Social conservatives call for civil disobedience

DeVine Law thinks it’s about time

Gamecock had long called for Martin Luther King, Jr.-style (with all due respect also to Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi) non-violent, civil disobedience in oil drilling even before ObamaDems took over D.C. with economic policies that prevent We the People from bailing ourselves out of this Great Recession.

Now, religious and social conservatives see a potential Liberty-destroying menace from the American left with respect to many other issues, given the losses of free speech rights in Canada and Europe at the hands of ObamaDems’ ideological allies.

The bases for civil disobedience are the threat of the enactment of unjust laws and/or the existence of unjust laws; failure to repeal or prevent the enactment of same via normal political and legal processes; the willingness of movement members to accept the punishment for the breaking of duly and legally enacted laws; and the existence of a political culture that is receptive to moral persuasion.

Gandhi and MLK would have been mowed down by Nazis or Communists in Germany, Cuba or the Soviet Union. Their successes were predicated on the fact that the Judeo-Christian values of the British in India and the Americans in America could be used to shame them into changing their ways. Both did.

Now comes my fellow Southern Baptists, including Dr. Richard Land joining other prominent Christian clergy and others with the Manhattan Declaration (get full text here):

Drafted by Dr. Robert George, Dr. Timothy George and Chuck Colson and signed by more than 125 Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Christian leaders, the Manhattan Declaration was made public today following a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington.

Excerpts from the declaration include:

“We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right—and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation—to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence.”

“We recognize the duty to comply with laws whether we happen to like them or not, unless the laws are gravely unjust or require those subject to them to do something unjust or otherwise immoral.”

“We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriage or the equivalent or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.”

One of the great dangers of much of the gay rights activists agenda, especially including hate crimes, civil unions and same-sex marriage laws are that they could invite activist court decisions (if the enacted laws by their express terms don’t impinge rights directly) that could impinge the rights of political religious free speech under the First Amendment with the threat of imprisonment.

Like most conservatives, I oppose hate crimes laws on the merits as they unnecessarily confuse the ordinary general criminal intent or mens re required for deprivations of liberty via due process, with an inquiry into motives and specific intent that are either wholly irrelevant or best left for consideration in the sentencing phase. Moreover, such laws inevitably devalue the seriousness of harm to and the lives of individual members of groups not protected by hate crime laws and threatens one’s very right to conscience, i.e. think certain thoughts.

People do have the right to hate, whether we like it or not, and unless one’s speech reaches the level of “fighting words” or “incitement to imminent violence”, traditionally very strict legal standards, then one should have the right to express such hate. Moreover, from what we have seen in Canada and Europe, the hate crimes laws punish expressions that merely object to certain activities that do not rise to the level of hatred of individuals or groups.

Hate the sin and not the sinner comes to mind.

The threat of the above is also present with the enactment of civil union laws that require a determination of one’s sexual “orientation”, as courts may deem such laws as placing the imprimatur of government approval of sexual activity outside of traditional marriage and thus threaten the right of parents to have their values inculcated and affirmed, or at least not directly contradicted, by local schools.

These kinds of problems are why the Founders favored maximizing happiness pursuits through the recognition of only individual rights, as opposed to factions or group rights that impinge on the rights of others and for the like-minded to congregate together geographically and exercise power over traditionally local affairs, at the local level, and not impose said values on all of the people.

DeVine Law will sign the Manhattan Declaration.

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

Originally published @ Examiner.com, where all verification links may be accessed.