Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Who Is Alan Dershowitz?

            Alan Dershowitz is a well-known criminal defense lawyer. He is also a liberal Harvard law professor. I chose Dershowitz for my VIP this week because he is a liberal that dares to stand up to Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Jerrold Nadler. Instead of following the liberal line to impeachment, Dershowitz said in an interview with Mark Levin this evening that the phone call made by President Donald Trump to Ukraine does not meet the standards for impeachment for bribery.

[I]t can’t operate when you’re the president of the United States and you’re conditioning or withholding money in order to make sure that a country isn’t corrupt and you’re asking them to investigate [something].

That just doesn’t fit any definition of bribery – common law definition of bribery, statutory definition of bribery – however you define the constitutional word “bribery.” It just doesn’t fit.

            In addition, Dershowitz emphasized that the Democrats had decided to impeach the president long before the telephone call and were merely looking for a crime to justify their action. As far as Democrats are concerned, Trump is guilty of something. They just keep searching until they find it.

They have Trump in their sights. They want to figure out a way of impeaching him and they’re searching for a crime….

First, they came up with abuse of power – not a crime – it’s not in the Constitution. So now they’re saying “bribery,” but they’re making it up. There is no case for bribery based on, even if all the allegations against the president were to be proved, which they haven’t been.

[Dershowitz recalled how the Soviet Union would arrest someone and then find a crime that fit their purpose. Their mantra seemed to be: Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.]

What they’re trying to do is what the KGB under Lavrentiy Beria said to Stalin, the dictator – I’m not comparing our country to the Soviet Union – I just want to make sure it never becomes anything like that.

            Dershowitz may not be willing to vote for Donald Trump, but he seems to be a man who can see clearly how the Democrats are working. They hate Trump so much that they are willing to do anything to get him out of office and/or stop him from being re-elected. The impeachment proceeding is purely a political maneuver. Hopefully, the American citizens will also see clearly what the Democrats are doing and vote them all out of office in 2020.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Is the "Fairness for All" Legislation Truly Fair to All?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is fairness for all. Many individuals and organizations are concerned about fairness and how to achieve it in our nation. A group of nine members of Congress, representing seven states, introduced the federal Fairness for All Act on December 6, 2019. 

            I agree that everyone should be treated fairly, and I admit that fairness is a difficult quality to achieve in the world in which we live. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – led by fifteen men that I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators – expressed support for the bill. The Church is joined in their support by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the 1st Amendment Partnership, the American Unity Fund, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and the Center for Public Justice. The full statement by the Church is as follows.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commends the introduction of federal legislation that seeks to preserve religious freedom and protect LGBT individuals from discrimination. We’re grateful for the leadership of Utah Representative Chris Stewart and other congressional supporters of this cause. The nation is more united when diverse individuals and groups can work cooperatively to advance sound policy. Alongside other religious organizations and denominations and important leaders of the LGBT community, the Church endorses this balanced approach that fosters greater fairness for all.

            The Church of Jesus Christ is concerned about all God’s children. Leaders and members of the Church believe that “No American should lose their home or job simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” We also believe that “All religious persons should be free to live, work or serve their community in ways that are consistent with their faith.”

            I sincerely believe all that is written above, but I am concerned when I learn that a conservative constitutional scholar does not agree. Ryan T. Anderson wrote a scathing rebuttal to the Fairness for All Act. He stated that it is a good thing to find a legislative compromise, but the Fairness for All Act is not a good compromise. He worked for several years with “scholars and civic leaders promoting and drafting this legislation.” He reviewed the “69-page legislative draft” and rejected it.

Despite the undoubted good will of those who drafted and introduced the legislation, and despite some meaningful though insufficient protections for religious liberty, the bill is not in fact fair for all. Its protections for religious liberty come at the high cost of enshrining a misguided sexual and gender ideology into federal law. This will allow the federal government to use our civil rights laws as a sword to punish citizens who dissent from the reigning sexual orthodoxy. This is certain to create significant harm to the common good, especially for the privacy, safety, and equality of women and girls.

            Anderson stated that the Fairness for All compromise “was misframed from the beginning.” He said that Stewart recognized that the compromise is flawed. Even though the bill is meant to be “a balanced legislative solution for preserving religious freedom and protecting LGBT civil rights,” those are not “the only two values at stake in this legislative area.”

            If signed into law, the bill will amend the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Anderson said that “elevating ‘sexual orientation and gender identity” to a protected class in the Civil Rights Act will cause serious harms.” He fears that the harms caused by this bill will come to “people’s privacy, safety, equality, and other forms of liberty – not just for religious people, but for anyone who disagrees with contemporary sexual and gender ideology.”

A bill that was truly fair for all would not allow the government to use civil rights law as a sword to punish citizens for disagreement on sexual ideology.

A bill that was truly fair would explicitly say that no institution could be forced by the government to allow boys who identify as girls to compete against girls in athletics; that no institution could be forced by the government to allow men who identify as women into women-only spaces, such as locker rooms and shelters; that no institution could be penalized because it lives out its creed that marriage unites a husband and wife.

A bill that was truly fair for all would explicitly say that no physician would have to engage in any “gender-affirming” care that they thought unethical, and that no child could be denied assistance to help them identify with their bodies.

            Anderson listed several other ways that he believes the bill is unfair. Then he noted the support given by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He agreed with the statement that “No American should lose their home or job simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” Then he said, “But the Fairness for All legislation goes well beyond cases where people are fired or evicted simply for identifying as LGBT.” He continued with his explanation.

Fairness for All takes the existing Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was passed by Congress to, among other things, combat racism, and expands its reach while adding “sexual orientation and gender identity” as protected classes. The bill never defines what constitutes discrimination against such classes. So it takes a law meant to combat racism, broadens its reach, and fails to define a key term.

But properly defining unjust discrimination and targeting legislation at those actions is essential. Part of the problem with Fairness for All is that it leaves it entirely at the whim of hostile bureaucrats and judges to declare that commonsense actions may count as discrimination….

It is irresponsible to rewrite our civil rights laws to make “gender identity” a protected class when we can’t even define what gender identity is, or how many there are.

            Anderson continued by asking how it can be fair to “pass a law saying it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of these gender identities without even defining what constitutes discrimination? This is legislative malpractice and will lead to endless, costly litigation.” He counseled that the nation should not “rush to conclusions” but “think critically and prudently.” He said that all Americans – no matter where they “fall on the political spectrum and whether they are religious, secular, or agnostic” – should be involved in the redefinition of marriage, sex, and gender.

            Clearly rejecting Fairness for All, Anderson said that the effort to develop good legislation should continue. He said that “A better approach would carefully consider the needs of people who identify as LGBT that requires a policy response, and then target legislation at those needs.”

Such legislation would specifically define what constitutes unlawful behavior, while explicitly protecting everyone’s freedom to engage in legitimate actions based on the conviction that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other.

Such legislation must protect the privacy and safety of women and girls, the conscience rights of doctors and other medical professionals, parental rights, and the free speech and religious rights of countless professionals.

This would leave all Americans free to act on those convictions. It would also protect diversity and promote tolerance. It would promote true fairness for all.

            Anderson defended his rejection of the Fairness for All Act by showing that he has invested time and effort in his attempt to provide fairness for all. Even though the Fairness for All Act has been introduced and could pass quickly through the Democrat-majority House, we should hope and pray that it is destroyed in the Senate and fairer legislation introduced.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Who Are the Enemies in Our Midst?

            Today is a day of commemoration for the United States because it marks the day that Japanese aircraft bombed Pearl Harbor and thrust our nation into World War II. The enemy came upon us suddenly and attacked without warning.

            The same was true of the Saints in the days of the Apostles. I studied in recent weeks the words of Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude, and I noted that each of them warned of false prophets and false teachers. I studied the words of John and Jude this week, so I will share what I learned about spiritual enemies.

            John wrote his Third Epistle to a faithful man named Gaius. He first expressed his joy at hearing of the faithful members of the Church. He then warned Gaius about a man named Diotrephes. It seems that Diotrephes held a prominent post in the town – a Church leader or his home was used for the meetings or something. Whatever post he held, John noted that he loved to have “preeminence” among the Saints, but he spoke “malicious words” about and rejected the authority John and the other Church leaders. He openly opposed the Church leaders.

            The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805-44) wrote, “It is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:39). This is so true of mankind. A little authority can bring out the worst in most of us.

            President James E. Faust (1929-2007) of the First Presidency gave this caution: “There is a certain arrogance in thinking that any of us may be more spiritually intelligent, more learned, or more righteous than the councils called to preside over us. Those councils are more in tune with the Lord than any individual person they preside over” (Finding Light in a Dark World [1995], 121).

            Criticism of Church leaders is a sure sign that a person is headed towards apostasy. Wise individuals recognize the sign, repent, and become supportive. Other people continue into apostasy, a situation that the Apostles were trying to prevent.

            There is no evidence that Jude was an Apostle, but he was respected enough to have his epistle included in the New Testament when it was compiled. His epistle is a “general” epistle, meaning that it went to many Saints. He warned that “certain men crept in unawares” (Jude 1:4) to damage the Church and destroy testimonies. Jude asked his readers to remember the historical people who had fallen away. 

Jude named the people that came out of Egypt with Moses but who were destroyed by God because of unfaithfulness. He named the people in Sodom, Gomorrha, and other cities where immorality was rampant and were burned with fire from heaven. He mentioned the “angels which kept not their first estate,” those spirits who rebelled against Heavenly Father in the pre-mortal life. They followed Lucifer and were cast out of heaven with him. Their penalty was the denial of a physical body for all eternity.

There are enemies in our midst today, and it is often difficult to recognize the “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” This lack of recognition and exposure allows the “wolves” to enter the Church and cause destruction of testimonies. The same is true of “wolves” in our nation, those who seek to “fundamentally transform” our nation from our constitutional way of life. We must beware of “wolves” in all the areas of our lives. They sneak around and pounce when our guard is down; therefore, we must constantly be on guard in order to stay safe.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Is Marriage Good for the Economy?

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when individuals understand the connection between family life and the economy. I have seen numerous bits of information stating that marriage improves the economic situation of couples. Numerous years ago, I read an article by economist Walter Williams telling black youth how to become successful. He told them to graduate from high school, get married before having children, and stay married. Tonight, I read another article about the connection between economics and family life.

            Star Parker began her article by explaining that people generally assume that “economic policy and social policy are separate universes” when discussing public policy. She said that economic policy includes such topics as “taxes, government spending, business, jobs, etc.” while social policy is about “marriage, family, children, abortion, etc.” She concluded that there is evidence that there is no “line” between economic policy and social policy and that family structure “has gotten increasing attention as an important factor to consider in policy discussions about poverty.”

            Parker quoted an academic paper titled “Family Formation and Crime” that “examines the connection between the incidence of pregnancy, childbirth, and marriage, and the incidence of crime. The authors – Maxim Massenkoff and Evan Rose – conclude that there is a connection that should be understood by policy planners.

The conclusion, in the words of the authors: “Our event-study analysis indicates that pregnancy triggers sharp declines in crime rivaling any known intervention. For mothers, criminal offending drops precipitously in the first few months of pregnancy, stabilizing at half of pre-pregnancy levels three years after the birth. Men show a smaller, but still important 25 percent decline beginning at the onset of pregnancy, although domestic violence arrests spike for fathers immediately after birth.”

            Parker asked an important question: “What is it about birth and marriage that contributes significantly to reducing crime?” She quoted an expert who said it was about “socializing and civilizing both men and women.” However, Parker speculated that it is “a wake-up call” that helps men and women see life through different lenses. When people see “the awe and mystery of life” they gain “a sense of meaning and personal responsibility.” 

            I agree with Parker in that we should “be concerned about the decline in Americans’ sense of importance of marriage and children.” She quoted a survey from Pew Research Center that said “57% of men and 46% of women” believe that we can have a “fulfilling life” as long as we have a “job or career” we enjoy. These numbers compare to “16% of men and 17% of women” who believe children are “essential for a … fulfilling life.” 

Parker concluded that “Americans are saying work is three times more important for a fulfilling life than marriage and children.” Because pregnancy and marriage cause a drop in crime, public policies should be encouraging marriage and families. We can help to strengthen all families, communities, and nations by showing the importance of marriage and family life in combatting crime.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Is the USA a Christian Nation?

            The liberty principle for today is a question about Christianity in America. The nation was founded on Christian principles with freedom of religion as the first “right” listed in the Bill of Rights. However, attendance at church is declining and fewer Americans are describing themselves as religious.

            New York Times columnist and author Ross Douthat says, “We’re a no longer deeply Christian country that is not yet post-Christian and is still heavily influenced by Christianity.” I find this statement to be sad and frightening at the same time.

            I have read the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and I believe it to be a true record of ancient Americans. It contains a record of three separate groups of people who came to the American continents. The main history is about the Nephites and Lamanites, descendants of a prophet named Lehi who took his family and left Jerusalem 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

The second history is about a group of people known as the people of Zarahemla or the Mulekites. They also left Jerusalem about 600 B.C. Mulek was the oldest son of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah before the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. Mulek was protected by a group of supporters, and they found their way to America. They took no records with them and had lost their language when they were discovered by the Nephites. They joined the Nephites and became one people with them.

The third history is about a group of people known as the Jaredites. Jared and his brother lived at the time of the Tower of Babel. They asked God to not confound their language or the language of their friends. God blessed them and did not confound their language. He also led them to America. 

The Jaredites warred among themselves until their entire civilization was destroyed. The last surviving Jaredite was discovered by the Mulekites, and he lived with them for nine months before his death. Hundreds of years later, the Nephites and the Lamanites warred among themselves until the Nephites were destroyed. The Lamanites are some of the ancestors of the Native Americans today.

            The reason that the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed is that they rejected Jesus Christ. Before Lehi left Jerusalem, the Lord promised that He would take Lehi and his family to a land of promise. Lehi later shared the following information with his family.

Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.

But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord – having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise – behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them (Book of Mormon – Another Witness of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi 1:9-10).

            I believe that the Nephites and the Jaredites were destroyed because they rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. By doing so, they rejected the God of this land, even Jesus Christ. America is a promised land for the righteous followers of Jesus Christ. The Lord has promised to prosper those who live in the promised land as long as we keep His commandments, but we have no promise otherwise (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). 

This is the reason why I am saddened and frightened to hear the United States described as a nation that is losing its faith in Jesus Christ. I do not believe that the United States will be destroyed. However, I would not be surprised to see great tribulation come to this land because of dwindling of faith in Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Has the Equal Rights Amendment Been Brought Back to Life?

            Many people, including myself, thought that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) died when it failed to be ratified by enough states. However, I recently discovered that the amendment is on life support with hopes of total revival.

            The ERA was introduced in 1923 soon after American women won the right to vote. It languished for 26 years until the Senate approved the amendment in March 1972. It then went to the states and was given seven years to be ratified by 38 states. The deadline was extended to June 1982, but the amendment failed to win enough states. 

            I thought that the ERA was dead but recently learned that it still lives – if only in the minds of progressives. As this opinion piece emphasizes, no one questions the right of women to be treated equally, but there is cause for concern when even avowed feminists have concerns. 

There are two significant challenges with the ERA:

First, there are far-reaching unintended consequences that could ultimately harm women. It could, for example, change family law – including child custody rights in divorce – impact abortion law and potentially draft women into military service during times of war.

The second is a procedural problem for a proposed amendment that was not ratified when it was introduced in the 1970s. Serious doubt remains whether the expired amendment can be picked up more than 40 years later and whether recent state votes in favor of it, in addition to the states that have since rescinded their votes, are valid….

The Equal Rights Amendment also risks constitutionalizing abortion once and for all. Since, under the ERA, governments arguably couldn’t treat abortion differently than any other medical procedure performed on a man, certain state abortion regulations would likely be struck down as unconstitutional….

            Some of today’s concerns were the concerns of those who fought against the ERA in the 1970s and 80s, but some of them are new. Valerie Hudson describes herself as a “feminist scholar” and a “dyed-in-the-wool feminist,” and she has concerns. The proposed amendment states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Hudson wants the term “sex” to be debated. Does “sex” mean male and female? She says that the wording in all federal laws must be changed to “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity) if the ERA passes. She wants clarity on the term. Her second concern is about the possibility of women being drafted into the military during war time. If the ERA passes, there would be no legal grounds to continue the policy of drafting only males. This means that our daughters and granddaughters could be drafted into the military during war time.

Like Pandora’s Box, the ERA gleams and shines on the outside but holds the possibility of much danger on the inside. Those who are pushing for an ERA do not appear to know all the possibilities that could turn into big problems. They want what they want, and they want it now – no matter who gets hurt. Americans need to go slow on this possible amendment.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

When Will the Impeachment Circus End?

            Impeachment is back in the news. The Democrat impeachment circus is starting over in another committee. Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, reported last week that his committee started “formal impeachment proceedings” against President Donald Trump. Nadler is apparently going rogue because he said that he is not waiting for approval from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

            The impeachment circus would have ended long ago if we lived in a sane world. The whole impeachment charade started from a telephone call made by Trump to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in July. Democrats claim that Trump should be impeached because he demanded action from Ukraine in return for military aid. There are many problems with the claim, but the main one seems to be that Zelensky has said numerous times that there was no quid pro quo. He said that he felt no pressure from Trump whatsoever. In fact, he did not know that the aid was being held. This does not mean that Zelensky approved of the aid being held. He was upset because his country needs the money.

Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing…. I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us….

I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.

            The Trump administration is concerned about corruption in Ukraine. Zelensky ran for office on the promise to do something about the corruption there. Zelensky admits that there is corruption, but he is afraid that Trump’s words will hurt the Ukraine image with the business world.

            Meanwhile back in Washington, D.C., House Republicans are defending Trump with “a point-by-point rebuttal” of the impeachment case made by Democrats against him. They argue that the previous Democrat circus did not turn over any evidence that the President did anything wrong in his July telephone call with Zelensky. The GOP report is 123 pages long and includes this statement: “The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor.”

            The report was co-authored by three GOP Representatives: Devin Nunes (California -Intelligence Committee ranking member), Jim Jordan (Ohio – Oversight Committee ranking member, and Michael McCaul (Texas – Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member). The report includes the following statement. 

The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system….

This impeachment inquiry and the manner in which the Democrats are pursuing it sets a dangerous precedent….

The impeachment of a president is one of the gravest and most solemn duties of the House of Representatives. For Democrats, impeachment is a tool for settling political scores and re-litigating election results with which they disagreed.

            Trump seems to understand that the Democrats will continue their vendetta against him. If they fail with the Ukraine impeachment attempt, they will try something else. I hope that Americans are watching this circus – and others – closely. I know that there are many Democrats who have gone crazy with Trump Impeachment Mania, but I also know that there are many others who are wise enough to see through the charade. Hopefully, many of the clowns in Congress will be voted out of office in 2020. I think that some of them deserve to be in prison, but I could be satisfied with them losing office and power.