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The Proper Role of Government? They Don't Have a Clue!

by KrisAnne Hall, JD

What is the proper role of Government?  We have witnessed the perspectives of those in government, we hear their answers in every politcal debate, but what did those who DESIGNED it envision?  Wouldn't you like to KNOW what government is supposed to be doing?  The interesting thing is, we don’t have to guess, we don’t have to make it up, we simply need to look to the framers of our Constitution. It is almost simplistically elegant the way they described the role of the Senate and the House.  Yet, even the simplest of explanations seem to have eluded the entire government machine.  As the employers of our government, it is essential that we know what government is supposed to be doing and require them to fully accomplish their job description.

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Separation of Church & State In Context by

KrisAnne Hall, JD

 

Separation of Church and State.  I know of very few statements that carry so much emotion and so much misconception at the same time.  Our education system passes its own agenda with this phrase.  Our court systems have failed America with their rulings misapplying this phrase.  Our churches have been negligent to their responsibilities because of this phrase.  The culmination of all this wrong doing has lead this nation down a road that, may I boldly say, our founders never intended.  All because we have failed to understand the history that motivated Thomas Jefferson to make his statement to the Danbury Baptists in 1802.

What would we do as a nation if we owned the truth about Jefferson’s statements in this letter?  Would we have the courage to change things?  Would we have the courage to stand against the false premises and give truth the victory?  Well, let’s see, because here is the truth. 

When the first settler’s came to the continent fleeing religious persecution in their home country, they established charter governments.  Each new settlement had a new charter.  These charters wanted to make sure that they would never be prevented from practicing their religion again, so they repeated the government formula they knew, ironically exactly like the one they just fled.  Each charter established the religion of that charter.  The thought was, if the government is OUR religion, we will never be persecuted by our government for OUR religion.  But they also understood that as new administrations came and went, there would be a danger of those newly elected changing that law, then the danger would exist again.  So they took additional remedies, they created “test act” qualifications for office.

Test acts were oaths that each person had to take before they were eligible to hold any governmental office.  These oaths required a sworn allegiance to the religion of that charter.  Additionally, part of the laws of these charters established means for persons of this religion to receive a license from the charter government to build a church or preach the established religion.  So, if you were not of the faith of the charter, you were not able to obtain a license to preach or build a church.  If you were not of the faith of the charter, you were not able to hold office to change the law so you could build a church or preach from a pulpit.  This is obviously not religious liberty, this is government mandated religion.  And the penalties for breaking these laws were severe, to include public execution.  This religious charter worked for those of like faith and practice, until someone elected to office decided to break their test act oath and change the government mandated religion.

The problem came when someone lived in a charter contrary to their beliefs or when a religious denomination was not represented at all in any of the charters of the new colonies.  These individuals were thrown into a liberty conundrum.  Do they follow the law and violate their conscience?  Do they follow their conscience and violate the law?  Either way, there is no way to have liberty.

This problem existed for the pastors and preacher of the Baptist denomination.  Men like Obadiah Holmes could not take a license to preach.  Even if they would, they could not profess a denomination they did not support, so they could not have an official church, and could not legally preach in any charter.  History tells us that this did not stop these men from preaching.  However, it did hold some dire consequences.  If you doubt me, go ahead and research these men.  They were arrested, fined, imprisoned, and tortured for refusing to take a license to preach.  And yes, that happened right here, in the new American Colonies.

Several states, being led by Virginia refused to ratify the proposed Constitution because they felt:

“Whether the new Federal Constitution, which had now lately made its appearance in public, made sufficient provision for the secure enjoyment of religious liberty; on which it was agreed unanimously that, in the opinion of the General Committee, it did not.” Virginia General Committee, 1788

Virginia was led in this stand by a group called the Virginia Baptist General Convention, John Leland was their leader.  Virginians wanted Leland to be the delegate for Virginia in the Constitutional Convention.  Leland did not want to be a delegate; he wanted to remain a pastor to his church.  However, he felt so strongly in this matter he was willing to do just that. 

John Leland met with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and struck a deal.  He offered James Madison his position as delegate for the state of Virginia as long as Madison promised he would make sure there was sufficient protections for religious liberty; namely a Bill of Rights.  Madison made his promise and held to it, being not only an ardent proponent for religious liberty but for the entire Bill of Rights.  If you are interested in a fairly good account of this agreement, you can find this story in movie titled, Magnificent Heritage.

Once the Constitution was ratified and the Bill of Rights adopted, several founders tried to pass a bill to establish a tax to pay for Christian Teachers.  Many of the founders, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to mention two, were adamantly opposed to this taxation.  They felt this taxation was a direct assault on the religious liberty they had fought so hard to protect.  They felt:

“…it is believed to be repugnant to the spirit of the gospel for the legislature thus to proceed in matters of religion; that the holy author of our religion needs no such compulsive measures for the promotion of his cause; that the gospel wants not the feeble arm of man for its support; that it has made and will again through divine power make its way against all opposition; and that should the legislature assume the right of taxing the people for the support of the gospel it will be destructive to religious liberty.”

They knew that where the government taxed they had an obligation to regulate.  If Christian Teachers were to be paid, even in part by taxes collected from the people, they would become employees of the government.  Where the government employs, they will also, dictate.  (Precisely why vouchers are not a benefit but the downfall of Christian schools) The supporters of religious liberty prevailed and the bill was defeated. 

What most fail to see is that religious liberty is a principle of the  Judeo-Christian world view.  It is the only world view that supports the statement that “all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with unalienable rights.”  This is why Leland reminded those who were fighting for liberty there is an essential principle to limiting government to maintain liberty.  He said:

“Everyman must give account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in that way that he can best reconcile it to his conscience.  If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise let me be free.”

The Judeo-Christian world view requires that government not dictate a person’s conscience because every individual will be held accountable one day before God and they will not be able to use government as an excuse for their belief or unbelief.

Our founders were fighting for a nation where all would be equally free “Jews, Turks, Pagans, And Christians”.  They knew from history, that Christianity could only prevail in a nation where Liberty was a primary principle of the people.  Where the government, through power or sword could dictate, there is no liberty.  In the Letters from a Federal Farmer IV, the author stated,

“It is true, we are not disposed to differ much, at present, about religion; but when we are making a constitution it is to be hoped for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion, as a part of the national compact.”

So, when Thomas Jefferson was elected president the Danbury Baptists wanted to encourage their new president to continue to fight to maintain religious liberty.  In a letter to President Jefferson they congratulated him on being elected and encouraged him to stand firm on this issue.  President Jefferson responded to this letter in 1802 with the following words:

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

Now combine that explanation with the clarification offered by Jefferson in the second Session of Congress, regarding the adoption of the act for “establishing religious freedom”:

“…that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on their supposition of ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all liberty,” it is declared, “that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when its principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.”

Anyone with any critical thinking skills can look at this information as see the true application.  Thomas Jefferson was making a statement that the Government has no business in the affairs of the church.  Period.  Then if you take into account the very words of Jefferson and even those of Ben Franklin it will be clear that they never intended for God to be removed from Government.

Thomas Jefferson said , “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God?”

Benjamin Franklin said this at the Constitutional Convention:  “In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.... All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of Superintending Providence in our favor...have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?.... God Governs in the affairs of men And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” 

Unfortunately for America the courts have not taken the time to understand this text in its historical context.  I find it ironic that there were judges recognizing that to truly and correctly interpret a provision in the Constitution it is vital to refer to the intentions of the Founders.  Yet, in this instance, where they do quote a founder, they get it entirely wrong.  Is that a sign of judicial activism: the courts using whatever they can lay their hands on conveniently to complete their agenda?  Or is it simply ignorance of history and misapplication of principles?  I can’t help but think that if some attorney had taken that time to present an historically correct argument the courts would have never have been able to take Jefferson’s quote completely out of context and create a precedent that has been used changed the face of Liberty in America.

Jefferson’s words of ‘separation of church and state’ were a declaration that the government has no business in the affairs of the church.  By Jefferson’s own words, this was never to imply that God had no place in government.  Now you have the truth and to whom much is given, much is required.  The responsibility remains with the people to make a difference.  WE must take back the narrative and speak truth.  WE must elect people who understand the true foundation of America.  WE must teach our children Liberty First Principles and where they come from.  WE must restore Liberty perspectives so we can built a better tomorrow.

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A Lesson On Gun Control

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

 

What many citizens and legislators do not understand is that the federal government has no right to prevent any law-abiding citizen from owning or possessing ANY firearm.  The entire argument for gun control is built upon a false premise. The second amendment is not about self-defense from criminals.

As unpleasant as it may be for this modern society to say outloud, historically and constitutionally speaking, the right of the people to keep and bear arms has always been a right to protect yourself from those in power who want to enslave you. If America wants to engage in a real factual debate on the right to keep and bear arms, then it must be approached from the proper perspective.

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  Government Charity: Unconstitutional & Unlawful

by KrisAnne Hall, JD

 

Americans watch our federal government spend and spend and spend.  Not only paying out tax dollar funded charity to Americans, US corporations, and foreign countries, but now even so-called conservative politicians are claiming “we” have an obligation to give tax payer dollars to non-citizens here in the United States and even in Mexico.  This out of control forced charity, government agents giving money taken from Americans by the force of government, is the very epitome of over-grown, uncontrollable, bloated government.

Maintaining the limited form of government our Constitution demands is vital to the preservation of this nation.  If we fail, the unfortunate reality will be that we will have failed to maintain the gift of the Republic that was bought for us by the sacrifice of ease, estate, pleasure, and blood of our forefathers. 

Frederic Bastiat is absolutely the most eloquent in both understanding and teaching the principles of forced charity.  In his book, The Law, he explains:

“The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder.”

Bastiat defines legal plunder “…if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong…if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

So now that we understand that government charity is really legalized plunder in disguise, we can do something about it!  The first step to correcting a problem is understanding that you have one.  Those we elect to represent us, on the other hand, seems completely clueless.  Presidents sign outrageous spending bills making themselves participants in this plunder.  Congress is engaging in every mode of spending that can be conceived, legalizing plunder.  Both “sides” arguing over how much to tax and no one discusses the profligate spending, claiming the premise of a false philanthropy. Our founders and even their immediate successors warned that this perspective in government would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America

  

It will take character and resolve to make the painful and difficult decisions to preserve the Republic, so that future generations will have an opportunity to enjoy the Liberty that has been purchased for us.  As usual, the oracles of history have some lessons if we would simply listen. 

Federal Government Out of Control 

Apparently, things began to go awry for the federal government rather early on.  An expansion of Congressional power through the forced construction of the General Welfare clause is one of the chief culprits.  A great example of this can be found in the Congressional arguments surrounding the Cod Fishery Bill of 1792, a bill to subsidize the Cod Fishing industry.  In this, James Madison, the Father of our Constitution & 4th President, defines the proper nature of government to a House wanting to unconstitutionally expand its power and reach. 

Not an Indefinite Government but a Limited Government 

Madison says,

“I, sir, have always conceived -- I believe those who proposed the Constitution conceived -- it is still more fully known, and more material to observe, that those who ratified the Constitution conceived -- that this is not an indefinite government, deriving its powers from the general terms prefixed to the specified powers -- but a limited government, tied down to the specified powers, which explain and define the general terms.” 

General Welfare Does Not Mean Generally Everything 

Yes, we are supposed to have a limited and defined federal government.  Madison was very simply explaining that the clause “common defense and general welfare” was not meant to expand the power of the government beyond its limitations, but to describe the purpose of the power delegated within strict confinement of those boundaries.  In other words, this clause does not name a power; it simply describes the purpose for the powers named.  Then with amazing foresight, Madison explains the consequence of allowing the federal government to turn these “clauses” into defined powers: 

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their Own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit of the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare.” 

Limitless Spending Changes the Very Nature of the Republic 

Madison, in describing the consequences of this forced construction of the Constitution, prophesies for our day. 

“…I venture to declare it as my opinion, that, were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.” 

Government Charity Dangerous Precedent 

Yet, America did not listen. In 1831, Congress once again attempts to reconstruct its powers through the artifice of “charity.”  This time, the argument is about supplying wood for the Poor of Georgetown.  The Mayor of Georgetown sent a letter to the House of Representatives asking for relief of the poor of that city and soliciting the House to grant a donation of some wood in the vaults of the capitol for their use.  This sparked a forgotten, yet a very relevant debate for this day. 

Congress Cannot Give Public Property For Charity 

The first to speak up was Congressman James Polk (D-TN), the future 11th President of the United States. In showing a moral character and commitment to the Constitution that is rarely seen today, Polk said he knew it would be viewed as being ungracious to oppose a resolution in behalf of the suffering poor of this District, or any other. However, he went on to oppose the resolution of the House to offer this support as “the precedent of appropriating the public funds for such a purpose was a bad one."  He reasoned that if they allowed this seemingly small act of charity, then “every winter, when the snow fell, or the Potomac was frozen, applications would be made to Congress, and members would be engaged in the dignified object of buying and stowing wood, to give to the poor District of Columbia.”  

Polk opposed this spending on principle, as the House “had not the power to make the donation requested.” And what began with Georgetown would blossom into dependency throughout the nation. It was not the amount he objected to, but that the “representatives came to legislate on great concerns of the nation, not to give away the public property.” He made a final plea to the House, with their vote, to “put a check” on legislative power.  

The next to argue was James Blair, Congressman from South Carolina.  Blair gets right to the point; that it is not in the power of Congress to give out donations from the public treasury for the purposes of charity. He correctly reasons: 

“If so, it would have power also to vote millions of the public money to feed and clothe the suffering poor. The House had no right to give away the public money for any such purpose; and if gentlemen were disposed to be liberal, let them be liberal out of their own money.” 

Polk then moved the floor for the following substitute, by way of amendment:

“That the Sergeant-at-arms be required to deduct from the compensation of the members of this House on day’s pay, and deliver said sum to the Mayor of Georgetown, to be applied to purchase fuel for the paupers of that town: Provided, nevertheless, that such deduction shall be made from the compensation of such members only as vote in favor of the resolution.” 

I believe our representatives could learn several lessons from this: 

1.      The money collected from the people is NOT revenue but PUBLIC PROPERTY. 

2.      In spending public property Congress is limited by the proper confines of the Constitution, not ones established through forced construction. 

3.      Personal moral integrity could inhibit Congress from violating points 1 and 2. 

Let ours be the generation that listens from the framers and their experience.  Let ours be the generation that avoids what others called the inevitable demise of a Republican government.  Let ours be the generation that can claim the victory of Liberty for our future generations. 

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Thomas Cooper in 1802, made this observation he based upon history:

“… if we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.”

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States Ignoring History, Wisdom & the Uniform Rule of Naturalization

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

An non-citizen alien has been appointed to California government and has become the poster child for WHY our founders delegated to Congress the power to create a Uniform Rule of Naturalization.  Other States are allowing non-citizen aliens to vote, run for office, and utilize 

Ironically, there was a discussion during the ratification of our Constitution on why it was necessary to establish a Uniform Rule of Naturalization.  Once again, a disregard for the Constitution and its intent has America experiencing a crisis that our founders sought to prevent.

Prior to our current Constitution, under the Articles of Confederation, each State was left to determine, independently, the terms of citizenship. James Madison, Father of the Constitution, wrote in Federalist 42;

"The dissimilarity in the rules of naturalization, has long been remarked as a fault in our system..."

Madison goes on to describe the condition of confusion thrust upon all the States because of a lack of standard for the benefits of citizenship.  For example, one State would establish a very lax standard for citizenship where another State would establish a very strict standard.  This disparity created chaos when people would travel or move from one State to another.  Madison asks the question, what would happen if a person who is banned from citizenship in one State, obtains citizenship from another State and then demands the benefits of citizenship from that State from which they were originally banned?

"An alien, therefore, legally incapacitated for certain rights in the latter, may, by previous residence only in the former, elude his incapacity;"

Madison then explains to avoid these consequences both "embarrassing" and  "potentially very serious" our Constitution delegated the authority to Congress to establish a uniform rule to obtain the benefits of citizenship.

Liz Mateo, claiming those benefits of citizenship through the State of California, is not a citizen by the terms established through the Constitution by law.  Mateo has lived her life experiencing the benefits of that citizenship she does not legally hold. She got a doctorate level of education from Santa Clara University School of Law.  When she graduated, she was not grateful for these benefits, however, she declared, “[E]verything is dedicated to Oaxaca, Mexico!! to that land that I miss so much.”

In addition to her education, Mateo has now been appointed to serve within the California State government.  As a new member of California's representative government, one of her chief concerns is that illegal aliens are "under represented" in American government. Mateo clearly has a great deal of confusion about the terms of citizenship established by law. One can only imagine the chaos that would ensue if Mateo were to leave California and expect to experience these same benefits in a State that is actually complying with the terms of citizenship created through the Constitution. As Madison supposed, what will also be the more "serious consequences” when people like Mateo continue to expect the benefits of citizenship while remaining ignorant and even hostile to the Constitution itself?  And what will be the "serious consequences" in all of America if we continue to ignore these historical truths by allowing States like California violate the supreme law of the land?

The governors of every other States must immediately take a stand against this violation of the Constitution.  Each State should issue resolutions of condemnation and sanctions against California until they come into compliance with the terms of the Constitution.  The people must demand that the federal executive branch continue to enforce the Uniform Rule of Naturalization, even in California.  If California refuses to come into compliance with the Constitution the other States need to have a serious discussion amongst each other and Congress regarding the ability of California to remain a part of the Union.

States like California are not just ignoring the Constitution, they are also ignoring the history and wisdom used to write the Constitution.  Their blatant disregard is thrusting America into the embarrassment and chaos our founders actively sought to prevent.

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