The Importance of Law

Good law is the security blanket for a peaceful and prosperous life.  Without good law, everything is at risk.  God, being ever so aware of this, created his utopic paradise in the beginning with assignments, privileges, and law. The assignment was twofold. They, Adam and Eve, were assigned the job to maintain the pristine environment of their garden spot. The second assignment was to fill the earth with their progeny. These two assignments were passed down to us in this generation.  The privileges included that they were free to eat from every fruit tree, nut tree in the garden. Then came the law.  God placed one tree off limits to Adam and Eve and their children.  The tree was in the midst of the garden and was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. From this tree they were not to eat.  We have no idea what kind of tree it was; it seems to be different from all other trees in the garden.  It was beautiful and looked good to the eyes.

   God’s one law came with a penalty: death.  God knew that law without a penalty was useless.  God was a serious lawgiver.    

   It is an old and well told account of Satan showing up in his reptilian Mardi Gras costume, tempting the garden couple, causing God their lawgiver to become God their judge. Typical of law breakers, they each wanted to blame others for their disobedience. However, nine hundred plus years later they both were dead and buried in the pre-diluvian earth. God not only is a good lawgiver, he is a faithful judge. 

   For the next 4,000-plus years Jehovah God became the example of lawgiver, judge, and prosecutor as families became tribes. Then tribes became cities; and cities became nations. Before tribes established a system of laws, tribes were governed by taboos. 

   In the middle of the 17,000-square-mile reservation of the Diné (Navajo) is Canyon de Chelly. In the canyon’s center are two stone needles that reach hundreds of feet into the air. They reach to the height of the south rim of the canyon. From the south rim you can see the top of the two needles of rock.  At the top of the tallest of the stone needles was a limestone formation that looked like a pile of bones. This stone needle was called spider rock.

    So that you might understand the taboos, customs, laws of the tribe that became a people nation under a federal treaty and contract in 1868 with the United States of America, you need to know this was a part of the long walk.  I need to tell you a bit about the Diné (Navajo) and their cousins the Dineh (Apache).

    The two groups come to the new world during the little ice age around 1100 to 1200 AD. They are Mongolian descendants. They arrived in the southwest at the end of a 1000-year rule of the Anasazi that were city and business builders.

    The Apache were very tribal and ended up in individual reservations all over the southwest.  The Navajo acted more like European nations with many clans, but were united; and were more of a threat to the federal military in 1860 as they moved together as a nation.

   With the war between the states raging, the U.S. military was afraid the Navajo would become the western front for the South, Confederate Army, moving to cut off our trade routes west, and move against the free western states, eventually coming across the Mississippi, and east up the Ohio river.

    A genocide was planned and Col. Christopher (Kit) Carson was commissioned to round up all the clans of the Navajo and long walk them to Bosque de Redondo in central New Mexico.  There was nothing that was to get in the way of the 300-mile walk. Young mothers giving birth were left to die of starvation along the blood-dripping trail. Nothing was to slow the government plans.

   I relived the tails told me at camp, fire side, at Tec Nes Pass, near Four Corners; and as searched out on Google.

   By 1868 the U.S. Government wanted to wash their hands of the whole stinking mess, gave the Navajos the treaty they wanted and told them to walk home. 

   In 1967 and 1968 my three partners and I were busy rewriting with the tribe in Window Rock the part of that 1868 treaty/law that did not allow Christian churches and schools on the reservation. 

   The Navajos live in a one-room home called a Hogan. There is a fireplace in the middle of the room. There are rugs and tanned hides on the floor.  The Hogan is the family castle. If you know your manners when you drive up, you stay in your vehicle. When they are ready to greet you they will come out to your vehicle.  If you are invited in, you take off your boots or shoes at the door.

   All dressing and living by each member of the family was in that one room.  Little boys, being little boys, like to peek at sister getting dressed. They all knew the story of Spider Rock and the bones at the top. Either grandmother or grandfather would take the boys aside and explain that boys that peek at sister are gathered up by Spider woman, taken to the top of the needle of the rock, eaten, leaving his bones to dry in the sun. Taboos can only control so much.

     As the tribal cities became nations, God gave the laws to control society, and family progress as they deal with each other.  As well as dealing with neighbors.   One such tribal group was the twelve tribes or clans of the Hebrew nation as they left their sojourn of 400 years along the Nile River in Egypt.

     God gave them two sets of laws, the written national set of 620-plus laws dealing with all their nation. Then his universal code of ten commandments.  In my studies of Cultural Anthropology I found this decalogue repeated time and again in cultures all around the world. Of all the Hebrew law, these ten were repeated in the New Testament.

    The Ten Commandments have become the basis for national and international law worldwide. At the same time they gave us protection of our personal home, property, protection of personal wealth from thief by outlaw or by illegal government. 

    Well written law allows us to plan for the future, knowing our outreach into the future is regulated by dependable laws that protect the future as well as the present.

    In the course of ongoing history as time moves forward there are well meaning officials that enact bad laws for what seems to be good reasons. 

These bad laws must not be allowed to remain, or they will deteriorate respect for good law.  Let me give you an example. 

    In the 1960s in Aztec, NM, the city council made a law that the short service road that was parallel to the U.S. highway heading south to Albuquerque was to be one-way south. There were a half-dozen residences, and one business on that service road. The Albuquerque highway was built up to start the climb up a mountain on the south of Aztec.  The service road stayed level with the residences it served, then the last fifty yards had a steep incline to the stop sign at the intersection where the service road ended.  The one way worked well in good weather; however, when winter came and brought its snow and ice the residence people were iced in, unable to negotiate the final steep fifty yards of uphill, the stop sign, and turn to a side street. 

   The city council’s answer was that during ice and snow times it was okay to disobey the signs marked one-way south, to go north to the next cross street, a busy street, and exit the service road.  This was a bad solution, since 90% of the time all the residences wanted to exit to the north. The question of the hour, “How much ice and snow excused you from keeping the law?”

   I was involved in the discussion since our home was on the service road; my business, Aztec Auto Sales, was on the busy, six-point cross street to the north.

   At this time I took my lunch hour to broadcast the Bible Answer Man on KNDY, the Aztec 5,000-watt AM radio station. I was the Bible answer man, I was open to public questioning for the next sixty minutes. 

   The day of the next council meeting, the first question was about the one-way law on the service road.

   The questioner asked, “If it is okay to break the one-way law during snow and ice, why not when it is just more convenient to go north?”

   This led to an hour of the phone lines being jammed; every one wanted to be in on the conversation. It ended with me stating that disobeying a bad law caused disrespect for all law. The answer was not to disobey the bad law, but to change the law. 

    That is what happened that night at city hall.

    Sometimes it is not that easy, sometimes there are evil people with evil schemes to do bad things to take advantage of people, to take unfair advantage of others or situations. They create laws that give them the advantage. Or to allow their associates to steal or take advantage of others. They form laws that let them control elections so you can’t vote them out. 

    We come again to 1770, and ask, ”What should we do?”

    We can take the Jeremiah 29 route and take a couple generations to regroup and take back over.

    Or we can take the 1776 route and revolt and take back over by force. 

    We must stand before Jehovah God, the just law giver, and ask are we moral enough so God will honor a revolution? As a nation I think not.  

    Or do we just throw the towel in, and give up, and give in to bad law?

    Or do we use the courts, the good laws, and continue to fight the good battle?   To do that we are not to put our trust in men or wealth, or political power, but our confidence must be in returning to good law for all mankind. We must put our trust in the good lawgiver, Jehovah God.  We must not be afraid to lose, for is their anything impossible for our God?—hp