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What Do Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Supreme Court Have in Common?

Only True Believers

By John WorthingtonPublished 19 days ago 7 min read
Illustration designed specifically for this blog by BSIENKART

The other day a couple of the people who represent the Jehovah’s Witness door-knockers and paper propaganda distribution detail stopped by to talk at me. I don’t mind that they come visit because they are well-meaning and what they never consider is entertaining to explore with them. They’re always concerned for my spiritual health and well-being but I can never help but notice they are infatuated with the actual words they read. They like them words a bunch, but they don’t care for the abstractions the words represent.

I swear those two folks reminded me for the world of Sam Alito and the Originalist Supremes. They were believers too. Just like Judge Sam. They thought they could interpret the scriptures with the emotional sets our current society uses to construct reality. I mean, Judge Sam doesn’t interpret the scriptures, but he does interpret the law and what he uses to interpret the law, according to him, is his interpretation of what he thinks the scriptures say. He thinks the scriptures define what he considers morality to be and his particular flavor of morality in particular. I don‘t know about you, but I have to wonder how one interprets with certainty something that was put in its written form about 2000 years ago.

May I be so bold as to observe that Boomers, born in the late 40s and early 50s, do not understand Generation Z and understand Generation Alpha even less. Gen Z was born between 1995 and 2010. Gen Alpha is counted from 2010 until now. Boomers have no idea what the Gen Z or the Gen Alpha experience is. Now, can we take a moment to consider that a generation is considered to be about 15 to 20 years in duration, so we’re only talking about 100 generations between when the Bible was written and now when Judge Sam is interpreting it. What could get muddied up in that short period of time?

How Do You Interpret a Language You Can’t Speak?

Just to complicate matters a bit. Judge Sam is interpreting one or two languages that he has no idea how to speak. No one speaks those languages these days. Let me give a couple of examples as to why that is foolhardy under the best of conditions. English and Spanish are both considered to be romantic languages which are currently spoken by millions of people. Both languages are drawn from Latin, which was in common use when the Bible was written, but it was not used to write the Bible. Both languages use Latin for the basis of word meanings, however.

Even so there are words in Spanish which do not exist in English. A very common word in Spanish is tuitear. When the word is used it is always an invitation to speak informally using the word tu for you with someone who would normally be addressed as usted. The entire concept is foreign to English speakers. In English, there is only one word for you. It’s you. In Spanish there are two words that indicate the same thing. Tu and usted. But you use the word tu' when you’re speaking with someone who is younger than you, or familiar with you or is your family. English speakers cannot grok that word in usage even after years of speaking Spanish.

To complicate matters, all nouns in Spanish have masculine and feminine appropriate word endings and therefore all descriptive words must agree with the gender of the noun. Those are just a couple of simple language chasms between two historically similar languages with the same roots but different interpretations. And Judge Sam thinks he knows what the Bible says or means? That surely does seem to be naive.

Even on the Supreme Court there are differing opinions about what that contentious phrase in the Second Amendment means. The actual quote is:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Now, before everyone jumps up and down hollering, how about we take a powder and look at this really? First thing it says is a “well regulated Militia.” Regulated might well mean trained and in step with the government, couldn’t it? That just might exclude the idea of everyone open bearing in Walmart, for example, right? There could be chaos with the lax regulation in that open bear thingy, perhaps. Then we come to the “security of a free State.” There must be a couple of questions here. What does free mean and what is the State and how do those two words combine? If the State is free, then the people must be free. That could mean the people are free to bear automatic weapons into Walmart and it could mean that the people who are also in Walmart, who also happen to be members of the State, must be free to shop at Walmart minus the oppression open bearers exert simply by bearing those weapons. What is the threat that makes bearing automatic weapons in Walmart necessary to the free State?

And those are just a couple of easy questions. Then we get to the head busters. “Right…to keep and bear Arms.” Keep could mean at your house. Bear could mean when it’s necessary only, couldn’t it? Arms could mean muskets and swords and muzzle loaders. It could not have meant AK47’s in Walmart when it was written, because neither existed when the constitution was written. And, um, guys, that was only about 250 years ago. You know, like 12 generations, or so?

Something’s Not Adding Up

Think about this. We have nine full-time, highly-educated legal scholars aided by a legion of clerks and gofers who cannot agree on what that phrase in the Constitution means and they’re relying on the Bible for guidance? What makes them think that they understand what the words in the Bible, written in a language they do not understand at all, at a time they cannot possibly understand, mean? This becomes particularly disturbing when they obviously do not understand what the abstractions which the word constructs mean. If Justice Thomas understands the abstraction “without appearance of wrongdoing,” how can he accept what seems to be clearly bribes? If Justice Sam is an originalist, interpreting the words of the Constitution, how can he fly an international signal of distress over his house to signify he does not agree or support the government’s laws he is charged with interpreting? In this regard, Judge Sam and the Originalist Supremes are like the couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses at my door the other day. They have to believe the words. But the abstractions are just not applied at all and if they are, they’re applied as they wish to interpret them. It is not likely that either group even knows abstractions exist in the words.

Here’s the thing that has me scratching my head and my ass. If there are that many questions about what the words could possibly mean, how in the hell do the yahoos at my door or Judge Sam and the Originalist Supremes get all high and mighty up there on their high white horses all proud about how correct they are in their interpretations of anything at all? Doesn’t interpretation require patience, tolerance, understanding, and humility? How can an interpreter be so sure of his interpretation without living experience with the language he’s interpreting? Wouldn’t that level of security require acknowledgement of what is known and what can not possibly be known? To explain, I may understand that the word sobremesa means the talk that happens while you eat. But I may not ever understand the intimacy required for such talk nor even what is included and what must be excluded from such talk. That can only be known from experience in that culture.

What Do His Actions Say?

This is where Judge Sam is nothing more than a door-knocking Believer. He has stated that he is concerned about the morality of the nation. That is a lofty concern without doubt. However, Judge Sam is not an honest believer. What he professes to believe is not what his actions say he believes. That upside-down American flag that his wife put up, yeah right, is a statement about what he believes the people of the nation are allowed to be in his belief. He limits who he believes can be an equal citizen. Is Judge Sam, for example, suggesting that Gay men should bear Arms so their rights are not infringed? Is he saying that Black Lives Matter protesters should bear Arms so that their rights are not infringed? Is he saying that women must bear Arms so their rights are not infringed? Is he standing in the breach to deny them when they do bear Arms? If not then why is he infringing on their rights?

You suppose Judge Sam would be offended if an Armed group of female people came and stood outside his house open bearing AK47’s? How about if a Gay Supremacist regiment marched up to his house open bearing Fuck Trump Flags in rainbow colors while wearing full military regalia and fully armed? Would he still be as sure about his interpretation of what that passage means in the second amendment? You know, should any of those events transpire, I think he’d probably have to buy some of Donnies Diapers.


About the Creator

John Worthington

As a published author/teacher, I draw on those experiences in my writing and use satire to introduce spiritual concepts through a contemporary political lens.

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Comments (1)

  • Esala Gunathilake19 days ago

    Great point.

John WorthingtonWritten by John Worthington

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