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Tanco v. Haslam Final Order and silhouette of a man with a question mark

Meet My Tennessee Political Hero

Political heroes are hard to come by these days. But there is a current officeholder in our state who tops my short list. In a lineup of random politicians, you might never suspect he’d be a political hero. Let me introduce you to him and tell you what he did.

Unlikely Looking Hero

My political hero is 77-year-old Bradley County Commissioner Howard Thompson. His formal academic education ended with his high school diploma (which only matters if your name is Lori Loughlin or Felicity Huffman). He drives a pick-up truck as part of his flea market business, not as a political “common man” ploy.

What makes him a hero is that he was willing to do something out of the ordinary that he knew would be misunderstood by most, including his fellow commissioners, in order to defend what he believes.

What My Political Hero Believes

Lots of Tennesseans and elected officials, including, I suspect, most of his fellow commissioners, believe like Commissioner Thompson. He believes:

• marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,
• both the U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution should be upheld,
• the dual sovereignty of state and federal governments established and protected by those constitutions is important, and
• the separation of powers taught in eighth-grade civics means courts don’t make laws.

What Makes Him a Hero

But the difference between Commissioner Thompson and other political officials was his willingness to take a measured, strategic, and non-revolutionary state-militia-at-the-courthouse approach to defending those beliefs.

As a “lowly” county commissioner and citizen, he did the only thing he could do to defend his beliefs (and probably those of most of his constituents)—sue his own county’s clerk for violating the Tennessee Constitution by issuing a license for marriage to two people of the same sex.

Before you think that qualifies him for quack status, not hero status, read on. His understanding of basic civics and willingness to act on his beliefs is what separates him from other politicians.

Thompson Understood What Most Didn’t

Commissioner Thompson is a gentle, humble soul who would never impugn the integrity of his local county clerk or his fellow commissioners, but he understood the constitutional gravity of what began taking place the day the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

That decision purported to say that the 14th Amendment prohibited state laws that defined a marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.

Even if this conclusion is accepted, Commissioner Thompson intuitively knew that our whole state was acting lawlessly. The lawsuit proved him right, even though the presiding judge dismissed it last week.

Tennessee’s Constitution Is Being Ignored by All but the Commissioner1

Page 2 of the Tanco Final Order and Permanent Injunction, signed by Judge Trauger.

Page 2 of the Tanco Final Order and Permanent Injunction, signed by Judge Trauger.

He was proved right by the Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction issued by federal district court Judge Aleta Trauger after and as a result of the Obergefell decision in the same-sex “marriage” lawsuit that had been filed against the state of Tennessee, Tanco v. Haslam.

The second page of Judge Trauger’s order says, in full:

Article XI, section 18, of the Tennessee Constitution and Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-3-113 are invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to the extent that they exclude same-sex couples from the recognition of their civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples, when their marriage was lawfully entered into out of state.

The “to the extent” language means the injunction applies only to the provisions of Tennessee’s laws that govern the state’s recognition of marriages “lawfully entered into out of state” when that out-of-state couple moves here.

Thus, the injunction does not apply to the provisions of the Tennessee Constitution and the referenced statute, Tennessee’s Defense of Marriage Act, that govern what laws the state can have for the licensure of marriages, the licenses being issued by Tennessee’s county clerks.

That means those provisions of our state’s constitution limiting the power of the state to license anything other than a marriage between a man and a woman are still in force. And those provisions will lawfully be in force until some judge enjoins their enforcement or the people vote to repeal the amendment.

Since neither of those things has happened, all of Tennessee’s county clerks are going beyond the statutory authority they have been given by issuing a license for a relationship called a marriage that is defined without regard to the biological sex of the parties.

And they are doing so in violation of the still-applicable provisions of Tennessee’s Constitution.

When Did Courts Start ‘Making Laws’?

I know some will foolishly say, “But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. The Court legalized same-sex marriage. You can’t deny same-sex couples their rights.”

Such is foolish because they, including many lawyers and judges, have forgotten what Commissioner Thompson remembered from his eighth-grade civics class, “Courts can’t make laws.”

If a license for this new understanding and form of marriage is to be issued by the state, then the state’s legislative body must authorize somebody to issue it. Judges can’t, and county clerks weren’t.

By the express terms of Tennessee’s Constitution, county clerks’ duties can only be “prescribed” by the General Assembly.

But the General Assembly has never prescribed to our county clerks any duty to issue a license for a relationship defined without regard to the biological sex of the parties, even if U.S. Supreme Court now wants to call that kind of relationship a marriage.

If people would just think about it for a moment, they’d realize that being authorized by statute to issue a license for a relationship defined in terms of the biological sex of the parties is fundamentally and logically not the same as having authority to issue a license for a relationship defined without regard to the biological sex of the parties.

Commissioner Thompson understood these basic constitutional principles and he stood up for them, or at least he did until the judge said he didn’t have a right (“standing” is the legal term) to bring suit to stop this lawlessness.

Not in Vain

But, Commissioner Thompson, don’t despair. In the coming months, I trust you will find that your heroics have not been in vain.

If you now appreciate what Commissioner Thompson did and want to be part of stopping the lawlessness, let me know by sending an email to FACT Director of Communications Laura Bagby at laura.bagby@factn.org and be sure to put “Thompson” in the email subject line. Just don’t expect all your friends to consider you a hero if you do.

NOTES

  1. Actually, Commissioner Thompson’s pastor, Guinn Green, understood and joined him in the lawsuit, as did a couple of pastors and citizens who filed a similar lawsuit in Williamson County. But Commissioner Thompson is the only elected official among them and therefore the only one that risked any political heat.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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Silhouettes of judges and ballot box and photo of Attorney General Slatery

The Most Important Legislation You Haven’t Heard About

Tennesseans understandably tend to put their political focus on hot topics such as abortion legislation. But little attention has been given to what I think is one of the most important pieces of legislation going through the General Assembly, a proposed amendment to Tennessee’s constitution governing the office of the Attorney General and Reporter. Few realize the influence of that office or how little influence anyone has on that office.

The Influence of the Office on the State’s Judges

Many do not recognize the influence the attorney general has. Some are aware of high-profile things such as the current attorney general’s unwillingness to defend the state’s sovereignty protected by the 10th Amendment relative to the federal refugee resettlement program. But what they may not appreciate is the influence of the attorney general on the state’s judges.

For example, two years ago, a Knox County judge rightly ruled that the word “husband” in a statute didn’t include a woman’s wife in a same-sex “marriage” between two lesbians. A woman is never a husband and vice versa.

But the attorney general’s office came into court and argued that the word “husband” only meant spouse. This, according to the attorney general, was necessary in order to accommodate the U.S. Supreme Court’s new understanding of marriage in which male and female are irrelevant.

The judge uncritically accepted the attorney general’s argument. To interpret “husband” in a manner that includes a “woman” is judicial legislation pure and simple, and it was done at the behest and urging of the attorney general.

The Influence of the Office on Public Policy

But the attorney general not only has significant influence among judges, he can also influence a change in public policy through his opinions.

Last month, in keeping with the attorney general’s acquiescence to the new norm of confusing biological sex with the psychological construct of gender, the attorney general issued an opinion stating that when the legislature 19 years ago used the word “gender” in a statute instead of the word “sex,” the legislature intended to include today’s modern concept of gender identity. Fat chance of that, given that I was there and remember the discussion and vote on the bill he misconstrued.

But the opinion was requested by Democrats as a means of finding out whether they needed to pursue or forego legislation that would have specifically added “gender identity” to that statute. Why would this opinion signal to them that their legislation was now unnecessary? Because they know attorneys and judges will use the opinion to usher into our law the idea that “gender” and “sex” are not only the same thing, but also the idea that gender includes gender identity.

The Influence of the Office on the Legislature

Lastly, the favorite tactic of those seeking to kill legislation is to get an attorney general’s opinion as to whether the proposed legislation is constitutional. The attorney general’s opinion may be accurate, but too many legislators, most of them being non-lawyers, are too quick to accept his or her opinion as the truth. However, they may not appreciate that someone with a different jurisprudential and constitutional philosophy might issue a different opinion.

Nevertheless, good legislation may not be approved. After all, the thinking goes, why pass a law if the person tasked by law to defend the law says, in advance, he or she won’t defend it?

The Current Lack of Accountability by the Attorney General

Given the influence of the attorney general and his or her office, accountability would seem to be imperative. Yet there is an utter lack of such due, in large part, to the provisions in Tennessee’s constitution.

The state constitution provides that the attorney general is to be appointed by the members of the state Supreme Court. Tennessee is the only state in the union to use this method. In more than 40 states, the attorney general is elected through a statewide contested ballot. Moreover, the justices in Tennessee vote by secret ballot.

Since voting out state Supreme Court justices who vote in a bad attorney general is impossible due to the fact they are subject only to retention elections, neither the attorney general nor anyone else can be held accountable for his or her decisions and actions.

The lack of any accountability is a recipe for troubles mentioned above.

What the Amendment Would Change

The proposed amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 1, would change this process in three ways. Firstly, instead of just appointing someone to the office, the justices would only nominate someone. Secondly, the justices would have to vote for the nominee in public. And thirdly, a majority of the House and a majority of the Senate would have to confirm the nominee.

This is the process the people approved relative to open positions on the Tennessee Supreme Court. I saw it work well when current Justice Page was nominated by former Gov. Haslam. Legislators asked good questions and pressed for answers.

To me, this is a good means of providing accountability, though indirect. Citizens can quiz the candidates for the legislature on what kind of person they would want to hold this office and then hold them accountable if they don’t put that kind of person in the office.

Direct election of an attorney general, on the other hand, has proved to be a stepping stone to a run for higher office, and, consequently, the attorney general’s decisions become even more political. When politics becomes paramount to re-election or to the office next to be sought, the correct legal analysis and decision often give way to what is politically expedient.

Conclusion

It is always good to give attention to legislation that will make a particular change in regard to a particular matter, but we dare not ignore those matters of government structure that may influence or determine the outcome of the legislation on which we are focused. We might say, as with any house, what is allowed to happen in the House (and Senate) will depend on the infrastructure that underlies it.


David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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silhouette of a baby and a heartbeat

Is the Fetal Heartbeat Bill Viable?

The bill making it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion (except under limited circumstances) once a fetal heartbeat is detected is “Exhibit A” among the perils of lawmaking and constituent advocacy. I spent six years of my life as a state senator and another eight years as a citizen working to rid our state constitution of a court-created “right” to abortion, so I get the dynamic. I believe in the bill’s cause and the good intentions of those legislators and citizens who support it, but here’s why I just can’t be among them at this point.

The Difficult Job of Being a Legislator

Being a legislator is hard. Being a constituent can be even harder because most people don’t have any clue what being a legislator is like.

The public needs to appreciate that most legislators are not “schooled” in the law. It’s not that only lawyers should serve in the legislature, but state lawmakers are hemmed in between two constitutions—the U.S. Constitution and the state constitution—that they must understand.

That can be a problem because many legislators don’t really know the real specifics of those constitutions. I am not saying that to their shame. The same was true for me; I didn’t even read the state constitution until after I got elected. But as a lawyer I had a huge head start in understanding it, not to mention a huge head start with the U.S. Constitution I’d studied in law school. Constitutions are not easy reading, because their words often have certain legal connotations and historical contexts unfamiliar to most legislators and citizens.

Moreover, legislators have to recognize that whatever they think the constitutions allow or prohibit is subject to the check and balance of a judicial branch that, for better or worse, can hold that a law violates one or both of those constitutions and enjoin the law’s enforcement.

Complicating things more is the fact that the public may know even less about the two constitutions and may be under-informed with respect to the content of the legislation it supports and on which it demands action. The legislation may be poorly drafted and inadequately supported in the legislative record, which is what courts often look at to determine what the legislature was trying to do (think in terms of the importance of a doctor’s records in defending a doctor in a malpractice lawsuit). The public doesn’t understand that, if passed anyway, the law will be shoved back into everyone’s face by a court and for good reason.

Given the convergence of complicated legal and constitutional issues and pressure for action from a well-intentioned, but often under-informed constituency, being a statesman is hard. It’s hard to say to them, “Hold on. Let’s slow down. Let’s get this right even if it takes longer.”

Is a ‘Slower’ Heartbeat (Bill) Healthier and More Viable?

I remember former Sen. Bob Rochelle, often a protagonist of mine, saying, “Sometimes the slower you go the faster you get there.” In other words, the goal should be to get it right, not get it done, particularly when you know you’re going to wind up in court.

I have commended this approach to some of the key legislators relative to the heartbeat bill without any apparent success. So, were I still a legislator, I would have had to raise these questions on the floor and abstained from voting in favor, as some others did.

Among the several reasons is the fact that the majority in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the last major abortion case, outlined what the Court would look for in future cases in order to justify reversing a precedent like Roe, one that lawyers, judges, and citizens have relied on for decades and one that has woven its way into our social fabric. There was nothing in the heartbeat bill or the legislative record that addressed those points.

To me, that’s a bit like ignoring what my Dad said I had to do in order to go to the Senior Prom and then asking him if I could go any way. With my Dad, asking would be pointless (and perhaps unhealthy), and I suspect it will be so with the heartbeat bill and the U.S. Supreme Court.

What’s Important to the Court Must Be Important to Pro-lifers

Let’s be honest, the United States Supreme Court cares greatly about the public’s perception of its institutional integrity. Belief in its integrity is the only means by which the Court can “enforce” its opinions. When the U.S. Constitution appears to “change” because there is a new justice on the Court, the Court becomes very concerned that it will look political (which it too often is, but it tries to keep up the pretense that it’s not). That’s why the Court set forth guidelines for reversal in the Casey case.

Institutional integrity is a huge issue for Justice Roberts. It explains some of Roberts’ quirky decisions of late. A bill and a legislative record that ignore this consideration will not get Justice Roberts’ support, and on abortion, the pro-life community cannot lose his support.

Understanding this unavoidable check on the legislature’s powers and how the Supreme Court works in regard to long-established precedent cannot be ignored. If it is, the odds go way up that the law will meet with judicial defeat and be enjoined.

What Would I Do?

If it were me, I would start over. Over the summer and fall, I would work on addressing all the issues that are out there. I would work with medical doctors, constitutional scholars, sociologists, and even metaphysicians and psychologists who can and will provide testimony relative to medical science, constitutional law, cultural impacts and considerations, and the implications of worldviews that connect or disconnect our objective essence as living beings from the subjective of “personhood,” respectively.

In other words, I would craft a bill and create a legislative record upon which pro-life lawyers could take on the United States Supreme Court with every potential weapon at their disposal.

Without this kind of serious work being done (and it’s too late to do it this session), I fear the heartbeat bill won’t be judicially viable. But if it passes, I hope, for the sake of the unborn, I am wrong.


David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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Silhouette of three male politicians against a Tennessee flag background.

Taking Three Tennessee Politicians to Task

As I read news reports this week about past conduct in which Gov. Bill Lee and Rep. David Byrd had engaged, my mind recalled something I witnessed a couple of weeks ago for only the second time in my life. That combination changed what I was going to write today about Tennessee’s attorney general, Herbert Slatery, and an opinion he issued last week.

Yesterday, The Tennessean ran a story about Gov. Lee’s participation 40-plus years ago in a college fraternity that hosted “Old South parties” and showed a picture of him in a Confederate uniform. Rep. Byrd remained in the news this week because he did at least something with a female minor 35 years ago about which he’s still haunted and for which he said he’d sought God’s forgiveness.

At the end of last week, Attorney General Slatery, a Republican, issued an opinion about how a statute should be interpreted. I strongly disagree with his analysis in a number of significant respects.

Nothing about the first two situations is unique to Republicans. Virginia’s governor has been accused of racism and Sen. Corey Booker has admitted to inappropriate sexual activity with a minor while he was a minor. And I have sure had sharp disagreements with opinions issued by Attorney General Slatery’s predecessors who were Democrats.

So, my comments should be understood to apply to all of these situations regardless of party affiliation.

Moreover, and most importantly, they apply to everyone reading this, including me. That’s because all of us, like Gov. Lee and Rep. Byrd, have done things, maybe as recently as this morning, that in hindsight we deeply regret. Most likely we’ve done some things in our past about which we would now be ashamed if they were on the front page of The Tennessean. No doubt, we’ve all expressed an opinion about which we’d now be embarrassed if its folly had been publicly exposed for all to see after being trumpeted by media outlets across the state.

But, when these things come out, we can’t just say, “There but for the grace of God go I,” and wink at what’s been done, particularly when we’re speaking of public officials, no matter how long ago. So what do we do?

Two Similar Situations With Different Results

That’s what brings me to the two situations I’ve witnessed within the church during the last twenty years. In both situations, individual members of the church had engaged in actions that were clearly contrary to the teaching of Scripture.

In one situation, the individuals acknowledged their actions and repented of them when approached privately and confidentially by the minister. They submitted to a lengthy discipleship and accountability relationship with some of the church’s elders. In time, healing and restoration took place. Few in the church even knew what happened because the goal was not to bring reproach upon them, but restoration.

The other situation came to my attention more recently. Year-long attempts by pastors and elders to have a person address actions contrary to Scripture were to no avail, so the pastors and elders told the congregation that a person had been removed from the church’s membership and would be excluded from taking communion should he or she attend the service.

No name was mentioned, because, again, their goal was not to bring reproach upon the person, but restoration. Breaking fellowship and exclusion from communion are called for in Scripture in order that the person might take seriously what he or she is doing, repent, and be brought back into a right relationship with God. Though punitive in a sense, its fundamental purpose is restoration.

Applying These Two Situations to Politics

These two instances are foreign to the world in general and to the world of politics in particular. In my experience, when we’ve never taken seriously just how far short we fall of the moral perfection of God and how correspondingly amazing the grace of a God who offers restoration is, we don’t know how to extend grace to others.

I suspect that may explain why some seem to take delight in looking for and bringing up things from 30 and 40 years ago and then go around asking what people think, implying (if not outright saying) people who have done “that” aren’t fit to hold office.

Oh, I can hear the voices now saying, “Sure, people can change, but that doesn’t mean they should hold office now.” And in that statement, I would submit that their lack of grace and understanding of grace is made manifest.

I suspect they would demand that God forget what they did decades ago (and even perhaps this morning), because it would be unjust and unloving of God if He did not do so, forgetting that they are doing to others exactly what they would indict and impugn God for doing.

Applying These Situations to Attorney General Slatery

I know what I am talking about, because I have had a woefully inadequate comprehension of both sin and God’s grace most of my Christian life, and even now that lack of comprehension raises its ugly head when I’m seriously wronged or someone does something I think is seriously wrong.

For example, I really wanted to rip into Attorney General Slatery and, to be honest, write in such a way as to intentionally make him look incompetent in your eyes for ulterior reasons that were mostly, if not entirely, political. But that’s what the world of politics would have me do; you know the saying, It’s nothing personal, it’s just politics.

However, God has a different, higher standard. He expects more from me, and as I’ve come to better understand God’s grace toward me, both my head and my heart increasingly want to give Him that more. So, I needed to hold off and rethink my goal in commenting on Attorney General Slatery’s opinion.

The Consequences of Graceless Politics

I close with the words of the Apostle Paul that prompted the change in my topic for today:

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another’ (Galatians 5:14-15 NKJV).

It seems to me that searching out a person’s distant past to make it current news or writing commentaries intended to tear down a person for the sake of political or partisan gain, particularly one who is clearly not what they once were, is pushing us toward a cultural cannibalism that will consume us all.

May God grant me the grace to push away from the table.


David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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Illustration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., map of the border wall at Mexico, the medical symbol, and photo of Bill Lee

Gov. Lee Passes First Hard Policy Test

On Monday, Governor Bill Lee attended an event honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I know how hard it was for Gov. Lee to do what he did when the keynote speaker gave his address. In my eyes, he passed his first hard policy test as governor. And Dr. King might have understood the true nature of the test he passed.

Lee Takes the Road Less Traveled

It is really hard for a politician to attend an event at which there is a good chance his or her policy views will not be welcome, and harder still to stick to them when they are put to the test at the event.

I know from experience. I vocally supported school vouchers during my Republican primary race for state Senate. Soon after I was elected senator, I was asked to attend a Parent Teacher Association meeting in my district. I knew that PTAs did not support vouchers, but I went because I represented the people that were there. Sure enough, I was asked about my position on vouchers. I gave the same answer I gave on the campaign trail.

Likewise, Gov. Lee had to know that some of his policy positions would not align with those hosting the King event. But he went. He is the governor of those in attendance. He said he intended to honor Dr. King’s legacy on civil rights.

The Keynote Speaker’s View on Honor and Love

At the event, the keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. William Barber, seemed to equate honoring Dr. King with “loving” him, but worse yet was his equating love for Dr. King with agreement with every public policy Dr. King supported (or might have supported had he lived). That is logical rubbish.

I have honored people with whom I have had some strong disagreement on particular issues, and I love people with whom I, at times, have strong disagreement, such as my wife.

‘Loving’ Dr. King Means What?

Then, the keynote speaker compounded his mistake by equating love for Dr. King with support for government-directed universal health care and opposition to a wall as a means of border security.

Making that leap in logic was, of course, the speaker’s prerogative, but he went from speaking his mind to taunting Gov. Lee. After looking at Gov. Lee, he asked all those who agreed with him on health care and border security to stand.

I have no doubt that Dr. King would have remained seated had he been at an event where the speaker asked those in attendance to stand for policies Dr. King thought wrong. So, for Gov. Lee to have stood, given his clearly articulated policy views, I think he would have dishonored Dr. King’s legacy of principled action even in the face of hostility.

But why might Gov. Lee disagree on these policy positions (assuming they really are those of Dr. King) and would Dr. King have still respected Gov. Lee despite that disagreement?

Lee and King on Universal Health Care

As to universal health care, Gov. Lee acknowledged in his inaugural speech on Saturday, “Too few Tennesseans have access to health care that they can afford.” But, unlike the keynote speaker, Gov. Lee believes civil government has a limited jurisdictional authority. He went on to say in his inaugural speech:

Government is not the answer to our greatest challenges. Government’s role is to protect our rights and our liberty and our freedom. I believe in a limited government that provides unlimited opportunity for we the people to address the greatest challenges of our day. The truth is that most of the things that have created the greatness of Tennessee don’t have very much to do with government at all.

I think Dr. King could have appreciated that if Gov. Lee believes these things, they would naturally bear upon his view of health care being provided by civil government. The two men might disagree about the jurisdictional authority of civil government, but I don’t think Dr. King would have seen the basis for the disagreement as racially motivated or a personal attack on him.

Lee and King on Border Security

That latter thought leads to the matter of the wall and border security. But I think this issue needs to be framed by an earlier statement in Gov. Lee’s inaugural speech about why Tennessee was “one of the most prosperous [states] in the nation”:

[M]ost of all, it happened because of the favor of God Himself. In spite of our inadequacies and our weaknesses, He has been strong on our behalf. He has blessed us indeed. And as governor of Tennessee, I will daily ask Him for his wisdom, guidance, and direction. We will need that wisdom. . . .

Recognizing that the wisdom he (and all of us) needs is beyond him may explain why Gov. Lee could believe that national borders are not bad things and that a wall is a good thing if it best secures those borders. Gov. Lee may believe, as he does regarding our prosperity, that God is the ultimate cause of them, too.

In Acts 17:26–27 (NKJV) we read that God “has made . . . every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings” and for a reason, “so that they should seek the Lord.”1 If so, then securing them is not a bad thing.

Would Dr. King Approve?

Gov. Lee’s policy positions may not be right (though I think they are), but I can’t help but think that Dr. King would have said that it is God, not him, who deserves the greatest honor and our deepest love, and when there is a conflict between honoring and loving a person or God, God and His Word come first. And I believe that if Dr. King thought his own policy views were contrary to God’s Word, he’d have been sitting, too.

NOTES

1. I had never before noted this reason for national boundaries or thought, as a Christian, about what national boundaries might have to do with encouraging people to seek the Lord. Though I do not think national boundaries are justification for opposing all immigration or for keeping people in the misery found in their native nations, the stated reason invites Christians to consider whether our thinking about national boundaries and their integrity as only a matter of security is fully developed from God’s perspective. Obliterating or failing to recognize the legitimacy of boundaries seems to imply that God does not know what He is doing and to assume that boundaries are strictly and solely of human making for human/nationalistic purposes. I wonder if Rev. Barber, as a reverend, took this into consideration in developing his opposition to a border wall.


David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

FACT-RSS-Blog-Icon-small Get David Fowler’s Blog as a feed.