Lesser magistrates have authority to defy lawless rulings from afar

Bill Knowles, clerk of Hamilton County, has biblical and constitutional  warrant to defy orders that he marry homosexuals. His wife is Marlene.

Bill Knowles, clerk of Hamilton County, has biblical and constitutional warrant to defy orders that he marry homosexuals. His wife is Marlene.

By David Tulis

A bill to throw off the mechanical contraption of Obamacare from atop the warm, organic civil society of Tennessee brings up the doctrine of interposition. It says the Tennessee general assembly has “the absolute and sovereign authority to interpose and refuse to enforce” Obamacare provisions that exceed the authority of the federal congress.

If the people’s representatives rise to the occasion to defy the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and reject its pretensions of jurisdiction, they are opening their breasts to blows sure to be aimed at their political house, and possibly at their persons.

The bill makes its first appearance in the state senate, sponsored by Mae Beavers. It is propelled by a spirit that has been markedly absent in many parts of the country where high-handed federal judges and laws out of Washington belittle the peoples of the states and their elected authorities and order them to deny their sense of moral conscience.

Christianity is a spiritual and intellectual source of self-government, starting with the individual and working its way outward. Because it posits a totally sovereign God, it acts to wound the heads of despots, tyrants and absolutists standing in the imperium with their troops, officials, ink pens and telephones. If God is sovereign, men have much more trouble being so. If God’s law controls, men’s fiat laws are easier to resist. If every president is but a silly vassal before God, his edicts are more readily defied.

Gutsy lesser magistrates sought

It’s one thing for the state senate and house to debate Sen. Beavers’ Health Care Freedom and Affordable Care Act Noncompliance Act, as she calls it. It’s quite the hotter, more dangerous thing for a county clerk or a sheriff to defy a supreme court ruling out of Washington that in the public consensus “binds” him — say, to “marry” two homosexuals demanding a state license. Or binds him to cede to a directive from the desk of health and human services director Kathleen Sebelius.

The scriptures are full of bold men — many of them prophets, others commoners such as Peter — who spurn direct orders and hazard the death penalty. When the governors and satraps who were Daniel’s jealous rivals framed a law to destroy him, Daniel acted as if the law were irrelevant. His enemies had convinced King Darius to establish a decree that no one could worship any god, but must direct worship and homage to Darius alone for 30 days. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). In full view of his enemies, he prays; they report him to the king, who feels he has no choice but to sentence him to death in the lions’ den.

Lesser magistrates around the United States, according to the scriptures, have authority to resist evil. They have, in fact, a duty to do so. Most of them have sworn oaths to defend two constitutions — the federal and that of their proper state, so help them God. Their grounds for openly ignoring a federal edict or opinion are their oaths before their sovereign God and their good faith understanding of how they are bound by it. Hamilton County clerk Bill Knowles “is a follower of Jesus Christ, a longtime conservative civic servant.”

Has he begun to think about what’s in store for him if a court pretends to overturn Tennessee law on marriage to favor lugbutt theory?

In Utah, officials lose their salt

On Dec. 20 a U.S. district judge trampled over the Utah constitution and ordered that homosexuals be granted the benefits of marriage, which since creation belong exclusively to one man and one woman in each case. Utahns in 2004 declared by referendum that marriage is between one man and one woman. Gov. Gary Herbert refused to order magistrates, clerks and state and city employees from refusing to marry homosexuals. Instead, he made a show of appealing into federal court.

“When a tyrannical higher authority impugns and contravenes the law and Word of God and/or attacks the just/moral constitutional law of a state, the lower authorities have the right and duty not to obey the higher authority – and if necessary – actively resist the higher authority,” says Rev. Matt Trewhella, who has written a book on the doctrine of the lesser magistrate.‡ “Gov. Herbert and the Utah legislature should have immediately defied the federal government ruling and ordered all state employees NOT to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals. Instead, Gov. Herbert ordered all state officials and employees to do the bidding of the federal judge’s tyrannical ruling and take all necessary actions to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals.”

At first, four of 29 counties in Utah refused to obey the federal opinion and the governor’s orders, citing the state constitution. When San Juan county clerk Norman Johnson finally bowed, he was quoted in the Salt Lake City Star Tribune as saying: “We have no choice. It is not the way I wanted to see things go. But the law’s the law, and I accept it.”

Biblical law, which imposes high moral duty on magistrates, would call that a lie. Officials have a duty to defy rules that are ungodly and unconstitutional.

Sources: Rev. Matt Trewhella, “Federal Judge Tramples Utah’s Constitution,” Jan. 12, 2014, mailing from Missionaries to the Preborn

Electknowles.com, the re-election website for Hamilton County clerk Bill Knowles

‡ The Rev. Trewhella’s book is The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate, F$12.59 from Amazon.

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