VOL. 15, NO. 6
August 8, 2013
Back to the Basics: Straightening Up
America, V: America’s Marriage Miasma
By Virginia Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman
Francis Schaeffer, the pre-eminent late-Twentieth Century Christian apologist, wrote in 1981 that “The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals.” While Christians at that time had “very gradually become disturbed over” various societal evils and problems, these same folks “have not seen this as a totality — each thing being a part, a symptom, of a much larger problem.” This is especially unfortunate in view of the fact that “Nowhere have the divergent results of the two total concepts of reality, the Judeo-Christian and the humanist world view, been more open to observation than in government and law.”
Dr. Schaeffer’s insight into what was already happening in 1981 was prophetic. America’s plunge has reached record lows today. Nowhere is this fact more “open to observation” than in the two decisions recently rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court in the same sex marriage cases (Hollingsworth v. Perry and Windsor v. U.S.). Many good and decent Americans oppose the decisions; and many opponents apparently also correctly perceive these judicially-birthed terrible twins as body blows, not only to the Biblical institution of marriage, but also to the U.S. Constitution as our fundamental law. But these same folks still do not see the total picture of which these decisions are a part.
These folks call for the reversal of the decisions because they are “bad” and for a return to the Constitution because it is “good.” Herein lies the problem — a problem also highlighted by Dr. Schaeffer in his extensive teachings on presuppositions — the necessity of recognizing and properly dealing with worldviews’ presuppositions. That the Constitution is “good” and is a foundation to which America should return is a presupposition of us Constitutionalist patriots, who advocate the Judeo-Christian worldview, which homosexual activists vehemently oppose. Indeed, these activists, functioning from the Humanist worldview, oppose the very Constitution itself as originally written and understood. Perry and Windsor are, therefore, a “very good thing.” This presupposition regarding the Constitution itself forces us Constitutionalists to delve much deeper into our own worldview and defend the proposition that the Constitution “is a good thing” — to observe more fully the “divergent results of the two total concepts of reality.” How do we do this?
Dr. Schaeffer’s answer to this question is foundational to his vast teachings on Western culture and law: “. . . now for us [in the late Twentieth Century], more than ever before, a presuppositional apologetic is imperative.” “Presuppositional apologetics,” an unfamiliar and perhaps daunting term still today to many Americans, has a simple meaning. “Presuppositions” express “the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic world view, the grid through which he sees the world.” Each of us as individuals lives on the basis of our presuppositions. So do cultures and legal systems. The clarion call which Schaeffer issued over 50 years ago sounds even more urgent today — to prepare ourselves and then to act effectively to defend our presuppositions (i.e., our Judeo-Christian worldview and the Constitutionalist theory of the Constitution it encompasses) and to eviscerate the Humanist worldview and the Reconstructionist theory of the Constitution it encompasse). In doing this, we are engaging in “constitutional and jurisprudential apologetics.”
In this Briefing, we go “Back to the Basics,” as our “Court Watch Briefings” already have been doing in 2013. Our constitutional and jurisprudential apologetics address issues of the constitutional text and history, judicial interpretation, etc., and jurisprudence (our philosophy of law, i.e., the nature of law, sources of law, purposes of law, etc). Effective apologetics require that we robustly defend and implement in America four fundamental facts, the first two of which are expounded by two of Humanism’s most highly acclaimed and influential academic gurus. We thus hold Reconstructionists accountable for living by, and implementing, their own worldview/presuppositions in the world of real law and life. This is a central method of Schaeffer’s approach; and the Reconstructionists fail miserably.
These four fundamental facts of our apologetics we shall first list and then briefly discuss:
- The paramount necessity facing every legal system is survival.
- The survival of every legal system requires that it meet, on an ongoing basis, the standard of the “3 Cs.”
- The survival of the American legal system requires that the U.S. Constitution continuously meets the standard of the 3 Cs, especially when judicial decisions about the Constitution are involved.
- The Constitution, and court decisions concerning it, meet the standard of the 3 Cs when — and only when — the Constitution is interpreted and applied in the context of the Judeo-Christian worldview, where it was (and can only be) anchored.
Fact #1: The paramount necessity facing every legal system is survival. This argument is particularly effective in our battle for the Judeo-Christian/Constitutionalist system because the argument is a “common sense” statement — unless a legal system survives, there is nothing further about which to debate. But, second, the Humanists themselves provide us with this argument. This argument/presupposition was articulated and popularized in the 1960s by American political scientist and secularistic guru, David Easton, whose professional influence and respectability were unsurpassed, perhaps unequaled. Today, we Constitutionalists accept Easton’s postulate as the starting point of our Judeo-Christian apologetic for American jurisprudence and the Constitution.
Fact #2: The survival of every legal system requires that it meet, on an ongoing basis, the standard of the “3 Cs.” Given the truth of fact #1, we logically are next pressed to identify the standards that a legal system must meet in order to survive. Again, the answer comes to us from the top echelons of the world of Humanistic academe, specifically the work of H.L.A. Hart, jurisprudence professor at Oxford University, the scholar also acclaimed as the “Father of Neo-Analytic Jurisprudence.” In his 1961 book, Hart concluded that for any legal system to grow and to be a “healthy, mature legal system,” it must meet certain standards. I have for many years referred to this ultimate standard (for reasons explored in other Blackstone works) as “Hart’s 3 Cs standard.” Simply explained, these “three Cs” are:
- “Certainty” — the various components of the legal system (especially judicial decisions) can be clearly and objectively understood;
- “Consistency” — at any one point in time, no component (especially a judicial decision) should fundamentally contradict another component (judicial decision);
- “Continuity” — current components (judicial decisions) must be consistent with past components (judicial decisions) unless there is authoritative, compelling reason for change.
The 3 Cs standard is essential to the survival of any legal system, as we have explained in previous “Court Watch Briefings. [See our “Court Watch Briefings” of 2/8/06, 2/27/06, 3/21/06; 10/01/10, 11/17/10] Falling short of this 3 Cs standard, a legal system would deteriorate into unworkability and be, for all practical purposes, dead.
What happens when we apply these first two fundamental facts to America’s Constitution and jurisprudence? Facts #3 and #4 address these questions, and we shall examine them in a later “Court Watch Briefing.” We conclude here with a preview of “coming attractions.”
The Perry and Windsor decisions clearly teach that observance of the 3 Cs standard and utilization of the worldview model/presuppositional apologetics in analyzing American jurisprudence and the Constitution, and contending for the Judeo-Christian worldview are essential to the rule of law in America. Dr. Chris Hammons, Dean of the School of Humanities at Houston Baptist University, rightly asserts that it is the rule of law, rather than direct “rule by a majority of the people [a ‘democracy’],” that makes us a “constitutional republic.” But America’s current state is one of widespread “rule of the lawless” (be it a large majority popular vote or a tiny majority vote of a judicial elite such as the U.S. Supreme Court, as in Perry and Windsor). Much of the blame for this deadly rule of lawlessness lies at the imposing doors of America’s institutions of higher learning. Is there hope?
The answer is “yes”; and Dr. Hammons’s own institution, HBU, illustrates how academe can become a potent force that must be in the movement to reestablish the Judeo-Christian worldview as America’s foundation. A most promising development is HBU’s newly-established Francis Schaeffer Center for Worldview and Culture, headed by nationally-acclaimed Schaefferian scholars, Nancy and Rick Pearcey (Center Director and Associate Director, respectively).
Dr. Hammons, in his recent posting on the rule of law appearing on the HBU School of Humanities’ blog (7/22/13), closes his piece by cogently describing America’s choice between the rule of law and the rule of the [lawless] direct majority. His words can also be seen as a powerful challenge to us as America’s Constitutionalists to choose to become adept at the presuppositional and constitutional-jurisprudential apologetics which are vital to the rule of law, or suffer the unthinkable consequences. Dr. Hammons writes, “Our system is not perfect. It sometimes fails, and it sometimes does so in big ways. But if we sacrifice the rule of law for a cup of hemlock, the executioner’s ax, or the hangman’s noose [products of the rule of lawlessness in history], we lose far more than we gain.” What will we choose for America today?
To be continued . . .