Wednesday, July 15, 2009


American "exceptionalism" often blinds us to historical reality. No nation (or people) is immune to tyranny or other traumatic events.

Back in 2003 when Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore refused to obey a federal court order and remove the Ten Commandments monument from the State Judicial Building, I had the opportunity to address that issue on several radio talk shows across Alabama.

These were "conservative" talk shows, and most of the callers were evangelical Christians. A typical response to the ruling went something like this: "Yes, I support Judge Moore and want the monument to stay where it is. But the court has made its ruling and we have to obey the law whether we like it or not."

To counter, I made the following points: (1) it was not the business of the federal courts to rule on such matters and (2) that a federal court ruling (even one issued by the Supreme Court) was not necessarily the final say on a matter of law because the Legislative and Executive branches, as well as the States, also have the right to a say themselves. However, I did not get far with this argument (even though it was correct).

I had to fall back on something a bit more simple and direct. I said something like this: "Well, let's suppose that a federal court rules that you must close the doors of your church and stop worshiping God on Sunday. Would you consider this a legitimate ruling and would you obey it?"

The reaction stunned me. Instead of saying "no," most of the callers said that this was America and something like that "could never happen here."

How do you reach such people? Do they really believe that we, as Americans, have received a cosmic King's Exemption from the realities of history that effect the rest of the world? Can really bad things like tyranny just not happen here? Are there no evil men in American public life who would like to control us all? Is our "democratic" nation indispensable to the outworking of God's providential plan for His Creation? Or, are we merely fools for believing such infantile rubbish?

Live well . . .

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