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Unruh Denigrates Supreme Court, Seeks Church of America

Mr. Kurtz roasts Allen Unruh for the conservative chiropractor’s anti-gay, anti-Supreme Court screed in that Sioux Falls paper. Analyzing Unruh’s words is usually a recipe for heartburn, but let’s give it a shot.

Unruh notes that Barack Obama changed his mind on marriage equality after the 2008 election:

Was the president a bigot, or a homophobe prior to the election? He said his position was evolving, but if the rest of the country didn’t evolve at the same time, does that make the tens of millions of Christians bigots or homophobic? [Allen Unruh, “America Is in Need of a ‘Spiritual Revival’,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.08.14]

Actually, Dr. Unruh, yes, it might. If you think public officials have a right to discriminate and can refuse to perform their official duties for certain citizens they deem undesirable, you are promoting bigotry on the public dime. If you fear giving homosexuals equal rights under the Constitution, you might well be a homophobe.

Five lawyers on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to re-define marriage. But when 32 states in a row defined it as a man and a woman including liberal California, federal judges responded by over-ruling all the people. The same five lawyers on the Supreme Court changed their minds and over-ruled the American people, dismantling the laws of all 50 states according to their own humanist ideology. It was judicial activism unauthorized in the Constitution according to Supreme Court Justice Roberts [Unruh, 2015.08.14].

Ah, yes, when the Supreme Court rules against you, denigrate the Supreme Court. They are not a coequal branch of the government functioning as the Constitution prescribed; they are mere lawyers, peddling humanism. Never mind that the Supreme Court’s majority opinion was not an aberration. Never mind that it followed over a decade of deliberations and rulings from dozens of judges (not just lawyers, but judges, called “Your Honor” for a reason), including South Dakota’s Karen Schreier, who looked at the law and overwhelmingly determined that we can’t Constitutionally justify denying homosexuals marriage. Legislators, governors, and voters in many states took a similar position.

Unruh then plunges into faux history and hysteria:

America became a country for only one reason. The Puritans and Pilgrims fled religious persecution. After the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin, John Knox and others, started a revival that swept Europe that became so intense King George put out a decree if you didn’t believe like the Church of England, you would be imprisoned, tortured or murdered.

Up to 100,000 were tortured and burned alive in one day during the times of Knox. The right to worship God was more important than life itself to the early Puritans. In America, all rights are inalienable, which means “God-given.” The First Amendment was written to protect freedom of religion from government tyranny. The right to freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of redress are inalienable. Freedom of religion is the foundation of all other rights. Google the “Trinity Decision.” Freedom is not license. Theodore Roosevelt said, “We have the choice now between preserving our Christian heritage and values or reverting back to Barbaric Paganism.” Martin Luther King said, “No law is just that does not comport with the moral laws of God.” Rome was rich and powerful, but it became full of drunkenness and immorality and crumbled from within. Without a grassroots spiritual revival, America will reach the same fate. The courts and politicians are shaking their fist in the face of almighty God saying, “We don’t want you, we don’t need you, we will make our own laws and create our own Utopia – a word meaning ‘nowhere’” [Unruh, 2015.08.14].

First and least, Unruh shows he can’t keep straight which words he wants to shove into his imagined enemies’ mouths. “A word meaning ‘nowhere'” should clearly rest outside the quotation marks he hangs on those silly courts and politicians, as no apostate tyrant would rage, “My Utopia is a figment of my imagination!”

Second, religion was far from the only reason the United States became an independent country. Religion got the Pilgrims and others here, but so did business prospects. We dumped over-taxed tea in Boston Harbor, not the local vicar of the Church of England. We would likely have paid King George the Third’s taxes if he had just given us seats in Parliament.

Third, Unruh fundamentally misunderstands the First Amendment’s protection of religion from government tyranny. The whole point of not establishing a religion was to prevent the newly independent American government from creating a Church of America to whose precepts the government could command allegiance on penalty of prison, pain, or death. Yet Unruh appears to be calling on the government to enshrine in law his peculiar religious dictates on who’s good enough to get married, to favor Unruh’s fellow believers, and to punish—i.e., deny equal treatment, respect, and public benefits to—those who deviate from Unruh’s religious belief.

Allen Unruh is free to believe that his God recognizes marriages only if they involve one woman and one man. But the state is not God. The state, as conceived by the Founding Fathers very clearly not to be a church, cannot so discriminate. Unruh craves the Erewhon of all Americans kneeling to his God, while the courts have recognized the necessity of maintaining the messy, practical-topia where a multitude of faiths, races, and orientations manage to live together as one nation, which in its functional diversity manages to be, not coincidentally, the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.

Don’t mess with greatness, Allen. Enjoy your marriage, let Nancy and Jennie enjoy theirs. Enjoy your church, and let the rest of us pick our own faith.


  1. Spencer 2015-08-17 10:05

    Thanks, Larry, for using a few extreme televangelists to implicate the other 350,000 congregations in America. The reality is that most of these televangelists are not even leaders of an actual church or a member of a denomination. They are TV stars that rip people off. Most churches are governed by a council or parish board. If the pastor or priest misappropriates as much as a nickel, the pastor or priest will need to answer for their misappropriation before the council or board. In denominations such as the ELCA, contracts for employment are made between the congregation and the pastor. The only person who would take advantage of people like this in such a position would have to be someone who obviously wants to be fired and never employed as a pastor again.

  2. larry kurtz 2015-08-17 10:23

    Good to see that SDGOP sent a pro to troll me here.

  3. Don Coyote 2015-08-17 12:27

    @cah: FYI, the SCOTUS is not “a coequal branch of the government functioning as the Constitution prescribed” nor does the Constitution state as such. In fact the Congress was given the power to set up the Federal judicial system not the SCOTUS. The Congress determines the pay of the SCOTUS, can determine the number of justices and can remove members of the SCOTUS. The SCOTUS can do none of those things to Congress.

    And the Framers recognized it as such:

    James Madison wrote in Federalist #51: “In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates.” Hamilton writes in Federalist #78 “… that the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power.” And the French political philospher Montesquieu, who inspired the Constitution’s separation of powers in it’s triparte form of government, stated, “Of the three powers above mentioned, the judiciary is next to nothing.”

    And why shouldn’t Unruh exercise his Right of Free Speech if he disagrees with a flawed SCOTUS decision? While not a 100% correct in his diatribe, your rebuttal disappoints. Please show me where in the Constitution the Federal government is given the police power of issuing hunting, marriage, driver licenses, regulating divorces, adoptions, et al.

  4. larry kurtz 2015-08-17 12:39

    To assure these ends, the Framers of the Constitution created three independent and coequal branches of government. That this Constitution has provided continuous democratic government through the periodic stresses of more than two centuries illustrates the genius of the American system of government.

  5. larry kurtz 2015-08-17 12:42

    Anyone who comments on this blog and pretends to know as much as any of the Justices (excepting Clarence Thomas) is delusional.

  6. larry kurtz 2015-08-17 12:46

    Hamilton wanted and got an American Empire and Marbury v. Madison created the body of law we live under. Unrub Al has every right to raise money.

  7. Bill Dithmer 2015-08-17 13:22

    Nothing has changed as far as religion goes, and it doesnt make any difference which god you choose for your imaginary friend. They are cloaked in the fog of righteousness to cover their immoral views and predudice of those who believe different then they do.

    They never seem to find fault in people whoes asses fill their pews but are completely willing to prescribe treatment for those that have strayed from the faith, or have never been there in the first place.

    You have to understand, the Unruh’s have swung from the government tit for so long Allen feels a certain sense of entitlement. Who can blame him? The Unruh’s organization took hundreds of thousands of dollars from US, then they rolled it over to have control over the womens bodies and minds in the state of SD. It would be tough to go back to an “also ran” status when your used to top dog billing.

    I’m sure all Allen needs is the use of a reconfigured transvaginal probe with anal adapter to get him back on the straight and narrow.

    But what do I know? I’m not a doctor, I just played one when I was a kid.

    The Blindman

  8. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-08-17 14:14

    “Unruh appears to be calling on the government to enshrine in law his peculiar religious dictates on who’s good enough to get married, to favor Unruh’s fellow believers, and to punish—i.e., deny equal treatment, respect, and public benefits to—those who deviate from Unruh’s religious belief.”

    Yes, that’s exactly what fearful Christians do. Well, greedy Christians, fake Christians, immoral Christians, conniving Christians, and a few other shameful Christians too. I don’t think the majority of Christians fit in any of those groups. Unruh probably feels at home I’m several of them.

  9. Curt Jopling 2015-08-17 20:40

    Please don’t call Mr. Unruh doctor. It only serves to validate that what they practice is medicine. That would mean what they do is based on actual science.

  10. grudznick 2015-08-17 20:56

    Mr. Jopling, are you aware that the Doctors of Chiropractic are engaged in trying to take over the legislatures in South Dakota? Did you know that not a one of these fellows is a registered Democrat although some used to be? Have you heard that Chiropractors are engaged in systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment, which constitutes science?

    Crack my back, please.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-08-17 21:01

    I’m thrilled to hear Spencer lay out a good criterion for distinguishing genuine churches from evangelical scammers: a rigorous council structure that governs the church and to whom the pastor answers. The pastor is not the CEO. (Also add real theological training and certification.)

    I cast no unique aspersions on the chiropractic profession. I avoid them as passionately as I avoid regular doctors.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-08-17 21:20

    Let’s work through Don’s smoke.

    First, I do not dispute Unruh’s First Amendment right to speak his mind. I challenge his fearful Christian call (Deb’s right—what is Unruh so afraid of?) for the government to impose his specific religious doctrine on all Americans. That call violates the First Amendment prohibition against establishing a state church. Mingling church and state in that way would make bad church and bad state.

    Second, you can tell conservatives like Don are losing when they ask to roll back the clock to an earlier century. Just wish away a century or two of evolved practice and improvement (like Kristi Noem’s pretense that we’d all be better off living in 1910 without the federal income tax). Every state in the union as taken it upon itself to issue marriage licenses and all those other benefit-assigning documents. The point of Obergefell and the 14th Amendment (something else Don probably wants to do away with) is that if the state is going to offer services to its citizens, it has to offer those services to all citizens, without discrimination based on the religious beliefs of either the providers or the recipients of those public services. The Constitution doesn’t require that South Dakota recognize any marriage, so fine, Don, if you want to cancel all public recognition of marriage, you go ahead and ask your legislators to float that bill. But the Constitution says you have two choices: either the state provides a service to all citizens, or it provides that service to none.

    Third, Don only wishes he could argue the Court into impotence. Someday when Democrats control the White House and Congress, he’ll be begging for us to accept a conservative-majority Supreme Court as a coequal branch. A weak judiciary is a bug, not a feature. A three-legged stool for government is as good an idea as a three-legged stool for public revenue. A third vertex for our checks and balances serves everyone well but fearful Christians who wish they could vote a Church of America into existence. No thank you.

  13. twuecker 2015-08-18 07:25

    Another minor critique of Unruh’s writing to add to your already thorough response, Cory: I have no idea what dictionary defines ‘inalienable’ as “God-given”. Something inalienable is simply something that can’t be transferred or given up. Just because Unruh wants the word to mean something that advances his particular brand of incorrectness doesn’t make the word actually adopt that meaning.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-08-18 07:35

    Here, here, TWU! The misuse of “inalienable” is another example of Unruh’s karaoke mash-up: his writings and speeches are pastiches of fancy words he’s gleaned from patriotic documents, sermons, and talk radio. He’s likely hearing the tone more than the content in his head.

  15. Don Coyote 2015-08-18 19:09

    Sorry but you won’t find it in a dictionary. Unruh no more misuses “inalienable” (or unalienable) than Thomas Jefferson did in the Declaration of Independence. In fact that’s where you’ll find Unruh’s claim that Man’s Rights come from God.

    “… that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”

    John Locke, who Jefferson “borrowed” heavily from, essentially states the same thing in his “Two Treatises of Government”. Rejecting the Divine Right of Kings by which a monarch derives his power to rule directly from God, Locke reasons that Man need not submit to the king because of his own ability to govern himself according to the Laws of God. The Rights don’t come from the king (or the government) but from Nature (God) and governments are instituted to protect those rights.

    Better bone up on your Locke.

  16. larry kurtz 2015-08-18 19:23

    Jefferson, in believing that humans are good and capable of self-restraint, did his best to remove the traditional props: monarchy, aristocracy, the priesthood, militarism and so on. And he liberated us to govern ourselves. Now he assumed that there would be rival props: education, agrarianism, decentralization and so on. But the fact is that in American history, we have taken advantage of the Lockean spirit of de-regulation, that libertarian obsession that we have as a people. But we have never fully taken seriously the responsibilities that come in the wake of that liberation. We have never done education right—certainly not at this time in American history. And our agrarianism has been steadily eroding since Jefferson’s death in 1826.

  17. larry kurtz 2015-08-18 19:25

    you poor bastards.

  18. happy camper 2015-08-18 21:06

    Similar to race there’s really no such thing as homosexuals and heterosexuals anyway. Just some labels that make most people comfortable, like they’re following the rules and being good little boys and girls. Even on this blog the “straight guys” have had to joke “not that there’s anything wrong with that” like they are so tolerant (but different), although the world around us (as reported by The Guardian) is beginning to accept “sexual orientation as something other than a binary choice.”

    In matters of what to believe there seems to be a kind of mass need to grab on to something regardless of science and reinforce one another, especially in the area of religion. It would all be kind of funny if it weren’t so damaging. The book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is worth taking a peek especially since it’s free. It helps to explain the stock market at times but it’s probably about some people’s extreme need to fit in and be accepted. They need to pretend they are so straight (in all sorts of ways) but are usually the most perverted because they can’t deal with the totality of their true nature, especially considering the church or the uptight people they feel they must be a part. Those are the poor bastards IMO.

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