On the Cutting Edge of Politics, Apparently

You’ve perhaps heard the pejorative term “birthers,” used by defenders of President Obama’s qualification for his office as a native-born American to describe those who demanded proof of that qualification. Now there’s apparently a similar pejorative, “tenthers,” used for those who advocate adherence to the Tenth Amendment. If you search the archives here on the Plucked Chicken, you may find references to the Tenth Amendment. Since before the last presidential election, my appreciation for that amendment has been growing significantly, as well as my disappointment in the myriad ways it has been ignored since well before my lifetime.

The reason progressives don’t like the Tenth Amendment is because it stands in the way of statism on the part of the federal government. Put another way, it helps to keep the federal government, well, federal, which means strictly limited. The Tenth Amendment is in the Bill of Rights not because it reserves individual rights — which makes it unusual in that honored company — but because it requires the states to be involved in the protections of individual rights, each in its own semi-sovereign way.

So I guess I was a tenther when tenthers weren’t cool. In case anyone reading this has a problem with that, I have a suggestion for another pejorative you might use for me and others like me. It follows from the fact that the qualifications for the office of President as well as the Tenth Amendment are found in the same document: the Constitution of the United States. Why don’t you start calling people like me “constitutioners?” I suppose it doesn’t roll off the lips like a good pejorative should, but it’s really what you’re getting at with the other terms, isn’t it? You object to those who advocate that our government should be defined and limited by the Constitution, as originally written and amended.

I should offer the caveat that our Constitution and its amendments are not perfect. Yet the Constitution is about as good as we can expect in a fallen world, and it serves well the role of limiting the evils of statist tyranny that inevitably rise up in any centralized government. The Constitution is one successful attempt to establish a government compatible with the Christian conscience, and protecting the individual freedoms implied by Christian morality.

Why We Insist Upon Faithfulness to the Bible

This is offensive (or perhaps ludicrous) to a great many people, who would have us doubt the words of holy Scripture and change what they say according to the fashion of the times. Nevertheless, it remains absolutely true, whether or not our freedom to believe and follow it is protected by constitution or law.

For our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is our only teacher; concerning him this weighty command was given from heaven to all human beings, “Hunc audite” (“Listent to him”) [Matt. 17:5]. He was not a mere human being or angel. He was not only truthful, wise, and powerful. He is the eternal truth and Wisdom itself, and almighty God. He knows very well what to say and how to say it, and he can accomplish through his power everything that he has said and promises, and can make it happen, as he says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” [Luke 21:33], and, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” [Matt. 28:18].

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VII, paragraph 43 Quoted from Kolb and Wengert.

Some might call them “dangerous extremists” who believe something with such absolute conviction. Yet if God has indeed spoken, how can we deny the things that He has said? Would that not be the height of folly?

We can just as easily reverse the charge and say that those who reject the authority of God’s Word are “dangerous moderates” or “foolish skeptics,” who would incite the wrath of our Creator upon us all.

Christians are not distinguished from Muslims (or anyone else) by the presence or lack of sincere doctrinal zeal. The true distinction lies in the doctrine itself. Christianity is based upon a man who proved His teaching by rising bodily from death and ascending to heaven. His resurrection is a well-attested matter of historical fact. The doctrines of contrary religions have no such foundation in truth. Therefore, where God’s Word speaks, Christians listen.