That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
North Carolina Constitution of 1776 – 17.
That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defense of the State; and as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 – Art. XVII.
The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority and be governed by it.
There is ample evidence that Thomas Jefferson drafted both the Virginia and the North Carolina (if passively the latter). Modern state constitutions and what they say can be found here. Also, here, but this link’s creators has a certain ability to miss the intended target, if you will pardon my pun.
What can we gain here? First, the earliest States, writing their constitutions in a time of war (an act of rebellion against a king based on a lot of propaganda) thought their citizens well enough armed to insure against foreign invasion by an enemy. The defense of the State (whatever State one would call home) was first and foremost important. Why? Because every (white) landowner was a citizen of the State and as such, had responsibilities to the State, such as being in the service of the State up to and including the final full measure of a person’s loyalty.
Yet, we find traitorous speech, talk of treason, today bantered about as if there was no State, no call to defend that State against foreign invasions.
How odd that people remain ignorant of the original intentions of the right to bear arms and yet seem ready to start a real civil war to defend their fantasy.
The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.” (See “The David Barton controversy,” Aug. 8.) (here)
Wonder if Barton is a martyr for this? Will the Becky-beck-beskistan-Beckster stop with the Barton circus?
Or, more than likely, Baron will sell his fantasy to others who simply believe what is written in a book unless it is a real book. Confused?
Shawn as brought to my attention a book to be released by Thomas Nelson, authored by none other than just about the greatest fiction writer today, David Barton. It purports to expose the “Jefferson Lies.”
These are some of the “myths” which will be explored:
Jefferson and Sally: Did he really have children by his slave, Sally Hemings?
Jefferson and Jesus: Did he really abandon the faith of his family?
Jefferson and the Bible: Did he really want to rewrite the Scripture?
Jefferson and the church: Did he really advocate separation?
Jefferson and slaves: What is the truth about his slaveholding and his statements that all are created equal?
Jefferson and education: Did Jefferson really found the first secular, irreligious university?
David Barton was Glen Beck’s go-to guy for revisionist history, much of which he has selflessly recreated himself instead of outright stealing it from others. His errors are known far and wide and some of the worst sort, but for some reason, he is a big hit among conservatives who still insist that this country was founded as an honest-to-good Christian country.
How convenient that Murdoch has another publishing arm, appealing to conservative Christians, to push his political agendas.
In our men’s discussion group a few months ago, I mentioned my general feeling that the American experiment is going to die soon. I mean, look at the number of people eligible to vote, as opposed to those who do vote. Look at those who march and complain, but beyond that, never get involved in the political process. This will eventually lead to oligarchy… where the few are those who dole out the impoverished wealth to whatever group keeps them in power.
So, this is what I’m thinking.
We can take away the right to vote from those who do not contribute some form of property tax. To secure what “property tax” is, the Constitution must be written so as to allow that property can include vehicles and other things commonly associated to be property. Alternatively, one could pay a minimum tax in order to vote.
Also, or perhaps rather, fine people if they do not register to vote and then if they do not vote for several elections. Of course, there will be religious allowances made. Not a large fine, but something that will be mandatory. Like no driving license or something. After all, the roads are paid for by tax dollars and generally governed by elected officials.
Also, get rid of the the primary system which charges tax payers to institutionalize the two party system. Allow States to determine how they will select federal offices. Make it a non-partisan election as well. I envision this being done something like… one must have 1500 names on a petition and, say, 10% of the yearly salary to run. This just for federal offices. Think of it this way… a (fictional) congressional district has 400,000 people… are you actually telling me that only 2 people should eventually compete for that seat? Really? For President, same thing. We have an electoral college system that is absolutely genius. Let’s put it to work. By the way, this means that serious Presidential candidates would have to actually campaign in each state, or at least more than the 6 or 7 states they campaign in now. If they don’t reach the required 270, the House will get to pick from the top 3 candidates (determined by electoral votes).
The entire election cycle should be less than 6 months
Saturday elections. Mandatory, employer paid, time off to vote. 2 hours. But, you must vote to get those two hours off.
Be willing, like Thomas Jefferson said, to change every now and then.
Also, the House should now be 4 years, and the Senate 8, with the President 6
A timely book, Dr. Allan R. Bevere, a Methodist pastor and a professional fellow at Ashland Theological Seminary, issues a call to the Church to regain the position of prophetic witness. To be sure, this small book has salvos against both the Left and the Right, and equally so the uninvolved, which must lead to a choice – either we ignore Bevere or we heed him. The author knows his limitations, both in space and the cultural situations, but he is able to provide a firmly grounded piece which addresses the involvement of the Church today, and calls it from the pride of place and the sidelines to a place that protects its prophetic mantel.
He presents this work, some 62 pages along with a few more for the always helpful, “Further Reading,” in seven succinct chapters. In doing so, he is able to tackle various issues, such as chapter two, entitled Jesus and the Reconstitution of Israel: The Church as the Chosen Nation. Note, that this is not supercessionism, but takes the narrative of Israel and the manner in which it sought to be a political force instead of doing what God had commanded and applies that to the situation of the Church, so that Scriptural Authority is maintained and theological heresy is avoided. After all, the Church often seeks a seat at the Table of Political Discourse, and often aligns itself to one political issue or another. And sometimes, seemingly, to one Party or another. And this, this issue of Left and Right, for a lack of a better word, dominionism, is something else that Bevere tackles. This, admittedly, was a rather difficult chapter to deal with, since I usually view the work of Wallis as not exactly equal in intent to the workers on the Right. After all, Wallis is not bent on taking over the American Government in the name of God. But, Bevere makes several salient points, in that taken for what they are, both the Left and the Right have the same goals, to reshape the U.S. into a Christian society through the Government, albeit with different visions of what that society and government should look like. I’ll have to ponder this more, but if Bevere is correct, then his (Not So) Modest Proposal in chapter seven becomes that much more enticing.
Interesting to those of us who constantly rail against Constantine and stand in favor of the separation of Church and State, is chapters three and four, which deal, respectively, with the Right and the Left, again. In doing so, he exposes the flaws in the argument that the Enlightenment helped to end Constantine’s rule and that the United States, following Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, helped to take Government out of Religion. To the author, noting could be farther from the truth. And to the reader, it becomes apparent that some of the Founding Fathers were indeed, as Bevere writes, the Modern Lieutenants of the ancient Roman Emperor. After all, and I’m trying to not reveal too much of the argument, when religion is separated from the Government, but the Government continues to rely upon religion to produce model citizens, the idea of the separation of Church and State becomes little more than propaganda. These chapters feed directly into chapter six, in which he discusses the limitations of the American Church.
And this is his problem. The subtitle of this book is “The Character of the Church in the World” but more often than not, it is about the American Church and the Church in America. Granted, we see European models beginning to develop based on the work of the American Church, but to readers who are not American, the focus on the American Church may seem a little disingenuous. Of course, rarely do we see in other parts of the world, the contention between the Church and the Political Realm as we do in the United States, whether it be from C. Peter Wagner and the descendents of Jerry Falwell on the Right or Wallis and others on the Left. Indeed, often times, as he discusses in chapter five, Americans confuse this country with Ancient Israel (I note that history records the dangers of British-Israelism), and the dangers of this viewpoint. Perhaps if the Church is to recover a proper place, it might start in the United States.
In the final chapter, Bevere gives his proposal. While this is a review, I am still hesitant about giving away the details. After all, if you were to read them here, why go and purchase the book? But, they are ideas worth considering in light of what the author wrote in the preface, “Until Christendom is abandoned by Christians, the church’s mission and witness in the world will be seriously undermined.” One of the proposals, which struck me the hardest, was his words on our materialism. In this, I’ll have to ponder how to personally respond to this, not because I think he needs it, but he is speaking prophetically, and I believe he is correct. So then, to ignore his words here may do me injustice. Indeed, Bevere has been prophetic in most of his work here. It is not easy to digest all of it, and upon doing so, there may be pieces that may be undigestable; yet, whether or not one agrees with his eventual proposal completely, his lead up and many of the facets of the proposal are sound and should be heeded.
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. – Thomas Jefferson
Wonder if all the ‘let’s get back to the Founder’s views’ have ever read and digested that?
By the way, I would agree wit him, even if my liberals friends would disagree with the changes I would see implemented…
A California man faces federal charges for allegedly threatening to kill a congressman in a pair of profanity-laced voicemails less than a month before a Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in head in Arizona.
Charles Habermann, 32, was arrested Wednesday ….
Habermann called Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10, according to an FBI complaint, ranting about the congressman’s opposition to extending tax cuts to the wealthy.
“You let that f–ker know, the next time he f–ks around, I’ll kill him, okay,” Habermann said in one message, according to the complaint.
Habermann also calls McDermottt a “piece of filth” and a “criminal” and says that if Thomas Jefferson or George Washington ever met the legislator, “they would all blow his brains out.”
Say… that bit about Thom Jefferson and G. Washington…. man, that sounds familiar…
Here’s the deal – threats of this nature is beyond the pale and should be dealt with through the legal system, but what our current Congress is proposing concerning increasing the nature of threats to include symbols and other words is more troubling. We cannot let political immaturity, anger and the like to erase our valued rights to speak out against the Government.
I hope that we the people will put an end to this rhetoric of violence. Laws only work for those who wish to obey them or who have the attorneys to get around them.
Below is a report from another blog, called Roland’s Report. My thoughts follows
March 21, 2008
The full story behind Wright’s ‘God Damn America’ sermon
I just finished listening to the nearly 40-minute sermon Rev. Jeremiah Wright gave on April 13, 2003, titled, “Confusing God and Government.”
For those of us watching and listening to the media in the last week, it is better known as the “God Damn America” sermon.
Wright’s scriptural focus was Luke 19:37-44 (reading from the New Revised Standard Version).
In this sermon, Wright spoke about the military rule during biblical days, led by Pontius Pilate. It was clear, through his language, such as “occupying military brigade” that he was making an analogy to the war in Iraq.
“War does not make for peace,” he said. “Fighting for peace is like raping for virginity.
“War does not make for peace. War only makes for escalating violence and a mindset to pay the enemy back by any means necessary,” he said.
He then gets to the thesis of his sermon, saying, “y’all looking to the government for only what God can give. A lot of people confuse God with their government.”
Wright criticizes the Bush administration and it supporters for using Godly language to justify the war in Iraq. He equates using God in America as condoning the war in Iraq to the same perspective of Islamic fundamentalists.
“We can see clearly the confusion in the mind of a few Muslims, and please notice I did not say all Muslims, I said a few Muslims, who see Allah as condoning killing and killing any and all who don’t believe what they don’t believe. They call it jihad. We can see clearly the confusion in their minds, but we cannot see clearly what it is that we do. We call it crusade when we turn right around and say that our God condones the killing of innocent civilians as a necessary means to an end. WE say that God understand collateral damage. We say that God knows how to forgive friendly fire.
“We say that God will bless the shock and awe as we take over unilaterally another country, calling it a coalition because we’ve got three guys from Australia, going against the United Nations, going against the majority of Christians, Muslims and Jews throughout the world, making a pre-emptive strike in the name of God. We cannot see how what we are doing is the same thing is the same thing that Al-Qaeda is doing under a different color flag – calling on the name of a different God to sanction and approve our murder and our mayhem.”
He continues on his thesis of equating government with our God, saying that God sent the early settlers to America to take the country from Native Americans; ordained slavery; and that “we believe that God approves of 6 percent of the people on the face of this earth controlling all of the wealth on the face of this earth while the other 94 percent live in poverty and squalor while we give millions of tax breaks to the white rich.”
He also criticizes the “lily white” G-7 nations for controlling the world’s capital.
Then Wright speaks to:
1. Governments lie. “This government lied about their belief that all men were created equal. The truth is they believed that all white men were created equal. The truth is they did not even believe that white women were created equal, in creation nor civilization. The government had to pass an amendment to the Constitution to get white women the vote. Then the government had to pass an equal rights amendment to get equal protection under the law for women. The government still thinks a woman has no rights over her own body, and between Uncle Clarence (Thomas), who sexually harassed Anita Hill, and a closeted Klan court, that is a throwback to the 19th century, handpicked by Daddy Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, between Clarence and that stacked court, they are about to un-do Roe vs. Wade, just like they are about to un-do affirmative action. The government lied in its founding documents and the government is still lying today. Governments lie.”
“The government lied about Pearl Harbor. They knew the Japanese were going to attack. Governments lie. The government lied about the Gulf of Tonkin. They wanted that resolution to get us in the Vietnam War. Governments lie. The government lied about Nelson Mandela and our CIA helped put him in prison and keep him there for 27 years. The South African government lied on Nelson Mandela. Governments lie.
“The government lied about the Tuskegee experiment. They purposely infected African American men with syphilis. Governments lie. The government lied about bombing Cambodia and Richard Nixon stood in front of the camera, ‘Let me make myself perfectly clear…” Governments lie. The government lied about the drugs for arms Contra scheme orchestrated by Oliver North, and then the government pardoned all the perpetrators so they could get better jobs in the government. Governments lie.
“The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of people of color. Governments lie. The government lied about a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and a connection between 9.11.01 and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Governments lie.
“The government lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq being a threat to the United States peace. And guess what else? If they don’t find them some weapons of mass destruction, they gonna do just like the LAPD, and plant the some weapons of mass destruction. Governments lie.
2. Governments change. He said long before the United States colonized the world, so did Egypt.
“All colonizers are not white. Turn to your neighbors and say that oppressors come in all colors.”
He then went back to the Bible and spoke about the changing of kings in Babylonia.
“Prior to Abraham Lincoln, the government in this country said it was legal to hold African in slavery in perpetuity…when Lincoln got in office, the government changed. Prior to the passing of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, government defined African as slaves, as property. Property, people with no rights to be respected by any whites anywhere. The Supreme Court of the government, same court, granddaddy of the court that stole the 2000 election. Supreme court said in it’s Dred Scott decision in the 1850s, no African anywhere in this country has any rights that any white person has to respect at any place, any time. That was the government’s official position backed up by the Supreme Court – that’s the judiciary; backed up by the executive branch – that’s the president; backed up by the legislative branch and enforced by the military of the government. But I stop by to tell you tonight that government’s change.
“Prior to Harry Truman’s government, the military was segregated. But governments change.
“Prior to the Civil Rights and equal accommodation laws of the government in this country, there was backed segregation by the country, legal discrimination by the government, prohibited blacks from voting by the government, you had to eat and sit in separate places by the government, you had sit in different places from white folks because the government said so, and you had to buried in a separate cemetery. It was apartheid, American style, from the cradle to the grave, all because the government backed it up.
“But guess what? Governments change. Under Bill Clinton, we got a messed up welfare to work bill, but under Clinton blacks had an intelligent friend in the Oval Office. Oh, but governments change.
“The election was stolen. We went from an intelligent friend to a dumb Dixiecrat. A rich Republican who has never held a job in his life; is against affirmative action (and) against education – I guess he is; against healthcare, against benefits for his own military, and gives tax breaks to the wealthiest contributors to his campaign. Governments change. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the bad.”
“Where governments change, God does not change. God is the same yesterday, today and forever more. That’s what his name I Am means. He does not change.
God was against slavery on yesterday, and God, who does not change, is still against slavery today. God was a God of love yesterday, and God who does not change, is still a God of love today. God was a God of justice on yesterday, and God who does not change, is still a God of justice today.
“God does not change.”
3. He then speaks of the government in his Bible text and said the Romans failed. Then he said the British government failed even after it colonized the world. He said the Russian government failed. The Japanese government failed. The German government failed.
“And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent, she failed. She put them on reservations.
“When it came to putting her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in interment prison camps.
“When it came to putting the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters. Put them on auction blocks. Put them in cotton fields. Put them in inferior schools. Put them in substandard housing. Put them scientific experiments. Put them in the lower paying jobs. Put them outside the equal protection of the law. Kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness.
“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law and then wants us to sing God Bless America. Naw, naw, naw. Not God Bless America. God Damn America! That’s in the Bible. For killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating us citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is Supreme.
“The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent. Think about this. Think about this. For every one Oprah, a billionaire, you’ve got 5 million blacks that are out of work. For every one Colin Powell, a millionaire, you’ve got 10 million blacks who cannot read. For every one Condi-Skeezer Rice, you’ve got 1 million in prison. For every one Tiger Woods, who needs to get beat at the Masters, with his Cablanasian hips, playing on a course that discriminates against women, God has this way of brining you up short when you get to big for your Cablanasian britches. For every one Tiger Woods, we’ve got 10,000 black kids who will never see a golf course. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent.”
“Tell your neighbor he’s (going to) help us one last time. Turn back and say forgive him for the God Damn, that’s in the Bible though. Blessings and curses is in the Bible. It’s in the Bible.”
Where government fail, God never fails. When God says it, it’s done. God never fails. When God wills it, you better get out the way, ‘cause God never fails. When God fixes it, oh believe me it’s fixed. God never fails. Somebody right now, you think you can’t make it, but I want you to know that you are more than a conqueror through Christ. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.”
He then went on to talk about the salvation of Christians through the death of Jesus Christ. The sermon ended with a song proclaiming, “God never fails.”
Okay, here it is folks:
First, what Rev. Wright said was not that far off. In Psalms 9:7, we read that the wicked will return to the grave as well as the nations that forget God. Throughout the Bible, we read of sin and it’s consequences. We read that Israel suffered because of their sins and was turned out of their homeland. Would Isaiah be called a hate monger? Most assuredly he would.
Is this really hate-speech?
Thomas Jefferson said – I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
After 9/11 Falwell and Pat R. both said that the U.S. deserved what it got.
I rather like what Rev. Wright had to say, and although I would strongly disagree with his theology, he still must have the right to say what he wants. Look what has happened in Canada. Why a minister stands against homosexuality, he is legally responsible for hatespeech. Do we really want the same thing to go one here? When their comes a time to really speak out, do we want ourselves muzzled because we might offend someone else?
Why is what he said so offensive? He told the absolute truth and pointed out that in the end governments fail, but God does not. Anything wrong with that? Did he not point out the list of offenses that the government has made? God did the same thing to Israel. The problem that I think that many people have, is that they view what he said as racist. He is not. He said that Egypt has done the same thing. But why focus on another country where the people could not have connected to? Why speak about the horrors of Czarist Russia? No one would have connected. So, like most speakers trying to get a point across, he did his best to connect the audience to the topic.
Another thing, is that he ‘attacked’ the U.S. I hate to tell you this, but everything he said was correct. And another thing, this country is not divine, so stop saying that it is. Stop pretending that Christ died that the Declaration of Independence might be written!