“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
So goes one version of the oath taken by our soldiers when entering the military. Among the various oaths taken by law enforcement, military, and other public officials are the following similarities as specified in the oath above:
- To defend (affirm, support, uphold) the Constitution
- Obey orders of superiors (or in accordance with State constitutions, and other ordinances).
Sounds simple, right? Why then would there be ANY conflict? Why would OathKeepers even be necessary?
In April 2014, the Bundy Ranch in Nevada found numerous armed government agents (LEOs, FBI, etc) caught in a stand-off with hundreds of armed “We the Peoples” as well as many Oath Keepers in a conflict over this very issue. These government employees apparently felt as though they were putting their lives on the line for following orders in compliance to their oath. The “Patriots” were also putting their lives on the line in defense of the Constitution and Liberty. Both sides saw the issue differently and were willing to die for that belief.
I don’t question the resolve of either side. I am sure if you asked, the men on both sides would insist that they were all acting in compliance to their oaths.
So which side is truly “right”?
The million dollar question is: how do you defend the Constitution (or encourage and hold your elected leaders to do the same) when the ‘order’ is in direct contradiction to the Constitution itself? How do we handle the conflict?
The Uniform Code of Military Justice makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the “lawful command of his superior officer,” 891.ART.91 (2), the “lawful order of a warrant officer”, 892.ART.92 (1) the “lawful general order”, 892.ART.92 (2) “lawful order”. In case you didn’t notice, the operative component here is “lawful”. The moral and lawful obligation is to the Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation to any provision of the Constitution. An Oath-taker and Oath-keeper has an obligation and duty to ONLY obey LAWFUL orders. This obviously means that the same obligations stands with relation to disobeying UNLAWFUL commands and orders, regardless of who issues them, the president included.
The decision to follow any order by a superior is always a judgment call for the Oath taker. While it doesn’t appear as though most orders involve violating the supreme law of the land, some do; and this is where our knowledge and education of the Constitution has to be the framework for that decision. As a sovereign man created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), you are always responsible for your choices.
During the last campaign for Baker County Sheriff, I attended a town hall meeting where we questioned a particular candidate running for that elective office. My question to him was, “If you are elected Sheriff, will you serve a warrant merely based on the fact that it was issued by the court, regardless of whether or not it is valid?
His answer was telling. He replied that he wasn’t a politician, and that it wasn’t up to him to determine whether or not warrants were valid…that was the judge’s job. As an agent for the court, it would be his job to serve the warrant regardless.
Thank God he didn’t win that election. He didn’t get any of our votes. In truth, as an elected Sheriff as well as the entity that executes that warrant, he has an obligation cemented by his oath of office to serve warrants that are Constitutional and not the mere order of what may originate from a corrupt judge. So yes, in fact, it is the Sheriff’s OBLIGATION UNDER OATH to only serve valid warrants and to disregard those that are not. And he does have to make that choice.
We have to learn to debate the issues while forming educated opinions instead of merely spewing witty one-liners that break down after one or two questions deep. Liberals have a field day with the uneducated conservatives and believe me, it fuels them. Take for instance Nancy Pelosi claiming that The Affordable Health Care Act is valid Law because it falls under the commerce and general welfare clauses of the Constitution. Based on that statement, her support of ObamaCare isn’t unconstitutional at all, so she’s not breaking her oath. How would you answer that assertion?
In the past, our Chapter has recommended education by KrisAnne Hall, Ken Ivory, Doyle Shamley, Edwin Viera, Tervor Loudon, Dr. Eduardo Rivera, and many more. These educators deal with real life issues that we are facing here in Baker County. They are helping the seekers of truth to better understand how we can be right in defending our Oaths at a local level. These teachers have written books, blogs, and host websites with their messages in addition to many hours of lectures and instruction posted on YouTube. I have found www.libertyclassroom.com ($99/year) to be an extremely resourceful website with complete lecture modules on the Constitution, history, economy, Law, and more. They are offered by the leading Constitutionalists and Libertarians of our time. Furthermore, each lecture can be downloaded in audio format so that you can turn those long road trips or monotonous working hours into classroom instruction. If you listened or read for 1 hour each day, you’d amaze yourself after only one year at the change in your world view and how easy it would be to support.
If we as Oath Keepers do find ourselves in situations where we stare mortality in the face, our choices have to be right. Some we can analyze, others will be snap decisions. In either case, we have to stand on disciplined principle and support and defend the Constitution with the same tenacity and dedication that our countrymen did at Valley Forge. The Bundy Ranch incident as well as the security measures taken at Ferguson, Missouri found Oath Keepers in situations where these types of choices had to be made. As our world spirals down the path of its current trajectory, we will find ourselves in similar situations wherein we have to be right in making those decisions with resolve and discretion. If our health, safety, and welfare hang in the balance and are worth defending with our lives, then we have to be right!
Baker County Oath Keepers