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.