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Archive for September, 2020

Amy Coney Barrett and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As if 2020 weren’t already tumultuous enough, the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has managed to stir things up even more. 

Talk, not only of Ginsburg’s death, but also of her replacement, has dominated the news since her death on Friday, September 18.  Perhaps the most notable feature of the discussion has been controversy about whether Donald Trump should name her replacement now or wait until after the November election.

This is a discussion that should not even come up.  The president has the right to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court and the Senate has a right to hold confirmation hearings.  About this there is no question.  The Democrats don’t like it, but their not liking something is not the same as it being illegal or unconstitutional. 

Noteworthy but unsurprising was the reaction of many Democrats to the possibility that Donald Trump would nominate a new justice to replace Ginsburg before the election.  Not only did they argue that a nomination of a new justice must wait until after the election, but actually threatened violence should the President and the Senate attempt to carry out their constitutionally mandated duties. 

And the threats of violence were not coming from some dark corner of the internet or from obscure people, but from several high-profile Democrats and progressives on Twitter and other high-profile platforms.  Reza Aslan, a writer who has written numerous books, produced a series on world religions for CNN and is currently a professor of creative writing at University of California, Riverside, took to Twitter and threatened that, “If they [the Republicans] even TRY to replace RBG [Ginsburg] we burn the entire…thing down.” 

Canadian professor of Political Science Emmett Macfarlane tweeted, “Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS.” 

Scott Ross, a member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission tweeted, “If you can’t shut it down [the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice], burn it down.”

Playwright Beau Willimon commented on Twitter, “We’re shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election.”

In the pages of GQ, writer Laura Bassett threatened, “If McConnell jams someone through, which he will, there will be riots.”   

It’s tempting to say that such threats have become the modus operandi of Democrats and progressives in recent years.  But in truth, Democrats and progressives have a longstanding tradition of using violence and threats of violence to get their way.  It’s how they roll.  Not for nothing did Samuel D. Burchard refer to the Democrats as, “the party whose antecedents are rum, Romanism, and rebellion.”  Burchard made the comment in 1884.  It was true then, and it is true today.

Since the matter of selecting a new justice is a matter of supreme importance both to Democrats and Republicans, and since the upcoming Senate  confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg, promises to dominate the headlines in the coming weeks, perhaps overshadowing even the upcoming election, it seemed good to this author to take the opportunity to weigh in. 

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

“To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumelious to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and of all equity and justice.”

To modern ears could a more offensive sentence be found in all of literature?  Not having read all of literature, this author does not pretend to be able to answer that question definitively.  Yet with that said, it is hard to imagine an idea more repugnant to 21st century readers than this quote from John Knox’s essay “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women” (hereafter, TMR).

We have, all of us living in the West in the early 21st century, been steeped in feminist theory from our youth up to the point where, for most of us, Knox’s words are little more than noise from a bygone era with no relevance for us today, except perhaps as a cautionary tale to warn us about how bad the bad old days really were.

Liberal Democrats, were they to read Knox, would quickly be triggered, alternating between outrage, ridicule and calls to have his ideas removed from social media.  Conservative Republicans, on the other hand, would attempt explain away what Knox wrote by saying that he was a product of his age, that what he was really writing against was 16th century liberal women and that if he were alive today he would gladly support a female presidential candidate so long as she was pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and promised to fight against the Green New Deal. 

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

“I wouldn’t vote for her.”  That was Ayn Rand’s curt response to a question from a woman in the audience of the Phil Donohue show.  She had asked Rand, “Do you believe that there is going to be a day when there is going to be a female in the White House as President and how do you feel about that?”

From the questioner’s reaction and from that of the audience, Rand’s answer was not expected, neither was it appreciated.  You can see the 1979 clip for yourself here:

Worth noting is how shocking and controversial Rand’s statement was as far back as 41 years ago.  Now this was the Phil Donohue Show, and Donohue himself was a feminist, and his audience, most likely, tended to skew liberal.  But that said, it is not clear that the audience reaction from a conservative Republican audience would have been much different.  Certainly in 2020, any Republican expressing anything remotely approaching Rand’s statement would quickly find himself making an apology tour. 

Donald Trump has expressed his support for a female president on more than one occasion.  In late August, Business Insider ran the headline “Donald Trump plugs Ivanka as the first female president claiming Kamala Harris is ‘not competent’ enough for the top job.” Note, Trump’s objection to Kamala Harris was not that she was a woman, but that she was not the right woman.  Further, he promoted his daughter as the right person to be the first female president.

There have been rumors for some time that Trump has wanted to see his daughter in the Oval Office, and the prominent role she had at last month’s Republican Convention and the statement reported in Business Insider certainly support those rumors.  It would not shock this author to see Ivanka declare herself as a presidential candidate in 2024 with the full blessing of her father.  Of course, she will have other female rivals to the throne, quite possibly including former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. 

In fact, it would not surprise this author at all if the 2024 election doesn’t bring us the choice between a Republican woman and a Democratic woman presidential candidate.  It’ll be pick your poison. Of course, the conservatives and liberals will tear one another apart with each side passionately denouncing the choice of the other party, while both parties miss the fundamental error they are committing.  That is to say, both sides will be equally ignorant that, in the words of John Knox, “To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumelious to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and of all equity and justice….”   

Yes, way back in 1558 John Knox dropped the mic, so to speak, on the matter of government by women in his devastating treatise “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.”  In it, Knox did not argue, as so many feminized men are prone to argue today, that this or that woman was unfit to hold public office because of her position on this or that issue.  No, Knox’s argument was more fundamental and more Biblical than that.  Knox argued that the Bible prohibited women from severing in civil government altogether. 

Knox was right.

After reading it, I want to stand, applaud and praise the Lord for the insight and courage that he gave the Scotsman.

So impressive is “The Monstrous Regiment” that had Knox done nothing else in his life except to write that treatise, it would be enough to qualify him for Christian hero status.  Without a doubt, “The Monstrous Regiment” is one of the greatest political treatises ever written by a Christian and a serves as a model for how Christian scholars ought to use the Scriptures when dealing with political questions. 

Let’s take a closer look at Knox’s work to see if we can identify what makes it so devastating. 

For our walk through, I’ll be using the Trinity Foundation’s edition of “The Monstrous Regiment” titled “The Place of Women.”

Worth noting is that “The Place of Women” was first published by the Trinity Foundation in August 1984, most likely as a response to Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale’s choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his vice-presidential running mate in that year’s election.

Since that time, other women have followed in her footsteps, most notably Sarah Palin, who served as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, Hillary Clinton who headed the Democratic ticket in 2016, and now Kamala Harris who’s Democrat Joe Biden’s pick for vice-president.    

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

As of this writing in early September 2020, Americans find themselves faced with another presidential election in just two short months.  As is the American custom, much ink has been spilled over the past year concerning the November election.  In reality, the spilling of ink began much earlier.  With so much election commentary out there, surely, it would seem, there’s nothing more this author could add to the mix that hasn’t already been discussed thousands of times and by people much better qualified.

But this would be a mistake.

There is one topic, and a significant one to be sure, that, on the one hand, is a prominent feature of the 2020 presidential election but, on the other hand, has received hardly any commentary at all.  

Joe Biden’s March 15th promise, and the fulfillment of that promise, to choose a woman running mate. 

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