It’s taken a while, but Americans in almost every state are beginning to see the moral lines of demarcation. The lines are deep, as old as political debate, and pose a question that is essential to American history:
Will men answer to the state, or to God?
In California, 1,200 pastors just offered their answer to authoritarian Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom.
The day after the Department of Justice warned California Governor Gavin Newsom about discriminating against churches in both his shutdown and his reopen orders, a lawyer announced that more than 1,200 pastors have said they will open in-person services in defiance of those orders on Pentecost Sunday, May 31.
They are engaging in peaceful activity, aggressing against no one, and they will not comply with the unconstitutional edicts of Newsom.
The attorney who drafted the ‘Declaration of Essentiality’ sent a letter to the governor, declaring that the pastors were not asking permission: ‘This letter was not sent for the purposes of asking for permission.’
That would be attorney Robert Tyler, of Tyler and Bursch, LLP, law firm. Indeed, he drew up the fifteen-page Declaration, and offered this:
The clergy is convinced that ‘we the people’ are ultimately responsible to protect the individual liberties that may be lost unnecessarily during times of crisis, regardless of whether public officials’ actions are well intentioned.
Which makes sense, even when seen without any religious lens.
Often, collectivists imply or overtly push the Consequentialist philosophy of the “ends justifying the means,” the concept that the group has “rights” and is more important than the individual. But any logical person knows that the word “group” is simply a term applied to numerous people, and people don’t take on some new form of gestalt consciousness or identity when around others. Each person himself retains his self-ownership among others, regardless of the term applied to a population. In fact, groups are always reduceable to what is inside them, just as the state does not exist as its own entity, but is an assemblage of people – people who throughout history have trampled on individual rights and self-control through the use of statutes and edicts.
Edicts like Gavin Newsom’s.
In his letter to the California Governor, Attorney Tyler offered just this reminder, remembering the words of James Madison:
James Madison once said, ‘All power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.’
People have rights, regardless of what the government says.
And now, as May 31 approaches, 1,200 religious leaders plan on acknowledging the true authority over man. Not another man, but God.
In doing so, they acknowledge the dignity of man, and they tip their proverbial caps to American history, for it was William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, who in 1670 acknowledged the supremacy of God over the state, and the principle of freedom of worship over the British Crown.
In doing so, Penn helped remind us, today, of the power of the individual and our connection to history.
Arrested in London for openly preaching Quakerism, Penn was brought to trial with fellow Quaker William Meade, both accused of “unlawful assembly”. But they stood their ground, and focused on the higher authority, on He who created mankind and established natural law over the commands and thievery of the state.
And the case helped bring the Common Law power of individual people to the courts in London, as the jury, led by Edward Bushell, refused to convict. As Julian Heicklan notes for Penn State University, they nullified an unjust law.
The jurors refused to convict the two Quaker activists charged with unlawful assembly. The judge refused to accept a verdict other than guilty, and ordered the jurors to resume their deliberations without food or drink. When the jurors persisted in their refusal to convict, the court fined them and committed them to prison until the fines were paid. On appeal, the Court of Common Pleas ordered the jurors released, holding that they could not be punished for their verdict.
It is important to remember William Penn and William Meade – especially today, as Gavin Newsom’s edicts breach the Bill of Rights, and religious men and women rise to acknowledge their duty to God, not the state.
As Penn and Meade displayed, and as the Penn jurors affirmed, individuals and free will are the repository of liberty. And only with individual liberty can one recognize the proper power of God.