I have recently found myself in debates more and more often regarding the Constitution which forms the backbone of our government, and sadly, all too often, people will adamantly defend that their version is the only correct version. Having studied history, which includes a good deal of political science, and I am disheartened when I hear more and more people argue that a word that has been in place for over 200 years now means something different. We have focused on education for more than a decade, but it seems we need to do more.
The latest debate I was in regards the first amendment. The text in question, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” is very specific and was done deliberately. When read as it’s written, simply put, it means that a law cannot be passed by Congress giving favor to one religious group, or restricting a citizen’s ability to exercise their faith. This does not apply to a city park allowing a nativity scene or menorah or any other religious display, yet this has been done more and more in recent history.
While I will agree that it’s not right for a city to target one or more faiths and exclude them, such as only allowing protestant Christian faiths permits, but that would not be an issue of the 1st amendment, as it is still not Congress passing a law. The authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights specifically used language that is as direct as possible, so as to not only limit the power of a federal government, but also to stand the test of time, rather than changes in society making it moot.
We are now in a position to either watch our country turn back to what we were only a short time ago, or to watch as it crumbles and falls apart. I have lived in this country my entire life, and I love everything that makes us the country we are, and what went into building this country, but if we don’t stop the pointless arguments about who has what rights, we will be the generation to see this country fall. The bill of rights is there for everyone, no matter race, creed, faith, gender, only citizenship has any bearing on the rights listed. Yet today we have groups demanding the “right” to marry, which is only given to them as a result, making it a privilege, not a right. We have then seen those groups sue businesses when their owners stand by their faith, yet a business asked to bake a pro-traditional marriage cake, when those owners say no and that they don’t believe in that, nothing is done. We have people who want to display their atheism and shout out how smart they are, who then want to demand silence from those who have religious views. We have children being told they cannot pray during free time, while schools require students to observe Muslim prayer time, with some even having the girls wear the hijab or burkha. When did this become acceptable? When did the 1st Amendment mean that Christians must stay silent and hide their faith, while others are not only allowed this right, but schools also help them by making others act as they do?
We stand at a crossroads, with one path leading to destruction and the other to restoration. What happens next depends not only on those who are in power, but also on those they represent. We must stand up and be counted, saying that I will not be silent and I will not hide my faith, but for that to work, we need our leaders to stand with us, and support us when we embrace the rights we do have. When Congress stands behind us, we will then be able to not only embrace our rights, but educate those demanding we stop.
We also need Congress to stand with us when it comes to our borders and laws. We are bordered by two countries that strictly enforce their border laws, yet we don’t. Mexico has ridiculed us for years when the issue of a fence on the US/Mexico border is discussed, yet they have a fence guarded by the Mexican military on their southern border. Why is any foreign country allowed to dictate our policy? We have people crossing the border illegally, but we are told not to mention that crime. When those same people rape, murder, steal, or commit any crime, we’re told we can’t expect them to know it was wrong because they come from a different culture, while a U.S. Marine, who all but begged to be allowed to turn back, was left in a Mexican jail when he had no choice but to cross the border into Mexico.
What this all boils down to is this. We must take our country back, and we must start now. Our legal system is broken, but not in the way the media would have us believe. Yes, racism is an issue, but we must only address the actual instances of it, rather than the National Bar Association and the DOJ deciding a Grand Jury was wrong. We must simplify many laws, while eliminating others, and we must return to the government our founding fathers built. If we choose to remain on this path, if we choose not to work to return our country to being that shining light on the hill, we will see more violence, more death, and we will see the United States cease to exist, save perhaps the name, within our lives, and that is something I pray that I don’t see, nor do I want even my great-great-great-grandchildren to see it.
I hope this hasn’t fallen on deaf ears, and I hope that you will truly consider what needs to be done.