“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (The First Amendment of the United States Constitution)
It seems as though my beloved United States of America has lost its ever-loving collective mind. Never in my lifetime, have I seen such asininity on full display from entertainers, athletes, so-called community leaders, and the men and women we elect to represent us. Our President types out more Tweets than an emo teenager, NFL players, take a knee during the National Anthem, disrupters of all kinds try to impede the Democratic process, and rioters destroy their own neighborhoods. Politicians and community organizers pander to any group they can label as a victim, and the white supremacists pander to the only group left, white Christian males. Feelings trump facts; everyone wants to be heard, but nobody wants to listen; right and wrong are whatever you want them to be, and the truth no longer matters. It makes me want to stand up and shout as loud as I can “Can’t we all just grow up and get along?!”
The participants in all this insanity believe that their words and deeds are sanctioned by the Constitution; that the First Amendment is a protective shield that gives them the right to say and do whatever they want without consequence. Well, no, it doesn’t. Since apparently, the Constitution and the mindset of the men who wrote it are no longer taught in public school, it looks like it’s up to me, the Middle Aged Housewife, to give you all a common sense, middle class, refresher course.
Let’s start with “freedom of religion”. This part of the amendment was created to prevent the Federal Government from establishing an official national religion. Many people came to this land to escape from religious persecution in their homelands, and being able to worship G-d how they saw fit was important to them. Interestingly, this amendment makes no mention of the “separation of church and state”. That statement was made by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, confirming that there is a wall between the government and religious practice. This was meant to assure religious leaders that the government could not dictate religious practices.It was not meant to infer that politicians, public officials and educators, could not rely on their personal principles, religious or otherwise, to guide them in their decision-making. When public schools ban prayers, and public buildings remove copies of “The Ten Commandments”, they in reality are violating the First Amendment. However, we Christians must realize that while this amendment was meant to protect our religious rights, it also protects the rights of non-Christian belief systems. This means that a ridiculous statue of a Satanic goat ministering to children has just as much a right to be in front of the courthouse as a stone with The Ten Commandments, a Cross, a Nativity Scene or a Menorah. As individuals, we have the right and the responsibility to practice our beliefs, and to bring our children up with the knowledge that under our secular form of government, all religions have an equal right to exist, but that doesn’t mean that all forms of religion are equally benevolent or beneficial.
In my next post, I’ll explain my take on Freedom of Speech.
This Memorial Day amid all the boat filled lakes, bikini filled beaches and back yard barbecues, many of us will take the time to stop and reflect on what this day is really about. We’ll pause and remember the courage and sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price to preserve the rights and liberty this country enjoys. Rights it seems, that many in this country are willing to just throw away.
We like to plaster bumper stickers on our cars, and sport t-shirts proclaiming, “Support our Troops”. But are we making a real effort to support them? The VA hospital scandal, and the whittling away of our Veterans benefits are truly appalling. However, there is another way that many Americans have dishonored our Vets that maybe we have never considered.
When men and women join the military they take an oath. Not an oath to protect our government, an oath to protect and defend The Constitution of the United States of America. When we treat The Constitution as a “living” document, to be interpreted at whim, we reject the spirit of that oath. When we elect to office, people of questionable integrity, people who care more about their own power and glory than serving their constituents, we tell our Warriors that we do not care about the document they are sworn to defend. When, either through ignorance or indifference we elect government officials whose goal it is to turn our Capitalist, Republic into a Socialist Commune, we tell our military members that their sacrifices were in vain.
As citizens of this country, we all have an obligation to learn about our history, our Founders, and our Founding Documents. We have a responsibly to make wise and informed choices when we vote. And we have a sacred duty to only put into office those individuals who will truly “uphold and defend” The Constitution of the United States of America. To do less is to make the deaths of our bravest, and brightest meaningless.
Saw this video on Chicks On the Right. When will those in the government learn that they work for us. There are those who understand what this country was founded on and will not stand by and let our Constitution be trampled.
Congress is now debating Senate Bill 649 The Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. As the Obama administration continues to increase the strong-arm of the government over us, it is important that you contact your representatives and let them know your view. We cannot depend on the media to accurately reflect the views of conservative America, they won’t be taught in the schools. If we are to change the culture and return this nation to its once exceptional state, we must make our voices heard. Here is an example of an email I sent to each of my state’s Congressmen. Feel free to copy, edit, or write your own letter, JUST DO IT. You can find the addresses for your representatives here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
As a registered voter in the state of _________, I am informing you of my opposition to the various gun bills, specifically S. 649, the “Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013”, introduced on March 21, that are being introduced in Congress. As you debate these bills in the coming days, please keep the following in mind:
There is little evidence that any of the proposed measures would indeed reduce violent crime, however there is evidence to show that in many areas of the country where the legal ownership of guns is encouraged, violent crime has been reduced.
The Constitution guarantees our right of gun ownership for more than just hunting and personal protection against crime. It was clear from the other writings of our Founding Fathers, that gun ownership was a way to protect the citizenry from the overbearing tyranny of a government out of control. As an informed voter, I would strongly reconsider my support for a Congressman who votes in favor of any bill that would increase the stranglehold of governmental power, while decreasing my right as a citizen to maintain control over it.
Common sense dictates that one of the best ways to increase safety in our schools and communities is to improve services to the mentally ill. Our system now is a revolving door where treatment is fragmented and inadequate. Steps need to be taken to make it easier for parents, legal guardians and law enforcement officials to commit violently mentally ill persons for treatment. There also needs to be in place a system by which such persons are monitored to be sure that treatment plans are followed.
All schools should be required to provide adequate armed security based on the number of students and staff on the property, and funding should be made available for this purpose. This security could take many forms, from district created police forces, to support from local law enforcement, to the training and arming school staff. The choice on what form this should take should be left up to the local school districts.
Background checks are an important tool to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. I personally do not object to background checks for the personal sale of firearms. However the exchange of guns between family members, whether through sale, gift, or inheritance should be exempted from this requirement. Furthermore the checks should be accomplished using existing databases. There should not be any database created to track applications for background checks, or gun purchases.
We were all horrified by the slaughter of innocent children at Sandy Hook, but as terrible as these types of incidents are, it is important that as a representative of your constituents, you put the emotional considerations aside and base your vote solely on the constitutionality of the bills at hand. Our personal liberties are precious and come time for reelection, my vote then will be heavily influenced by your vote now.
The other day I was watching TV with my daughter when a commercial from one of Mitt Romney‘s Super Pacs came on. She sat shaking her head then stated. “I don’t like Mitt Romney”. This started a discussion on the comparison of the negativity of political campaigns. Her rather discouraging reply was, “don’t get me wrong, I don’t like Obama either. I don’t think either candidate is any good. I makes me not even want to bother voting.” This is her first time getting to vote in a Presidential election and she’s already so disgusted by the campaign crap that she’s just done with it all. I felt so disappointed for her, and so afraid for our future. I can still remember the pride I felt the first time I got to vote. Even after four years of Ronald Reagan, we could still feel the hopelessness of the demoralizing presidency of Jimmy Carter. Proud once again to call ourselves Americans, we young rural Texans were going to make sure we didn’t go there again. I was excited about going to that tin shed out behind the Old Rock Church, to mark my poster sized ballot and put it into the lock-box. I felt as though I were really making a difference. Not in any election since, have I felt that way.
No longer do we have the pleasure of electing a hero who will bravely lead our country to a place of honor and respect in the world. Now we have to settle for trying to discern who will do the least amount of damage. Gone are the grand designs for peace and prosperity, boldly put forth by men like President Reagan. We are left with mud-slinging salesmen and morally bankrupt hypocrites. We no longer go to the polls to elect a leader, we go instead to choose between the lesser of two evils. No wonder, that our young adults are so disillusioned.
Right now the America that has become the most prosperous nation on earth, the country the rest of the world looked up to as an example of leadership, and decency is in grave danger of perishing. Sitting in the Oval Office is a man whose personal philosophy is the polar opposite of that of our Founding Fathers. Someone who has no real understanding of an American culture, and no respect for the “separation of powers” established by our Constitution. Through deceit and subterfuge he bypasses the “checks and balances” of our system of government in order to push through his own agenda. A vision of America where those who live by their own hard work and ingenuity have to share the fruits of their labors with those who choose to do nothing. Where charity and compassion are no longer the way that men of integrity separate themselves from the lazy and selfish, but are government mandates instead. Where peace is bought by placating our enemies and abandoning our allies.
This may be the most critical election in our nation’s history. Made even more so by those who have been beguiled by Obama’s charismatic presence, into believing that his vision for America really will make their lives better. Those individuals are lost to us. Our only hope is to convince those who are undecided and especially those who feel that their vote doesn’t matter that an absent vote is the same as a vote for Obama. The only way to save our nation is for everyone who is tired of “politics as usual” to understand the disaster that four more years of Obama will bring. Mitt Romney needs your vote. The country needs your vote. Even if the choices aren’t great.
(Parts of this are reposted from an earlier post entitled “No Guts No Glory”.)
This Monday we will see billboards, bumper stickers, and car magnets all proclaiming “Support our Troops“, and “Freedom Isn’t Free”. Are these truly heart-felt words, displayed by proud patriots or are they meaningless platitudes, mindlessly quoted by pandering politicians? On this day there will be countless memorial services and tributes. But will we stop a moment and reflect on what this day really means or is it simply the beginning of summer? Just a day to have a picnic or barbecue.
I remember as a child hearing the stories of my mother, who, as a toddler underwent surgery on her foot. For years afterward she required special orthotic shoes that had to be replaced every time her foot grew. This was during WWII and rationing was in full force. Everyone was allowed only one pair of shoes a year. Including my mother. The government didn’t make a special exception because she was a child with a medical condition. Her parents didn’t demand that she was entitled to more ration coupons because of a unique hardship. Instead they gave up their ration coupons to get her the shoes she needed and when those ran out other family members, friends and neighbors donated theirs. Why was this necessary? Because the materials that were used to make shoes over here were needed to make shoes for the troops over there. Could you imagine giving up coffee, sugar, shoes and tires and sending them to the troops in Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq? Could we ever again unite as a whole country behind an effort to rid our world of an unspeakable evil? Do we even know what evil is anymore?
The invention of photography as allowed us to see the horrors of war up close and personal. The flag draped coffins of our loved ones, the bloody, mangled bodies of our enemies, the atrocities. Faced with the horrifying reality that the price of freedom is blood, many of us have decided that the price is too high. We believe that the act of war, rather than the megalomaniacal ideals of ruthless men is the true evil and that nothing save our own personal survival is worth fighting and dying for.
The men who marched at Lexington and Concord, whose bodies covered the ground at Gettysburg, who raised the flag at Mount Suribachi, all understood the power of the words of our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution. That such a radical ideal as individual freedom, that men should control their own destinies, requires a collective sacrifice.
By looking to the government for our prosperity rather that demanding that our elected officials recognize the freedom to build that prosperity ourselves, by allowing the government the rights to our personal property, and by allowing the government to usurp and mismanaged our wages though an unnecessarily complicated tax code, we dishonor those who have fought and died to maintain those freedoms.
By allowing our schools to indoctrinate our children with the mantra that it is the government’s job to take care of us, to protect us from our own ignorance and folly, and that “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need” is the highest morality, we dishonor those who fought and died for our right to think for ourselves.
Our Forefathers wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, not to give us certain rights, but to preserve them. The government does not grant us our freedoms, rather we “the people” grant the government its right to exist. It’s time for us to “take back” our government and hold our elected officials accountable, for what they do with the money, property, time and power we “the people” give them.
In every election we have the opportunity to show that we truly understand the cost of our freedom and that it is precious. By taking the time and making the effort to research and vote for people truly worthy to serve us, and by reminding them regularly that they do, is how we prove that those who made the “ultimate sacrifice” did not do so in vain.
I am not a Catholic. I have no problem with women choosing to use contraception to prevent a pregnancy. I think it’s great when an insurance company covers it.
But just who in the, heck, does the President and his Congressional supporters think they are? How did they come to the conclusion that they actually have the authority to force a religious institution to abandon its tenants of faith? This bill is not about women’s rights, health or contraception.
It’s about a government over reaching its authority and insinuating itself further and further into our private lives.
Who is to blame for this? We are. We have become dependent on the “nanny state”. To many of us are happy to trade away a few personal freedoms, for the government’s promise of a life without worry or want. We want the government to protect us from being offended, or inconvenienced by our neighbors. We want businesses to be regulated so that their profits are handed over to the government and redistributed, so that we can have free health care, a grocery allowance, and subsidized housing. Most dangerous of all, we want the government to be our conscience.
Both liberals and conservatives want the government to restrict behaviors that we find immoral or offensive. We want airwaves censored from sex, violence, and obscene language, yet we continue to tune into shows and buy tickets to movies that contain those very things. Some want women to be able to have an abortion any time, anywhere, for any reason, and some feel that there is never a justifiable reason to abort a baby. Many of us choose our elected officials on this issue alone. Meanwhile we fail to teach our children that a sexual relationship carries with it some heavy responsibilities, and requires a certain level of maturity. We want the government to prevent banks from charging penalty fees when we fail to handle our finances responsibly. We want the police to crack down on drunk drivers, speeders, and red-light runners, but we complain about rogue cops when we are the ones who get caught. We no longer have the ability to make very basic judgments for ourselves.
The Founding Fathers designed our Constitution to limit government. I’m sure they never intended for the Bill of Rights to be twisted and perverted into a device that allows the government to become our teacher, our parent, our God. We need to resurrect our common sense and good manners. We need to stop confusing legal with moral and take responsibility for our own clean living rather than imposing it on others. Most of all we need to use our patronage and our pocketbooks to effect social change rather than placing power that should belong to the people into the hands of the government.
Now that Time Magazine has made The Protester “The Person of the Year”, I have been giving a lot of thought to the First Amendment Rights to peaceable assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. We hear a lot about our constitutional rights, what we don’t hear a lot about is our responsibilities in exercising those rights.
There are many ways to petition our government officials. We can write or email them. We can gather signatures on a petition. We can call them and we can vote. We can even gather in large numbers in a show of unity to call attention to an issue. That is what is meant by the right to peaceably assemble.
A peaceful assembly respects the rights of those not participating to go about their daily lives and does not try to impede them by blocking streets, sidewalks, or the entrances to buildings. A peaceful assembly does not destroy public or private property. People do not commit crimes against one another during a peaceful assembly. A peaceful assembly respects the rules of usage for public parks and open spaces. A peaceful assembly respects the rights of others to use public parks and open spaces and does not occupy them for an unreasonable amount of time.
When the purpose of a gathering is to call attention to its cause by being willfully disruptive or destructive, when it causes an inconvenience to those not participating by obstructing their access to places were they have a right to be, then the gathering is no longer a peaceful assembly. It is an act of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience is an unlawful act and is not protected under the constitution.
To understand the difference between the two acts we need to understand why we have this right.
The Constitution was written by men who had a healthy mistrust of government. They wanted to limit the government’s intrusion into our daily lives. The First Amendment spells out some specific rights that allow us to maintain control of the government and the individuals elected to serve us. Not all countries enjoy this kind of freedom. In places such as China, and Middle Eastern theocracies, the people have no other choice but to engage in civil disobedience in order to confront the injustices their governments force them to endure. But because our constitution gives us lawful and civilized ways to keep our government accountable to us, an act of civil disobedience is not only unnecessary it is counter productive.
When a gathering becomes a disruptive nuisance to a community there will inevitable be someone who seeks to remedy the situation and prevent future problems by suggesting regulation. It seems reasonable enough, lets protect the public by restricting, how many may gather for a rally, where they can gather, how long they can gather. Before long political correctness takes over and along with protecting public safety, the government decides that it should protect us from being “offended” as well. Now along with the restrictions already in place comes a restriction on who can gather. Now you have to submit your agenda to code compliance to make sure it does not encourage disruptive behavior. See how this goes?
We all have a right to have our grievances heard, but we should also be good neighbors and citizens. The First Amendment was not meant to allow an “anything goes” approach to addressing our concerns. When we abuse our rights, we set in motion the means to erode them.