Why Can’t Republicans Understand the Constitution?

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“Individual Christians are the only ones really – and Jewish people, those who trust the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – are the only ones that are qualified to have the reign, because hopefully, they will be governed by God and submit to him.” – Pat Robertson, 700 Club 1985

“[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” – Constitution of the United States, Article Six, Section 3, 1787

What a different two centuries make. Do you see the disconnect?

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The recent weeks and months have seen an unremitting, relentless attack on the United States Constitution by conservative pundits, think-tanks, and political leaders.  The attacks have come from every direction, from the demand that all the amendments be repealed to rejections by guns and states’ rights advocates of all save the Second and the Tenth.

The First Amendment has been a special target since the Bush administration. One of the greatest accomplishments of our Founding Fathers, freeing the new nation from the terrors of State-sponsored religion, it has been reinterpreted to apply only to Christians and to advocate not a wall of separation but a wall of exclusion – a United States for Christians only.

We have seen a deluge of claims that atheists and secular humanists and Pagans and feminists and gays and lesbians – and now Muslims – are not really Americans at all (once upon the time, in early Colonial America, it was the Catholics and Jews who were persona non grata); that they have no franchise here.

We are told that no liberal government can be a legitimate government (an odd development in a liberal democracy founded on the principles of the very liberal European Enlightenment) and that only conservatives are fit to rule. There has been talk that states should simply ignore the federal government, or even secede, or that citizens should defend their selected Constitutional Rights with their Second amendment rights. In other words, use one Amendment to destroy the others.

We have been told by the Tea Partiers (who repeat what their billionaire masters tell them) that since President Obama’s election they are fighting for their rights, but at the same time and in the next breath they suggest that great Americans give up their rights – at least, when they are Muslims.

Apparently, the threatened WASPS, grasping at their privileged position as it slips away under a deluge of immigration and diversity, feel they are the only ones who should actually have rights, and that somehow, this is what the Founding Fathers intended.

Though the Constitution states quite explicitly that there is no religious test to hold office – in other words, that the public figure’s religion is a matter of absolutely no concern whatsoever – we are told that only Christians are fit to hold office.

If you thought the situation was outrageous before, it’s just gotten worse. As the official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State reported on August 31, 2010, “The head of the Hawaii Republican Party has taken it upon himself to send out an e-mail warning pastors that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann is “not righteous.”

Yes, a candidate is not righteous. This is not a couple of Republicans fighting each other, one a moderate and the other Tea Party vested. No, this is a Republican talking about a Democrat, rejecting him not on the basis of policy or platform, but on the basis of religion.

Righteousness, in case you skipped the first half of this article, is not a requirement for public office. It has never been. The Constitution got rid of all those crazy Old World laws governing state-sponsored religion.

Article Six of the Constitution

The demand that a candidate be righteous flies in the face of Article Six, Section 3: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

That seems pretty clear. I mean, it’s not difficult to understand the wording, is it?

It is true that some State Constitutions still contain language that demands what the Constitution denies. It is also true that in Torcaso v. Watkins, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled – unanimously, by the way – that State constitutions that include such language violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Fourteenth Amendment (1868), you see, stated, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

The Fourteenth Amendment, by the way, is another one of those – along with the First – the Republicans really, really hate.

Hawaii does not have a religious test in its Constitution. But even if it did, it would be as irrelevant as it is unconstitutional.

Jonah Kaauwai

Jonah Kaauwai, like so many other conservatives, doesn’t get it. As the AU blog puts it, he “puts forth Bible passages as proof for why Republican candidate James “Duke” Aiona is the only “righteous” gubernatorial candidate.”

He cites Galatians 5: 19-21, which states, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, orgies and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life WILL NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Kaauwai then asked, “Why would the Body of Christ as the representative of God’s Kingdom here on Earth promote and validate Mufi Hannemann by allowing him to speak from the pulpit platform of your church and join in this plan of deception???”

As Americans United says, “It’s clear that Kaauwai made a bad move here. He is the head of the party for ALL Republicans in Hawaii, not just Christian Republicans. Yet he tells pastors in the e-mail, “With more than 400,000 Christians in the State of Hawaii, WE are responsible no matter what the outcome of Duke’s race because we have been given the POWER and the AUTHORITY in the NAME OF JESUS!!!!”

This is strange language for a liberal democracy in the 21st century. Is the Republican candidate running for public office or for Pope?

To call this a bad move is, I think, to put it lightly. This is a catastrophic move and there should be outrage not only from the left, but from the right.

The election for a political leader – whether mayor, governor, or president – is purely a political, not religious event.

Since the Republicans have a difficult time understanding the Constitution, it is up to us to remind them. Since they have demonstrated they are immune to facts and argumentation, that leaves us the polls. Convince them with your vote; make it clear that this country was founded on the Constitutional principles they are attacking, and that you won’t let them destroy it.

23 Replies to “Why Can’t Republicans Understand the Constitution?”

  1. If anyone wonders why I am an atheist, reread the above post. These nitwit tea partiers and Republicans want to go back to the past but do you know what? When I was a kid in the past religion stuck to religion. And politics was of a civil nature.

    That’s certainly not to say that there aren’t very good Christians.that’s not what I’m saying at all. It’s obvious that certain sections of religion have been hijacked and it is for a very deep purpose. I give you Sharron Angle who wants to delay with the federal education Department. Only the state should have jurisdiction education. With the federal entity gone the conservatives can now( and this is assumption) takeover the state’s education and put in systems such as Texas is trying to do. There is no possibility in my mind that they are doing it because the federal education Department cost money and creates consistency.

    This is just an example of how things will change if these people are ever successful. I was in a discussion with a tea party member on another site and said something to the effect that if the Republicans win be prepared to take a large step backwards. This person said yes I hope we do step back all away back to the day that the Emancipation Proclamation was put out. He or she wanted that done away with.

    Assuming the conservatives and tea party people ever get into power in time this is what we face. The complete eradication of America as we know it. Socialism will seem like a godsend if they ever get in power.

  2. The hard right has an extremely selective interpretation of the Constitution. It only applies to people who look and think like them. That leaves out Muslims, Hispanic immigrants legal or otherwise, the poor, and other groups they find “unworthy.” In their view, it also protects their right to bear arms, but somehow other parts of it get overlooked like the right to citizenship for anyone born in this country.

  3. And I’ll add that once they found out you voted for Obama, it doesn’t matter anymore that you’re white. You are now a betrayer of your country and your privilege, so they hate you even more. Cue the lip of scorn and contempt and the upturned nose at your stench because you voted for the black man.

    Of course, we all know that the founders wanted anyone who dared to vote their conscience to have their freedoms taken away.

    That’s the gist of it all. Rah rah.

  4. In fact, there have actually been people foolish enough to say that anyone white who voted for Obama hates his or her race, totally overlooking that Obama was by far the better choice. Can you imagine what life would have been like under McClown and Mrs. Mooseburger? I dread the very thought!!

  5. LET ME GUESS ALL THE STATEMENTS BELOW AREN’T TRUE. WAKE UP DEMOCRATS, ITS TIME TO TAKE RESPONSIBILTY!!!

    If
    > George W. Bush had been the first President to need a TelePrompTer
    > installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you
    > have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on
    > his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the
    > scenes?
    >

    >If
    > George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take
    > Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?
    >
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan’s holdings of GM
    > stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you
    > have approved?
    >
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special
    > Olympics, would you have approved?
    >
    >
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and
    > incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a
    > thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have
    > approved?
    >If
    > George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing
    > videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly
    > narcissistic and tacky?
    >
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , would you
    > have approved?
    >
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the
    > nonexistent “Austrian language,” would you have brushed it off as
    > a minor slip?
    >
    >
    >If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers
    > with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes,
    > would you have approved?
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had stated that there were 57 states in the United
    > States , would you have said that he is clueless.
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush would have flown all the way to Denmark to make a
    > five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking
    > out his front door in Texas , would you have
    > thought
    > he was a self important, conceited, egotistical jerk.
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to “Cinco
    > de Cuatro” in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th
    >of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again,
    > would you have winced in embarrassment?
    >
    >
    >If George W. Bush had misspelled the word “advice” would you have
    >hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoes as proof
    >of what a dunce he is?
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a
    > single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he’s a hypocrite?
    >
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush’s administration had okayed Air Force One flying
    > low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in
    > downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you
    > have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?
    >
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims
    > throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than
    > in New Orleans , would you want it made into a major ongoing
    > political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?
    >
    >
    >
    >If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report
    >directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is
    >happening in America , would you have approved.
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major
    > corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do
    > so, would you have approved?
    >
    >
    >If George W. Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which
    >had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would
    >you have approved?
    >
    >If
    > George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10
    > years, would you have approved?
    >
    >So,
    > tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant
    > and impressive? Can’t think of anything? Don’t worry. He’s done all
    > this in 15 months — so you’ll have two years and nine months to
    > come up with an answer.

  6. Garbage. 90% inuendo and talking points.

    Ive seen this garbage before, just more wannabe con talking points.

  7. 90% Inuendo? I know you really mean innuendo, so I will start over.

    Innuendo?

    Innuendo?

    Seriously?

    Seriously.

    Please look up the word, come back, and then tell us of a single instance of innuendo in Jaime’s mini-rant. They may be talking points, but, by God, they are “true” talking points. Oh, that’s right, you don’t believe in God… never mind.

    I’m a mite confused, btw. What are “… just more wannabe con talking points”, anyway? What is it you think Jaime wants to be?

    Please be mindful of your own declaration about your thoughful reminiscence regarding “politics was of a civil nature”. I just know in my heart that you don’t want to be the one that BROKE the chain. I’ll even overlook the prior sentence where you call tea party members “nitwits.”

  8. Jaime…

    I see that 3 enlightened souls thus far have said that they dislike your post. I’m wondering if it is the truth that inspires the anger, or the mere fact that you pointed it out for them.

  9. It never occurred to me to choose a candidate based on their color or gender. The mere fact that they assume this tells me everything I need to know about their values.

  10. Yes, Innuendo. thank you mr. spelling cop.

    I did say that when I was a kid politics was of a civil nature. But that was over 50 years ago. That Chain was broke a long time ago

    Shall I say it again? Or should I start pointing out 75% of the debt is Bush borrowing for the war and how Bush doubled the debt in 8 years?
    But why isnt Jaimie talking about if the better bit of healthcare was passed, how much it would drop the deficit? Not allowed to?
    Obama said 57 states? Yeah, and he also corrected it and everyone laughed about it.

    Sorry, I dont want people that think like you and Jaimie in office. American wouldnt survive it.

    wannabe conservative talking points. I hope that helps

    Innuendo

    Inuendo emails. Already seen it. Laughable

  11. I believe you meant “muslin”:-) That is the level of intelligence we are dealing with. But wait until they get their next chain mail telling them what to say! OMG, they will fill up the comments with their brilliance. Bad news is all you have to do is check Fox’s latest to know what they’re going to say.

  12. First of all, Shiva, I can see you forgot to look up the word innuendo as you still warp its meaning in the dilivery of your intended insults. And you still failed to debunk a single point that Jaime made, btw.

    I guess that the chain of civility in your world that was broken over 50 years ago makes it ok for you to continue to be “uncivil” to this day. I’m thinkin’ you make mom proud.

    Unfortunately, I see the same tendency with some of the other posters here. Am I to deduce that this is a “democrat” characteristic? I would hope that all democrats didn’t feel this same need to disseminate this shameful level of childish vitriol you apparently like to carry around like a 60-pound albatross with bad breath.

    You want to talk about the debt? Seriously? Go ahead and tack on whatever number you want for the national debt of 2008 as a result of 2 years of a democratically held congress. And what is the debt today? Hmm? What is the projected debt for the year 2012? Go ahead and use your own numbers. I cannot believe you actually wanted to use the national debt as an argument FOR your side.

    “…wannabe conservative talking points. I hope that helps.”

    No, actually it doesn’t Shiva, because it makes no sense. “wannabe” is a colloquial term to denote that someone “wants to be” like someone or something else. For instance, you could very well be labeled a “wannabe” intellectual by those with less compassion than me. I only feel comfortable saying that now because it appears that there’s no hope of mending that chain of civility you once cherished. Anyway, how in the heck can a person be a “wannabe conservative talking point”? See how silly that kinda looks now? Maybe you are just not trying hard enough.

    One more thing, there Shiva. You have no idea how I think, so to put on a show in front of your friends by telling me that America wouln’t survive because of my ideals tells me more than I need to know about you.

    You can rest easy, though. I’m not interested in running for office. I have already served this country in combat and have paid a pretty big price for it. Somebody else’s turn…

    Oh, before I forget…

    @EnglishSaddle: Does your mom know you are up so late using her computer? I remember thinking I was clever too when I graduated middle school.

  13. Nailed it with this article. I really can add nothing except rage and frustration at Republicans and their ilk. They have no clue about the Constitution or the religious hate they’re unleashing.

  14. Thank you, RMuse. I fail to see how being a “real” American means hating the Constitution…I mean, my brain ties up in knots.

  15. “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” attributed to both Huey P Long and Sinclair Lewis

  16. Technically, Pat Robertson is wrong – last time I checked, Islam is an “Abrahamic” faith. Their Allah is our God – same deity, different language. And Pat Robertson is also insincere. He doesn’t like Jews or Catholics either. If he gets rid of all faiths save Christians & Jews – then it would be the Christians against the Jews. And then it would be the Catholics against the other Christians (they aren’t in the closet about hating Mormons)

  17. 1)Reagan used a teleprompter. George W wasn’t comfortable with it. He felt he would be even more inept with the teleprompter then he was with the cards;
    2)hundreds of thousands to go to a play in NYC – sounds like a rumor to me. when you google it only right wing blogs come up;
    3)like most of the stuff you suppose, I couldn’t find that Obama reduced pensions by 90%. If the pensions were reduced by 90%, that would mean that Obama saved 10% when he saved GM. Otherwise all would have been lost;
    4)he made a bad joke and apologized – please don’t be comparing this to Bush’s in really bad taste Easter Egg Hunt;
    5)George W was so bad that nobody needed to resort to think about his gifting; 6)same – except that Obama’s speeches are signifcantly more important and George W couldn’t really give a speech with or without the teleprompter – and do we all remember his “cocaine mouth”?;
    6)bowing is the custom of Saudi Arabia – it was appropriate to bow;
    7)while there is no Austrian language, there are Austrian dialects;
    8)we would have been lucky if income tax problems were the worst attributes of Bush’s advisors and cabinet;
    9)57 states – we would have made fun of him just like we made fun of Obama – Do you watch Jon Steward/Colbert Report/Letterman – they are totally equal opportunity – it just feels like they aren’t because there’s so much more to make fun of with the Republicans;
    10)going to Denmark was a good try. It would have been a boon to our economy if they had given that to us;
    11)Obama was not Spanish illiterate – he was trying to make a joke (Cinco de Mayo eve – it was 5/4) and he made a mistake – they got the joke;
    12)I saw the note – and the writing is a little sloppy – but it’s just the right wing blogs insisting that it’s misspelled. It looked like advice to me. But Dan Quayle – if memory serves me – corrected a contestant in a spelling bee and insisted his spelling was right – apples and oranges;
    13)the papers always point out the waste of fuel on earth day – George may not have traveled to Earth Day – but he did a lot of traveling around on the planes. You know take a plane and sign a bill and then use the trip for mostly political business. that’s the bad stuff – not going to Earth Day;
    14)Everyone was alarmed at the unannounced low flying plane and everyone addressed it -you must have just missed it.
    15)There just plain hasn’t been a situation like Katrina – don’t know where you got that one. And, obviously you don’t either or you would have provide more info;
    16)czars are Republican creations – how many does Obama have? Or how many more than Bush? You don’t say but what does it matter – they don’t require congressional approval – they are all appointees;
    17)I don’t know if he fired the CEO as opposed to making the bailout contingent on his ouster – and it’s working out pretty well now;
    18-19) It was George W that took the surplus and turned into a deficit and added significantly onto the debt – by unpaid for tax cuts; and 2 unpaid for wars; by allowing the biggest corporations to underfund their pension plans etc and now Obama has to spend to stimulate the economy that Bush was sending over the cliff.
    President Obama, who is so much better than Bush, has been somewhat of a disappointment to me and so many other Progressives. Speaking for myself – I feel that he has wasted to much time shifting to the right to appease the party of no who won’t vote for his bills anyway.
    But like he says – D is for Drive and R is for Reverse – and he is just so much better than Bush – the owner of the war of choice in Iraq; letting Afghanistan fester; no capture of Osama Bin Laden; $5.00 gasoline (remember the Enron Loophole and the secret energy meetings and the leaked tapes about F*#) Grandma Millie?) the deregulation; the Wall Street collapse; the August 01 memo – BinLaden determined to attack within U.S. using airplanes and then he goes on a month vacation; hiding in the classroom reading My Pet Goat when he knew before he went in that we had been attacked; outing the CIA agent; torturegate, tax cuts for the wealthy etc etc.

  18. To the lady about George W. Bush

    He was the worst president or should I say thief in history. Bush should be in prison for war crimes

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