Monday, January 31, 2011

We Need Tea Without Lemon

“The Constitution . . . is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”
Thomas Jefferson (to Judge Spencer Roane, Sept. 6, 1819.)

One needs to understand that the founding fathers were very concerned that people, either intentionally or unintentionally would not comprehend their wisdom, which they laboriously applied when penning the documents of our republic government. These great men labored upon forming a government steeped and molded in the Christian-Judean philosophy that all involved concurred was the only way a people could govern themselves. That is not to say this is a “Christian” nation (though there are many good arguments for it) but a religious one that works well within Christian beliefs.

Many court decisions made the last fifty years play into exactly what Thomas Jefferson (and others) were concerned about when he made the above statement. One came to mind when I recently read a new policy directed by the Board of Education of Massena Central School in New York. Not to pick on them exclusively but it represents many such moves by school systems and other public organizations attempting to use court decisions that play into the progressive, liberal ideology that removes Christian influence from our government. This particular school policy may sound familiar and if it does read on why I think it is unconstitutional by intend.

Policy 2011 8360 SUBJECT: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM – “…the District will be guided by three concepts when making decisions about the appropriateness of activities for inclusion in the school program: the activity should have a secular purpose; the activity should neither advance nor inhibit religion; and the activity must not foster an excessive entanglement of "government" with religion.”

There is obviously more but the policy derives its “meat” from the court decision of LEMON v. KURTZMAN, 403 U.S. 602 (1971), which in recent years has been used less successfully but still cited. The Court's decision in this case established the "Lemon test", which details the requirements for legislation concerning religion. It consists of three prongs:
  1. The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;
  2. The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
  3. The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.
Our founding fathers would have no issues with number 2 and 3, because they address them in our founding documents. What I have problems with (and the founders would also) is number one. What is a secular legislative purpose? Many would contend that secularism is the only model that encompasses a neutral philosophy or void of any religious connection, thus supporting the “wall of separation” needed to keep God out of American politics. But take a look at a definition of religious from Merriam-Webster.

Religious : relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity (emphasis added).

Christianity and Secularism are both religious philosophical ideas: one based on deity and the other on different acknowledged reality. Both are based on faith and both can find certain scientific evidence to support it is true. So, for those who will quote secularism as a system that rejects all forms of religious faith I contend that it is a religion that simply opposes others. Any government action that supports a philosophical secular legislative purpose is just as lawless as one that might support a Christian philosophical purpose; based on the twisted logic purposed by Justice Burger in this court decision.

People need to understand our democratic republic, what it is based on and the intention the Framers had when they wrote the documents that make this nation such a great beacon for the rest of the world. Understand why you consider yourself patriotic and uphold the principals our government works best with, whether you consider yourself religious or not. Vote for people who understand these principals, direct your representatives to support the Founders principals or vote them out; whether it is a school board member or the President.

The Founders believed all people are on an equal legal footing. But the Framers did not espouse pure pluralism. Non-Christian-Judean philosophies could exist only insofar as they stayed within its principal boundaries - no sacrificing virgins, no polygamy, no pagan perversions. We were one nation "under God" - a particular God, with particular moral standards. The current Tea Party movement needs to keep pure. No Lemon please.

“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
John Adams

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nuts on Right, on Left and Just Plain Nuts

“By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”.
“The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society.”
The Federalist NO. 10 - Thursday, November 22, 1787 [James Madison]

Every American should have a grasp of our founding fathers vision for our republic and a great place to start is the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers written during the birth of our nation. Federalist Number 10 deals with “factions”, which means people with different ideas about how things should be. Sound familiar, like it might apply to today? You bet and today’s news just highlights it.

A right wing nut, Brett Reese, is airing an editorial four times daily - up from two - on his station KELS-FM 104.7. He is unapologetic that portions of the editorial that call King a "plastic god," a "sexual degenerate," and "an America hating communist". The Mountain States Anti-Defamation League has asked Reese to stop broadcasting the editorial. The Greeley school board passed a resolution last week supporting the holiday and calling the editorial "inflammatory and detrimental to our district and community." The vote came after Reese walked out of the meeting.

A left wing nut, James Eric Fuller, was arrested after shouting “You’re dead!” at Tucson Tea Party spokesman Trent Humphries, said Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jason Ogan. Fuller was shot in the knee and back Jan. 8 when a gunman opened fire at Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords event that day. Fuller linked the shooting to conservative leaders associated with the tea party, including Sarah Palin, Fox News commentator Glenn Beck and Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle. “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target,” Fuller said.

The act of Jared Loughner is fairly simple to discern if you just look at the facts; he is just plain nuts. The news media is having a hay-day with his story though. In our republic it is expected that we will have varying ideas but as Madison alludes to, the voice of the people pronounced by a body of representatives is more conformable to the interest of the community. He argues large republic against a small republic for the choice of “fit characters” to represent the public’s voice. In a large republic where the number of voters and candidates is greater, the probability to elect competent representatives is broader.1 The effects of the Tea Party movement is exactly what Madison refers to. Given time and with a majority of the people understanding the principals our country is founded upon, it can heal and work for the common good the government is meant to preserve. “We the People” need to be the characters our founding fathers developed this country for so ALL the nuts will stay in the can where they belong. What it all boils down to is our republic works only when the people understand the ethics, philosophical integrity and religious foundation the founding fathers based it on. I finish with this quote I used before but it fits here best.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
John Adams – 1798


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Control Hate Speech

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

Thomas Jefferson, Letter, 23 December 1791

First, we need to pray for congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her family and all those who suffered at the hands of a madman. But there are many who would rather politicize it and again claim hate speech and point finger to stir people up. They declare it is the fault of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. Interesting these same people don’t suggest that on June 2008 when our current President said “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” is similar talk. I’m intelligent enough to know Mr. Obama never intended this to be meant as hate speech and encourage violence. Both sides say things like this and if you are going to condemn one you have to do the same with the other.

OK, so using one of the examples pointed at, let’s see what he said about hate speech and the actions of Jared Loughner. Look at the challenge Glenn Beck (here) put forth to everyone, including those blaming him and other conservatives for the tragedy. Ignoring what others say, if you can (??) and looking ONLY at what Glenn’s statement says against violence (you will need to read it for yourself!) tell me the statement is wrong. Can you? You might think it is a simple lucid moment in an otherwise deranged individual but is it wrong? How would you feel about it if I said a liberal wrote this (I’m sure many could)? Would someone who writes this be one who would purposely direct others to commit violent acts? I do not always agree with Glenn, but he has never intentionally provoked hate like some people and organization have. The very hate speech they condemn they use to make their point. Even Richard Cohen of the Washington Post (a liberal) believes the right wing has little to no bearing on the actions perpetrated by Jared Loughner.

Hate speech can not be controlled through legislation. Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the founding fathers argued that point in many ways and at numerous times. What could we possibly use as a measure to determine what hate speech is? We know it when we hear and it is different for every individual. The only thing that will deter and limit this kind of behavior is for everyone to understand their personal obligation to strive for integrity found only in God’s commands for us to live by. It has to be taught, needs to be learned and then practiced by each person who wishes to mature.

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, (A)nd if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Tea Anyone?

 [Samuel Adams] argued that the Tea Party was not the act of a lawless mob, but was instead a principled protest and the only remaining option the people had to defend their constitutional rights. 
Samuel Adams1 - Wikipedia

As 2010 closed and I sit here conjecturing (there’s a unique verb for you) on 2011, it intrigues me that the American people have developed a taste for tea over other favorite “drinks” of the recent past. I know you realize I speak of something other than the refreshments we part-take of on a daily basis, but let us just continue with the analogy for the fun of it.

Last year I wrote about my fascination and reflections of all the flavors of tea. I found myself too busy to finish quarter four with details and insights about those who hate tea and want to outlaw it and those so fanatical about it they understand nothing else. But I will try to pick up where I left off and see how the current tea fascination may play out this year.

A popular flavor of the herb has made it into our US House for the next few years and seems to be making an overall commotion from the aroma before anyone has even tasted it! I think I’ll wait for a sip before any judgment of the quality. But I do like tea and hope others discover the value it has. Unlike other drinks, like strong alcohol for instance, tea has major medicinal qualities, can be used in large quantities without major complications or ill effects and without worry of developing a destructive addition.

So, as we begin this year keep track with me how the Tea Party promotes or provokes political changes and how well governance absorbs and reacts to the taste “we the people” demand they serve us; because they haven’t had to deal with the cakes, cracker and crumpets we like ... yet.

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government."
Patrick Henry

"(T)he foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; ...the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained..." 
George Washington, First Inaugural, April 30 1789

1 John K. Alexander, Revolutionary Politician, 129