The Whole Constitution or Only A Part Of It?

A number of gun toting protesters at presidential events have made the public eye, along with the rancher from Montana who announced that he was a proud member of the NRA and believed in the Constitution (he was not carrying a firearm and asked some very good questions). My question is, does he, do they, believe in the whole Constitution or only the NRA version of the second amendment? It’s an important question. After all, the Constitution contains seven articles and twenty-six amendments (keeping in mind that one enacted prohibition and another repealed it) interpreted by over 200 years of Supreme Court decisions. Some protesters have yelled out their fears that the current administration might be stripping away their constitutional rights. I don’t recall them yelling that out when the previous administration actually did strip away rights. Perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention.

8 thoughts on “The Whole Constitution or Only A Part Of It?”

  1. CP:You are correct that the current protesters were not yelling about the Bush administration stripping away their constitutional rights– that was the left that was screaming at Bush over the past eight years.

  2. Ah Allan. I knew i could count on you. However, I don't recall a lot of gun toting and stuff like that. My member of congress is coming next week and will hold a ONE hour gathering for us seniors to talk over how to stop government bureaucrats from getting between us and our doctors. I wonder what would happen if we organized a spontaneous 'shout to shut down' protest? We won't of course. We're too nice for that. A little gentile whining perhaps, but no shouting.

  3. perhaps if people READ the constitution, AND the other founding documents, they would understand several things about our country and its form of government beyond the propaganda that was spread for purposes of industrialization and justification of wars. If they studied American History beyond the myth of George Washington and the Cherry tree, Davy Crocket and Daniel Boone, they would understand that there is no set in stone never changing ideal of individual freedom that trumps the common good! But lets get off to a good start, EXACTLY where does it say that we are a Democracy? To the best of my research the closest I can find is that we are a Democratically Elected Representative Republic with three branches of Government designed to ensure that no person in this land is subject to the tyranny of the majority or commerce, and that the role of this government is to ensure the Common Good over the special interests of the powerful.

  4. CP:I certainly do not approve of anyone carrying guns to any public event. That should be condemned in no uncertain terms.I can certainly recall more than a few times during the Bush years when there were \”disrupters\” to use Nancy Pelosi's verbage shouting down poliicians. I am waiting to see conservative students at a university throw a pie at a liberal politician or pundit speaking at their institution, as happened fairly regularly at well-respected and liberal seats of higher learning.So, once again there is enough garbage to go around, although I am certain that you will be civil, which is the mode of discourse I prefer.

  5. Bruno,You are exactly right. We are a republic of elected representatives who are expected but not required to represent the interests of those who elected them. The closest we came to classical democracy was in the early New England town meetings, a few of which still exist. We lived for a time in Greenwich, CT. It's government had evolved into a hybrid type. The legislative body was the Representative Town Meeting with a couple of hundred elected representatives (in a town of about 60,000). The real power rested with a three member Board of Selectmen with the First Selectman serving as something like a mayor. If we translated that to a national scale it would mean a House of thousands of members with real power resting in a small committee of leaders – more or less along the current Chinese model. But I digress. What about James and Paul?

  6. Well CP, What about James and Paul? it is really part of the same discussion, is it not. Part or whole. What is true freedom and what are the responsibilities of being free? If one has faith will there not be action related to that faith? If one holds value in the Constitution of these United States can they ignore the preamble in it's translation? In a sense adopting either great experiment, the Gospel or the founding documents of these United States requires us to become slaves to a new way of thinking about the world in which we live. Neither allows us to walk half asleep out into the world, both require us to measure constantly the condition of the \”other\” around us. Both are abused when the focus is turned to privilege of self. Both the Gospel and the founding documents are calls to vigilant action of self, can one say they truly believe if they do not act? It is not surprising that a country that reads the second amendment as \”the right to bear arms\” and ignores the introduction \” A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state\” can translate the Jesus message as one of freedom from doing the work of welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, clothing the naked, caring for the widowed and the orphaned, etc. as long as we just say \”Lord Lord\” in church on Sunday or wear a symbol on our car or body. I guess the question is \”What is faith\” or \”What does it mean to have faith\”? Can one believe and not act on their beliefs?

  7. Bruno,In one sense I could not agree with you more, and in another I think it is very difficult. In my experience, a great many are able to compartmentalize their claim of a Christian faith on the one hand and their daily secular lives on the other. In fact they are able to compartmentalize more than that, and find ways to live in little boxes labeled home, spouse, work, church, friends, etc. This dis-integration of one's life inevitably leads to problems of al kinds including physical and mental illnesses. I think it also leads to extraordinary attempts to create the illusion of integration, and am reminded of very wealthy friends in Florida who live in neighborhoods designed to create little integrated worlds catering to their needs and tastes but physically and visually isolated from the less attractive realities surrounding them. At least in a small city like Walla Walla that can't be done. But I digress again. I think the inherent conflicts in this sort of dis-integration also contribute to the fear and paranoia of the current \”tea bag\” kind of protests. To be a Christian is to enter into a process of formation as a disciple of Christ, and the formation of disciples requires the sort of integration that you wrote about, but for many it is a painful process that requires a lifetime of baby steps. I think that, in his own way, this need for self-integration is what Jung was trying to get at. A fundamental element of our Christian faith is transformation, and since that is a hard thing to accomplish, I suspect a lot of pastors just skip it and congregants are happy to avoid it. Obviously more to be said.

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