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     In 8th Grade Civics class, we were introduced to phrases of words, come from what are regarded as national cherished documents. On July 4, 1776, the thirteen United States of America unanimously declared:
    “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
    “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. ... Laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall deem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
    And so, with this Declaration of Independence, the United States of America was propelled into a five-year war with England, the strongest maritime nation in the world.
    Victory in 1781, and the institution of an experiment in Government under the Articles of Confederation, revealed deficiencies that prompted a Constitutional Convention in May 1787, with 55 delegates from the thirteen United States meeting at the Pennsylvania State House to begin the process of establishing a National Government that has, so far, weathered, and survived, many storms the past 235 years.
    The Preamble of the Constitution of the United States, signed by 39 of the 55 delegates to the Convention on September 17, 1787, and put into effect on June 21, 1788, with New Hampshire as the ninth state to ratify It, reads:
    “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    These words would seem to have the approbation of Scripture:
    “… The powers that be are ordained of Yahweh. Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of Yahweh … For rulers are not a terror to good works, but the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same: for he is the minister of Yahweh to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of Yahweh, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil. Wherefore you must be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause you pay tribute also: for they are Yahweh’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (Rom. 13:1b-7). (King James Version used throughout, unless otherwise noted.)

Tranquility, Welfare, Liberty – Principles Redefined
     However, given “the Course of human events” these past 235 years, “a more perfect Union” has fallen into polarization so that “justice, domestic tranquility, the general welfare, and the blessing of liberty” have become principles subject to argument, and elusive to ourselves and to our posterity.
     Throughout the land, the Ten Commandments and quotations from the Book of Proverbs are inscribed, and engraved upon, marble and granite and limestone facades and the gold leaf of interiors of Capitol buildings, Courthouses, and Legislative Chambers. But in some places, the efforts of a minority of the governed have been successful in their undertaking “to change times and laws” (Dan. 7:25) ... “laying foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall deem most likely to effect their Happiness” – and very much of the time, at the expense of “domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessing of liberty” and their fellows’ “safety” – legalizing conduct and dispositions that 235 years ago would have been deemed unlawful.

A Shift from Tradition to Normalcy
     The past three generations of Americans have witnessed a redefining what is lawful, by legalizing what is unlawful.
    Beginning in the 1950’s, through the abandoning of prayer in public schools of instruction, G-d was taken away from the vocabulary of elementary school children, giving rise to that ethereal doctrine of the separation of church and state which falls short of, and is not so expressed, in the language of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
And more recently,
      • in the State of Alabama, at the beginning of this millennium, the Chief Justice of that State’s Supreme Court was ousted because of his refusal to remove from the main floor a colossal memorial on which was engraved the Words of the Ten Commandments. And with his removal, came also the departure of that memorial from that State’s Supreme Court building;
      • in other places, words of Scripture engraved on the facades of Government buildings have, through the skill of masonry, been obliterated;
      • the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States has come under scrutiny;
      • athletic contests which traditionally are heralded by the singing or orchestration of the National Anthem and summoning spectators to regard ‘the Stars and Stripes’ by standing with the right hand positioned over the heart, are increasingly greeted by the contestants’ protests in ‘taking a knee’ – and which ought to be reserved as an act of homage to Him Who sits upon the circle of the earth (Isa. 40:22).
    Ironically, however, the United States Congress still retains a Chaplaincy to open their legislative sessions with an invocation by a Reverend who is paid handsomely for his/her services – an invocation that stands in stark contrast to the business set before their assemblage and gives us pause, as we consider the words of the prophet, Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with Thee, which frameth mischief by a law? Psalm 94:20.
    And, oh yes, the Chief Executive whose executive orders and legislative initiatives are often opposed to the Law, Commandment, and the Right Rulings of Him Who is the Chief Executive of the Universe, will nevertheless conclude his public addresses with these words, “God Bless America,” though it is not at all certain, that Yahweh will bless a Yah-less America!
    Then there are issues – issues, like reproductive rights – a real misnomer for pro-choice abortion rights that again, stand in contrast to hallowed words written 248 years ago: “… that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life …”
    And though we laud the majority of Supreme Court Justices who on June 24, 2022, rescinded what had, since January 22, 1973, stood as the Supreme “Law” of the Land – the battle has been shifted to the States as arbiters in this matter of death over life – there has emerged the expansion of pharmaceutical products that effect spontaneous chemical abortion and “charitable” transportation enterprises that assist pregnant “people” traveling to abortion-friendly states to obtain this procedure called “murder-in-the-womb.”
    And then, there’s the issue of gender identity … and now, even specie identity as some of reprobate minds regard themselves as per-hu (a hybrid word composed of removing the second syllables, -son and -man) and “furries” who relate more to members of the animal kingdom than with humankind.
    And speaking out against these abominations will earn for you a charge of hate speech – forget Constitutional guarantees provided by the First Amendment: “…or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” –
      • censure of a Kentucky County Clerk when she refused issuance of a marriage license to a queer couple;
      • litigation against a Colorado florist who refused to provide flowers for queer nuptials; and,
      • an Oregon baker who declined hire to bake a wedding cake for another queer couple.
    Nothing, it seems, is restrained the imagination of reprobate minds given to legalizing their inventions of evil, and sent a strong delusion to pursue … even to their own perdition, what Yahweh has defined as abominable by Law, Commandment, and Right Ruling.
    For the Truth is, neither the Governments over men or men themselves, can sanctify by their words what has not FIRST been sanctified by HIS Word.
    Governments cannot legalize or legitimize – under color of the Supreme Law of the Land – what is contrary to His Immutable Law and by Which, on the Great and Notable Day, all will stand before His bar, and be judged.

Legal; Lawful
     Yes, the past score of years have given witness to the spirit of the age having caught up with, and overtaken traditional values.
    And though we might assert, as our Messiah, that His Kingdom is not of this world, and neither is ours of this world (John 18:36); and that Yahweh is the judge: He puts down one, and sets up another (Psa. 75:7) and that, therefore, we should not participate in the franchise that has been accorded us by Constitutional guarantee … well, we might want to revisit this matter, because [It is] an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne (His, and theirs) is established by righteousness, Proverbs 16:12.
    For surely, if we are laborers together with Yahweh in this enterprise of our salvation – and we are – certainly, “justice …domestic tranquility … the general welfare, and the blessing of liberty” are not incongruent with His will, neither the command to make supplications, prayers, and intercessions for those that are in authority, that,
      • they, too, should be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth; that,
      • we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all righteousness and honesty, even though
      • earnestly contending for the faith and standing for the defense and confirmation of Truth may well require much more than the making of supplications, prayers, and intercessions, to this end: that if, indeed, the world shall be judged by us, how much more now, things pertaining to this life.
    We might consider that though Yahweh’s authority is established by His Word, His Authority is sustained by Our demonstration of the Spirit and of power. (The last time we checked with Scripture, it is yet, better to place confidence in Yahweh than in princes (Psa. 118:9); still, better to obey Yahweh than men (Acts 5:29) and which actions, might well set us at variance with civil authorities and require as much of us as was imposed upon the Master.)

Observations of Wisdom
     Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin [is] a reproach to any people. … When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn, Proverbs 14:34, 29:2.

      “An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so,” Gandhi;

      “All tyranny needs, to gain a foothold, is for people of good conscience to remain silent,” Thomas Jefferson;

       “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Gandhi;

      “Vote and the choice is yours. Don’t vote and the choice is theirs” Donald Troutman, Clerk, Texas County, Missouri;

      “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing,” Edmund Burke;

      “Prayer should move us off our knees,” John W. Reece.

    Indeed, one only has to look at the culture … how, currently, what was once regarded as sacrosanct has been made to become profane, to appreciate that principle has been relegated to refuse; that man’s unrestrained imagination and invention of evil with the approbation of civil authority – has been made to become indistinguishable from what is lawful; that Yahweh has been reduced to becoming altogether such as men (Psa. 50:21) … dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).

     Well, what does Yahweh’s LAW say about what man has “legalized?”
    Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of Yahweh? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of Yahweh, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
    Well-intentioned were the framers of our National Government, couching platitudes in fair speech,
    We the People of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union … 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 … [to] establish justice, insure domestic tranquility … promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity … laying its foundation on such principles … most likely to effect their Happiness … secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity … laying its foundation (liberty) on such principles … most likely to effect their Happiness, has come at tremendous cost to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and promote the general welfare.
    But though men should be called to liberty, the summons – though legalized – was never, and is not now, purposed by their Creator that they should exercise that liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Gal. 5:13), to transgress His Law … yes, as free but not using liberty (under cover of what’s been made legal) for a cloak of maliciousness (1 Pet. 2:16); wasting the substance of their lives (Luke 15:13) running to an excess of riot (1 Pet. 4:4) and revelry (Gal. 5:21); making provision for the affections and lusts of their flesh (Rom. 13:14), and leading to this inevitable conclusion:


-Elder John W. Reece

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