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A Little Ocean Ambiance
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Doctrinal Writings
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Bad Guys, Good Guys

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Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Vassar, Michigan
An observant American over fifty years of age can tell you without hesitation that our freedoms have been eroded. Freedom is a frail thing, sickening and dying easily. Its enemies are many and ever-present, but they are almost never identified as enemies of freedom! The turn from limited government to limited liberty during the past century happened in a very subtle way. American citizens allowed the change on the basis that the only ones to be harmed would be the "bad guys." By the time "good guys" were effected by changes made against "bad guys," few could understand what had happened. The "bad guys/good guys" process has played out repeatedly over the years, and is still being used by freedom's foes because it works so well.

In 1954, the United States Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision which violated precedent, redefined the powers of the judiciary, and jeopardized Constitutional guarantees of individual and states' rights. The justices got away with it because this bold departure from their rightful role was directed against "bad guys." The decision is called "Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka," and it ruled that states could no longer operate separate school systems for children of different races. The enemy seemed to be racial prejudice, but the victim was the Constitution. Should public schools be racially segregated? Of course not, but a bigger issue was addressed in the Brown case. The justices virtually admitted that a previous Supreme Court decision made in 1896 on the segregation issue was in line with the intent of our Constitution. "Plessy v. Ferguson" had ruled that racially separated school systems were allowed by the Constitution, and therefore another amendment or new laws would be required to force integration. This old decision was constitutionally correct, but the Court felt that it was no longer suitable for the sentiments of the times. So they ruled on the demands of the Constitution contrary to its grammatical and historical meaning. This case made the justices of the United States Supreme Court the most powerful men in the country. They can make or change laws contrary to legislative intent under the guise of interpreting the Constitution. Many of the foundational principles of American government were undermined or overturned by the 1954 decision. How did they get away with it? The decision and its implications prevailed because they were directed against "bad guys." The Constitution was undermined by action taken against "bad guys," but now the precedents set are used against "good guys."

In July of 1964, President Johnson signed a Civil Rights bill that made it a federal offense to discriminate by race in the hiring and service policies of private businesses. The voices that protested against this law's obvious violation of property rights were silenced quickly because, again, the enemy seemed to be racial prejudice. Since then, Americans have accepted the idea that the government can regulate who is hired or served by private companies. Groups organize as "minorities" in order to convince Congress to give them advantages in the business world. Nobody in 1964 thought that a businessman would be forced to hire open homosexuals in violation of his moral principles, but that is a distinct possibility now. Nobody back then believed that anybody in America had a "right" to a job, but that is public policy today! How did it happen? It was the "bad guys/good guys" process!

In 1973, "Roe v. Wade" prohibited states from outlawing abortions, and millions have been killed in the womb since. How did this happen? The framers certainly did not write abortion-on- demand into the Constitution, but the Brown decision freed the Court to issue decrees without applying the intended meaning of the framers! A woman came before them that seemed to have a hardship situation which might justify an abortion in some minds. The state laws that forbad her from getting that abortion seemed "bad" at the time. However, because of the Court's decision, tens of millions of abortions have been performed legally without any hardship situation at all! Abortion-on-demand is called a "woman's right" today because of the "bad guys/good guys" process. It's the same old thing.

In the 1980s, several high court decisions effectively negated the "free exercise" clause of the provision for religious liberty in the First Amendment. This happened because the cases involved groups with politically incorrect religious practices. Because we felt comfortable about denying religious liberty to "bad guys," "good guys" find their freedom in jeopardy. "Good" churches have lost their rights because the court denied them to "bad" churches. Here we go again!

The threat that "gun-control" proposals pose to the Second Amendment is another example of "bad guys/good guys." In response to the criminal use of firearms by "bad guys," the right of "good guys" to bear arms might be denied. Because drug dealers and juvenile offenders have used guns to murder people, law-abiding citizens have their rights threatened. It's wrong, but it's obvious how it's happening.

Can we see what we have been doing? Free people must be vigilant to guard their liberty. Freedom will always be in danger, because there will always be good arguments against it! Somebody will always find "bad guys" who ought to be stopped, and if we are not careful, these folks will persuade us to restrict the freedom of the "good guys" in order to stop the "bad guys." The love of freedom and respect for the Constitution must be revived and passed from one generation to another if our country is to remain free. We must remember that if "bad guys" lose legitimate Constitutional rights, everybody loses freedom!

Monthly Article
Wed, 1 Nov 2000
by Dr. Rick Flanders
currently Pastor of
Juniata Baptist Church
Juniata Baptist Church
5656 Washburn Road
Vassar, MI 48768
(517) 823-7848

Dr. Rick Flanders Biographical Data

Converted in 1963 through a radio ministry.
Earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bob Jones University.
Honorary D.D. from Pensacola Christian College.
Pastor at Juniata Baptist Church since 1973.
On BCPM Board, (Baptist Church Planting Ministry)
and also MACS. (Michigan Association of Christian School)

Articles published in the;
Sword of the Lord
Baptist Preacher,
Christian View of the News,
Pulpit Helps,
Maranatha Watchman
Church Bus News,
and other national periodicals.

His Majesty's Service
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Teaching the Word
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