Christian 'Patriots' and the End of Law

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In its December
22, 2001, edition, World
, the best-known news magazine of the conservative
evangelical world, named then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft
its “Daniel of the Year.” Among the things that Ashcroft
did that year to earn this honor from the evangelical community
was to help push the Patriot Act through Congress as a “tool”
to fight terrorism, which came to our shores with a vengeance on
the previous September 11.

Today, that
law that World and other Christian supporters of the Bush
administration stood behind, even as it demolished legal protections
that people had enjoyed for hundreds of years, now is being used
to destroy a family of Christian homeschoolers. Somehow, one doubts
that the editors of World will pay attention, but they should.
(Note: I have heard from World publisher Joel Belz, who has
informed me that after being notified by me, his publication is
going to look into the story.)

As eloquently
noted by Will
, the U.S. Government is holding 16-year-old Ashton Lundeby
of Oxford, North Carolina (a state that apparently wishes to have
a national monopoly on injustice) incommunicado because of the powers
granted to it by the Patriot Act, that same act that World’s
“Daniel of the Year” helped to impose upon us. Grigg already
has explained this case in detail, and I do not need to plow the
same ground.

However, I
will point out that years ago, I warned the publisher of World
and other evangelical activists that the laws and policies of
the Bush administration that they were championing in time would
be used against evangelicals themselves. One high-level evangelical
and I had been friends dating back almost 35 years, but we pretty
much ended our communications because he could not stand the idea
that I thought the Bush administration was becoming tyrannical.

So, we now
see the handiwork of the evangelical effort to give authoritarian
powers to the state. A 16-year-old boy is being held in secret by
the government, even though the “evidence” against him
is spotty at best and downright non-existent at worst. Furthermore,
this 120-pound youngster is facing interrogations given by experienced
FBI agents that almost surely will break him down, leading him to
“confess” to anything the FBI wants him to say. Did he
kill JFK? Yes. Did he shoot Bobby Kennedy? Yes! Was he the main
planner of 9-11? Yes!!

I have no doubt
that the FBI will coerce a “confession” from this lad,
a “confession” that everyone in the room – and the courtroom,
when he is led to it in chains – will know is a lie. However, the
government never lies, and once it holds someone under this execrable
act, it never admits a wrongful arrest and certainly there are no
wrongful charges.

The irony is
that the Lundebys are the kind of evangelical family that most likely
supported the Patriot Act when it was trotted out and probably supported
John Ashcroft when he was attorney general. I doubt any of them
ever thought that this abominable piece of legislation would or
could be used against them. After all, the Patriot Act was written
to fight terrorism. Only now, they find that the Patriot
Act never was meant to deal with “terrorism,” but simply
was another weapon in the state’s arsenal against humanity.

though there is some publicity in this case, nonetheless the major
news outlets are ignoring it. At this writing, I sent two emails
with links to the case to the editor and to the publisher of World,
but have heard nothing from them. In the case of the news outlets,
one can understand their hostility to a family of evangelical homeschoolers,
and I am sure that the New York Times would cheer on any
effort by the state to harass, imprison, or kill these “enemies
of the people.”

In the case
of World and other evangelical outlets, Ashton Lundeby is
a reminder to them that they were at the forefront of enabling and
encouraging the very destruction of the legal foundations that have
held up our society for many years. For that matter, John Ashcroft
lost his Senate election to a dead man in 2000 in large part because
he opposed the appointment of a black man from his home state of
Missouri because Ashcroft believed this judge would not be enthusiastic
about state-promoted executions.

So now, we
see the Patriot Act which these Christians supported being used
against a Christian family. Will the evangelicals speak out, or
will they simply ignore the agony that this family is facing? So
far, it seems to be the latter.

8, 2009

L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him
], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland,
and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig
von Mises Institute
. He also is a consultant
with American Economic Services.

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