Subscribe for 33¢ / day

I have studied modern “civilization” for nearly 60 years and seen many changes. Today, I am convinced that it is very, very sick

Back in our homestead common law community, we were labeled by civilized folk as wild cowboys, nevertheless, we lived by four basic principles of common law -- Principles of Peace I call them. And we surely lived a lot more civilly than people in the heart of civilization.

These four pillars had many particulars, but to simplify I will summarize this way: 1) Be a good neighbor; 2) Be honest. Keep your word; 3) If you don’t work, you don’t eat. Do your share; 4) Children, respect you elders and your parents. Parents, teach your children the principles.

We’re in the midst of a culture war. It seems to be mainly between Christianity and secularism. Christianity is under fire and there are those who would destroy it if they could. They saw things that needed to change, and a great many changes have been made. By around 1900, the Common Law was pretty much gone from law studies. Since the 1960s, some things that were once respected have been made illegal – like the Ten Commandments. While there are some God-related commandments there, most of them are generic.

We are throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Principles (a higher law) provide some stability while moral relativism seeks the lowest common denominator.

Just because Common Law comes out of Biblical Law, doesn’t make it bad. Our Founding Fathers imbedded the Common Law into the Constitution. The first eight of the bill of rights are from Common Law. When you attack or weaken any one of them, you make all the rest more vulnerable. The Bill of Rights is a big part of what makes America special compared to other countries.

If you notice, they are rights, not entitlements. They are not freebies that the government gives you. They are rights that the government shouldn’t mess with.

We are looking in the wrong places for solutions to our many dividing issues. We are wrongly thinking that if we can just get a law, all will be well.

For example, take today’s biggest domestic issue. More guns or less guns.

By focusing on the tool or the symptom of a problem we avoid addressing the real issues. Why are people committing horrendous violent acts? Where are they getting their ideas to do this? And on and on.

Here’s a little story how Hollywood glamorizes violence and misuse of guns. When I was a kid, my family visited some relatives in Bakersfield. It was like being in another world to me.

My young cousins saw my dad dressed in his normal cowboy attire. They wanted to know if he shot Indians.

I said “Heck no. Indians work on our ranches. Why would we shoot them?”

We didn’t have movies out on the homestead, but as it turned out they were watching movies where killing Indians made you a hero. What a shameful thing to promote to children. The situation is even worse today.

In conclusion, I just got the following statement through my church news channel. The father of one of the shooting victims in Florida says everything I’ve been trying to say, only a thousand times better.

“While grief-stricken over [daughter’s] death, [the father] said of the accused gunman, ‘I’m not angry at the shooter. I feel like we, as a society, failed this young man. He did not have the opportunity to live in a family that could love him the way he needed to be loved; to take care of him and understand the challenges and emotions he was feeling, and to give him positive ways to deal with them.’”

Loving families, he added, are often remedies to such challenges.

“I can’t help but think that the solutions to these types of problems don’t lie in the policy realm — they lie in having strong families that [care] for their children and live according to Heavenly Father’s plan,” the same grieving father said.

May God help us. Today, I struggle to be a follower of Christ and become like this family. I have seen how principles kept peace in our non-Christian community where everybody had guns. I know that these Bible-based principles are good. You don’t have to be a Christian to benefit from them. They are universal.

Principles: Our leaders don’t make America good or bad, they are just a reflection of who we the people are. We elect them. We are sadly divided.

The number of laws we must have to control people is equally proportionate to the degree of sickness of our culture.

Laws alone don’t solve problems. People working together solve problems.

Good law is good law no matter where it comes from.

Jon Garate

Deer Park