What does it mean that we no longer have a constitutional government?
Here’s one example of how fantastically deep our dilemma really is. In 1963, a year after it had banned state-sponsored prayer in public schools, the Supreme Court, in Abington School District v. Schempp, outlawed the daily reading of psalms and other passages from the Bible in the public schools. This was based on the idea that “religious establishment” means, not just an actual religious establishment, in which one denomination is officially favored over others, but any state action that advances a religious purpose. Justice Tom Clark writing for the Court declared: “To withstand the stricture of the ‘establishment’ clause, there must a secular legislative purpose and a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion.”
Of course, the Supreme Court had no business intruding into this area at all, it was only made possible by the Incorporation Doctrine, which illegitimately applied the restraints of the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”) to the states as well as to the Congress. But even granting the earlier revolutionary atrocity of the Incorporation Doctrine, the Court in Abington and other cases went much further, by redefining “establishment of religion” as ANY act that advances a religious purpose. Thus in one fell swoop the Court prohibited local and state governments from having anything to do with religion; henceforth they had to be strictly “neutral” as to religion. This was nothing less than a revolutionary overturning of state and local self-government under our federalist system. If the American people had cared about their Constitution and their liberties, there would have been an uproar against Abington v. Schempp, calls for the impeachment of the justices, uprisings, blood on the streets. Nothing happened. And that was 43 years ago. And that is just one example of the illegitimacy of the regime we now live under (as further advanced by such later decisions as Roe v. Wade, Grutter v. Bollinger, and Lawrence v. Texas), an illegitimacy that conservatives do not even notice any longer, let alone oppose. We endlessly pride ourselves on the idea we live under the Constitution, but, in fact, in many key areas of our political existence, we’re living under a wholly illegitimate usurpation created by judges who re-wrote the Constitution based on nothing but their own whims and desires and called this Frankenstein’s monster “the Constitution.” Even conservatives today speak of the “secular” society we live in, a society in which government must be absolutely neutral as to religion. But this “secular” society was the creation of a revolutionary unconstitutional act by the Supreme Court. The fact that the rest of the society passively went along with the usurpation does not render it constitutional.
The decision in Abington v. Schempp, and its subsequent acceptance and legitimization by the entire society, is a prime example of what I’m speaking about in my Traditionalist’s Credo, also quoted at the LA unofficial web page:
I declare that this government is no longer a constitutional and moral form of government. I will deal with it, and I will obey its laws, and I will support it when it is defending our country from foreign and domestic enemies. I will vote in its elections and participate in its political debates. But I will never accept it. I aim at a restoration of constitutional and moral order.
Mark D. writes:
Your traditionalist’s credo, and your commentary on Abington, et al., reminded me of Lincoln’s position on the Dred Scott decision.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 14, 2006 01:47 PM | Send