In case you missed it, one state is taking full advantage of the relaxed view toward Christianity under the current Presidential administration. On June 27, the governor of Kentucky signed a bill into law that permits public schools to teach Bible literacy as an elective social studies class. The stated intent of the bill is not to allow the teaching of religion in schools but to explore the Bible’s role in American history.
According to Kentucky Representative D.J. Johnson, “It really did set the foundation that our Founding Fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. All of those came from principles from the Bible…. Where you believe that it’s the word of God or you think it’s complete fiction, you can’t deny the impact it’s had on our culture.”
Opponents of the new law include atheists, humanists, and I would assume members of other religions who oppose the teaching of one set of religious beliefs without balancing them with other viewpoints. According to the Kentucky Secular Society, “If this course is really for literary purposes, it should include other mythologies and literatures that have impacted our culture as well.”
Some Christians also oppose the law, such as one person who posted a comment on the Christian Post article about the law: “I can't imagine why any reasonable person who believed in the holiness and sanctity of the Bible would want to put its teaching into the hands of the state government…. I am a school teacher and if you had worked with many of the people that I have over the years, then you would not want most of them teaching the Bible to anyone.”
It’s very difficult, of course, to teach the Bible without touching on religious issues. Is there really a God? Did he create the world? Are humans made in his image? How does God want us to live in this world? and What happens if we don’t live according to his plan? These are all questions likely to come up during a discussion of the Bible. Who is going to answer these questions? The Kentucky Department of Education will be tasked with putting together the curriculum for this class and ensuring that the classes do not promote Christianity in violation of the 1st Amendment Establishment Clause. That’s not a job I would want!
One has only to do a quick search of the different Christian denominations in their area to realize there are many different ideas about what the Bible teaches. Even at the time our nation was founded, there were different ideas of what it meant to be a Christian and how to live as a Christian. Some of our Founding Fathers, including the author of the Declaration of Independence, considered the Bible to be a good source of wisdom, but they denied its authenticity as the inspired Word of God and rejected Jesus as the Son of God and source of our salvation. Will that important bit of information be included in Kentucky’s Bible literacy classes?
Bible literacy is a good thing – I won’t deny that. But teaching the Bible as a source of human rights and governmental structure without the essence of the Bible’s message is a very bad idea! Stripping the Bible of the Gospel leaves behind only laws and moral admonitions that never saved anyone. That’s the core message of the Bible. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ – not through good living, good intentions, or good government. And that’s not a message our government is tasked with sharing. That’s on us!
It’s time that we stopped trying to authenticate our religious beliefs by having them taught in public schools or posted on courthouse walls or set in stone on memorials in city parks. It’s time we got back to the job of preaching the Gospel to our neighbors, near and far, and loving them as Jesus loves us.
Whenever I talk to someone about the issue of separation of Church and State in America, I am sure to hear the argument that our Founding Fathers were Christians and wanted the United States to be a Christian nation. That’s an easy generalization to make, but it ignores the fact that there were many men involved in the founding of our nation with many different religious backgrounds and beliefs.
It’s true that most of the men associated with the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the first Congress considered themselves to be Christian. However, then – as now – not everyone agreed on what it meant to be a Christian.
The same man who wrote the Declaration of Independence with such beautiful references to God and our Creator was vilified by religious conservatives as being anti-Christian when he ran for president at the beginning of the 19th century.
“Some clergyman warned their parishioners that they should hide their Bibles if Jefferson became President, and that such an electoral outcome might bring down God’s wrath on the new Republic…. A widely distributed pamphlet [proclaimed] that ‘the election of any man avowing the principles of Mr. Jefferson would … destroy religion, introduce immorality and loosen all the bonds of society’” (p.20).
Yet Jefferson called himself a Christian. “I am a Christian, in the only sense he [Jesus] wished anyone to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other” (p. 25).
You see, Thomas Jefferson believed that Jesus lived and taught and had aspects of his life and teachings recorded by his followers. But on the basis of human reason and his own conscience – which he valued more than the teachings of the Bible – Jefferson could not accept the idea that Jesus was the Son of God who died and rose again to conquer sin and death. Jefferson went through the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and literally cut out the parts he agreed with and pasted them into his own book. He called that book “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” and it later became known as “The Jefferson Bible.”
Today, there are many people who think it is enough to believe in the moral teachings of Jesus, to value him highly as a teacher and a role model. Add in the moral laws of the Old Testament and we have the foundations for a good, peaceful, “Christian” society, one likely to be blessed by our Creator who, after all, endowed us with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Unfortunately, it’s in the writings of Thomas Jefferson, and others like him, that we find this view of God and of Jesus. It isn’t in the Bible – not unless you take it apart line by line and discard all the parts you don’t like or that don’t fit with your view of how the world should be.
Today is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. I applaud him as a masterful statesman and a strong leader for our infant nation. But, whatever he called himself, I cannot agree that Jefferson was a Christian or that anything he wrote spoke of Christian truths.
Christianity is about much more than acknowledging there is a God, accepting the truth of Jesus’ life on earth, or even being a fan of his teachings. To be a Christian is to acknowledge Jesus CHRIST as the Savior of your soul and the King of your life. Christians are, first and foremost, members of God’s Kingdom, and that Kingdom should never be confused with or entwined with any human nation on earth – no matter what our Founding Fathers thought.
Harry Rubenstein and Barbara Clark Smith, “History of the Jefferson Bible” in The Jefferson Bible, Smithsonian Edition, Smithsonian Institute, 2011.
An interesting battle over religious diversity and the U.S. Constitution has been fought in the City of Phoenix. Last December, members of the Satanic Temple put in a formal request to offer a prayer before an upcoming city council meeting. According to AZCentral.com, “The city typically holds a short invocation at the start of formal council meetings and has included members from a variety of faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism.” The Satanists’ request was granted, and they were put on the agenda for a meeting to be held on February 17.
Rather than allow the prayer, members of the city council voted on February 3 to discontinue the practice of opening their public meetings with prayer. A moment of silence would be used instead. Receiving local and national criticism for that decision, the council then voted on March 3 to reinstate a spoken prayer before the meetings, but the prayer will now be given only by chaplains for the Phoenix police and fire departments—among which there are presumably no Satanists.
In support of the city’s initial decision to allow Satanists to deliver an invocation, a city attorney argued: “Consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s direction, the city cannot dictate religious viewpoints or the content of a prayer. In addition, government may not exclude a denomination or a religion from praying under these circumstances.” While at least one city council member wanted to reject the request and make the Satanists battle it out in court, the mayor and others on the council accepted the idea that offering an invitation to pray to some religions opened the door to all religions being given an equal opportunity.
The Supreme Court ruled on the prayer issue as recently as 2014 in another town board meeting case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, specifically finding that the town did not have to limit prayers before meetings to “generic, nonsectarian” prayers to satisfy the Constitution. The town was free to invite members of Christian denominations and other faiths to pray, “so long as the town maintains a policy of nondiscrimination.”
What is very interesting in the Galloway case is the reason prayers are allowed at governmental meetings. In school prayer cases, public prayers have been found to violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because they endorse a particular religious belief – something the government should not do. But in other cases where the government acknowledges a belief in God (prayers before legislatures and town boards, the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the motto “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins), the courts have allowed a religious expression by the government because it furthers a non-religious purpose. In Galloway, the purpose is that an opening prayer “lends gravity to public business, reminds lawmakers to transcend petty differences in pursuit of a higher purpose, and expresses a common aspiration to a just and peaceful society.”
Why can’t the government endorse a particular religious belief? That has been the Court’s interpretation of the Establishment Clause since it was first given the opportunity to interpret it.
Of course, Christians have different ideas about that “wall of separation between Church and State.” To fully understand my viewpoint, you’ll have to read my book, One Nation Under God: A Christian Argument in Favor of Separation of Church and State.
Dustin Gardiner, Satanists to give prayer at Phoenix City Council meeting, The Republic, January 29, 2016 < http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2016/01/28/satanists-give-prayer-phoenix-city-council-meeting/79486460/>
A few nights ago, President Barak Obama delivered his eighth and final State of the Union Address. The State of the Union Address is a tradition as old as our nation, a result of the Constitution’s requirement that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Presidents often use this opportunity to push their agendas on particular legislation, to rally their supporters and scold their opponents for putting roadblocks in the way of progress.
In his latest State of the Union Address, President Obama did discuss some of his goals for the remainder of his term, and he did scold his opponents, but he also raised some big questions that will continue to be relevant long after a new president takes office in 2017. The fourth of the President’s “big questions” was “how can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?” I appreciate what he had to say on this question, because it has been a concern of mine for some time – and never more so than in the past year as I have listened to the political campaigns of those who would see themselves as the next President of the United States.
I think few people would argue that our present system of choosing national and state leaders brings out the best in us. More often than not, the public is encouraged to vote on the basis of fear, anger, party loyalty, and, of course, personal gain. Gone are the days when a politician would dare to say, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country” (John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961). Instead, we have a roster of political Santa Clauses each promising in tweets and sound bites to single-handedly make everything better for you, their loyal voter, and describing in detail how their opponents (in the same or the opposite party) will make it worse.
If you missed the President’s speech, here is a little of what he had to say on this matter:
“A better politics doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything. This is a big country, with different regions and attitudes and interests. That’s one of our strengths, too. Our Founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue, just as they did, over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and the imperatives of security.
“But democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens. It doesn’t work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic. Democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise; or when even basic facts are contested, and we listen only to those who agree with us. Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get attention. Most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest.”
If all each of us cares about is how the government and the politicians will make our individual lives better, we will continue to have a political process that brings out the worst in us. The President gave some good reasons for why we should embrace civility and open dialogue instead of hatred and fearmongering. To Christians, Jesus gives another:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? ... And if you greet [or listen to and agree with] only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
That doesn't mean we have to agree with everything other's believe or go along with everything other's say, but we do have to listen and consider if we are doing everything we can to show God's love to others - even if they are in different political parties or hold different political views from our own.
I was finally able to see “Bridge of Spies” in the theater this week with my family. We all enjoyed it, and my husband came right home to buy the book the movie is based on to get the rest of the details of this amazing story of a spy exchange during the Cold War. Tom Hanks is wonderful in the part of Jim Donovan, an honorable insurance lawyer who is first asked to defend a captured Russian spy and then asked to go into East Berlin – alone and with very limited resources – to negotiate a trade of the Russian spy for the pilot of an American spy plane shot down over Russia.
Not surprisingly, the story includes CIA agents who are more concerned about gathering information from the Russian spy than seeing him get a good defense in court. One agent tells Donovan that he needs to know everything the spy tells Donovan. When Donovan asserts attorney-client privilege, the agent responds by saying that the needs of the CIA are more important than such things. “There is no rule book here,” he says. Donovan laughs.
Of course there is a rule book, as Donovan makes clear. It’s called the Constitution. It is what defines us as a people – We the People of the United States. It’s what we’re all about – or what we should be about. There are times, of course, when we’re threatened from without, and we’re scared, and we need to defend ourselves, and at those times many people in the United States may be willing to sacrifice some of the liberties of the Constitution in exchange for security. But those are the very times when we need the Constitution the most, for to destroy it is to destroy who we are as a people.
Today, the threats are not all outside our borders. Judges, lawmakers, and even the President of the United States have been accused of ignoring the Constitution, or of reinterpreting it according to their own desires. The ones leveling the accusations may even claim that the Constitution must be interpreted exactly as intended when it was written. It’s difficult to imagine how that would work, though, since our nation, its people, and the world we live in are all vastly different than they were 230 years ago. Some interpretation is necessary, and I’m sure there will always be people pulling to the right and to the left to get their preferred interpretation followed. That’s okay – as long as they don’t rip the Constitution down the middle.
As a Christian, I have another rule book, one that I take even more seriously than the Constitution. It’s the Bible. It is what defines me as a Christian. Like the Constitution, it can be difficult to interpret and hard to apply in a culture that is vastly different from the one in which it was written. However, my first priority as a Christian should be to figure out how to apply it to my life – how to live by its rules, its life-lessons, and its “original intent.”
I know of some Christians who aren’t too concerned about the original intent of the Bible. For them, it’s enough to look at the life-lessons in the book and apply them in a way that seems appropriate in our modern (or should I say ‘postmodern’) culture. They ask, “How does this speak to me today?” instead of “What did this mean when it was written so long ago?”
As a US Citizen, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a former federal prosecutor, I hold the US Constitution in high esteem, but I remember that it was written in a different time by men who were wise but not all-knowing. The Bible, on the other hand, was written under the direction of one who is all-knowing and who still lives with us today to help us correctly interpret and apply his words. Remember that, the next time you delve into his rule book.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
In my last post I made a comment about the power of the President, and I would like to follow up on that with a brief lesson in Constitutional law. In my book, One Nation Under God, I include several of these short lessons including the one that follows. I am currently rewriting One Nation Under God and preparing to get it into publication again. For any of you have read the first edition of the book, I would love to hear from you about things you would like to see included in the second edition!
The Power of a President
Forget everything you’ve heard during election-year speeches. The president does not make the laws. The Constitution gives to Congress the power to make and amend laws. The president, through the vast reaches of the Executive Department, enforces the law. The courts interpret those laws as they are applied in individual circumstances, determining whether a law has been properly applied or is itself in violation of the Constitution. While the courts must wait for a legal issue to be brought before them, the president is free to consult with Congress about what laws should be passed. This is a power that has grown greatly over the years, as the political clout of the presidents has grown. But no matter how much the president promises, argues, pressures, or pleads, there is no guarantee that he can get a majority of the 100 senators and the 435 representatives in Congress to agree with him.
Last night I went to a screening of the new movie, Our Brand is Crisis, which will be in movie theaters this weekend. It’s the story of a campaign strategist hired to help an unlikable candidate win the presidential election in a South American country. There is a lot of rough language and crude sexual jokes in the movie, but I would still recommend it as a quick education in dirty politics.
The main character, Jane Bodine, tells a group of campaign volunteers, “Wake up! This is war. There is only one wrong in this. One Wrong – and that is losing.” From the stories and quotes that are littered throughout the movie, there has been more than one presidential candidate in the US who would agree with her. Winning is what matters – and you have to do whatever it takes to make sure you win.
There are a number of good lessons in this movie, such as pointing out how easy it is to twist the facts – or even make them up. “The ‘truth’ is what I tell the electorate to believe,” Jane says. Jane also claims that the single most important factor in voting is fear, which is probably true. If a candidate can figure out what his voters are afraid of, if he can put a name to the enemy and say “I can beat that,” he has a good chance of winning those votes. If he can’t beat the real enemy, all he has to do is create a new one and focus everyone’s attention on that.
Our Brand is Crisis is not a feel-good movie, but there is little about politics and campaigning that makes any of us feel good these days. Many people are angry, and they will simply vote against whoever is making them angry rather than for anyone or anything. Other voters will be motivated by their fear to vote for the candidate who seems best able to “win” and beat the fearsome enemy. Many others have been moved to cynicism and apathy by past candidates who claimed they would fix everything, only to go back on their word or be unable to create any real change.
So what is a voter to do? More specifically, what is a Christian voter to do?
First, don’t just listen to the campaigns and the candidates when deciding how to cast your vote. Look into the issues for yourself – from multiple viewpoints, since you can never depend on any one source to give you the whole truth. Also, consider whether a candidate can actually do what he or she says she will do. Candidates are famous for promising things they have no constitutional power to do. Our government is a republic, made up of many elected and unelected officials who have to work together to get things done, so a candidate also must have the ability to work with others.
Second, don’t be motivated by fear! Fear leads us to believe that we (our candidate or our cause) must win or the result will be disastrous. Because we must win, anything that allows us to win becomes allowable. The only “wrong” is losing. Hardly the right attitude for Christians who are called to be the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16).
Third, remember, winning isn’t everything. During the Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry famously stated, “Give me liberty, or give me death.” It was a noble sentiment, but not a Christian one. Henry believed that winning liberty was absolutely essential, and that nothing else would satisfy him. As Christians, though, we are to be like Paul who said, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12). The writer of Hebrews also said, “Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
Few political promises have been kept with absolute integrity, but there is one promise you can always depend on – “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Never – no matter who wins the next presidential election, no matter what resolutions pass or fail, no matter what. So do your homework, vote your conscience, don’t be ruled by fear, anger, or the need to win. And Trust God! Then, and only then, you can never lose.
For three days I’ve been talking about interpreting the Constitution, but my goal in writing these posts had little to do with the Constitution. I wanted to dig into a messy subject, clear away some misconceptions, and draw out an important point. Please bear with me for a few more paragraphs while I get to the heart of the matter.
Four days ago I was accused of being a bad American because I didn’t agree with a man who had strong feelings about what is wrong with America and who is to blame. He chose to divide Americans into three groups: those who were destroying our American heritage, those who were trying to protect it, and those who would stand by and do nothing (“people like you,” he said to me accusingly). I tried to respond civilly and rationally to his arguments, and I came home and did some research on his claims, but even if he turned out to be right that “natural born citizen” in the US Constitution originally meant a person born in the US to two US citizens, I couldn’t agree with him that our nation was in terrible peril because it had elected a President who had one parent who was not a US citizen.
As I watch the news, check in on social media, and talk to my friends, I can see that many people are passionate about this nation and looking for someone to blame for its problems. That includes many Christians. I hope as a writer and a teacher I can help my fellow Christians to step back, analyze the facts, think about what they believe, and then act like they really believe it – even in the sensitive area of politics and national heritage.
In my book, One Nation Under God, originally published in 2005, I set out to show the importance of separating our allegiance to our nation and our allegiance to God – and always remembering which was more important. In the next month or two, I will be rewriting that book to add current events and better explain some of the important points. Right now – before the revised book is published – you can download the entire original manuscript from my website free of charge!
In another book, Standing Firm, I show the importance of trusting God with every part of our life and seeing what is happening in our world, and in our nation, through God’s Word. I’ve just finished rewriting that book, and it will be available from Amazon.com next month.
The third book I would like to write is The End: And Why it Matters. This book will look at the big picture of God’s plan for his creation and what part we as Christians should play in that plan. I hope to have that book out next year. After all, it's only when we know where we're going that we can find a way to get there.
There is a lot of fear and uncertainty among Christians in American today as we see our culture changing and our beliefs being marginalized and ridiculed. We can look for people to blame; we can fight to bring back the good old days; or we can trust God and continue to shine his light in a dark world.
Please come back and read more next week. Right now, I’ve got to get back to writing those books!
Since I have intrigued at least a few people on the issue of natural born citizens, I want to provide you with the legal definition.
In 1904, Frederick van Dyne, the Assistant Solicitor of the US Department of State, published a textbook, Citizenship of the United States, in which he said, "There is no uniform rule of international law covering the subject of citizenship. Every nation determines for itself who shall, and who shall not, be its citizens.... By the law of the United States, citizenship depends, generally, on the place of birth; nevertheless the children of citizens, born out of the jurisdiction of the United States, are also citizens...."
Van Dyne pointed out that the Constitution, while mentioning citizenship, contained no definition of that term until the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868. Prior to this time each state in the US applied its own law to determine citizenship, either by statute or common law (law based on previous judicial decisions rather than written statutes).
So what did the Framers and signers of the Constitution intend when they added the requirement that the President be a “natural born citizen”? Since many of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, and almost all of the men who drafted the Constitution, were lawyers – trained in English common law – it is most likely that they intended the common law meaning of the term.
The leading commentary on English common law at the time the Constitution was drafted clearly stated that “Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England.” The parentage of the subject is immaterial. Being born in England made you an English citizen. Being born in the colonies made you an English citizen (up until the Revolution). Being born in the new United States would have made you a natural-born citizen of the United States.
It’s true that you can find different interpretations of ‘citizen’ or ‘natural-born citizen’ from the 18th century or earlier, and it’s possible that at least some of the people who wrote, signed or ratified the Constitution intended the term to have a stricter meaning. However, the standard meaning of the term at the time the Constitution was written was that anyone born in the US was a citizen of the US without regard to the nationality of one or both of his parents.
I hope that answers the question of the “strict interpretation” of the Constitution’s requirements for the President of the United States. Before I leave this issue, though, I want to add one more post on it tomorrow. I have stated that my mission as a writer “is to help Christians think about what they really believe and then to act as if they really believe it.” So come back tomorrow when I will answer the question, “What does any of this have to do with acting like a Christian?”
If you read my last blog post, you know I was recently challenged by someone I will call a “strict constructionist” – someone who thinks the US Constitution should always be interpreted the way the original authors of the Constitution intended. The particular argument I was challenged with was that the current president of the United States is not legally our president because he is not a “natural born citizen” of the United States as the framers of the Constitution intended. He was not born in the United States to two US citizens.
When asked if I agreed that “natural born citizen” meant only someone born in the United States to two US citizens, I said no. I have a few different reasons for that. The first is that we have to be very careful with the idea of strict construction because it’s very difficult to know exactly what “the Framers of the Constitution” or the “Founding Fathers” intended.
Oh, you can find books with quotes from George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin talking about the Constitution or its principles. Some people rely on writings by John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Jay, even though they weren’t part of the Constitutional Convention. But no one back then wrote a “full guide to the Constitution through the eyes of the Founders.” Such a thing doesn’t exist, and it would have been very difficult to write.
The Constitutional Convention was made up of 55 men, representing only 12 of the original 13 states. (Rhode Island refused to send delegates to the convention.) After the final draft of the Constitution was prepared, 13 delegates left the convention in protest and 3 more refused to sign it. It is doubtful that any of the 39 men who did sign the Constitution whole-heartedly agreed with every provision in it, as it had only been produced after much debate and many compromises. Benjamin Franklin declared, "I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them…. [T]he older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”
Fifty-five men debated the Constitution, 39 signed it, but it took much more debate and many more men to make the Constitution the law of the land. Every state had to consider whether or not to ratify the Constitution, and at least nine of the states had to agree to it – just as it was written – before it would take effect. None of those men could quibble with the phrases used to define and limit the powers of the three branches of government. All they could do was say “yes” or say “no, go back and try again.”
So if I’m asked if a certain phrase in the Constitution should be interpreted the way the it was originally intended, I have to ask, “Intended by whom – the person who first suggested the provision, other Founding Fathers who contributed ideas for the Constitution, the Committee of Detail that drafted the Constitution, the Committee of Style and Arrangement that redrafted it and added final changes, the 39 members of the convention who signed the document, or the hundreds of men making up the state legislatures or ratifying conventions in the 13 states who eventually approved it?” After all, each one of those people was essential to the creation of the document.
“Strict Construction” is a nice idea, but only if we approach the idea cautiously, being careful to not assume that everyone involved in writing and approving of our Constitution actually agreed on what it meant.
Tune in tomorrow for One Last Word on “Natural Born Citizen.”
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What is my mission as an author? It's a tough question, but I believe the goal dearest to my heart is to help Christians think about what they really believe and then to act as if they really believe it. It all begins with understanding what it means to be a Christian. Then we have to learn to live like a Christian.