Obviously, I’m off my schedule, today. Suffice to say, one can’t always be doing. Sometimes we have to make plans for what we’re going to do.
Still, the headlines roll through, affirming one’s vocation while urging more action. Today, it’s the Supreme Court bringing the sense that America truly is lost. There is, of course, the ruling on “disparate impact” related to housing that will aid in the implementation of schemes like RhodeMap RI. That will be a matter for continuing battle, but it was the ruling on ObamaCare that strikes at the core of our system of government. I’m of a mind with Justice Scalia:
Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.
Sadly, we must now begin reminding the United States what I have too often found it necessary to remind Rhode Island: We cannot have a representative democracy if words have no meaning and rules are not followed. We do not have a legislative process if our elected officials can put together byzantine legislation through “inartful drafting,” which is the term of art the Court’s majority uses by way of explaining why the plain words can’t be treated as if they are plain (see page 14), thereby leaving it to a dictatorial executive leading an unaccountable bureaucracy to actually tell the public what their representatives just did.
Without spending too much time searching for potentially conflicting evidence, I’d say we’re in new territory, here. The Court acknowledges that “Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through ‘the traditional legislative process.'” It also highlights the “complicated budgetary procedure” used to pass ObamaCare and says the result was that “the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.”
But rather than take the opportunity to protect the American people and find that the government must follow the plain language of the law — perhaps as a means of inspiring Congress to get its act together, so to speak — the Court takes the slap-dash-dictatorial process as an excuse to validate the executive’s overreach in applying the law in a different way than it is plainly written (which original meaning, incidentally, the law’s advocates applauded before it proved to be a problem).
SCOTUS isn’t the only marker, though. We could talk about the bizarre turn of events that saw an urgent push to make the Confederate Flag disappear from the landscape (which is of concern not because of the target, but because of the process). At another time, I’ll take up the idea that the world needs some sort of global authority, which Pope Francis has made a matter of topical discussion, recently.
The point is that these issues appear to be everywhere, lately.
Rather than run through them all, I’ll close out with a video. It’s the sermon by Rev. Norvell Goff, the pastor of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which lost nine members when a crazed racist attacked a prayer group. The full 28 minutes are worth your time, but if your interests are more social and cultural than theological, the first half or so, which is commentary leading up to the sermon, is must watch.
People “expected a riot,” said Rev. Goff, but they “just don’t know us.” In contrast to the riots and attacks on police officers that have captured so many headlines, recently, the reverend thanked law enforcement.
Moving into his sermon proper, Rev. Goff said, “Because the doors of Mother Emanuel are open on this Sunday, it sends a message to every demon in Hell and on Earth that no weapon formed against us shall prosper.” He goes on, “Some wanted to divide the races black and white and brown, but no weapon formed against us shall prosper.”
Watching the video, it’s difficult not to expect that most Americans who saw it would think — even if only in passing fancy — that these are the people, that this is the message, that ought to be guiding their country, not the divisive pap of the charlatan currently in residence at the White House, who used the n-word to capture the headlines spinning off the local tragedy for himself.
The soul of America is strong, even if the people who would give it voice are distracted and divided. No weapon formed against us shall prosper. That’s from Isaiah chapter 54:
In justice shall you be established,
far from oppression, you shall not fear,
from destruction, it cannot come near.
If there be an attack, it is not my doing;
whoever attacks shall fall before you.
See, I have created the smith
who blows on the burning coals
and forges weapons as his work;
It is I also who have created
the destroyer to work havoc.
Every weapon fashioned against you shall fail;
every tongue that brings you to trial
you shall prove false.
The translation, here, which is that officially approved by the American Catholic bishops, is different from that quoted by Rev. Goff, and I think it illustrates my larger point. The King James version calls on believers to “condemn” “every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment.” The New American version promises that we will prove those tongues false when they bring us to trial.
We’re coming to trials aplenty, it’s safe to say, and by our actions, by our honesty, by our integrity, and by grace, we’ll prove the accusations false. If not to the satisfaction of the men and women granted black robes by Caesar, then to the standards of He who is the final judge of history, and of our stories.