VOL. 15, NO. 1

Jan. 31, 2013

Back to the Basics:  Straightening Up America

By Virginia Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman

“How far can you make a man bend over backwards before he breaks?”  This anguished cry is a defining moment in one of the most widely acclaimed musical productions of the Twentieth Century, “Fiddler on the Roof.” A central figure is Tevye, the Jewish father overwhelmed by fundamental changes threatening to annihilate the traditional culture of his people in early Twentieth Century Tsarist Russia.  The threats come not only from the political regime but from within his own family, specifically his three oldest daughters’ choosing husbands who reject his customs and culture, forcing from him this anguished lament.

Has America bent over backwards too far in its spiritual, moral, and constitutional life – too far from our Constitution and its Judeo-Christian roots?  Are we, like Tevye, on the verge of breaking – at least in the sense of losing our internal vigor and our global power – and in sore need of “a fundamental straightening up process”?   This would seem to be our plight as perceived by many Constitutionalist/conservative American patriots today in the wake of a virtual tsunami of current anti-Judeo-Christian events in our nation in the recent past.  In the 2012 elections one of the singular characteristics was that, acrimonious as the debates were among candidates, parties, and their supporters, so little of that debate focused on the issues that REALLY matter – the social issues, which involve the foundations of our society.    In January, the re-elected Barack Obama delivered a “State of the Union” speech decried by numerous observers as “the most partisan” such speech in American history.  Shortly after, on January 22, America observed the fortieth anniversary of its own holocaust – the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision in the diabolical Roe v. Wade case.  This holocaust has so far cost America nearly 55,800,000 lives.

Simultaneously with these developments, frenzied pro-homosexual legal and political battling has been moving forward as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether federal and state governments can ban homosexual marriages and the Boy Scouts of America, long considered a last great bastion of “moral straightness,” debate the admission of homosexuals to their ranks.  A real jaw-dropper with the Scouts is that in 2000 they won from the U.S. Supreme Court the decision that they had the constitutional right to control their leadership standards – a right they are now considering throwing away. Also ironically, currently Russia is considering legislation promoted by both the government and Russian Orthodox Church to curb homosexual activity nationwide. The political dimensions of this battle do not eliminate the fact that polls conducted last year by the independent Levada Center find that almost 2/3 of Russians consider homosexuality “morally unacceptable and worth condemning.”

And then, as these events have unfolded, there came, in late January, the annual winter meeting of the Republican National Committee.  “Change, relevance, and inclusiveness” were terms flung around by leaders from various wings of the party, with the GOP’s strong, long-standing anti-homosexual rights and vigorous pro-life stances being a target of the “change/relevance/inclusiveness” clamor.

Are the GOP and the BSA, like the country in general, in danger of bending over so far backwards that they may break?  How does one make any sense of this moral and constitutional cacophony?    And make sense of it we must – or lose the Culture War by default.  In America’s War of the Worldviews, as in education, “back to the basics” is a fundamental necessity if we are to avoid toppling over backwards and stand straight again.   And so, in this and later “Court Watch Briefings,” we shall “go back to the basics” – to the point where America took dramatic turns in the wrong direction – to the court decisions which made that which is lawless the law of the land and morphed a moral mandate into a moral madness.   “Straightening up America” requires nothing less.

Three of the most critical “Basics” are these facts.  First,  America cannot live permanently in an ”expansively inclusive,” constantly “changing” condition concerning our basic values and constitutional guarantees. As historian James Hitchcock asserted about America over thirty years ago:

An indefinitely elastic pluralism [of basic values and constitutional standards]is not possible. . . . Values are necessary for the function of any society, and if they are not consciously adopted and publicly acknowledged, they will be smuggled in surreptitiously and often unconsciously.  Values are always in real or potential conflict, and the state inevitably favors some values over others.

The second “Basic” necessary to straightening up America is that four fundamental social policy areas are the white-hot center of the Culture War between Humanists/Reconstructionists and Judeo-Christian/Constitutionalist forces, but these issues have received (often deliberately) far too little attention in the recent elections and other political life.  These four policy areas are abortion/life issues, evolutionism v. creationism, religious liberties, and homosexual rights/marriage.  We Constitutionalists must re-focus national attention on these critical battlefronts.

The third “Basic” is that four Constitutional guarantees are primary weapons wielded by Reconstructionists in their fight to bend America and break it into a Humanistic society.  These guarantees are highlighted in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which can be combined thus:

[No government] shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

“Personhood, life, liberty, and law(s)” have been seized by Reconstructionists, transmogrified into Humanistic terms, and unleashed in the four fundamental social policy areas listed above.  This strategy has been far too successful so far in bending America backwards.  Constitutionalists must, therefore (1) understand the necessity of national unity on fundamental social and Constitutional values and guarantees; (2)  re-focus national attention and Constitutionalist firepower on the four fundamental social policy areas where warfare and disunity are the most devastating; and (3) mount an effective Constitutionalist counterattack to recapture the guarantees of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and re-establish them as foundations of American law. These facts are “Basics” to reviving the Constitution.  And such a revival is essential if America, like Tevye, is to avoid bending too far backwards, becoming a broken nation – a challenge to which we shall return in later Court Watch Briefings.