Is Gov. Beshear violating the Constitution?

By Heather Walton

Sadly, though I’ve lived here for most of my life, I hadn’t read Kentucky’s Constitution until this week. I suspect I wasn’t alone when it comes to constitutional illiteracy, but I have begun to be enlightened. I would encourage everyone to become familiar with their state constitution, and with the U.S. Constitution, because these are the highest laws of our land, and when our governing officials break the laws that give them their authority, we should consider whether it’s wise to submit.

While I’m not a constitutional law expert, an ordinary citizen should be able to analyze officials’ actions in light of national and state foundational documents. Therefore, I’ve evaluated recent executive orders by Gov. Andy Beshear in light of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as well as Kentucky Revised Statute 39A, which gives him the authority to declare a state of emergency and outlines his functions.

According to Ky. Rev. Stat. § 39A.090, “The Governor may make, amend, and rescind any executive orders as deemed necessary to carry out the provisions of KRS Chapters 39A to 39F.” I do not think this gives the state’s chief executive carte blanche. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 39A.100 states, “Except as prohibited by this section or other law, to perform and exercise other functions, powers, and duties deemed necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.” Since the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the highest law of our Commonwealth, it serves as the highest law in our state, and is in keeping with and subordinate to the United States Constitution.

Section 1 of Kentucky’s Constitution guarantees rights of life, liberty, worship, pursuit of safety and happiness, free speech, acquiring and protecting property, peaceable assembly, redress of grievances, bearing arms. All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned:

First: The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties. The Governor’s edicts have kept and continue to keep many from being able to work, and thereby enjoying their lives and liberties. We do not have the freedom to live our lives and to practice liberty of movement or fulfillment of our God-given calling to provide for our families, move about freely, attend church, sing and participate in sacraments, decide how many people to have in our homes, go places without a mask or temperature check, or keep our associations with others private. At first, these precautions seemed necessary, but they still would have violated the Constitution; now that the curve has been flattened, our rights certainly should be returned to us.

Second: The right of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences. We have not been able to worship according to the dictates of our consciences. While I’m glad we have been able to use online worship services, we have not been able to meet, and now that we are, we still are not able to do so according to our consciences. We are told not to get too close to one another, not to sing corporately, and not to participate in Sacraments. These things go against Scripture. If a person is sick, he should stay home from church, but that’s common sense and should be exercised at all times, but if he is well, there is not a substantial reason to comply. (He also should theoretically be able to be anointed and prayed over by the elders of the church.) If a person is at-risk, she also should consider staying home, but also should have the freedom to make that choice. For those who are healthy, there is no compelling reason to celebrate faith differently than at any other time.

Third: The right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness. This is an individual right of each Kentuckian to seek and pursue safety and happiness, not a mandate for the government to impose corporate safety on all citizenry. Our governor and other authorities have decided to potentially compromise financial, religious, and informational safety for supposed health safety. And many have been forced to trade happiness for a supposed safety.

Fourth: The right of freely communicating their thoughts and opinions. While I can’t specifically fault the government for this, I see the media inhibiting and overruling the right to free speech and communication.

Fifth: The right of acquiring and protecting property. How can people acquire and protect property when commerce is mostly shut down and nearly half of the state population is unemployed? Granted, many are receiving unemployment, but not all, and there will likely be a future price to pay for today’s temporary provision.

Sixth: The right of assembling together in a peaceable manner for their common good, and of applying to those invested with the power of government for redress of grievances or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance. People have been allowed to protest; yet they have been demonized for doing so. Have their petitions been acknowledged or addressed? It doesn’t appear so.

So far, we have only looked at Section 1. In Section 2, absolute and arbitrary power is denied.

Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority. It seems to me that there has been much absolute and arbitrary power in the republic and in the commonwealth. Gov. Beshear made many executive orders which were presented as law and did so while the legislature was out of session. He was partially checked by the courts, but many of his edicts have been made without anyone being able to do anything about it. Not only has he exercised absolute power, but his decisions have appeared arbitrary. A large store could be open and lots of people could be inside, while a small business had to be closed. People couldn’t get cancer screenings and “elective” surgeries, but they could get an abortion. People could pack the hardware store or go to a liquor store, but could not go to church. Kids can now participate in contact sports, but nobody can go to a public pool.

Section 15 says that the General Assembly is the only one with the right to suspend laws, but it seems that the governor has done so time after time during this “crisis.”

Section 26 sums it all up well by stating, To guard against transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, We Declare that every thing in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void. I understand this to mean that several of Gov. Beshear’s executive orders are essentially void.

This brings me to my last point, in Section 4, which states that power is inherent in the people. Right to alter, reform, or abolish government. All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, happiness and the protection of property. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may deem proper.

We have a governor whom I believe to be well-intentioned, yet in many ways wrong. He may be a nice guy, but nice is not a leadership qualification. Gov. Beshear has, in the name of saving “the most vulnerable,” neglected many vulnerable taxpayers, small business owners, people with health conditions other than COVID-19, school children, unborn children, and newly born children. Our Constitution gives us the right to alter, reform, or abolish our government as we deem proper. Is it time to exercise this right? We have petitioned Gov. Beshear. He has refused to listen, and in many cases, even to acknowledge our grievances; perhaps it is time we consider requiring him to step down from leadership, and restructure the government to provide greater checks and balances, that we may not be subject to absolute and arbitrary leadership from any future governor.

Author’s Note: I am not condoning violence in any way. Those who have threatened the Governor do not represent the best interests of Kentuckians, and should be held accountable for their actions.

Judge not … ?

20200514_145222By Heather Walton

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3 ESV)

This is probably the most well-known verse in all of scripture. Why? Because people inherently like to justify themselves and their behavior. If a Christian confronts sin, this Bible verse inevitably glides smoothly off someone’s tongue in hasty rebuke, in an attempt to shame the messenger into silence. How dare you? is the implication. Don’t you know Jesus told us not to judge one another? We all sin; you just prefer your own brand of sin. 

Here’s the problem with that logic: Most people know the first part of Matthew 7:1, and some know all the way through the end of verse 3, but many neglect what comes next:

Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:4-5 ESV)

Notice here that Jesus said to remove your own log, meaning do everything you can to be right with God and free from sin (albeit not perfect), and then yes, remove the speck from your brother’s eye. So if you have some glaring sin problem in your life (log) then get that straight before criticizing your brother for a smaller infraction (speck). So Jesus wasn’t, in fact, telling us we are not to judge at all, but that we’re not to be hypocritical, which in the Greek carried the idea of acting. In essence, I’m not to live a phony life, acting the part of a Christian, while I have this glaring area of sin in my life, and then call a believer out for some small behavior that pales in comparison with my own issues.

In Matthew 18, we’re told to confront our brother or sister who is caught in sin. We should do so first between the two of us, next with a witness, and lastly we should bring our concern to the church. (This doesn’t apply to every situation, by the way, but it does to most.) This passage is for dealing with a brother caught in sin, which could mean they wronged us personally or that they simply were, as the text states, caught in sin.

In 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, believers are specifically told to judge those inside the church who are sexually immoral, greedy, swindlers, idolaters, revilers, drunkards or swindlers. Paul stated that God would judge those outside the church, but commanded Christians to hold one another accountable. He went so far to say, “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:13b ESV). Believers were not even to eat with someone who called himself a Christian, yet had blatant sin in his life.

It is a lie from the pit of hell that we are not ever to judge anyone for anything. As Christians, we should not be shocked when an unbeliever lives a sinful lifestyle. We should instead lovingly show him the truth and share the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20), challenging him to accept Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-11), and discipling him toward a Biblical lifestyle (Matthew 28:18-20). However, when someone claims to be a Christ-follower, we are commanded to lovingly and truthfully call him out, not out of self-satisfaction, but out of love, out of a desire for his benefit, that He may repent for his good and God’s glory.

This is not comfortable. I have found myself needing to confront brothers and sisters on multiple occasions, and I never enjoy it. I generally feel some anxiety over it. I do it because I must. On a handful of occasions, I’ve spoken out about public officials’ behavior. (I’ve written about officials on both sides of the aisle.) I know these people already have been confronted about their sin, yet they continue. I do not expect these types of posts to go over well with everyone, yet I share them, believing God wants me to speak up about injustice, rather than to stay silent.

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?” 
(Proverbs 24:11-12)

In Ezekiel 3, the prophet was told to be a watchman for Israel, delivering messages to those whom God directed. He was to warn the wicked and the righteous if they were not in God’s will, to change their ways. If he did, and they didn’t listen, he would be blameless, but if he shied away from sharing the truth that God told him to share, he would have their blood on his hands.

Therefore, when God lays it on my heart that I’m to address someone about sin, I know I shouldn’t shy away. I don’t like doing it, but there’s nothing in Scripture that says I’m only to do what I feel like doing. Knowing others will judge me, as they tell me not to judge, I do it anyway, in obedience to the Judge who is above all judges, and with whom I will spend eternity.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 ESV)

An Open Letter to Gov. Andy Beshear

Gov. Beshear

May 11, 2020

Governor Beshear,

I want to begin by saying that, for the first several weeks of your COVID-19 response, I was one of your strongest supporters. I watched your briefings every day and I was quite impressed with your handling of the situation. I also noted that you used your faith to support your reasoning, and I believed you used it well. I truly appreciated your desire to protect the lives of all Kentuckians, even those many seemed to discount as less important than the economy. I did wonder, however, why the abortion clinics were allowed to remain open. Even so, I supported you in the rest of your response measures. I defended you on social media multiple times and I used the hashtags you asked us to use. To this day, we turn on our green light nightly to honor those who have died of the coronavirus.

I was disheartened to make a possible connection between campaign contributions and your refusal to close the clinics, but when you chose to veto SB9, which would require babies who survived to be cared for, I was astonished. This bill passed by a landslide and had clear bipartisan support. You reasoned that this would reduce our unity and ability to defeat the coronavirus and reopening of the economy. However, if every Kentucky life matters, it’s worth doing, even if it’s not popular, could cause law suits, or could hinder reopening the economy. Isn’t this the very thing you have done and continue to do in the COVID-19 response? You have said you don’t care if it’s popular, you don’t care if people disagree, and you don’t care if people sue you. You also have been willing to keep our economy shut down indefinitely. I realize you’re doing some reopening, but it’s really not very quick and it’s also not highly practical. Your argument has consistently been that we need to save as many Kentucky lives as possible. In fact, you’ve been willing to do absolutely everything, including allowing many businesses to close permanently and overriding the First Amendment rights of our citizenry, to make sure that our losses are as minimal as possible.

You have cited your faith many times. Therefore, I feel compelled to tell you what is on my heart as a believer. The blood of many, many children is on your hands. You have accepted blood money from Planned Parenthood and from abortion clinic owners Ernest and Ona Marshall, and likely many others who practice and champion abortion. Even without the veto, you support abortion. You may argue that there need to be exceptions for the life and health of the mother, but as one who had to have a pregnancy terminated because of the baby implanted ectopically, I did not need to go to an abortion clinic, and would not have been able to have been serviced there.

Abortion is murder, as God has created each life. Most abortions are the result of previous sin, whether from the mother, the father, or usually both. Taking a child’s life because of his parents’ sins is not ethical, moral, or Scriptural. So when you vetoed SB9, I woke as if from sleeping and began to question why you are willing to inconvenience so many and even devastate some on the grounds of caring for all Kentuckians, yet far more have died through abortion than from the coronavirus. At first, it seemed these measures were necessary, but as we’ve learned more, it just doesn’t add up. I’m willing to believe you began with the best of intentions regarding the COVID-19 response, but now, why not go ahead and open up the economy, allow people to resume church services as normal, and allow us to get back to what hopefully will be a new and better normal?

I also have concerns about your handling of churches. Biblically, we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. It’s great that we are able to have online services, but that’s simply not the same as meeting in person. And being told not to even sing together is disheartening. Being told not to meet together, sing together, or participate in sacraments goes directly against Scripture. If this were as bad as health officials originally had projected, I would be more open to the idea of church being conducted alternatively, but I would also expect most other organizations and businesses to be closed. If I can’t go to church and worship in the normal way, I also shouldn’t be able to go to an abortion clinic, a liquor store, or a hardware store.

I work hard to be respectful and pleasant toward those with whom I disagree, but I don’t believe in shying away from the truth, because the truth sets us free. No law can take away our freedom in Christ, but it’s still crucial that Christ followers petition the authorities when injustice prevails. There are clear injustices when some human lives are considered expendable or less valuable than others, and there are clear injustices when people’s livelihoods are lost due to excessive government control.

After the fall of man, God commanded Adam and Eve to fill the earth and subdue it. These are related to two main realms – childbearing and work. Your actions affect each of these in the opposite ways that God intended, because you are allowing childbearing to be unnaturally restrained, while not allowing people to work. Please prayerfully read the Scriptures. I ask you, on behalf of all citizens of Kentucky, to change your stance on abortion, to fully open Kentucky’s churches, and to allow Kentuckians to go back to work. There are ways to protect the vulnerable that don’t require so many others to suffer in countless ways.

I am praying for you, and am open to discussing this with you if you would like to.

Sincerely,

Heather Walton

 

 

45 years later … we can resurrect a culture of life

norma_mccorvey_jane_roe_1989January 22, 1973 was a day that changed the history of our nation forever, a day that put the stamp of approval on the growing culture of death in our nation, a day that legalized murder. Since that day, roughly 60 million Americans have been aborted. Sixty million! That number should take our breath away! It should convict us of the sin of our nation, of our own sin. It should call us to action.

Before I proceed, I want to stress that I am not condemning those who, out of fear and ignorance, have had abortions or who assisted someone in having an abortion. Yes, that was a sinful act and there needs to be repentance, but like Jesus, I would say, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

I also am not faulting anyone who had to terminate a pregnancy due to life-threatening circumstances. I personally had emergency surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy. I’ll never forget how sorrowful I felt when the doctor told me that my unborn child had a heartbeat, yet I knew that heart would not be beating in a few short hours.

When it comes to elective abortions, the bulk of the guilt lies with those who run the abortion industry, those who promote it, those who legislated it into legality, those who coerce people into that decision, those who flippantly choose to take the lives of unborn children, and those who stand by and do nothing about it, all the while knowing it’s wrong.

Before I became a Christian, I was pro-choice, and I didn’t even particularly like children. However, the day I gave my life to Jesus, God placed a burden on my heart — a love of children, both born and unborn. I began to desire having children of my own, I became a teacher, and I got involved in the front lines of the battle for the sanctity of life. God threw me all in, and I didn’t hesitate. I came to believe that abortion is one of our national sins, and that the church was responsible to intervene. I volunteered, and later took a paid position, at A Woman’s Choice Resource Center in Louisville. I counseled women who thought they might be pregnant, did pregnancy tests, gave supplies to those who were pregnant or who had young children, assisted with adoption plans, drove women to ultrasounds, shared the gospel, helped women who had had abortions to find counseling, and I even sidewalk counseled. I was polite, yet direct, when trying to dissuade women from deciding for abortion.

In our nation today, abortion persists as a stain on the heart of our nation. This practice began as a largely eugenic practice. Here are the words of Margaret Sanger, abortion advocate and Planned Parenthood founder:

” … I wish to take advantage of the present opportunity to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the “unfit” and the “fit”, admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit though less fertile parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective. (Margaret Sanger, “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda,” Oct 1921. Published Article. Source: Birth Control Review, Oct. 1921, p. 5 , Margaret Sanger Microfilm S70:913.)

In other words, some people are beneficial to society and others aren’t. Therefore we have a duty to limit the reproduction of the inferior class. This line of thinking stands in stark contrast to our founding fathers’ statement that, “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. (U.S. Constitution, paragraph 2).

Margaret Sanger was a racist, with an agenda to eliminate “inferior races.”

“It is said that the aboriginal Australian, the lowest known species of the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain development … ” (Sanger, “What Every Girl Should Know” 1920, p. 47. Retrieved from http://www.ukapologetics.net/10/sanger.htm).

Sanger was an associate of Adolf Hitler who sympathized with his ideas on eugenics. She began the American Birth Control League, changing its name to Planned Parenthood during World War II, to cover her ties with Hitler’s philosophy. Though Sanger originally opposed abortion, she changed her stance, and her organization eventually broadened its purposes. (Source: Linda Gordon, ‘Woman’s Body; Woman’s Right’ – Grossman, 1976, p347, Retrieved from http://www.ukapologetics.net/10/sanger.htm).

Here are the words of Dr. Alveda King, granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr:

“The killing tools of abortionists are as aimed at blacks today as the fire hoses of segregationists 50 years ago.

Taking more African American lives than gun violence, heart disease, cancer, and AIDS combined, abortion seems to have targeted blacks in a way that can only make remaining Ku Klux Klan members smile. For every three living African Americans, there is one who has been aborted. It’s as if a plague swept through the black community and took every fourth person.” (http://www.priestsforlife.org/africanamerican/abortion-industry-racism.htm)

Abortion and racism are related evils. Both stem from greed and the notion that some people are actually not fully human, and therefore don’t have deserve the same rights and status. They are expendable. Abortion grew out of the idea that there are inferior people, that those who are non-white, disabled, or unproductive are to be eliminated.

However, there is work that can be done to reverse this mindset in our nation. It starts in the Church. The Church must do more to change the culture of death in our country. We must decide once and for all that racism is not to be tolerated — not in our churches, not in our communities, and not in the White House. And we must reach out and love on women and families who find themselves in difficult pregnancies. Though we must speak out against abortion, that alone does little to impact the daily lives of those who are surprised by an unplanned pregnancy and fearful that they can’t handle a child. Furthermore, we must be willing to open our homes to foster and adopt children. Those of us who have extra should be willing to share what we have with the less fortunate. If we were to do these things, in addition to praying and confessing our own sins, God would fulfill His promise to “hear from heaven and heal our land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

 

 

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