The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Should Governors Elect the President?

photo-1467912407355-245f30185020_optMay 9, 1787
Summary: On this day in the Constitutional Convention, Elbridge Gerry from MA proposed to require the chief executive be elected by the state governors (state executives). This proposal failed.
The remainder of the time was spent debating how to fairly represent the small states in a national legislature. Primarily, the basis for opinion was each delegates sense of fairness and what the people of the states would accept. As in past sessions, the delegates did not appeal to religion, or Exodus to help them decide how best to represent the people. They grappled with a fair way to represent the large and small states.

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
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Friendly Atheist Unfriendly to Bernie Sanders' Religious Test

What do Illinois Family Institute’s Laurie Higgins, National Review’s David French, fellow Patheos blogger Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) and I have in common?
We all believe Bernie Sanders was out of line to say he will vote against Trump’s Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director nominee Russ Vought because of Vought’s religious beliefs.
Mehta has gone out on a limb with his readers to take this position, but I believe it is the right one. Article Six of the Constitution states in part:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

While Sanders may be disgusted by Vought’s religious beliefs, Sanders may not use those beliefs as a test for Vought’s service as an officer of the federal government. As Mehta said in his column (I urge you to read it, it may challenge your views about atheists), Sanders could have taken a different and appropriate approach:

The question Sanders should’ve asked is whether Vought’s beliefs about non-Christian people would ever influence his treatment of them under the law. Would he treat Muslims (or LGBT people, for that matter) the same way he treats Christians?

I want to know that as well. One of my concerns about dominionist Christians (not saying Vought is, I don’t know) getting into power is that they might favor Christians over others, using a Christian religious test. Perhaps Sanders inappropriate actions can serve as a caution to Christian politicians to consider the Golden Rule in choosing public servants – If you don’t like it when a religious test is used on your in-group, then don’t use one on members of out-groups.

No Religious Test

As far as I can tell, the “no religious test” clause was first suggested by Charles Pinckney, delegate from South Carolina to the Constitutional Convention. On May 29, 1787, Pinckney laid his plan before the Convention where it was sent to committee. Then much later on August 20, Pinckney was able to bring it to the floor. The religious test portion said:

No religious test or qualification shall ever be annexed to any oath of office, under the authority of the United States.

In his defense of the plan, Pinckney wrote:

The next Article l provides for the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus — the Trial by Jury in all cases, Criminal as well as Civil — the Freedom of the Press, and the prevention of Religious Tests, as qualifications to Offices of Trust or Emolument: The three first essential in Free Governments; the last, a provision the world will expect from you, in the establishment of a System founded on Republican Principles, and in an age so liberal and enlightened as the present. (p. 122)

Note that Pinckney believed that a “liberal and enlightened” age required freedom from religious test.
Some might question whether or not we live in an enlightened age. However, it is refreshing when agreement can be found across ideological lines and that agreement is based on the foundational principles of the Republic.
 

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
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The 1787 Constitutional Convention – States Laws Can't Be Negated by the National Legislature

Journal Federal Cons LogoJune 8, 1787
Summary: The delegates decided that all state laws were not subject to veto by the National Legislature.
In the debate over the Constitution, a major need was to balance state and national power and authority. Some delegates leaned toward making states weak in comparison to the federal government and others wanted a weaker federal authority. Rather than a self-conscious application of biblical principles as David Barton and other Christian nationalist propose, the Convention hashed over numerous contradicting ideas and philosophies of government on the way to a compromise.
Charles Pinckney moved to subordinate state laws to federal law.

Mr. PINCKNEY moved, “that the National Legislature should have authority to negative all laws which they should judge to be improper.” He urged that such a universality of the power was indispensably necessary to render it effectual; that the States must be kept in due subordination to the nation; that if the States were left to act of themselves in any case, it would be impossible to defend the national prerogatives, however extensive they might be, on paper; that the acts of Congress had been defeated by this means; nor had foreign treaties escaped repeated violations: that this universal negative was in fact the corner-stone of an efficient national Government; that under the British Government the negative of the Crown had been found beneficial, and the States are more one nation now, than the colonies were then.

While Britain has at times come up as a negative example, Pinckney here invoked the British Crown as a positive model. Madison seconded the motion and appealed to current experience with state governments as reason for this proposal. On this day, the delegates negated the proposal to negate.

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Should the Senate Resemble the House of Lords or Roman Tribunals?

June 7, 1787
Summary: The delegates focused on how to elect the Senate today. Eventually, they decided that state legislatures should do it.
As has been the pattern thus far, delegates relied on Britain and the ancient republics as inspiration.

Mr. DICKINSON had two reasons for his motion — first, because the sense of the States would be better collected through their Governments, than immediately from the people at large; secondly, because he wished the Senate to consist of the most distinguished characters, distinguished for their rank in life and their weight of property, and bearing as strong a likeness to the British House of Lords as possible; and he thought such characters more likely to be selected by the State Legislatures, than in any other mode. The greatness of the number was no objection with him. He hoped there would be eighty, and twice eighty of them. If their number should be small, the popular branch could not be balanced by them. The Legislature of a numerous people ought to be a numerous body.

Dickinson wanted the Senate to resemble the British House of Lords. Madison was informed by the example of Rome.

Mr. MADISON. If the motion (of Mr. DICKINSON) should be agreed to, we must either depart from the doctrine of proportional representation, or admit into the Senate a very large number of members. The first is inadmissible, being evidently unjust. The second is inexpedient. The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, than the popular branch. Enlarge their number, and you communicate to them the vices which they are meant to correct. He differed from Mr. DICKINSON, who thought that the additional number would give additional weight to the body. On the contrary, it appeared to him that their weight would be in an inverse ratio to their numbers. The example of the Roman tribunes was applicable. They lost their influence and power, in proportion as their number was augmented. The reason seemed to be obvious: they were appointed to take care of the popular interests and pretensions at Rome; because the people by reason of their numbers could not act in concert, and were liable to fall into factions among themselves, and to become a prey to their aristocratic adversaries. The more the representatives of the people, therefore, were multiplied, the more they partook of the infirmities of their constituents, the more liable they became to be divided among themselves, either from their own indiscretions or the artifices of the opposite faction, and of course the less capable of fulfilling their trust. When the weight of a set of men depends merely on their personal characters, the greater the number, the greater the weight. When it depends on the degree of political authority lodged in them, the smaller the number, the greater the weight. These considerations might perhaps be combined in the intended Senate; but the latter was the material one.

Dickinson also compared the proposed system to the solar system.\

He compared the proposed national system to the solar system, in which the States were the planets, and ought to be left to move freely in their proper orbits.

Delegate Wilson used the British government as a negative example.

Mr. WILSON. The subject, it must be owned, is surrounded with doubts and difficulties. But we must surmount them. The British Government cannot be our model. We have no materials for a similar one. Our manners, our laws, the abolition of entails and of primogeniture, the whole genius of the people, are opposed to it. He did not see the danger of the States being devoured by the National Government. On the contrary, he wished to keep them from devouring the National Government. He was not, however, for extinguishing these planets, as was supposed by Mr. DICKINSON; neither did he, on the other hand, believe that they would warm or enlighten the sun. Within their proper orbits they must still be suffered to act, for subordinate purposes, for which their existence is made essential by the great extent of our country. He could not comprehend in what manner the landed interest would be rendered less predominant in the Senate by an election through the medium of the Legislatures, than by the people themselves. If the Legislatures, as was now complained, sacrificed the commercial to the landed interest, what reason was there to expect such a choice from them as would defeat their own views? He was for an election by the people, in large districts, which would be most likely to obtain men of intelligence and uprightness; subdividing the districts only for the accommodation of voters.

A trend is apparent. The framers did not begin or end with prayer, they did not debate the theological or biblical basis for any of their decisions. Thus far, most examples, both positive and negative, have been from Britain, the states, and Rome/Greece.

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
To follow on social media, click the following links:
Facebook (blog posts and news)
Facebook (Getting Jefferson Right – history news)
Twitter

What If Country Mill Farms Discriminated Based on Race?

City of East Lansing logoCountry Mill Farms and legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom is suing the City of East Lansing with a claim of religious discrimination. According to the complaint, the City of East Lansing acted to exclude “a farmer whose family farm is twenty-two miles outside the City from participating in its city-run farmers market solely because the City dislikes the farmer’s profession of his religious beliefs about marriage on Facebook.” CMF claims that the policy “violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well as state law that prohibits Michigan cities from regulating activities outside city boundaries.”
Read the Country Mill Farms complaint here.
I want to raise a legal question with this post. I do so because I think the CMF situation may have a broader application to how Christians think about sexual orientation discrimination.

Background of the Country Mill Farms Case

The City of East Lansing includes sexual orientation in their non-discrimination statement.

It is hereby declared to be contrary to the public policy of the City of East Lansing for any person to deny any other person the enjoyment of his/her civil rights or for any person to discriminate against any other person in the exercise of his/her civil rights or to harass any person because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, height, weight, disability, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, student status, or because of the use by an individual of adaptive devices or aids.

CMF operates a farm outside the city limits of East Lansing. They sell produce throughout mid-Michigan and host weddings on their farm. For years, CMF sold produce at a farm market in the city limits of East Lansing without incident. However, after CMF publicly declared their practice of referring gay couples to other vendors for weddings, the City of East Lansing changed their policy regarding approval of vendors for space to sell produce at their farm market. After the change, the city required that vendors operating at the farm market adhere to the non-discrimination code in their “business practices.” On this basis, East Lansing denied CMF space at the farm market.
The ADF complaint alleges that the City of East Lansing refused to allow CMF to sell at the market “solely because the City dislikes the farmer’s profession of his religious beliefs about marriage on Facebook.” Via the town’s Facebook page, I asked if the city took action based on the owners’ beliefs or their business practices. In reply, they said:

[I]t’s about their business practice, not their religious beliefs. The issue is that, as part of their business practice, they do not serve all couples.

According to the complaint, CMF referred at least one couple in the past to another farm and then issued this statement on their Facebook page in December 2016:

This past fall our family farm stopped booking future wedding ceremonies at our orchard until we could devote the appropriate time to review our policies and how we respectfully communicate and express our beliefs. The Country Mill engages in expressing its purpose and beliefs through the operation of its business and it intentionally communicates messages that promote its owners’ beliefs and declines to communicate messages that violate those beliefs. The Country Mill family and its staff have and will continue to participate in hosting the ceremonies held at our orchard. It remains our deeply held religious belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and Country Mill has the First Amendment Right to express and act upon its beliefs. For this reason, Country Mill reserves the right to deny a request for services that would require it to communicate, engage in, or host expression that violates the owner’s sincerely held religious beliefs and conscience. Furthermore, it remains our religious belief that all people should be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their beliefs or background. We appreciate the tolerance offered to us specifically regarding our participation in hosting wedding ceremonies at our family farm.

A court will decide if the City of East Lansing is discriminating based on the owners’ religious beliefs.

What If CMF’s Religious Beliefs Opposed Biracial Marriage?*

In all of these religious liberty cases, I have been wondering if Christians would rally to the side of religious liberty if the religious belief involved was to oppose biracial marriage. I have asked Alliance Defending Freedom three times if ADF would defend plaintiffs who refused to provide services to vendors who declined to serve biracial couples for religious reasons. To date, they have failed to answer. I asked CMF a similar question via CMF’s Facebook page, and they responded:

Thank you for your message.
You can follow the case at www.ADFLegal.org
God bless you!
Steve & Bridget Tennes

There are people who oppose biracial marriages on religious grounds. League of the South members run businesses; what if one of those people called on ADF to represent them in their religious liberty struggle?
I would like to address this as a matter of law. In the East Lansing ordinance, sexual orientation is listed along with race. Presumably, referring a biracial couple to another wedding vendor would be considered racial discrimination, even if for religious reasons. As a matter of law, how is it different to refer a gay couple? What if the CMF Facebook post said the following — It remains our deeply held religious belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman of the same race and Country Mill has the First Amendment Right to express and act upon its beliefs? Would ADF defend them? Would Christian pundits write columns defending their religious liberties?
If the City of East Lansing is telling me the truth, CMF would be able to sell produce at the farm market if they served all couples, even if they ADF logoexpressed publicly their disapproval of gay marriage. In the public square, I submit that the image on the coin is Caesar’s and that Christians should give to Caesar what is his. However, belief can submit to no earthly authority as a matter of conscience. If Christians want to follow Jesus’ teaching regarding our public involvement in jurisdictions with anti-discrimination laws which include sexual orientation, I don’t know how we can offer our services to some and not to others. Believe what you need to believe, but serve everyone as required by law.
I still hope ADF will address this matter and provide their rationale for taking cases like CMF and Arlene’s Flowers if they won’t take the case of a League of the South member with religious beliefs opposing biracial marriages. Open discussion about these cases may take us closer to an ethical position which allows us to honor our religious loyalties while properly discharging our duties as citizens.
 
*Let me be absolutely clear. I do not believe CMF discriminates based on race, nor do I have any evidence that they would refuse to sell produce to anyone. I raise an analogy and seek opinions about why religious belief should trump anti-discrimination law for one class of persons but not for another.

Metropolitan of Believers' Church K.P. Yohannan Will Face Jury in Fraud Case

K.P. Yohannan, source: Youtube
K.P. Yohannan, source: Youtube

This is the same news as I reported yesterday but with a twist. The organization which funnels money from all over the world to India — Gospel for Asia — is at the center of two racketeering and fraud lawsuits brought by former donors in Arkansas. The founder of GFA and Believers’ Church in India (the main recipient of GFA’s funds) — K.P. Yohannan — is a defendant in the lawsuits. So is his wife and son. One of those suits was cleared by a federal judge to proceed with discovery and to hold a jury trial slated for April 15, 2019.
This is actually bigger news in India than in the U.S.
Despite being the second largest mission organization in the nation, GFA isn’t well known in the U.S. However, in India, Yohannan is a rock star. He has met with the prime minister, regularly entertains politicians, and is the temporal and spiritual head of Believers’ Church, which owns billions of dollars in assets and claims over 2 million members. Think of the most famous religious figure in the U.S., and K.P. Yohannan is a comparable figure in India.
On church publications, Yohannan goes by His Eminence the Most Rev. Dr. K.P. Yohannan.
BCMC HE Yohannan
Yohannan’s religious empire includes over a dozen secondary schools, a medical school, an engineering school, a finance company, a soccer team, three hospitals, and a broadcasting company. Most of these ventures are for profit. Unless the parties settle out of court, Yohannan will no doubt be put on the witness stand in Arkansas and forced to answer questions about money smurfing American cash to India, a $20-million transfer from an Indian affiliate to complete construction of the American headquarters, funds not showing up in reports, board members being forced out in Canada and a host of other issues.

David Barton and Kevin Conover: Public School Bible Classes Teach Christianity

On the Educate for Life radio show, guest and self-styled historian David Barton agreed with host Kevin Conover that the public school Bible classes offered by the National Council of Bible Curriculum in Public Schools teaches Christianity. Watch:

Barton agrees when Conover says, “they’re offering not just a Bible as history class but it’s literally a full on Christian class.” Understandably, Conover seems surprised by this.
According to the president of the Council, the purpose of the course is not religious indoctrination.
NCBCPS Letter
The conversation between Conover and Barton suggests that Christianity is being taught by introduction of this Bible course. I realize that in most schools the course is an elective. Nonetheless, I don’t want public schools taking sides on religion. I doubt Barton would be fine with the scriptures of other religions being taught as religion, elective or not. Can you imagine the outrage if Conover had said, “it isn’t just the Qu’ran as history, it is a full on Muslim class”?
The Bible and religion may be studied in the same manner as other subjects. However, evangelism and sectarianism (which is happening) should be off limits.
 

 

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Let the People Vote!

June 6, 1787
Today the delegates decided against having state legislatures elect the first federal legislative house. Some delegates distrusted the people to directly elect their federal representatives, preferring instead to have the people elect members of state legislatures who in turn would elect federal legislators. After debate, the delegates decided to allow people to vote on what became the House of Representatives.
James Madison gave a speech which I first reported on June 4. Since other delegates included the speech in their June 4 notes, many historians believe the speech came on that day.
In this debate, the delegates continued to refer to England and the states for guidance. For instance, Elbridge Gerry said:

In England the people will probably lose their liberty from the smallness of the proportion having a right of suffrage. Our danger arises from the opposite extreme. Hence in Massachusetts the worst men get into the Legislature. Several members of that body had lately been convicted of infamous crimes.

Gerry did not favor a direct vote to the federal legislature.
John Dickinson of Delaware said:

In the formation of the Senate, we ought to carry it through such a refining process as will assimilate it, as nearly as may be, to the House of Lords in England. He repeated his warm eulogiums on the British Constitution.

On the matter of the relationship between the first magistrate and the judiciary, Madison said:

The maxim on which the objection was founded, required a separation of the Executive, as well as the Judiciary, from the Legislature and from each other. There would, in truth, however, be no improper mixture of these distinct powers in the present case. In England, whence the maxim itself had been drawn, the Executive had an absolute negative on the laws; and the supreme tribunal of justice (the House of Lords), formed one of the other branches of the Legislature. In short, whether the object of the revisionary power was to restrain the Legislature from encroaching on the other co-ordinate departments, or on the rights of the people at large; or from passing laws unwise in their principle or incorrect in their form; the utility of annexing the wisdom and weight of the Judiciary to the Executive seemed incontestable.

Thus far, the Bible’s influence has been nil.

Federal Judge Sets 2019 Trial Date for Fraud Case Against Gospel for Asia

Today, a federal judge in Western Arkansas ruled that one of the fraud and racketeering cases against Gospel for Asia will go to trial in 2019. U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks set the date for a jury trial on April 15, 2019.
Despite numerous legal maneuvers by GFA’s lawyers, the Murphy RICO case will move ahead. This is a significant win for the plaintiffs since GFA has tried on multiple occasions to have this and another case thrown out. The earlier case involving another Arkansas couple, Matthew and Jennifer Dickson, has been stayed pending an appeal by GFA.
Read the scheduling order here.
The 10 page order in Murphy and Murphy v. Gospel for Asia sets the dates for discovery throughout the remainder of this year and 2018:

1. TRIAL SET FOR APRIL 15, 2019
The trial of this matter is scheduled for a three to four week JURY TRIAL in FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS, beginning on APRIL 15, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. The case will be tried to an nine (9) person jury–unanimous verdict required. Counsel are directed to report to the Fifth-floor Courtroom by no later than 8:30 a.m. on the first day of trial unless otherwise notified.
2. FINAL PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE
A Final Pre-Trial Conference shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of Rule 16(e) on APRIL 2, 2019, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
3. AMENDMENT OF PLEADINGS
Leave to amend pleadings and/or to add or substitute parties shall be sought no later than OCTOBER 19, 2017.
4. EXPERT DISCLOSURES
(a) Class Expert Witnesses Plaintiffs’ deadline to provide disclosures and written reports for class experts pursuant to Rule 26(a)(2) is OCTOBER 15, 2017. Defendants’ deadline to provide class expert witness disclosures and written reports pursuant to Rule 26(a)(2) is NOVEMBER 30, 2017. The deadline to provide disclosures and reports of rebuttal experts (i.e. whose testimony will be offered solely to contradict or rebut the expert opinions offered by an opposing class expert) is DECEMBER 15, 2017. (b) Merit Expert Witnesses Plaintiffs’ deadline to provide disclosures and written reports for merit experts pursuant to Rule 26(a)(2) is AUGUST 31, 2018. Defendants’ deadline to provide expert merit witness disclosures and written reports pursuant to Rule 26(a)(2) is OCTOBER 5, 2018. The deadline to provide disclosures and reports of rebuttal experts (i.e. whose testimony will be offered solely to contradict or rebut the expert opinions offered by an opposing merit expert) is OCTOBER 19, 2018.
5. DISCOVERY
The scope of discovery may include both class and merits discovery. That said, discovery which clearly has no purpose other than for merits issues should be deferred until after the Court rules on class certification. The discovery deadline is NOVEMBER 16, 2018. The parties may conduct discovery beyond this date if all parties are in agreement to do so. To avoid later misunderstandings, such agreements should be reduced to a writing which describes the type, scope, and length of the extended period of discovery. That said, the Court will not resolve any disputes which may arise in the course of extended discovery. All discovery requests must be propounded sufficiently in advance of the discovery deadline to allow for a timely response. Witnesses and exhibits not identified and produced in response to Rule 26(a)(1) Initial Disclosures, and/or in response to subsequent discovery requests, may not be used at trial except in extraordinary circumstances. The Court will not grant a continuance because a party does not have time in which to depose a lay or expert witness.
6. MOTIONS DEADLINES (a) Class Certification Motions: The deadline to file class certification motions is JANUARY 19, 2018. < Responses to class certification motions are due not later than six (6) weeks after the motion is filed. < Replies are due not later than three (3) weeks after the response is filed.

A settlement hearing was scheduled for January 31, 2019 in the event that the parties decide to settle.

ORDER SETTING SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
This case has been referred to the undersigned for a settlement conference. All parties and their lead counsel are hereby ORDERED TO APPEAR before the undersigned at the U. S. Federal Building, 35 E. Mountain, Fayetteville, Arkansas, in Room 210 at 9:00 A.M. on January 31, 2019. All participating attorneys must be of record. An insured party shall appear by a representative of the insurer with the complete authority to agree to a settlement up to the policy limits. An uninsured corporate party shall appear by a representative authorized to agree to a settlement. If a public entity is a party, all of the members of the board of the public entity, or a quorum of the entity, who have complete authority to agree to a settlement–or a representative given such authority by the board members–shall appear. The complete authority to agree to a settlement means that the representative must have the authority to make an independent assessment of the value of the case and proposed settlement terms as the settlement discussions proceed. Each party shall, before arriving at the settlement conference, ascertain in good faith the best settlement proposal that such party can make and be prepared, if asked by the undersigned, to communicate that settlement proposal to the under-signed in confidence. If no settlement discussions have taken place, the court encourages an exchange of demands and offers prior to the settlement conference.

K.P. Yohannan and his co-defendants will need to be in attendance for this conference.
GFA must now submit to scrutiny that the organization has been resisting. GFA has not published an audited financial statement since FY 2013 and lost membership with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability in October, 2015.
I believe the GFA action is one of the largest evangelical charities to face a lawsuit of this kind.
 

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Without the Help of Moses, the Delegates Debated Judges

Journal Federal Cons LogoJune 5, 1787
In a busy session, the delegates debated multiple facets of the judiciary. They agree on a Supreme Court and inferior courts but declined to have the legislature approve them. The delegates debated various aspects of forming an interim government and agreed on a policy of admitting new states into the union.
The delegates cited experience, Scotland, and Athens as foundations for their positions.

Mr. WILSON opposed the appointment of Judges by the National Legislature. Experience showed the impropriety of such appointments by numerous bodies. Intrigue, partiality, and concealment were the necessary consequences. A principal reason for unity in the Executive was, that officers might be appointed by a single, responsible person.
Doctor FRANKLIN observed, that two modes of choosing the Judges had been mentioned, to wit, by the Legislature, and by the Executive. He wished such other modes to be suggested as might occur to other gentlemen; it being a point of great moment. He would mention one which he had understood was practised in Scotland. He then, in a brief and entertaining manner, related a Scotch mode, in which the nomination proceeded from the lawyers, who always selected the ablest of the profession, in order to get rid of him, and share his practice among themselves. It was here, he said, the interest of the electors to make the best choice, which should always be made the case if possible.

South Carolina delegate Pierce Butler appealed to the Athenian lawmaker Solon to support Butler’s view that the people wouldn’t favor a federal judiciary.

Mr. BUTLER. The people will not bear such innovations. The States will revolt at such encroachments. Supposing such an establishment to be useful, we must not venture on it. We must follow the example of Solon, who gave the Athenians not the best government he could devise, but the best they would receive.

If the delegates wanted to go to Moses and Exodus 18, today would have been a good day for it since they debated the creation of a judicial system throughout the nation. However, there was no mention of Moses or his scheme for addressing the disputes of the Jewish people.
 
To read all of the posts in this series from May 25 to the present, click here.