Recently I had a chance to attend an excellent church conference session entitled God Over Government. It was truly eye-opening.
Three speakers were featured, each taking on one specific topic under the general umbrella subject. All three were outstanding. Brian Eschen, Executive Director of the Institute for Principle Studies. Nathan Pierce, Executive Director of Family Protection Ministries. But it is the third of the three, Pastor David Whitney, that I will be focusing on here. You'll soon understand why.
For those unfamiliar with him, Pastor Whitney is a graduate of Rutgers University. He graduated as a Henry Rutgers Honors Scholar with Honors in History. He received his Master's Degree from Denver Seminary and has been pastoring for over 40 years.
Pastor Whitney currently serves as pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Bowie, MD. Oh, and Pastor Whitney has been a Senior Instructor for years, teaching the Christian heritage and history of the United States at the Institute of the Constitution for over two decades. He is the author of numerous courses and host of a popular radio show.
He speaks to civic and church groups around the country about issues pertaining to the Constitution, providing classes on the Basics of the US Constitution, the Duty of the Jury, the History of America's founding, the Sheriff and Citizen, and Fundamental Principles of Freedom and the Maryland Constitution. All that to say the man is no slouch; he knows what he's talking about.
I found myself wanting to know Pastor Whitney's views, so I asked him a very simple question. "Pastor, what do you think about making use of Article V to call a Convention of States to amend the Constitution?"
He responded with what I consider to be a solid argument laying at the core of the Convention of States effort: "If our government officials don't follow the Constitution now, what makes you think they'll follow an updated version?"
He is not wrong.
But he's not entirely right, either.
I believe the most important issue to be addressed by a convention is not the setting of term limits or the introduction of budgetary constraints, as important as those things are. No, the most important thing by far – and it falls squarely under the broad category of "federal overreach" – is addressing those areas where the Supreme Court has gone off the rails. Bad decisions passed down by the high court are largely responsible for the mess we find ourselves in today.
Let me explain.
In a republic such as the Founders have provided us, Lex Rex: the law is king. But what is "the law"? The sad truth is that in our system, the law is ultimately whatever the humans on the high court say it is. Those folks represent a weak link in the system, because sometimes they get things wrong, and when they do, the implications are both profound and far-reaching.
A leading question that should be asked is: can the Supreme Court provide a ruling that is unconstitutional? I believe the answer to be a resounding yes. So when Pastor Whitney refers to "the Constitution," is he talking about the Constitution which has been "interpreted" by the Court? Or the seven articles initially set forth by the Founding Fathers? I believe the latter.
Ask any student of the Constitution what case has done more damage than any other to our system of governance, and inevitably the answer you'll hear is Helvering v. Davis (1937). That case upheld the constitutionality of Social Security on the grounds that Congress has a general power to spend on whatever it deems necessary to "promote the general welfare." The result? Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, which enumerates the Congressional powers of the federal government, has been effectively obliterated. A once limited federal government is now anything but, and the Tenth Amendment, which grants to the states authority over anything not enumerated in Article I, becomes a cruel joke.
If a Convention of States is able to correct this one issue by way of an airtight amendment, thereby re-establishing the system of federalism that the Founders intended, it will go a long way towards restoring the Republic.
Can this be done? I believe it can. Will it be done? We will just have to wait and see. But holding an Article V convention appears to be our last best hope at getting things back on track.
If you are interested in restoring our foundational law to the document our Founding Fathers gave us, sign the COS petition below.