The 1st Amendment
In the United States of America, the 1st Amendment to the Constitution reaffirms our God given right to freedom of speech. The text clearly states that Congress shall not make any laws that limit individual or group use of speech. There is no mention of any technicalities or extenuating circumstances that limit speech in any way.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; 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.”
The reason that only Congress is mentioned in the 1st Amendment is because they are the Legislative Branch of our Government. In other words, the Constitution only grants Congress the authority to create laws. Therefore, the heart of the 1st Amendment is this… The United States Government cannot make speech or any form of speech illegal.
The consequences of making words illegal
Those calling for the abolition of certain words or forms of speech are missing a very important point. If the Government can limit some forms of speech, it can limit any form of speech. One may believe that another shouldn’t be free to use hateful speech, but who should be responsible for defining what is considered hateful speech? The Government? The problem is that what one individual believes is hateful speech, another may believe that it is not. And advocating that the Government should intervene in what should or shouldn’t be said by citizens could lead us to a never ending path of speech control.
Our nation was founded on the idea that government should be restrained from limiting individual liberty. The Founding Father’s believed with good reason, that an individual’s right to speak was more important than an individual’s right to not be offended. In other words, one could be free to speak their mind and the other could choose how to respond. “A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” Proverbs 15:1-2
Speech that pleases God
God never gave the Government the authority to limit speech of individuals. When we decide that Government should determine what we say or don’t say, we have created a false idol for ourselves. This is an idea the Founding Father’s understood well. God should govern our speech, not Government. Government should not govern over every detail of our lives because that role has already been filled by a loving Heavenly Father.
As followers of Christ, there are words that we should not speak. We should seek to glorify God with our speech and let His word guide us in doing so. The 1st Amendment ensures that as U.S. citizens, we can say whatever we want, but as followers of Christ we should say only that which brings God glory. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
We should allow God’s word to transform us instead of allowing the Government to conform us. Let us put into practice what pleases God… “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” James 1:19
Our nation has been involved in some sort of conflict for most of the last thirty years. During that time we have been involved in wars around the world with many different nations. The reasons for these wars vary and can differ depending on who you listen to. One of the constant statements throughout the years has been in reference to a quote from a former President. While in office, Ronald Reagan said… “We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.”
What did Reagan mean by peace through strength? Was he trying to say that in order to demonstrate our strength we must force ourselves upon other nations? In that same speech, Reagan also said… “I believe with all my heart that our first priority must be world peace, and that use of force is always and only a last resort, when everything else has failed, and then only with regard to our national security.” Ronald Reagan
Reagan’s notion of peace through strength was more about promoting peace, while being prepared for war, then it was about demonstrating how dominant we can be. It is clear that Reagan desired peace above anything else, as demonstrated by his words and the fact that our nation experienced relatively little conflict while he was in office. He believed that force was a last resort as opposed to a highlight of our foreign policy. If you study the words of our Founding Father’s, you will find that they said similar things…
“Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.” Thomas Jefferson
“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” James Madison
Our policy of force
For many of us, there is a major disconnect between our nation’s recent foreign policy and the phrase “peace through strength”. A more fitting phrase for our recent foreign policy is “peace through force”. Our nation’s leaders have decided to use our military to forcefully impose our values through nation building efforts around the world. This is in direct contrast to Reagan’s idea of the United States not being an antagonist to other nations.
US Armed Forces have become a tool for establishing dominance around the world in order to bring peace to other nations and protect our so called interests. While that type of foreign policy seems to be accepted by most Americans, it is a policy that leads to what is commonly referred to as blowback. Blowback is unintended consequences suffered by the aggressor for an offensive action. Until we admit that is exactly what has happened here, we will continue to suffer the consequences.
While many believe that foreigners hate us for our freedom, it could be easily argued that they hate us more for our acts of aggression against them. That is exactly why the Founding Fathers warned us about entangling alliances with foreign nations. As Thomas Jefferson said… “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”
Although, we will likely never achieve what most people consider world peace, we can experience more peace than we have in recent times. However, that will mean that Christians will need to pray for peace. We will need to be peaceful ourselves. We will need to desire peace through strength (the peaceful kind of strength), not peace through force. We will need to overcome evil by doing good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
We should heed the words of Ronald Reagan when he said, “The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression – to preserve freedom and peace.”
Most of all, we should remember what Jesus said in regards to how we treat our enemies… “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” Luke 6:35
Let us go to God to find His way for peace and let us demonstrate peace through strength the way it was intended. “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14
God established the nations
God established all of the nations and He marked the boundaries of all of the land. Yes, God gave the nations boundaries. His desire has been, is, and always will be that the nations would seek Him. “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:26-27
God desires that the nations serve Him… “May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.” Psalm 72:11 However, not all nations serve God. “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.” Deuteronomy 18:9
As a nation, we must be careful when it comes to being politically involved with other nations. In fact, in Joshua’s farewell address to the leaders of Israel he warned… “Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.” Joshua 23:7-8
A brief history of the United Nations
The United Nations was founded in 1945 after World War II. The founders of the organization claimed that it was established in order… “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. Since its founding the U.N. has claimed that peace is its ultimate goal.
The Preamble to the U.N. Charter outlines the purpose and goals of the international organization. Upon further review of the charter and other founding documents, it can be concluded that the organization was created with the stated purpose to bring peace by governing the world. “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;” Chapter 1, Article 1, U.N. Charter
The U.N. has been in existence for 70 years. We understand that their stated purpose is peace through global governance. However, we need to know more about what the organization has accomplished in order to more clearly understand its purpose. In order to be successful at keeping peace, the organizational purpose and its actions should be in alignment.
The United Nations doesn’t seek or serve God
After recently recognizing the 70th anniversary of this obscure organization, we should ask ourselves the following questions… What measures does the U.N. plan on carrying out in order to achieve peace? Has the U.N. lived up to its stated purpose to bring peace to the world or has it made things worse? Where does the U.N. derive its authority? Does the United Nations seek, serve, or even publicly recognize our Heavenly Father? Answering those questions should help us begin to determine whether or not the United Nations is an organization that we should promote.
What seems to be clear is that the U.N. Charter and its members in general make little to no mention of our Creator. That should be concerning to us. That should lead us to prayerful consideration of the need for such an organization. If the United Nations does not seek or serve God, it will ultimately fail at bringing peace to the world. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…” Psalm 127:1
The United Nations has been working to achieve its stated goals for a long time now. However, what has the organization accomplished exactly? We will need to explore this question and the many other questions that remain, in greater detail. Be sure to take a look at part two… Establishing a New World Order – Part II.
The President is not alone
Much has been made this week of President Obama’s statements regarding the push for more restrictions on firearms. The President has been vocal about a push for gun control throughout his time in office, so his recent comments come as no surprise to many 2nd Amendment supporters. And while I personally disagree with President Obama’s most recent comments, and his policies in general, regarding the 2nd Amendment, I also understand that he is not alone in the push to gradually disarm American citizens.
Over the last several decades many governing officials, including some who have occupied the White House, have pushed for more restrictions on firearms. Over time we have experienced a gradual increase in so called “common sense” gun laws, yet they have done nothing to make us safer. President Obama is certainly responsible for his part in the push for gun control (which has been considerable), but he is not alone.
The U.N. gun grab
The United Nations has been an advocate for gun control longer than any government official. In 1961, U.S. Department of State Freedom From War document 7277 was released to the public and called for “General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World”. The Freedom From War document spells out steps to disarm all nations and declares… “This can only be achieved through the progressive strengthening of international institutions under the United Nations and by creating a United Nations Peace Force to enforce the peace as the disarmament process proceeds.” State Department Document 7277
The United Nations claims that weapons are responsible for many of the worlds problems… “In all parts of the world, the ready availability of weapons and ammunition has led to human suffering, political repression, crime and terror among civilian populations.” United Nations
More recently, the United Nations Small Arms Treaty has caught the attention of the public eye. In a recent statement, Secretary of State John Kerry noted… “The United States is pleased that the United Nations General Assembly has approved a strong, effective and implementable Arms Trade Treaty that can strengthen global security while protecting the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade.” Of course, the question is who defines what is meant by “legitimate arms trade”?
Identifying the source of the problem
Before you decide whether or not the United Nations is, at least in part, responsible for the push for gun control in our nation, consider the following… A number of nations around the world (e.g. The United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia) have implemented gun control since the United Nations was founded. The United States is one of the few nations remaining that still maintains relatively relaxed firearm restrictions.
We should be willing to consider the possibility that some United States governing officials and the United Nations are working together to disarm our nation. “It may not come as surprising news to many of you that the United Nations doesn’t approve of our Second Amendment. Not one bit. And they very much hope to do something about it with help from some powerful American friends.” Larry Bell, Forbes Contributor
Hopefully you are convinced that the United Nations has been promoting gun control for a long time. However, you may be asking yourself why that even matters. Allow me to explain… We spend so much time focused on the words and actions of the President, but a case can be made that he is only a pawn in the game of the United Nations. We should pray for President Obama (1 Timothy 2:1-4), yet at the same time, he should be prosecuted or even removed from office (Psalm 109:8) if he is guilty of subverting our rule of law. More importantly though, we should advocate a return to national sovereignty by getting the United States out of the United Nations, since that is the source of the push for gun control.
The United Nations claims that its goal is peace and an argument could be made that on the surface they do promote peace. Although a deeper look into their agenda for gun control is very revealing. And if you are a student of history like I am, you know that gun control does not lead to peace. As Christians, we should always seek the truth, regardless of where it leads us. Whether you have firearms or not, you should be concerned about the United Nations plan for disarmament. I am convinced that the United Nations plays a large role in the push for gun control. Are you?
Romans 13:1 declares that God institutes governing authorities. God cares enough about government that He established it. We know that there are different types of governing authorities depending on the type of government that has been established in the nation that we live in. There are all types of different governments in our world. There are Monarchies, Oligarchies, Democracies, Republics, etc. Therefore, governing authorities can be people or it can be the rule of law.
God calls us to submit to our governing authorities, while simultaneously understanding that we only do so as long as we are not disobeying God in the process (Acts 5:29). We can and should be respectful to authority in almost all possible scenarios. Our calling to love others and to be peaceful should be considered during any encounter with a government official, police officer, member of the military, etc. It is safe to say that our world would be a better place if more men, women and children practiced being more respectful to those in authority.
The authorities are called to good
Frequently we hear stories about how citizens show a lack of respect for the authorities and many times that is certainly true. However, there are also times when government officials, police officers and members of the military, abuse their authority. There are times when they are not looking out for the good of the citizen. Yet that is exactly what they are called to. God’s word declares that the authority is a minister of God to citizens for good.
“For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” Romans 13: 3-4
The definition of good in this context is extremely important. Good in this context does not mean that the authority defines what is good. Good has already been defined by God. The standard for good in this context is the opposite of evil, which means it is a very high and godly standard. Those in authority often times do not live up to that standard and that should not be so easily accepted.
The authorities are called to oppose evil
The bible teaches that the authority is a minister of God to bring wrath on those who practice evil (Romans 13:4). That means that those in authority are to oppose anyone who practices evil, including others in positions of authority. God’s standard to oppose and expose evil also applies to citizens too (Ephesians 5:11). The truth is we all have been called by God to oppose evil.
Maybe those in authority and the citizens of our nation should promote respect for others in their own lives first, instead of pointing the finger at someone else first. There is a time to encourage others to be respectful as well, but let’s be as kind as we can about it. We have a sin issue that affects all of us, not just others that we may have a negative perception of.
Those placed in authority are called to do good and to execute justice on those who do evil things. And citizens are called to submit to that authority, except when it conflicts with our obedience to Christ. Respect for authority is a two way street and that is the only way that it works well for everyone. If you are in a position of authority, then you should be looking for more ways to do things that God calls good. If you are a citizen, then you should be looking for more ways to respect those in authority. And we should not be afraid to hold each other accountable.