Michael Peroutka: To Determine Whether or Not a Law is Valid, One Must Consult the Bible

Michael Peroutla wants the Bible to be the law of the United States. It is the Christian reconstructionists dream. Here he presents in a nutshell (see what I did there) the crux of his argument that the law of the land must square with the Bible or else it can be ignored.

(Blog note: since 2014, this video has been removed. The transcript of the video is below – updated, July, 2022)

Before we can say whether a law is now or not we have to consult God’s Word? That’s precisely what I’m saying. That’s exactly what I’m saying. That’s exactly what our founders said, that’s exactly our organic law of the United States. That’s the law. This is, it’s contained in the Declaration of Independence. When Jefferson said, the laws of nature and nature’s God, he was quoting Blackstone. Blackstone said if what man made law is what he called “ad-missible” law, is not harmonious with the divine law then it’s not law at all. That’s a standard, a fixed standard that we don’t acknowledge today and we need to.

As far as I can determine, Jefferson did not credit Blackstone with being the source of his phrase “nature and nature’s God.” Jefferson spoke to the matter of sources in a letter to Richard Lee dated May 8, 1825.

This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before, but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, not yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All it’s authority rests on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, & c.

Jefferson also told Lee that he “turned to neither book nor pamphlet while writing” the Declaration. Jefferson did not agree with Blackstone on the origin of British common law being in Christianity and even though Jefferson read Blackstone (all lawyers did at the time), this does not mean he took this phrase from him or meant to send a coded message that the Bible was to be the law of the land. It is inconceivable that Jefferson would have had Peroutka’s misunderstanding in mind. Jefferson did not have much good to say about the Old Testament and cut up the gospels to only include the moral teachings of Jesus.

In any case, the Constitution declares itself to be the law of the land and doesn’t make the Bible the final authority. Peroutka should rename his institute to Institute to Promote the Bible as Civil Law.