Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Constitution: Sacred and Inspired

 “[The adoption of the Constitution] will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it.” (George Washington) 

President Obama announced his nominee to take Justice Souter’s place on the Supreme Court today. As everyone expected he picked a Latino woman. Now, it just may be that Sonia Sotomayor just happens to be the most qualified individual for the job, but it is far more likely that the President’s decision was merely a display of exactly how he views the Constitution; instead of viewing the Constitution as a sacred, complete document, he views it as merely a provisional document, one that is open for modern interpretation, adaptive to times and circumstances. Hence, a Latino woman, with her “ability” to take into account the interests of both woman and the millions of newly arrived Latinos is right for the job in these “modern times.”  Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with advocating woman's or Latino issues, but the Supreme Court is NOT the appropriate, Constitutionally sanctioned forum to do that. That is the job of your elected officials, not your Supreme Court. 

The nomination of Sotomayor today re-ignites the familiar arguments of how the Constitution should be applied by the Supreme Court.

To Obama and to Sotomayor, we are not sovereign citizens of the United States who have divinely inspired Constitutional rights, we are “citizens of the world” who have rationally developed human rights, which the Constitution must accommodate as US citizens become "more enlightened".  Thus, the Constitution is a work in progress that should be flexible and mirror changing social and moral climates.  This is often referred to as the idea of the “living Constitution.” It has an ironic name, for those that believe in it are effectively killing the Constitution.

For those of us “strict constructionists” who believe that the Constitution must be strictly applied and interpreted according the original intent of the founding fathers, and that any change to the Constitution MUST come in the form of an amendment, which requires two thirds majority in the House and the Senate or a two thirds vote by the states, the Constitution is NOT a provisional document to be interpreted liberally at the discretion of a “wise and learned judge.” The people we have had on the Supreme Court are intellectual peons compared to the founders, and any attempt to even begin to second-guess the vast wisdom of the founders on a premise that modern society is becoming more enlightened is really quite comical—quite comical indeed.

This is what those of use who hold the Constitution sacred believe. However, beyond what I find to be logical or rational, I believe the Constitution should not be be subject to modification and interpolation also because,  as a Latter-Day Saint, the scriptures and modern day prophets and apostles inform us that the Constitution was a divinely inspired document that should not be meddled with. 

The Lord said in Doctrine and Covenants, 101:80: “According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

He also stated in Doctrine and Covenants, 98:5-7: “And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” 

Yes, anything more or less than what was inspired by the founders in the Constitution “cometh of evil”.  As explained, this is not to say that there should not be amendments—but there is a process for amendments, a process which we have long since abandoned in this country, and we are now seeing the evil that is coming from that abandonment.

So you see, the debate is not merely logical, rational or political—the debate should really come down to whether you believe the founders were inspired by a living God or whether you do not.

Joseph Smith Declared: “The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner.”

And J. Reuben Clark said: “…that statement of the Lord, ‘I have established the Constitution of this land,’ puts the Constitution of the United States in the position in which it would be if it were written in this book of Doctrine and Covenants itself. This makes the Constitution the word of the Lord to us.” (Conference Report, p. 90. April 1935.)

Being then that the Constitution is the word of the Lord, would we truly dare say that it is not adequate for modern society, that it is somehow outdated or antiquated, so much so that we must pick not the most qualified person to apply the Constitution, but the person in the the best position to give it a modern interpretation befitting of a modern political climate (i.e. a Latino woman sensitive to woman and Latino political interests)?

President George Albert Smith sternly warned of such handling of the Constitution in 1948 when he said: “Now, there are many things that I might talk about, tonight, but I want to raise my voice to you and say, our Heavenly Father raised up the very men that framed the Constitution of the United States....Yet, there are those who go around whispering and talking and saying, 'Let us change this thing.' I am saying to you that to me the Constitution of the United States of America is just as much from my Heavenly Father as the Ten Commandments. When that is my feeling, I am not going to go very far away from the Constitution, and I am going to try to keep it where the Lord started it, and not let anti-Christs come into this country that began because people wanted to serve God.” (Conference Report, April 1948.)

Yes, it is our duty not only as Americans but also as Latter Day Saints to raise the warning voice against judicial activism and any push in the direction of viewing the Constitution as merely a provisional document, one open for interpretation to serve modern, short term political expediencies.  I am writing with such vigor because I truly believe it is our duty, those many of us in the church that fully understand the importance of the Constitution, to proclaim its importance with a loud voice and to demand that it remain pure.  

You may be sympathetic to President Obama’s policies or philosophies, but be honest with yourself and consider whether we should trust the wisdom of modern “forward thinking” political elites because they align with our political views or whether we should trust the Lord and know that the Constitution is a sacred and inspired document that will protect our freedoms and liberties far better than they can.  If we truly honor our liberties it will be well for us to proclaim that anything more or less than what is in the Constitution, or which does not come by way of a valid and proper amendment, will “cometh of evil”.

(All quotes came from http://www.zeios.com/OurRepublic)

2 comments:

Bassus said...

"Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them" Book of Mormon, Alma 46:10
"Behold, I am Moroni...I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country..." Alma 60:36
"If it (opinion) is not seconded or accepted, I must be contented with the satisfaction of having delivered my opinion frankly, and done my duty." Benjamin Franklin
Give me liberty under the US Constitution, countrymen who live by it, and a land to call home and I can look forward to peace and tranquility. Without these, I see all the contention and strife lamented over in the early publications of the Federalist Papers. He with ears to hear, let him hear.

Micah Burnett said...

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