January 18, 2023
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A Holy Defense
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Pr. 31:8-9)
A biblical view of individual rights, as well as determining the proper way to legally preserve and defend them, can be difficult to discern. We know God made us in His image (Gen. 1:27), and thus it stands to reason that our rights are found in Him, and even entangled with Him. For those of us who are American citizens, we are extraordinarily blessed to live in a republic built on a foundation that specifically recognizes these divine origins—our Declaration of Independence famously describes an individual’s rights as being “endowed by their Creator,” and the role of government as one of “securing” those rights.
It therefore seems natural that we should be inclined to preserve and defend those rights. But it is important to view all things through the lens of truth that reminds us our ultimate purpose is not our own glory, but His (Is. 43:7), and that our ultimate worship of Him is embodied in what we do for “the least of these.” (Matt. 25:40)
While many times defending others will in fact also constitute a defense of ourselves and our own rights, it is worth considering whether the motive for our defense might in fact be the determining factor for whether or not that defense is a holy one. As we recognize the image of our Creator in each person around us, we should constantly recalibrate our defense of individual rights in a direction that most benefits those who cannot mount their own defense.
Same Story, New Cast
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Classified documents have been discovered at the personal residence of a U.S. President. Last August, it was the Mar-a-Lago, FL home of former President Donald Trump; Last month, it was the Wilmington, DE home of former Vice President and current President Joe Biden. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed separate Special Counsels to oversee investigations into each incident.
Federal law dictates how classified material must be handled. This includes where it may be stored, and when it must be returned to government control (often when a term of office ends). In both of these cases, it appears very likely these obligations were not upheld by the current and former Presidents.
Analysis: Nobody is above the law, and nobody should be below it either. In other words, anyone—including current and former presidents—who breaks the law should be subject to its penalties. On the other side of the coin, everyone—including current and former presidents—should be afforded full due process rights with a robust opportunity to mount a vigorous defense. While these two events have led to a lot of political finger-pointing, the real reason for safeguards around classified information is rooted in national security. We would do well to expect compliance from both those we voted for and those we did not.
Up and Running
After a brief delay from a drawn-out process to elect a Speaker, the 118th Congress is officially up and running. A few items worth noting:
- Both the Democrat-led U.S. Senate and the Republican-led U.S. House continued the process of finalizing committee chairmanships and member assignments.
- The U.S. House made significant changes to its rules (the authority to make and change rules is granted to each chamber under Article I, Sec 5, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution). Of particular note, a single Member can once again initiate a process to remove the Speaker.
- One of the first orders of business will be a looming debt ceiling deadline. House Republicans will be seeking spending cuts in exchange for authorizing the issuance of new debt. While the prospect of default is indeed serious, so too is the runaway spending in Washington. As this process plays out, be mindful that much of the breathless hyperbole around so-called “deadlines” is more theater and posturing than an actual hard expiration date.
Analysis: The U.S. Senate and U.S. House are very unlikely to find much consensus in the 118th Congress. As a result, much of what will emerge from each chamber will be more messaging than legislating. Keep this in mind when contemplating the meaning of actions taken by each chamber.
For the first time since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, all air traffic in the United States was grounded for about 90 minutes last Wednesday. The ground stop was caused by the failure of an electronic system used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to warn pilots of potential safety concerns.
While a backup system was quickly deployed, the incident raises many questions about the airline industry’s vulnerability to cyberattack. Both the American economy and the global economy rely heavily on air travel, and even a short disruption has significant ripple effects.
Consider: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Ps. 20:7) We have technological blessings too numerous to count! While we enjoy the benefit these provide, let’s be sure to root our hope and trust in that which cannot be shaken—or grounded.
Make a Melody
Stop! Seriously, before you head out into the world, stop right now and take just three-and-a-half minutes to listen to the first movement of this performance. You will not regret it. You also may not be able to resist listening to the full 43 minutes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Thank you for reading The Equipped! We hope it helps you stay aware of the times (Rom. 13:11-12) and liberated to serve those living in them! (Gal. 5:13-14)
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