The Cognitive Dissonance of the Constitutional Cult

English: Painting, 1856, by Junius Brutus Stea...

English: Painting, 1856, by Junius Brutus Stearns, Washington at Constitutional Convention of 1787, signing of U.S. Constitution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christian has brought up several solid points about holding the Constitution as a sacred document. This highlights something that I would like to call the cognitive dissonance of the constitutional cult.

In normative conversations, people with some rational thought will allow that the Founder Fathers were great men, but men as we all are, tempered by our times. While, in many ways, they were more enlightened about such things as the pursuit of truth and individual liberties, they were still limited by the late 18th century mode of life. For instance, many if not all, supported the subjugation of the African race, even going so far as to enshrine in the U.S. Constitution the morality of the slave trade as well as the usual notion that Africans were only humans, but not fully, when we needed them to be, and usually for our own ends, such as votes.

We recognize, then, Thomas Jefferson’s hypocrisy. Here was a man who abhorred slavery, but maintained slaves. He wrote of the natural equality of all men, but maintained fellow men in chains. George Washington, a great man, had his particular moral flaws, recognized today. We know that their views of Africans, Jews, and the Native Americans were more often than not caused by the time in which they lived. Both the right and the left, unless they are revisionists writers, acknowledge that the Founders were mere men, constructed by their time and as such, their words on the evils of this or that, or the righteousness of this or that, must be taken in context.

And yet, when it comes to the ability to hold a weapon and discharge it at someone we, without judge and jury, deem a criminal, or perhaps even loudly threatened the duly instituted government of the United States, we somehow believe that these men who could never have foreseen an African-American president, a modern-state of Israel, or a host of other social and cultural advances, were prophets of guns. Indeed, while we discount their views on who and what citizens were  (only white landowning males), or even what people were (slaves were not people, but could be counted as 3/5ths of a person for census-related voting), we still maintain them as demigods who walked the earth speaking the truth out of time, especially about guns, an instrument at that time limited to muskets. While we have systematically dismantled the euro-gentry-centric utopian paradise of the Founders because we have come into our own as equalitarians who recognize the worth of all people even against the Founder’s original meanings, knowledge, and intent, we still rely upon them to tell us how to guide our views on modern-day control when the purchase of 20mm rifles (with a shooting distance of 5000 yards) is almost commonplace.

As we have done on a host of other issues when time had matured, we must now reexamine the right to bear arms along side our instituted principles, not contrary to it. Like other views and positions, the time has come to hold the law accountable and engineer a change.

Good luck, ‘Murica.

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Post By Joel Watts (10,077 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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4 thoughts on The Cognitive Dissonance of the Constitutional Cult

  1. I’m not a gun person. I don’t like them and I never want to own one. But I don’t know that I have been convinced that making guns illegal will do much good. I’m willing to be convinced though.

    • Travis, as far as I know, no one with any sense or authority is saying that we have to make guns illegal.

      • I know. I was just replying the concept in the article that we may or may not be guaranteed the right to own guns.

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