Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Today, on the second day of the 112th Congress, the Constitution will be read on the floor in its entirety. In addition, the new Republican leadership in the House will be instituting a new rule requiring that each new piece of legislation cite the provision which grants Congress the authority to enact such a law.
Today, it is not uncommon to witness people on opposite sides of the political spectrum expressing far out views of this founding document.
Many liberals, or political progressives, view the Constitution as anachronistic. It is over 200 years old and its writers could never have anticipated the needs of people today. Therefore the Constitution needs to be treated as a “living document” and thus interpreted widely and wildly to enable government to “solve” any problem, real or imagined.
This point of view has dominated the permanent political class for the last 50 years or more and has resulted in a Federal Government that sees no real limitation to the power it can grant itself through legislation or judicial fiat.
In reaction to this governmental overreach, there has been a popular uprising that is re-emphasizing the limits imposed on the Federal Government by the Constitution. The Constitution grants certain powers to the Federal Government and no more. The rest is reserved to the states and to the people. As for the future needs of the people requiring a “living and breathing” document, we have an amendment process which is the only legitimate way to grant the federal government additional power. This plain understanding of the Constitution must once again be enforced, they argue, or the liberties guaranteed under this document will be forfeit.
However, among those who hold the latter point of view, we hear this foundational document referred to as “sacred.” They hold that, in some way, this document is divinely inspired, seemingly handed down from on high.
The writers of the Constitution, rather than being inspired by the things of heaven were focused on the perils inherent in our fallen natures. Using history as their guide, they understood that government must be limited for any government that can seek power for the “good of the people,” can seek power for its own sake, and will. And that is how liberty dies.
And make no mistake about it, the liberty that is at the top of the death list is religious liberty. The state of our religious liberty in this country would shock the founding fathers. I need not go into detail here as everyone is familiar with the all out assault on religion in the public sphere.
The only things that can restore our lost liberty are prayer, fasting, and the Constitution. The Constitution may not be Divinely inspired in the biblical sense, but it was most definitely inspired by the love of God. Many of them came here to escape the religious tyranny in their home countries in hopes of worshiping freely. But there is no place to run to now.
So I say huzzah to the 112th Congress for reading the Constitution, for acting like it matters. It does. The Constitution may not be sacred, but the sacred has no better friend than the Constitution.