Ever since the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges came out last week the internet has been abuzz with debates and anger, and I have been called "such a libertarian" "so Mormon" at work more times than one. I don't want this post to be a rehash of everything that has already been said on the subject, there are plenty of other bloggers out there telling you what is right or wrong with the ruling according to them. I do, however, feel compelled to give you a history lesson. If you majored in history like I did, you just got excited. If you didn't, please read this anyway. Then you can tell me I am such a libertarian and so Mormon! It's fun!
I want to start by going back into some ancient American history. In the Book of Mormon we read about a king named Mosiah who was nearing the end of his life on this earth. He had four sons and the people wanted the kingdom conferred on the oldest son, as was fairly typical of most kingdoms throughout history. Aaron, the king's eldest son, refused. King Mosiah decided to encourage the people to enter into a different system of law. One wherein they would have more of a voice in the laws of the land, and in turn, would have more accountability for their own actions. A system with judges was created.
Why did King Mosiah do this? Thankfully, he tells us why, and we have it in the record as follows:
After King Mosiah finished his explanation to the people of why he thought judges would be better, and describing how the system of judges would work we read that the people "expressed a willingness to answer for (their) own sins." (see Mosiah chapter 29)And now if there should be another appointed in his stead, behold I fear there would rise contentions among you. And who knoweth but what my son, to whom the kingdom doth belong, should turn to be angry and draw away a part of this people after him, which would cause wars and contentions among you, which would be the cause of shedding much blood and perverting the way of the Lord, yea, and destroy the souls of many people.Now I say unto you let us be wise and consider these things, for we have no right to destroy my son, neither should we have any right to destroy another if he should be appointed in his stead...Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord.Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.
In other words, the people in King Mosiah's time want to to be accountable for their own lives and their own decisions. Throughout the rest of the course of history in the Book of Mormon we see that when the people appointed good men as judges that upheld the law the people were generally happy and prosperous, yet when the voice of the people was overwhelming in appointing those that would not uphold the law, chaos and trouble abounded, and secret combinations were able to take over the government, ultimately leading, as King Mosiah prophesied, to great destruction and the death of an entire nation.
If we skip ahead to a little over a thousand years after the last of the Nephites were destroyed we find ourselves at the beginning of the birth of a nation. The founding fathers of the United States wanted to build a system of government where the people had the power to make decisions, and government would not be so large and oppressive as to simply dismiss the majority's wishes forthwith.
In reading about the creation of the United States of America as we know it today we can see many similarities between Mosiah's thinking and the likes of George Washington, Ben Franklin, and others that took a very active role in the writing of the Constitution. At the base is the idea that the people govern themselves and take responsibility for their own actions.
How did the founding fathers see this playing out? They would limit the role of the Federal Government. While the Constitution would remain the supreme law of the land (there had been too many problems with lack of authority involved in the Articles of Confederation) most issues could, and should, be settled at a state level, where the smaller governments could better listen to the voice of the people in their state, and make policy decisions based upon that voice.
In the past 80 or so years (ever since the depression) the growth of our federal government has hit the tipping point of the roller coaster, ever accelerating into the overreaching, grotesque monster it has become today. It doesn't look like it is slowing down either.
Remember when I wrote this post? I still stand by it one hundred percent. What we give up each time we allow any branch of the federal government to overreach their bounds is a little bit more of our agency to act for ourselves. This means the Supreme Court should not legislate from the bench, and no branch of the federal government should be getting involved in states rights issues.
How is it that we have gotten to a point where people can say #lovewins as though we really want to be giving the federal government power to be legislating love? Granted, they have already done it in the past. I wasn't surprised by Justice Kennedy's ruling, given that he wrote the majority decision in Lawrence v. Texas, and the Supreme Court gave themselves precedent to be legislating how and who can receive marriage licenses in states with Loving v. Virgina. The problem is, they shouldn't be. The instances where I think the court should be getting involved in someone's love life are seldom, and anything they legislate will not really have anything to do with love.
So I suppose in the end this post is a warning about the tides turning as the voice of the people beg more and more often for the federal government to be meddling in things they should not be meddling in. We shouldn't be wishing to give up our agency. The carnage that faced the Nephites was so terrible that it cause the leader of their army, Mormon himself (yeah, that's the one), to cry out after viewing the death and destruction all around him:
O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen!
Generally I try not to sound like some kind of doomsday conspiracy theorist on my blog, but here is the truth of the matter. We are in the last days that the prophets have spoken of since the beginning (you know, with that Adam guy). The world will become darker as more people call good evil and evil good. We are on this path until Christ returns to reign upon the earth. Until then you have to ask yourself, where do you fall?
That is all.