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The Constitution — Not a Sacred Text

Just read a fascinating article in Newsweek about how the Tea Party screamers profess to worship the Constitution, but in fact don’t understand the document at all.

In case folks don’t have time to read the entire article I’ve pulled out another wonderful quote from Thomas Jefferson from the article.

 

“As usual, Thomas Jefferson put it best. In a letter to a friend in 1816, he mocked “men [who] look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched”; “who ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.” “Let us follow no such examples, nor weakly believe that one generation is not as capable as another of taking care of itself, and of ordering its own affairs,” he concluded. “Each generation is as independent as the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone before.” “

 

My Constitutional law professors taught that the Constitution is a living document and needs to be interpreted in light of societal changes.  As the Newsweek article pointed out if we follow the path of the Originalists we are going to end up unable to enforce minimum wage/maximum hours, it would allow states to found a religion, no Medicare, no Social Security.

And if you carried this to it’s logical conclusion you’d want to get rid of those pesky amendments.  Oh, wait, the Tea Party does want to do away with birth right citizenship.

One Response to The Constitution — Not a Sacred Text

  • Hadley V. Baxendale says:

    I think the tea party simply wants the constitution to be amended officially as T. Jefferson opined — the Constitution is not a sacred document that may never be amended. Isn’t it interesting that before the federal government could outlaw the sale of alcohol, the Constitution had to be amended? Today, the federal government outlaws the sale of many goods without an amendment — why is that? What changed in the Constitution from 1919 to today? Also, when the Constitution was ratified, several States had their own state religion and the purpose of the 1st Amendment was to prevent the federal government from establishing a federal religion or meddling with the various State religions. Thomas Jefferson opposed Virginia’s state religion.

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