By Gary Spina
(Copyright 2009 by Gary Spina)
The 17th day of September is the anniversary of our Constitution. But in 1787, when the founding fathers convened the Philadelphia Convention, their only intention was to amend and improve the Articles of Confederation. Or so it seemed. Secretly, some of the delegates were there to write a whole new constitution. Patrick Henry told another delegate, “I smell a rat.” And indeed, it took a lot of arm-twisting to get the new Constitution written.
The Articles of Confederation had begun with the words: “We the undersigned Delegates of the States…” But the new Constitution began with: “We the people…” Still, it was only after a final adoption process with its shouting, fist-pounding, and heated debate – and only after a Bill of Rights guaranteeing individual liberties was added — that The Constitution of the United States of America was ratified and functioning in 1789.
The Preamble of the Constitution is but a single paragraph stating the few limited things the new government was established to do:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The word “ordain” is a recognition of God and God’s law. The word “establish” is an Earthly thing – a recognition of men striving and building in the realm of God. A constitution is established for the United States of America – not of the United States of America. The word for plainly and powerfully proclaims: The Constitution does not belong to the government. It belongs to We the People – our Constitution, our government, and our nation for God to ordain and for we the people to establish. That’s how it begins.
It ends with these words: “…done in convention… the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven…” One thousand, seven hundred, and eighty seven years since the birth of Christ. So, you see, we are, indeed, a Christian nation – founded, ordained, and established as such.
The Preamble says promote the general welfare, not provide it. And general welfare means general — for everybody — not for any one particular group – not entitlements for some, paid for by others.
Article I begins with an indisputable pronouncement: “All legislative powers herein granted…” Indeed, all of the government’s powers to make laws are granted by the people. Section 8 of Article I enumerates those powers to a limited few. The people make it clear: They are the masters of the federal government they are establishing, and they are entrusting that federal government with only limited powers.
And Article I clearly states: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.”
Americans are subject to the laws our elected representatives write – laws based on God’s Natural Law. We are not subject to other men. That’s why it’s so dangerous when we allow powerful men to circumvent the Constitution – when powerful judges, put in office by powerful politicians are allowed to legislate and make public policy.
Judges have no legislative powers, but sadly, we have stood by silently as they have made law and policy and interpreted the Constitution so inventively as to circumvent its original meaning. A minority group may think it has won a legal victory when a federal judge rules in its favor by circumventing the law in the name of “justice.” But ultimately, all liberty vanishes when the written law breaks down and powerful men rule at will.
The Constitution of the United States of America remains to this day a document of enduring genius. It is a simple document written in simple words. Only a fool undeserving of freedom would allow a judge, a lawyer, or a politician to enslave him with the words of his own Constitution.
Happy anniversary, America.
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