3.      Analogous to 3. above.
4.      Same as 4. above.

Another possible consequence of this “gender-reversing” of the text is that a man cannot remarry if his wife left him without his consent (i.e. if the wife put her husband away). A “gender-reversed” version of the last part of Matthew 5:32 would read, “whosoever shall marry him that is divorced committeth adultery…” While there are many cases in which such a marriage really wouldn’t be right, it places an unnecessary restriction on some men which God does not require.

Of course there are places in the Scripture where masculine forms of words are used when they are intended to apply to both men and women.  For example in Galatians 6:7 (KJV):

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

There is a common sense, easy to understand hermeneutic for understanding biblical gender usage conventions.

1.      Whenever feminine forms are used (referring to people), it always talking about females and never males regardless of the context.
2.      Whenever a masculine form refers to a relationship to a woman (i.e. husband) or other family relationship (i.e. father or son) it is only talking about males.
3.      If the context of the passage is about relationships between men and women (not necessarily romantic or sexual relationships) then the masculine forms are referring only to males.
4.      A masculine form may refer to a specific person or specific group of males.  This usually will be clear from the context.
5.      Otherwise uses of masculine forms usually refer to both males and females in most Bible translations.  Whenever this is not the case, it will be obvious from the context.

The idea that rules for marriage, divorce and remarriage after divorce are different for men and women is an idea that may be hard for people to accept, especially in this modern age of “gender equality”.  But time and time again, history has borne out that we need to trust Jesus completely.  Monkeying around with Jesus’ words always causes a great deal of harm. 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Vote No on Ohio Issue 3, 2015

There are advantages and disadvantages to legalizing marijuana.

If marijuana were legalized, the police could spend more time and resources on rapists, thieves and murderers.  If people smoke marijuana and they experience its negative health effects, this should be enough of a deterrent, so there is no need to put them jail.  With fewer people in jail, more room could be made to give violent criminals longer sentences.  Criminalizing marijuana give authorities a pretext to use their powers against innocent people.  It gives them more power which tends to corrupt them.  Marijuana may have some legitimate health benefits for people with certain medical conditions.

One the other hand, marijuana may be a gateway drug that could lead someone to do harder drugs and commit more crimes.  Smoking marijuana causes lung diseases, brain damage and may be psychologically addictive.  Even though many people use marijuana illegally and for recreational purposes, legalizing it might increase usage. 

You may or may not believe that the benefits of legalizing marijuana outweigh the disadvantages.  But that’s not the point.  Issue 3 is not only about legalizing marijuana.  If issue 3 passes then only certain people who own certain property would be able to grow, process and sell the marijuana.  It is really about one group of investors wanting corner the market on marijuana so they can sell without any legal competition.  This is like the gambling issue all over again.  If you don't believe me read it for yourself:,_Issue_3_(2015)

If issue 3 passes, then the illegal marijuana producers and sellers will continue, the police will still have to arrest them and the people to whom they sell.  The people who sell it legally will charge exorbitant prices so that anyone with a medical need will have to pay more than they should if they can afford it at all.  For the most part, issue 3 has all of the disadvantages of legalizing marijuana, with very little of the advantages.  There are all these numbers and junk describing the exact boundaries of the land on which the marijuana can be grown and sold.  The Constitution of the state of Ohio is supposed to be about protecting the basic rights of EVERY citizen of Ohio.  Even though I don’t think that total criminalization of marijuana is good thing, marijuana shouldn’t be considered a fundamental right like freedom of speech, religion, arms and such.  On top of that it is an inherently unjust amendment which shows favoritism to a small group of marijuana investors which is one of the main things that is wrong with America today.  Its crony capitalism.

If you live in Ohio, please vote NO on issue 3.