Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Naboth's Vineyard--2014

The Old Testament book of I Kings records that King Ahab wanted the property of his neighbor, Naboth, because it was conveniently located to the palace and would make a lovely garden.  He approached Naboth repeatedly and requested that Naboth sell to him or trade the land in exchange for another parcel, but Naboth refused, saying that the land in question had been in his family for generations.  Finally, Ahab's wife Jezebel told her husband that she would get the property for him.  Jezebel hired false witnesses to accuse Naboth of cursing God and the king, and then she put him on trial and had him executed.
The Bible records that in response to this crime, God gave the following message to the prophet Elijah, "Go to Samaria to meet with King Ahab.  He will be at Naboth's vineyard, taking possession of it.  Give him this message from Me: 'Isn't killing Naboth bad enough?  Must you rob him too?'" I Kings 21:17.
I was reminded of this story last weekend as the nation watched the tense standoff at the Bundy Ranch.  As heavily militarized federal agents surrounded the ranch with snipers and cut off communications on Friday night, I was, along with millions of Americans, praying that this situation would be resolved without violence.  I was proud of the militia who went to the Ranch and grateful for the intervention of regular Americans who took up the cause of the life and property of a man they have never met as their own.
Over the past few days, there have been numerous stories about the Bundy Ranch.  The story of Bundy's "crimes" which precipitated such an unprecedented use of force evolved from a claim that his cattle were trampling desert tortoises to a government assertion that Bundy owes $1 million in grazing fees.  Soon darker more disturbing reports began to surface asserting Harry Reid is trying to procure the Bundy Ranch for a deal that his son has brokered with the Chinese to put a green energy plant on the property.  Other articles, such as this one in The American Thinker, link the Bundy troubles to a fight over groundwater--a lifeline in the West.  What is clear is that the Bundy Ranch, like Naboth's vineyard, was passed down through the Bundy family for generations.  Like Naboth, they have refused pressures to sell.  The grazing fees he has refused to pay were instituted in 1993 and have accumulated to the tune of $1 million dollars.  And like Naboth, Bundy is suffering the full force of the government because of his failure to cooperate.
As the days pass and this situation calms, we as Americans need to take a close look at what nearly happened this past weekend in Nevada.  Private property rights are central to all our other freedoms. Those of us who are tempted to assign the blame in this situation to Cliven Bundy need to remember that our traditional way of life is being swallowed by a massive bureaucracy of new rules and regulations.  Over criminalization is turning once ordinary activities into crimes.  In a society where the executive branch of government has the right to use the "pen and phone" to write laws and regulations without any checks and where the U.S. Attorney-General claims that he has the right to pick and choose which of our duly-passed laws he enforces, no one is safe. Some bureaucrat can come for our homes, our land, and our property simply by writing a new regulation and saying that we are out of compliance with the law.
I hope that Americans will not forget Cliven Bundy, his ranch, or the bravery of the militias who were willing to risk their lives to protect a stranger.  Most of all I hope that Americans will not forget the greater threat that this incident exposes.  And I hope that they will not forget the Nevada politicians who refused to help, and Harry Reid who, whether the stories linking him to the land deal are true or not, refused to use his considerable authority to lift a finger to help a resident of his state suffering from a clear abuse of government power.  I hope that in the fall elections, American will begin to look at the true cost of over-arching government and demand better for this country.

Private Property rights in America are under attack like never before. Find out why in this short video presentation.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at