California vs. the Constitution–on Freedom, Faith, Guns and Property
By Assemblyman Tim Donnelly
227 years ago today, September 17th, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed. On that day, the delegates met for the final time and signed the revolutionary document they had spent months crafting. As a result of their extraordinary statesmanship, this radical document gave birth to freedom, and for the first time in the history of man’s relation to man, a society acknowledged that the “just powers derived from the Creator” belong to every citizen as a sovereign instead of as a subject.
Now, however, the government founded to protect our natural, inalienable rights has become the greatest threat to them. And the nation formed to protect religious liberty now forces conversion to political correctness, supplanting freedom with compliance.
Take the recent decision by California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White to strip the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) of its right to be a recognized organization on CSU’s 23 campuses because it refused to surrender its beliefs.
“They can’t ask their leaders or members to sign a statement of faith.“ a CSU spokesman said.
This is no small matter, but you’d never know that by the statements of Susan Westover, university counsel for CSU.
“These issues have already been litigated and we have prevailed,” she said as if this were a dispute over winning an intramural soccer game. “It doesn’t make sense to allow any group to discriminate on any grounds,” Westover said. “These are not private organizations existing out there. These are student groups that are based in our education setting. Our entire purpose is education. This is when our students are supposed to be exposed to new ideas, especially those that are in conflict.”
Actually, IVCF is not discriminating against anyone. They are simply exercising a basic natural right of free association and free assembly with whomever they choose. This natural right is affirmed in the First Amendment, which specifically prohibits Congress from making a law that would interfere with religious liberty:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Now, you might wonder, what exactly is IVCF requiring of its leaders in this affirmation of faith? Given the tremendous effort CSU has put into quashing this affirmation, you’d think they were advocating intolerance or hatred or condemnation of others, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In a previous story on Breitbart, Dr. Susan Berry notes exactly what IVCF requires:
On its website, IVCF states its “chapter leaders are required to affirm InterVarsity’s Doctrinal Basis,” which essentially recognizes God as the Creator of all things who exists in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the Bible as having been divinely inspired.
So, now the government wants to tell a religious organization that it cannot require an affirmation of specific beliefs that are the foundation and the tenets of that faith? What is it about Christianity in particular that strikes such fear into the hearts of tyrants?
After I learned of this egregious policy, I drafted a letter, excerpted below (click here to read the full letter):
While I know that it is no longer popular at your institution to study the Constitution as it was written and amended, your decision to deny a Christian group the right to assemble as a recognized organization on campus, is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. The claim that this group violates the CSU policy of inclusion is laughable. The cited policy is inherently intolerant of virtually all individuals who adhere to any faith.
Academia has long prided itself on embracing diversity. Unfortunately, the reality is far different. Academia is dominated by leftists whose definition of diversity is only skin-deep. When it comes to embracing diversity of thought, your policy is predictably intolerant of anyone who holds beliefs that differ from yours.
I’m hoping that by banishing this Christian organization from recognized status, perhaps CSU students will become even more curious as to why “the man” saw it as such a threat.
Religious liberty is not the only freedom under assault. On this anniversary of the signing of our Constitution, California’s state government is daily abusing the “just powers” entrusted them by the people.
Even now, California’s Governor Jerry Brown is considering a bill (AB1014, Skinner, D-Berkeley) to deprive California citizens of their Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” by creating a special restraining order that empowers law enforcement to take your guns first and hold a hearing later in spite of you having committed no crime.
Brings to mind that movie, Minority Report, which allows the government to arrest you for a crime you haven’t yet committed.
And this week, Brown signed into law a bill that grants government unprecedented control over the groundwater that flows under private property. That has nothing to do with the drought. It is the left seizing on a crisis they created as a justification to consolidate power.
If you cannot freely associate according to the precepts of your faith without interference from the state, you have no religious liberty.
The right to worship as you please was the reason our founders fled religious tyranny to form this great nation. And the right to defend your “life and liberty” is a natural God-given right, essential if you ever hope to “pursue happiness.” Moreover, the right to own and control one’s private property is the physical incarnation of freedom.
When government becomes the greatest threat to your liberty, you have tyranny.
It’s time to remind those who rule that they rule with our consent, not at our expense, and their job is to protect, not infringe our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”