This post will look at a few quick takes from recent events. We start with Elder Oaks’ inspiring talk on the Constitution, which can be read or watched here.
Some key paragraphs:
Despite the divinely inspired principles of the United States Constitution, when exercised by imperfect mortals their intended effects have not always been achieved. Important subjects of lawmaking, such as some laws governing family relationships, have been taken from the states by the federal government. The First Amendment guarantee of free speech has sometimes been diluted by suppression of unpopular speech. The principle of separation of powers has always been under pressure with the ebb and flow of one branch of government exercising or inhibiting the powers delegated to another.
There are other threats that undermine the inspired principles of the United States Constitution. The stature of the Constitution is diminished by efforts to substitute current societal trends as the reason for its founding, instead of liberty and self-government. The authority of the Constitution is trivialized when candidates or officials ignore its principles. The dignity and force of the Constitution is reduced by those who refer to it like a loyalty test or a political slogan, instead of its lofty status as a source of authorization for and limits on government authority.
Please re-read or listen again to Elder Oaks’ very important talk. There have been many good talks by Church leaders on the Constitution, but this is one of the best.
Sometimes it seems like there is no hope when it comes to national politics, but there is a bit of good news when it comes to the US Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts: it is by far the most friendly to religious institutions of any recent Supreme Court.
According to this story, the Robert court has sided with religious institutions 81 percent of the time, compared to an average of 50 percent from other courts since the 1950s.
As CBN News reported, the study also found that under Chief Justice Earl Warren in the ’50s and 60’s, the Supreme Court only supported religious liberty 46 percent of the time. From the 1960s to the 1980s, however, while being led by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, the Supreme Court’s support for religious liberty grew to 51 percent. Under Chief Justice William Rehnquist from the ’80s to 2005, the Supreme Court’s support of religious liberty further grew to 58 percent.
Katherine Beck Johnson from the Family Research Council argued that she is glad Christians are winning in court because they are “simply using the first amendment as our protection.”
She continued, “We’re utilizing it at the courts. it is our right, and we’re winning because the Left is infringing on our first amendment right.”
Based on a statistical analysis, the report suggests that this change is “largely the result of changes in the Court’s personnel: a majority of Roberts Court justices are ideologically conservative and religiously devout—a significant break from the past.”
According to the report, Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh are likely most responsible for the shift toward religious liberty.
I know it is difficult for left-wingers to understand, but many conservatives have been extremely disappointed by some key decisions by the Roberts court, but this article reminds us it could be much, much worse.
In these especially divisive times, people tend to get their news from questionable sources. Many of us have found out over the last few years that the most questionable sources are often the establishment, corporate media outlets that used to be mostly trustworthy. There have been hundreds of examples of this problem over the last few years, but I mention here two that have come about in the last week or so.
You remember that story last summer that the Russians were paying bounties to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops? The story, which seemed questionable to me at the time, turns out to be bogus. It was used by Democrats on the campaign trail to attack President Trump, and now even Biden’s spokeswoman admits the story is not true.
Another example is the claim that COVID-19 is spread on surfaces. Not, it is not. In fact, there is not a single confirmed case of a person catching the virus from a surface. So, all of the additional sanitizing and the wiping and the disinfecting is a huge waste of time. (I am talking about the extra sanitizing aimed at the virus, not prudent cleaning of surfaces that people have been doing for decades).
Here is the problem for those of use who actually like to follow the facts: the media is obviously biased for many reasons, some having to do with ratings and some having to do with politics. But if you point out these obvious biases, you are called a conspiracy theorist. So instead of calling other people conspiracy theorists, perhaps you should be open to the fact that the media is reporting so many things that turn out not to be true. Be skeptical and check sources. We will all be better off if we simply do a bit of due diligence.
I end with a strange and sad story: BYUTV has been forced to include gay characters by Canadian broadcasters. You can read about it here.