DANIEL and the SUPREME COURT
Did Daniel let his Faith "Bias" his Judgment?
As a High Official in the Persian Empire, Did Daniel let his Faith Bias his Judgment? Did he "privatize" it out of his Public Life?
Amy Coney Barrett testified before the U.S. Senate hearing on her nomination as a Justice for the U.S. Supreme Court that she will remain unbiased on all Court decisions brought before it because of two main reasons,
1. She is a “Textualist” and an “Originalist”, and because
2. Her Catholic Faith is personal and private, and will play no role in her Court decisions.
A Textualist is one who gives a word for word reading, accepting words in their normative and intended sense. An Originalist agrees with the above, and seeks the “word for word” meaning as intended by the original author(s).
(This is the same as a Literalist’s understanding of the Bible, where we should add the term “Contextualist”, since a Textualist always seeks the original context in which the words are embedded)
What, then, should be the role of a Justice with Faith? Federal Judge Barrett testified that her Catholic Faith would be set aside and play no role in her case-decisions. That is, her Faith would remain “private” and have no bearing on her judgments.
The fact that her Faith is in Catholicism (Catholicism deviates at the most fundamental level from the Bible on salvation, grace, faith, and works) is another issue, and will not be considered here. We will assume that her Faith is at least in the same mold as that of the Founding Fathers who framed the U.S. Constitution.
1. They accepted the Judeo-Christian Bible as the foundation upon which they framed the principles of the Constitution.
2. Therefore, to disengage one’s Faith from Constitutional issues is to disengage God from the public square.
3. To isolate God from the public square has practical consequences no different from those of Atheism.
We don’t believe Judge Barrett is of that mind. So here is Daniel the prophet, a particularly good role model for public officials of Faith, because he too was a “Textualist”. (READ Daniel 6 before proceeding) Daniel was also a high public official in both the Babylonian and Persian Empires (Dan 2:48; 6:1-3). As such,
1. He was a textualist in Man’s Law, for when the Persian King enacted a law that no one was to pray to “any god or man” besides the King, “Daniel knew” what the Persian Law said, and that anyone violating it would be thrown into the den of lions. (Dan 6:6-10) The Persian Law was “textually” explicit—word for word.
2. But Daniel was also a Textualist regarding God’s Law, for he read it “AS WRITTEN” in Jeremiah (Dan 9:2) and the prophets (9:6), as well as in the law of Moses, where it says “You shall have no other gods before Me” (9:11; Exo 20:3-5).
3. Daniel’s Textualism extended not only to Man’s Law, but BEYOND it to GOD’S LAW. (6:10) So Daniel made a decision—BASED ON FAITH—that the Persian Law was wrong. His Faith was not excluded from his decision. It informed his decision. And it almost cost him his life!
4. God confirmed Daniel committed no sin when he subjected Man’s Law to the higher authority of God’s Law. God miraculously recued him from the mouths of the lions, proving Daniel “committed no crime”. (6:22) Later God also affirmed this to Peter and the Apostles. (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29)
5. Jesus also blesses the “Textualism” applied to God’s Word “AS WRITTEN” in the Bible. (Mat 4:4)
Therefore, Daniel serves as a role model for public officials of Faith.
He was a Textualist in both Man’s Law and God’s Law. But God’s Law was Supreme!
True Faith is based on a textualist-understanding of God’s Word “AS WRITTEN”, i.e., “AS SPOKEN”. To detach one’s Faith from one’s public duty is to sever God’s Word, and thus God, from the public square. As such, it is no different from the public square of Russia, Communist China, and American Atheism, Agnosticism, and liberal Humanism. God is MUTED, EXCLUDED, and NON-EXISTANT in that kind of world. If your Faith can make no appeal to God in your public life, you can stand shoulder to shoulder with the Atheist, because, in actuality you both exercise Faith—Faith in Self. God is deported, exiled, shut out and banned when Faith becomes so private and personal that it becomes unreal—null and void in the very world of nations that has no existence apart from God! (Acts 17:26-28)
For Daniel, his Faith took no back seat to his public life. To let his Faith speak was to let God speak.
LEFT: DANIEL the “Textualist”, MAN’S LAW & GOD’S LAW
1. Daniel the Prophet was a Textualist. He read the Law of the Medes & the Persians “AS WRITTEN”—word for word. That is what a “textualist” does—the words mean what they say. Daniel read the text, and “KNEW” (Dan 6:10) what it said. The Persian Law (man’s law) enjoined that no person was to pray to any God other than Persian deities. (Dan chapter 6)
2. But as a Textualist Daniel also read God’s Law “AS WRITTEN”—word for word. He read Jeremiah (Dan 9.2), the prophets (9.6), and the books of Moses (9.11).
3. God’s Law forbade allegiance to any other “god” (Exo 20.3-5). Daniel obeyed God’s Law, as the highest law, and disobeyed Man’s Law. The rest of Daniel chapter 6 shows God’s miraculous approval of Daniel’s decision to “obey God rather than men” (see also Acts 4.19-20; 5.29).
In all respects, Daniel was a Textualist—AS WRITTEN.
LEFT: MUTING the Word Of God
at the Supreme Court
1. The Supreme Court Justice should be a Textualist, as Amy Coney Barrett is, looking to the U.S. Constitution and government laws AS WRITTEN.
2. But to detach one’s self from one’s Faith—declaring it private/personal to the extent that Faith is “turned off” in the public part of life—is to treat God in public life as an Atheist treats Him…non-existent, Muted, Silenced, Excluded, turned-off.
An “Originalist”, as Barrett says she is, refers to the ORIGINAL framing of the Constitution by the Founders. To isolate the Constitution from Faith is to isolate it from that ORIGINAL framing, for it was born from the womb of the Declaration Of Independence, which was conceived in explicit words expressing Faith in the existence and providence of the Judeo-Christian God.
The Constitution was founded and adopted—as it says,
“in the year of our Lord”.
LEFT: LEARNING from DANIEL at the Supreme Court
1. To follow the lead God’s Word gives us in Daniel 6, a Justice with true Faith in the God of the Bible, as a textualist, would read the Constitution (and all laws) AS WRITTEN. But they wouldn’t stop here.
2. As an Originalist (& a Contextualist) they would consider its Faith-Context in light of its “declarative foundation-stone”, the Declaration Of Independence.
3. Continuing their Textualist & Originalist approach, they would next give consideration to the Declaration Of Independence in its reliance on the WORD OF GOD—the Bible — AS WRITTEN.
4. A Textualist would see the obvious linkage of the Constitution to the Declaration in the language of both documents. Their strict textualism would make that very clear.
5. They would see the clear linkage of the Declaration to the Bible with its references to God, & its declaration of America’s dependence on God!
6. This solid linkage of Faith to a Textualist-Originalist view of the Constitution cannot exclude God from the public consideration of Constitutional Law. Therefore, God’s Higher Law would be the prevailing Law.
Faith was built into the framing of the Constitution, its adoption, and the founding of America.
One example only—try running Abortion through the Constitution in light of the above. The way Abortion laws stand today, it is as though a bunch of Atheists wrote and passed them. That’s what happens when Faith—and consequently God—is MUTED in Public Life. And that is why we must not "privatize" our Faith out of existence. Daniel didn't, and in spite of what has been said (and she herself has said), I don’t believe Judge Barrett’s Faith will go silent either.
Perhaps God has raised her up for just "such a time as this". (Esther 4:14)
1. What happens, then, if a Justice of the Supreme Court who is also a person of Faith sets aside that Faith when considering Court cases?
They must also set aside their claim to be an “Originalist” since the “Original” Constitution was framed in the context and upon the principles of America’s greatest Faith-document—the Declaration Of Independence. And that Faith-statement was based upon God’s Word. Why do we think the United States Constitution is the oldest surviving constitution in the world?
Therefore a true Originalist cannot unlink the linkage that exists between the Constitution and God’s Word. They cannot break the link that connects the Constitution to the Declaration. They cannot break the link that connects the precepts of the Declaration, according to its own words, to the “Creator” and “Supreme Judge”.
On the great issue of “Right To Life”, for example, as stated in the Declaration, that Right was first stated in the Bible. For those who have the humanistic-faith of an Atheist, or act that way by shelving their “Faith”, they neuter “Right To Life” in the Abortion issue by claiming “life doesn’t begin until birth”. They don’t KNOW that! Science doesn’t KNOW that. But God does KNOW when life begins—and a Biblical-Textualist would see that He has told us.
That is why we cannot, and should not, privatize and personalize our Faith out of existence and into the pathway of practical Atheism.
2. Wasn't the Framing of the U.S. Constitution a FAITH STATEMENT?
The framers of the Constitution basically took the stance of Daniel in Daniel chapter 6. They drew the Constitution's authority from their own Declaration Of Independence, which made its appeal directly to God. For example, look at the clear linkage between these three documents on the subject of the first and highest principal—the Right to Life,
1. First, God’s Word — “...for in Him we live and move and exist…(Acts 17:28)
2. Second, the Declaration Of Independence— “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life…”
... to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
3. Third, the Constitution— We the People of the United States [“to secure these rights”]
do ordain and establish this Constitution [“Government”] for the United States of America