On the Church and Society
January 3, 2006
Do you ever want to pick New Year's resolutions for others? I have that impulse this time of year when the Left refuses to stick to the true meaning of certain books, documents and words, as often occurs in politics and religion.
On the political front, such liberal fuzziness promises to be on full display during confirmation hearings starting on January 9 in the U.S. Senate for the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court. Abortion will provide the most glaring illustration.
The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision manufactured a constitutional right to abortion. Does such a right actually exist in the U.S. Constitution? Of course not, the document is silent on abortion, which means that the people get to decide the issue through their elected representatives. But this did not stop a Supreme Court majority from ignoring such representatives and the Constitution in order to conjure up a desired outcome.
When judges overrule the Constitution in such a manner, it is called judicial activism. Liberal groups and politicians do not like Judge Alito because he has had the nerve over the years to show respect for the Constitution -- grasping that judges do not make laws, but instead apply the law and Constitution as written and intended.
While serving as a lawyer in President Reagan's administration, for example, Alito noted in a memo that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Such a statement could only be controversial to someone who does not know what the Constitution says or to an activist who ignores what it says. When this memo became public a little more than a month ago, the usual activist suspects were outraged.
But as we saw during the confirmation process for Chief Justice John Roberts last year, the Left not only embraces judicial activism, it now has moved on in self-serving fashion to even distort the meaning of "judicial activism" itself. In reaction to the release of twenty-year-old memos Alito wrote regarding abortion, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, declared: "This new information heightens concern about Judge Alito's views regarding 'settled law' and his eagerness to engage in activism to change a law with which he disagrees."
According to this bizarre point of view, judicial activism would cover a Supreme Court justice restoring constitutional integrity by voting to overturn a previous decision based on judicial activism. This is self-evidently absurd, but also is what passes for judicial philosophy among Democrats and liberals today.
But it's not just in politics where liberals play with meaning. Many examples exist whereby individuals or entire church bodies simply choose to ignore or contort what Holy Scripture declares and the church has taught for two millennium.
Just think about how many mainline Protestant churches and pastors, for example, have been swept away with the latest cultural winds by de facto embracing abortion, casual divorce, homosexuality, and a definition of marriage that includes something other than the joining of one man and one woman -- all in direct contradiction to the Bible and Christian tradition.
In the end, no one really should be surprised when lefties abandon tradition and authority. After all, to a great extent, that's what liberalism is. It tosses aside much of the wisdom passed down over time, especially when that wisdom directly conflicts with feelings, desires and the latest fads.
In politics, since the Constitution and voters often get in the way, liberals justify anything in the name of keeping an activist majority on the Supreme Court. And in religion, when that pesky Holy Spirit cramps one's style, the religious Left simply ignores Holy Scripture.
So, at the start of 2006, here are my three resolutions for liberals. Study and reflect upon the Bible. Actually read the Constitution. Oh yes, and use a dictionary.
Raymond J. Keating, also a columnist with Newsday, can be reached at ChurchandSociety@aol.com.
Copyright © Raymond J. Keating