Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thankful for The Power of Restraints In America

One of my favorite theologians, John Piper, sharing his reflections on the recent Supreme Court ruling on the rights of terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay:

The Supreme Court rendered a decision last week concerning Guantanamo Bay. Unlawful combatants there now have constitutional habeas rights (protection from unlawful detention). The decision was considered a rebuke to the Bush administration and the way the armed services are doing their work under his leadership.

Here is what amazes me and awakens thankfulness in my heart to God. I heard the president from Rome speak these words: “We will abide by the Court’s decision. That doesn’t mean that I have to agree with it.”

Don’t let this go by without wonder and gratitude. Here is the most powerful leader in the world standing in public in the middle of Europe and saying for the whole world to hear that some of his decisions are nullified and his authority is curtailed and that he will submit to it.

Imagine such a thing in Myanmar or North Korea or China or Vietnam or in a half a dozen African regimes. Unthinkable.

What an incredible privilege we have to live in a land where human power is checked.

I am thanking God today for the freedoms and the power-restraints of America.


(HT WorldMagBlog)


thinking said...

What's sad is that presidential candidate McCain severely criticized this ruling, actually having the gall to call it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country."

That's actually scary.

Fortunately for us, we have another candidate to vote for in Obama, who actually taught Constitutional law. Wouldn't that be nice to have that in a President?

C# said...

I'd love to see Brian respond to this comment.. would be interesting... ;-) That's if thinking != BJH

Brian Hollar said...

Thinking, John Piper (and I) are not commenting on the conclusion the Supreme Court reached. We are commenting on how wonderful and rare the American political/legal system is that constrains even the President. Neither Piper or I were commenting one way or the other on the quality of the decision itself, but were both marveling at how powerful the checks-and-balances are in the US political system. It reflects how much we are a nation ruled by law rather than by man.

Part of the beauty of the American system is that it carries with it the right to disagree on these types of issues and to freely express our ideas and opinions on them -- just like McCain is doing. He’s not advocating the Supreme Court get turned out or that the President ignore them. He’s expressing disgruntlement at the decision. He has that right as an American.

The fact that this was a 5-4 split decision on the Supreme Court implies the constitutionality of this decision was far from clear, far from certain, and could have gone either way. I think both Obama and McCain are savvy enough to understand that.