The Constitution

May I just say again that I love The Onion?

Link: Area Man Passionate Defender of What He Imagines Constitution to Be

My favorite lines:

"Right there in the preamble, the authors make their priorities clear: 'one nation under God,'" said Mortensen, attributing to the Constitution a line from the Pledge of Allegiance, which itself did not include any reference to a deity until 1954.

"Men like Madison and Jefferson were moved by the ideals of Christianity, and wanted the United States to reflect those values as a Christian nation," continued Mortensen, referring to the "Father of the Constitution," James Madison, considered by many historians to be an atheist, and Thomas Jefferson, an Enlightenment-era thinker who rejected the divinity of Christ and was in France at the time the document was written. "The words on the page speak for themselves."

Mortensen said his admiration for the loose assemblage of vague half-notions he calls the Constitution has only grown over time. He believes that each detail he has pulled from thin air--from prohibitions on sodomy and flag-burning, to mandatory crackdowns on immigrants, to the right of citizens not to have their hard-earned income confiscated in the form of taxes--has contributed to making it the best framework for governance "since the Ten Commandments."

The Onion always does so well with pointing out the way people will insert their ideals into sources we are "supposed" to blindly trust. You announce that something is in the Constitution and automatically we're supposed to accept that it is the Truth and the Light or something, but 1. is it actually in there? and 2. what's the context? Doesn't matter to people who try to use these documents for their own purposes, to support whatever they believe is "right" while claiming it's THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE rather than their own opinion.

I've seen people do this with all sorts of respected documents, from the Bible to their job's policy books. I'll never forget when a hypocritical manager named Matthew refused to break a policy at my bookstore even though following the policy during one emergency situation was so impractical that it endangered store workers, and yet he completely ignored other very specific "company laws" on the subject of loss prevention by just giving away damaged merchandise to the employees or keeping it for himself. When it suited him, he'd cite the manual OR conveniently ignore it.

People will shake their fists and point to religious or government documents trying to make their opinions look like facts, and then other times if their opinions don't match up to what the laws actually are or what the document actually says, they rationalize or deliberately disobey, barking about how it "shouldn't be that way" or claiming it's misunderstood. No matter what, some people will come to their own conclusions independently of the rules we've all agreed upon, and they will quote religious leaders, political documents, or local laws as if they are as indisputable as the law of gravity. (They seem to conveniently ignore the fact that even the infallible Pope does things like dole out pardons or retractions on behalf of the Catholic Church, as well as the fact that the Constitution is a living document that can be amended to reflect the needs of the changing moral Zeitgeist--and that the amendment option was put there by rather enlightened men who recognized that the document would need to evolve.)

And, strangely enough, many of these people who draw themselves up to be sticklers end up disobeying the same laws and rules they supposedly so dearly uphold--especially in the cases of religion and patriotism--proving once again that they serve only themselves.

My advice to people who want to throw laws, regulations, or gospel at other people:

Know what the documents say, and the context in which they were written. Otherwise you'll end up looking just as stupid as the fictional guy in The Onion who insists we're One Nation Under God because it's in the Constitution . . . when it isn't. (Weirdly enough, its NOT being there doesn't make a person like this conclude that there IS no such sentiment. Instead, they just throw anecdotal evidence--deliberately misconstrued and slanted to their desired conclusion--that despite what it SAYS, somehow THEY know what the Founding Fathers MEANT. And they MEANT "There shall be no nationally recognized religion. AS LONG AS YOU WORSHIP JESUS, you can do so any way you want to. And no gays. Amen.")

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Comments from others:

Wolfgang: Yeah. Praise be to Jesus. I mean, clearly the Fourth Ammendment means that you will not "search" for God in your Heart without getting a "warrant" to go to heaven.You people need to stop being so literal. But wait, no gays? How can I- oh, right, I'm a woman according to an internet survey, so I can still date guys. whew. That was a close one.

PAUL KRIESE: These folkd were mostly Deists who believed that God was like a cosmic clockmaker who set the clock (the earth) in motion and then went away like an absent landlord. They were NOT Protestants ands they were certainly NOT fundamentalists who believe that only their view of reality was accurate