I spent enough time crafting this response for a Facebook discussion, I’m counting it as my journal entry for today:
Well, I completed my assignment and read that very long article (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/02/the-divinely-inspired-constitution?lang=eng&query=militias). It was actually really good, outlining the genius of the constitution, the haphazard conditions in which it was passed (reminding me of today’s climate), its principles of limited government, and our responsibilities as citizens of morality and civic duty in order to maintain a limited government. I didn’t, however, find anything to suggest a need for a constitutional overhaul other than an admittance that it’s an imperfect document, to which I agree. I could readily list a bunch of improvements I’d like to make to the constitution. The problem is, often those who are the most passionate about “revising” the constitution wish to make it more like the Communist Manifesto, to which I add this quotation:
“And that is what the Constitution is all about – providing freedom from abuse by those in authority. Anyone who says the American Constitution is obsolete just because social and economic conditions have changed does not understand the real genius of the Constitution. It was designed to control something which has not changed and will not change – namely human nature” (The 5000 Year Leap)
First, the debate is to whether or not the federal government has strayed far enough from the constitution to justify action against it. I hold that it has. Consider this quote from the article, outlining the bill of rights, which grants us, “the freedoms of speech and press, the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, the requirements that there must be probable cause for an arrest and that accused persons must have a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, and the guarantee that a person will not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Now consider federal acts such as the Patriot Act and the NDAA. Did you know that the federal government is building a massive data center in Utah for the purpose of breaking transmissional encryptions? There’s no saying the extent of the surveilance anyone and everyone could be under.
Second, the debate is to whether or not the states rallying against the federal government is a good approach. I know of no better approach than starting with petitions. Consider this quotation from the article: “In a day when it is fashionable to assume that the government has the power and means to right every wrong, we should remember that the U.S. Constitution limits the national government to the exercise of powers expressly granted to it. The Tenth Amendment provides: ‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.'” We have the power, right, and constitutional provision to defend and maintain the rights that the federal govrnment has tried to usurp from state governments.
Fourth, as to religion, I was hesitant to bring it up (1) because there are non-LDS people in this thread. (I’ve directed my recent comments to you because you’re my Man Brother, and I know you won’t be offended by debate.) (2) I still hold that the religious quotations have been vague. You wrote, “What is vague about ‘this is now a time for Americans to come together’ or about ‘We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times.'” Do you really think this is an admonition of the First Presidency for all Americans to abandon their political principles and accept whatever comes their way in the name of democracy? I could quote all sorts of church literature about the ncesessity of defending the constitution and opposing corruption in the name of civic duty. I see the thousands of people signing petitions in all fifty states as an act of “coming together”. We should absolutely pray that the president and the administration should make the right choices, but ultimately, the people of this nation are soveirgn, not the president, and we don’t have to accept whatever is forced upon us through “legal” channels.
I was hesitant to cite religion because it’s not going to get us anywhere in a public debate. In the Civil War, both the North and the South extensively quoted the same bible to arrive and dramatically different conclusions. In our last General Conference, I remember one of the apostles stating that while the church is officially neutral in politics, it will, from time to time, take stances on moral issues. Is this really the case here? There seems to be a consensus that God is against this modern issue, but is not that the definion of “taking the Lord’s name in vain”? As for me personally, I never inferred that religion is not the primary basis for all of my thoughts and opinions, including political.
But in response to your quotation from Mosiah 29, here’s some Heleman 5: “For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.” What should the Nephites have done in that situation? Gone with the democratic flow?
You can have the last word. I’m ready to respectfully bail out. It’s been a pleasure and a good learning experience.