Online courses and discussions, plus live Bible studies!

Join the Common Sense Bible Study community!

There’s No Prison in God’s Justice

God's justice--the only true justice--is more concerned with protection of the innocent, restitution for harm, and rehabilitation of the penitent than with punishment or vengeance.

If anyone sins and commits a breach of faith against the LORD by deceiving his neighbor in a matter of deposit or security, or through robbery, or if he has oppressed his neighbor or has found something lost and lied about it, swearing falsely—in any of all the things that people do and sin thereby— if he has sinned and has realized his guilt and will restore what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full and shall add a fifth to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt.
Leviticus 6:2-5

“Justice”, like all abstract concepts, means different things to different people. Some people say that justice is “leveling the playing field” and others say that it’s making criminals feel the same pain as their victims. However, for those who have sworn allegiance to the God of Abraham, true justice can only be defined by the character and will of God as revealed through the Bible.

A thorough study of the Scriptures will reveal some defining characteristics of justice:

  • Its main purpose is the restoration and maintenance of relationships.
  • It does not favor one person over another based on wealth, sex, or social connections.
  • It is structured and orderly. No person can be convicted of a crime without a public trial including witnesses, testimony, and impartial judges.
  • To whom God has given much, much will be expected.
  • It values forgiveness and mercy over strict prosecution. Sometimes the goals of justice can be advanced more by forgiveness than by conviction.

God’s justice is essentially synonymous with obedience to God’s Law. If we guard and follow his instructions, then our relationships with him and each other will be strengthened. Justice doesn’t equate to what we think of as law and order, although, properly carried out, it ought to result in a well ordered society. It’s more about keeping things in balance and setting it right when it gets out of kilter.

Ideally, our civil laws would be in perfect alignment with God’s Law, but there has never been a government of men to achieve that level of perfection. From the President to the local constable, every position of authority is occupied by seriously flawed people. Until Yeshua is enthroned in Jerusalem, the best we can hope for from government is an approximation of justice.

We will never catch and convict every criminal, restore every broken home, or even know the truth of every matter. We will never even agree on how to apply God’s instructions in many (most?) cases. So rather than trying to perfect a world that can’t be perfected by human power, we have to find compromises that discourage and correct obvious crimes while allowing people to carry on their lives according to their own consciences. Some injustices must be tolerated by the law in order to ensure that liberty and some injustices are beyond the jurisdiction of men.

When we replace God’s standards of justice with our own or we try to right every wrong and force everyone to behave, the end result is the multiplication of that which we sought to oppose: injustice. Oppressive regulations that go far beyond anything God authorized, absurd and useless restrictions, and the criminalization of normal human behavior that doesn’t directly harm anyone.

Prison is a perfect example of man second-guessing God.

If one person steals from another, we lock him as punishment. So that we feel better about kenneling a fellow human being, we often refer to prisons as “correctional facilities.” We’re not putting people in cages; we’re fixing them, helping them to be more productive, happy citizens.

We’re morons. Prison does no such thing. Prison is a short-sighted, feebleminded idea. Debtor’s prison is worse. We’re treating people like irresponsible animals and then expecting them to behave like humans when we let them go again. We’re morons, because we seem to be continually surprised that this doesn’t work. It’s almost as if locking all the offenders up together doesn’t teach them how to live in normal, peaceful society. Who could have predicted that? (Sarcasm!)

God’s Law never prescribes prison for anyone. True justice requires thieves, embezzlers, con-men and the like to restore what they stole plus damages. If they are unable to pay, then they are to work off their debt, in slavery if necessary. According to God’s instructions on justice, murderers and adulterers (true adulterers according to God’s definitions, not man’s) are to be executed, not housed and fed for life. In God’s justice, families and friends, not judges and federal agents, deal with addictions. Addicts are their own punishment and God doesn’t authorize any interference by government until they commit an actual crime against another person.

God’s justice–the only true justice–is more concerned with protection of the innocent, restitution for harm, and rehabilitation of the penitent than with punishment or vengeance. We can’t expect perfection from civil governments, but the closer our laws align with God’s, the closer to perfection they will be.

Authority and Separation of Powers in Israel

Authority and Separation of Powers in God's Israel

The Book of Numbers

Numbers, numbers, numbers. This is one of those sections of the Bible most of us skim over if we bother to read it at all. Apart from a few historians, who really cares how many fighting men were in the tribes of Gad and Simeon? Who cares about the names of the census takers?

Well, I admit that it all seems a little obscure, but, as I’ve said before, every detail included in the Torah was included for some enduring reason. There is peshat in every word of the Torah, remez in every passage, drash and sod in every name and number. (See here for an explanation of the four levels of Jewish exegesis.) As pointless as it might seem to the casual reader, there is meaning in the Bible’s long lists of names and numbers.

Here is a bit of drash from B’midbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20)…

The Authority to Count

The right to count, number, and name a thing is derived from authority. You do not have authority over your neighbor’s possessions, therefore you do not have the right to see his bank statement, name him or his children, or inventory his collection of rare coins. The exact measure of his strength, his family, and his wealth are none of your business. However, God owns everything, and everything is God’s to count.

In Numbers chapter one, God ordered Moses and Aaron to count the fighting men of twelve of the tribes of Israel. However, they weren’t to do it on their own. God chose one man from each of those tribes to count along side them. They were not allowed to initiate their own count, but could only do so at the command of God. Remember what trouble David got the nation into centuries later when he took a census of Israel’s fighting men. The implication is that the army did not belong to any human leaders. It military might of Israel is God’s alone and any human command is only delegated by him.

The tribe of Levi was not counted by the tribal leaders, but by Moses alone, who was God’s personal representative. Earlier, God had required the firstborn males of the nation to be dedicated to him. Rather than form another pseudo-tribe out of those men, he allowed them to remain in their tribes and took the entire tribe of Levi for himself as a substitute. They were separated out for service to God, and so could not count as an asset of the nation. This is why the twelve tribal leaders could take no part in counting them.

The Structure of Government

Those twelve men were not elected by the people, appointed by Moses, nor approved by any human agency. God chose them for their character and informed the nation of their identity, no paperwork required. Echoing Paul’s criteria for church leaders, they were already leaders among their people, whether by reputation, age, or some other currency. Together with Moses and Aaron, they formed a counsel of tribal chiefs of fourteen men.

Eventually, the government of Israel would be divided into three defacto branches, much as that of the United States. The three branches were the tribal chiefs headed by both Moses and Aaron as mentioned above, the executive-judiciary embodied by the sanhedrin and the system of judges headed and appointed by Moses, and the Levitical priesthood headed by Aaron.

Moses served as president and commander-in-chief, with a great deal of discretionary power. After Moses’ death, Joshua, as senior member of the senate, took his place as the executive. That role came to be known as the Judge of Israel and was never hereditary. Its holder was chosen from among the tribal chiefs until the accession of King Saul.

Notice that not one of the high officials of Israel was elected. The judges, priests, and kings were all appointed. The local judges and officials were to be selected by the people, but God didn’t specify a method of selection. Overall, God does not appear to be a great proponent of pure democracy, despite the preaching of our modern day republocrats.

The Limits of Our Delegated Authority

Israel’s rulers were not democratically elected, but neither were they autocrats. They were not allowed to count the nation or even the army without God’s blessing. They could not change borders, confiscate property without cause, or unseat one another. The nation belonged to God and limited authority was only delegated by him for periods of time.

When we count our income, we count God’s income. When we name our children, we name his children. He has made us to be stewards. Like Moses who was denied entry to the Promised Land, David who brought a plague on the people, and the Israelites who were cut off from the land, we will be held accountable for our treatment of his people and assets. God will evaluate our every act and how we used his resources in his name.

Men Who Fear God: Yitro’s Rules for Leadership

Jethro's qualities of leadership

Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
(Exodus 18:21)

In this passage, Jethro (Hebrew: Yitro) had observed Moses working himself to death by attempting to address every complaint of the millions of Hebrew refugees by himself. He wisely suggested that Moses needed some help and gave some specific instructions on how to select his helpers. His instructions were essentially the same as those Paul gave to Timothy and Titus many centuries later:

Therefore an overseer must be

  • above reproach
  • the husband of one wife
  • sober-minded
  • self-controlled
  • respectable
  • hospitable
  • able to teach
  • not a drunkard
  • not violent but gentle
  • not quarrelsome
  • not a lover of money
  • manage his own household well
  • keeping his children submissive
  • not a recent convert
  • well thought of by outsiders

(From 1 Timothy 3:2-7)

…able men… These men were to be “able” or chayil. They must have proven their ability by success in business, community, family, and war. They should be men of both knowledge and ability. They don’t need to be supermen, but their families should be well ordered, their businesses more successful than not, and their personal finances in order. Untried men should not be placed in positions of authority.

…men who fear God… Ability alone is not enough to make a great leader of God’s people. He must also be a man of God. He should have high personal standards, a healthy prayer life, and not embroiled in sordid controversies. There are many fine atheists and agnostics in the world–at least by the world’s standards–but they are not qualified to lead God’s people.

…who are trustworthy… Not men who are apt to deceive their way into office. The pathological dishonesty of the vast majority of modern politicians is obvious to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear. They lie and they lie and they lie, bolder every year, yet they remain in office. That we continue to elect such men and women into leadership is proof of the old adage: We get that government which we deserve.

…hate a bribe… Offices with power are rife with all sorts of opportunities to advance one’s own interests. It is a good thing to desire to lead God’s people, but not to desire it overly much. Remember Yeshua’s words: The first will be last, and he who would lead must serve. Any system resembling a democracy, unfortunately, must favor dishonest seekers of power and fortune.

There are no perfect people in the world. Everyone has flaws. Everyone has weak moments when we make poor choices, set a poor example, and think terrible thoughts. But it’s one thing to be flawed and something else entirely to be a liar, a thief, or a murderer.

Winning the War

Jay’s Plan for Winning the “War on Terror”

  1. Forget about Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. They have nothing to do with our national security. The invasion(s) was stupid, and continuing a stupid course is just adding stupid to stupid. Define a clear objective, achieve it, and bring the troops home. The End.
  2. Homeschool. Focus on faith, literacy, math, and science. Music and art are nice too, but they shouldn’t be the educational focus for most people.
  3. Stay close to home. Don’t move to the other side of the country after graduation from school, but stay close to your extended family. Strong families make a strong nation.
  4. Have babies. Lots and lots of babies. The race goes not to the swift but to the most prolific breeders. Seriously.
  5. Back off on the meds. God created the world for our use, but medications shouldn’t be for everyday use except in extraordinary circumstances. Moderation in all things. You will be smarter and healthier. Your kids will be smarter and healthier. They will be less tempted to shoot people.
  6. Men be men, and women be women. Men, cover your wives and families and teach your sons to do the same. Women, get under that cover and teach your daughters to do the same. Believe it or not, we will all be happier.
  7. Keep God’s Law. In return, he promises big families, good health, secure borders, military victory, productive land. Really, what else do we need?

A Proposed Solution to the Middle East Refugee Crisis

Territory under the control of ISIS as of November 2015 is marked in gray.
Territory under the control of ISIS as of November 2015 is marked in gray.

Some people insist that the Bible mandates we accept any and all refugees into our own countries with arms opened wide. If you think that’s true, then for the benefit of any onlookers my only possible response must be to demonstrate either 1) your ignorance of Scripture or 2) your abject hypocrisy and then to block you. That might be fun for a few minutes, but I don’t get nearly the kick from inflicting public humiliation that I used to, so don’t waste my time with such pablum.

Instead, I’m going to engage in some fantastic pablum of my own in proposing a solution to the Middle East refugee crisis.

Without further ado…

Step One: Find some poor, but nominally Christian nation with some extra space. Several candidates in southern Africa come to mind. Offer to develop their national infrastructure in exchange for hosting a number of temporary, well-secured cities with adjoining farmland for housing and feeding refugees.

Step Two: Invite any and all refugees from war-torn regions to relocate to these Cities of Refuge with the following caveats:

  • There will be no minarets, no mosques, no public Muslim prayers, and no Muslim services. In short, Islam will be forbidden within the Cities.
  • All refugees, 3 years and older, will attend Bible classes and memorize Scripture. These classes will be taught by volunteers who demonstrate Biblical knowledge and agree to a Statement of Faith that covers only the barest essentials of the Christian faith. Each refugee family may select from whichever teachers are available in their City.
  • All refugees, from 7 to 17 years old, will be required to attend additional classes in reading, writing, and mathematics.
  • All refugees, 13 years and older, will work to produce the necessities of living for their own city of refuge. Trade between the cities will be encouraged if all of the basic needs of the participating cities have been met.

Step Three: All male refugees, 18 years and older, who have publicly disavowed Islam and sworn allegiance to Jesus Christ/Yeshua haMashiach (I don’t care what language they want to use) and obedience to the Ten Commandments (the full Torah would be even better, but the Ten is a good start) will receive military training and appointments in an organized militia with the understanding that they will eventually return and retake their homelands.

Step Four: No male refugee, from 18 to 50 years old, will be allowed to remain in the Cities for longer than one year. At that time, if they have converted to faith in Jesus, they will be deployed with their militia unit, with arms and logistical support from the Cities, volunteers, and supportive national governments. If they have not converted, they will be forcibly repatriated to their homelands with no further assistance possible. They may choose to take their families with them or leave them behind in the Cities.

I fully realize that the current political landscape would not allow such a scheme without the full military backing of the USA and/or Russia, probably both. I could imagine Russia implementing something like this, but not the USA. We’re too emasculated to do anything so bold and decisive.

Honestly, it sounds more like a Tom Kratman novel than anything that would ever happen in our world, but a guy can dream, right?

The PATRIOT Act Expired! Didn’t It?

A Parade of Tyranny: Nazism, Islam, Obamanism, Big Brother, Communism
A Parade of Tyranny

Eh…not so fast.

You’ve probably heard that the PATRIOT Act has expired. It’s a lie. Only a few provisions of the Act expired and some of those were merely outsourced to Verizon, AT&T, et al, by the USA FREEDOM Act.

I guarantee you that there is much worse to come.

There is a very simple trick that every citizen can use to gauge whether a bill in Congress is pro- or anti-liberty: read the name. The better the name sounds, the worse it probably is.

  • PATRIOT Act – Perhaps the most anti-American, anti-liberty bill ever passed by Congress.
  • USA FREEDOM ACT – Anti-freedom to the core. Fascism at it’s finest.

When Israel clamored for a mortal king like other nations, Samuel warned them that a king would tax them, steal their children, and enslave them. Once they had a king, it was too late to change their minds. Sometimes they had a good king, but more often than not, they had a cruel tyrant. In either case, there was no way to get rid of the king until God did it for them.

God allowed Israel’s enemies to blind and enslave their king, parade him about like a carnival sideshow, and the rest of the people fared even worse. They were killed, enslaved, and scattered, and they traded one tyrant for another. Centuries later, when God gave them an opportunity to accept their rightful King, they rejected Him again. Once more Israel’s enemies destroyed the Temple, slaughtered and scattered the people.

We think we’re different, of course. We’re a “Democracy“! Unfortunately, you can’t rid yourself of a tyrant by voting, petitioning, or carrying signs. It doesn’t work that way. No nation is ever truly freed from tyranny without two things:

Bloodshed and Repentance.

I am not calling for armed overthrow of the government. Let me repeat: I AM NOT CALLING FOR A VIOLENT OVERTHROW OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

I am merely asserting its inevitability.

I suppose it is remotely possible that repentance alone (a return to God’s Law and wholehearted allegiance to Messiah Yeshua) might circumvent the need for blood, but I don’t believe that has ever happened in all of human history. Even the great Jewish revivals in scripture under Kings Hezekiah and Josiah required the deaths of large numbers of pagan priests.

For decades, each President has been more tyrannical, more anti-American than the one before. The surveillance state has been growing rapidly since the late 80s, insinuating itself into every aspect of our lives. Moral decline has accelerated with the gleeful encouragement of a multitude of federal agencies. Power has been siphoned away from the individual and the state and accumulated in a very few hands at a staggering speed, hidden only by the equally rapid expansion of more immersive entertainment and convenience-enhancing technologies.

We are slipping. Quickly. Time is running out for a peaceful return to a free America if that threshold has not already gone by.

Repent, America. Now.

Take A Stand Now

I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

There is a certain philosophy that believes humanity can pull itself up by the bootstraps, that we can mold and shape each other into the very image of perfection through legislation, indoctrination, and public shaming. The great problem with this philosophy is that it is diametrically opposed to the declarations of the only one who has ever been perfect, and how can people who start by rejecting the ultimate source of all perfection, make anyone else perfect.

With the singular exception of Yeshua, every great man and woman throughout history suffered one or many terrible personal flaws. Benjamin Franklin was a philanderer. Thomas Jefferson harbored a number of serious heresies. He and George Washington owned large numbers of people who were unjustly enslaved. Martin Luther and John Chrysostom were virulently anti-semitic.

My purpose isn’t to tear down the great men of history, but to point out that expecting perfection of anyone is absurd. We agree on the core tenets of moral behavior without demanding absolute conformity in every detail. Yet we are surrounded by a massive cabal of fools who threaten violence and social reprisals against anyone who expresses the slightest disapproval of the behavior of some people or the slightest tolerance of the mere words of some other people. They call it “social justice”, but it’s only antisocial perversion. As they’ve done with everything, they’ve turned the words upside down. They claim to be making America better while they gleefully destroy everything that once made her great. They lie and lie and twist every good and beautiful thing until it’s as foul and deceitful as they are.

Open tolerance of sin is not a virtue.

Not even our greatest heroes were perfect, but we don’t praise them for their flaws. We praise them for what they did right. We tolerate the sins of people who aren’t proud of them, and we support our weaker brothers who acknowledge their weakness, because only God can make people perfect and that ideal will never be realized in this mortal span. Meanwhile, our backwards, degraded culture praises the most depraved behavior and vociferously condemns anyone who speaks out against it no matter what that person’s accomplishments might be. If we are to survive, we must reverse this trend.

You can start by never apologizing for condemning open sin. Your disapproval of someone’s personal behavior outside the workplace is rarely relevant to your job, so when you are attacked in the workplace for opposing homosexuality or abortion or feminism, stand your ground. Your enemy will eventually cannibalize even his own, so apologizing will almost never save you. “I just want to be left alone,” is so much whispering into the wind. They will not leave you alone. When the man to your right has been eviscerated for his so-called extremism, you will become the next “extremist.” The Social Justice Warriors will not allow you to escape this fight. They will demand your abject surrender no matter how hard you try to keep your head down.

Take a stand now while there are still some willing to stand with you, while there is still something worth saving. If you have to go down, you might as well go down fighting, with honor instead of humiliation. I guarantee that there will be people who will admire your principled stand. Some of them might even be able to offer you work. People everywhere are tired of being bullied simply for having principles. Many of them are ready to fight back and just need an example to follow.

Don’t forget that it is far from certain that you will go down at all. These hateful people are almost never as strong as they make themselves out to be. Make them fight for every inch and never give back any ground once taken.

Witness the massive pushbacks that are happening in the computer gaming and science fiction industries. If you aren’t familiar with these controversies, search for “Gamer Gate” and “Sad Puppies”. The gamers, writers, and fans involved aren’t always exemplars of biblical virtue, but a few people took a stand against overbearing, politically correct bullies, and they sparked a fire in a parched forest. In both arenas the backlash against progressive, anti-moral ideologues has been marvelous to watch. I encourage you to support both battles in whatever way you can.

We are in the midst of a cultural war and there is no neutral ground.

Join this fight today and begin washing the fetid stench of godlessness and antinomianism from America. Pin, tweet, share, and reblog this post for other Christian and Jewish patriots. This is a war for the very survival of our nation and our civilization, and every able-bodied, God-fearing man and woman is our militia.

Take a Stand Now Against SJWs. Put them on the run.
We are in the midst of a cultural war & every able-bodied, God-fearing man & woman is our militia.

The State vs. The Family

Karl Marx knew that the family must be destroyed before the state can finally reign supreme.
Karl Marx knew that the family must be destroyed before the state can finally reign supreme.

Numbers 1:2

…by the house of their fathers… God’s people are organized by families headed by patriarchs, and when left to their own devices, families in agrarian societies will almost always organize themselves into patriarchal clans with or without ever having heard of the God of Abraham. The modern secular state is incompatible with God’s intended form of civil government. Lawrence Stone wrote,

The modern state is a natural enemy to the values of kinship, especially among the upper classes, for kinship is a direct threat to the state’s own claim to prior loyalty. Kinship leads to aristocratic faction and rebellion, such as the War of the Roses or the Fronde, to the independence of entrenched local potentates using kin loyalties to create powerful local connections, and to making the working of the jury system of justice impossible by the subordination of objective judgment to ties of blood. In the sixteenth century, the State in England increasingly assumed monopoly powers of justice and punishment, military protection, welfare, and the regulation of property. This takeover was accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign for loyalty, inculcating the view that the first duty of every citizen is obedience to the sovereign, that man’s highest obligation is to his country, involving the subordination of all other considerations and loyalties, even life itself.1

I don’t believe Stone is necessarily correct concerning the jury system, but his observations on the need of the god-state to subvert kinship ties for its own security are spot on. The Assyrian emperors understood this principle thousands of years ago and regularly deported and scrambled entire nations in order to uproot them from their ancestral homes and break the alliances of blood. The same phenomenon was observed in the relocation programs of the Soviets in the twentieth century and of the Americans in the nineteenth.

On the other hand, God’s intended system of government employs a balance between family and national allegiances. For example, God allows only one religion, one priesthood, and one Temple for the entire nation, but military and political structures are based on clans. Tying such things as military commands to patriarchal clans tends to discourage the military adventurism of conquest and world policing and the centralization of power into the hands of a small political elite, while a central religion with pilgrimages to the capital city helps to maintain the sense of kinship between potentially widely scattered clans.

1 Lawrence Stone. “The Rise of the Nuclear Family in Early Modern England: The Patriarchal Stage”, The Family in History, Ed. Charles E. Rosenberg. Philadelphia: 1975. 24

Remember America

The book of Leviticus recounts a number of events and instructions that don’t make a lot of sense to us more “enlightened” folk today: sacrifices, blood, fire, ashes, etc. There is a huge cultural gap between that nation of freed slaves wandering in the desert and us modern Americans living in a land of plenty where slavery has been outlawed for 150 years. They probably had an instinctive understanding of the significance of blood smeared on the bronze horns of an altar, while we recoil in horror. The problem is not with Scripture nor with God’s instructions to Israel, of course, but with our deficient understanding and warped perspective.

Here is something a little nearer to us, though, something to which we ought to be able to relate:

And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: ‘Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and the bullock of the sin-offering, and the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread; and assemble thou all the congregation at the door of the tent of meeting.’ And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the congregation was assembled at the door of the tent of meeting.
(Leviticus 8:1-4)

Moses called the millions of Israelites together to witness the inauguration of Tabernacle and the Aaronic Priesthood. Only a small fraction of them could have had a good view of the slaughter and subsequent sprinkling, dabbing, and smearing of blood. Many probably craned their necks and strained vainly to hear the proceedings, but on that day they all experienced something that we can share.

Do you see it? The moment that unites Israel with every long-lived nation on Earth?

At pivotal moments like this one, they stood together. They survived the plagues and the sea crossing, and now remember it at Passover every year. Together, they witnessed God’s presence thundering from the summit of Sinai, and still remember it every year at Shavuot. Every nation has a number of such defining moments, the fires that burn political and religious bridges to an ancestral land and people.

For example…

  • April 19, 1775, when a loosely organized band of civilians defended their guns and powder from a trained force of the world’s most powerful military.
  • July 4, 1776, when a gathering of respected and determined men signed the document that formally separated the American colonies from Great Britain.

The things that separate one nation from another are the very things that make a nation strong. Formative events and the subsequent remembrances are vital to the health of any nation. They identify us to the world and to ourselves. They draw us together and keep drawing us so long as we remember them together. Although such traditions can’t save us anymore than they saved the Israelites from being scattered by Rome, no nation can stand for long without the traditions and rituals that serve as a collective memory.

We must remember our history and acknowledge the great events that made us a people.

America is no exception.

If we are to survive as a distinct people, we must acknowledge our identity as a Christian nation, founded on Biblical principals. We must remember our history and acknowledge the great events that made us a people. We must teach these things to our children and ensure that they understand the value of national identity and cohesiveness.

Finally, we must not allow those who do not value America to tell us who and what America ought to be. While our primary citizenship is in heaven and not on earth at all, those of us who keep America’s founding principals in our hearts and minds are America, and those who do not keep them, neither want nor deserve the title.

America: James Madison’s Bad Dream

The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. The reasonings contained in these papers must have been employed to little purpose indeed, if it could be necessary now to disprove the reality of this danger. That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. –James Madison, Federalist No 46

Madison was a very smart man, but even he didn’t expect Americans ever to become as passive and slave-minded as they have become. Fortunately, he did have a remedy in case this “incoherent dream” should ever come to pass:

Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.

In short, if America was ever a country free of tyranny, it was only because of her heavily armed civilian population and the rights of the states and counties to defy higher government bodies within their local jurisdictions.