Author Archives: Paul Quillman

We The People. One American’s Exposition of the Constitution in an Election Year

4 years ago, I posted a series of blog entries I titled Freedom Matters.  In that series, I examined the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, 3 critical documents in the development of the United States.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  We ended out with one candidate, that I contend unnecessarily cheated to get a nomination that the GOP was going to make sure got the nomination, Mitt Romney, and not even a 1 term senator from Illinois that promised “hope and change”, Barack Obama.  To this day, I am firmly convinced that neither man communicated that they understood, or were willing to make the radical limits of the Constitution on the federal government even a peripheral part of their platform.  Obama certainly has not supported policies that demonstrate an understanding of the severe limits that the Constitution places on the federal government, and Romney has nothing in his history that demonstrates that understanding either.

Here we are, 4 years later, with both major parties nominating the least liked candidates in recent memory.  Amazingly, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have the nominations of the Democrat and Republican parties, respectively.  Neither party has nominated a candidate that has demonstrated any fidelity to the Constitution, or in Trumps case, there is nothing in what he has said or done that would rationally lead one to believe he would use what limited power of the office the Constitution allows to force the Executive Branch, to say nothing of the Judicial or Legislative Branches.

So, 4 years later, I am doing it again.  It’s a compulsion really.  I can’t not do this. If I don’t, I am likely to loose my mind.  And no one in my house wants live through that.  Over the next couple of months, I will work through the Constitution.  I don’t really have time to do more than the Constitution, but I think the Constitution is enough. 

It’s election season in America, again.  It’s going to by YUUUUGE!!!!!!

After Giving Comcast 18 Months to Solve the Problem, I’m Done.

After fighting with Comcast for 18 months because their internet service only works 40% of the time, I decided to have a conversation with @ComcastCares on Twitter.  Today, they sent another tech in a long line of techs who are not rated to fix the problem that every one of them has told me exists.  The wire inside my walls is analog, and in order for the internet connectivity to work properly, a digital line must be installed.  I have called AT&T to see if they would like a shot at my money.  Waiting on the 21st for them to give it a try.  Below is the Twitter DM I have had.  After 18 months, I am done.

 

Me:I have 2 ticket # 476238968 and 029997850. There should be a tech scheduled for 7/12 to replace wire in the walls of my home. There should also be an email to financial services requesting some kind of refund/compensation for an issue 18 months long, and multiple techs being sent that cannot do the job. Also multiple reschedules without my knowledge. This is fixed on the 12th and I get a significant refund on service that only works 40% of the time, or I call ATT on the 13th.

Comcast: The current scheduled job is a service call, if there are multiple lines that need to be re ran then we will need to set this up as an install. How many cables need to be replaced and are they ran on the exterior of the home or fished inside the walls? -RTT

Me: I was told that someone replace the line in my home on 7/12. I only have internet through comcast, no other service. One outlet in the living room. Yes, inside the home, as I have already stated.

Comcast: The reason I want to clarify is that most areas do not do wall fishing. Did a field tech tell you that they could do that? -RTT

Me: Multiple techs have said it could be and needed to be done. Do not waste my time by sending another field tech that will tell me the same

Comcast: Ok great, if they have already said they could do it and they set that appointment then you should be good to go. Please let us know how the visit on the 12th goes. -RTT

Me: What is the status of the refund request that should have been submitted? Refund request should be in the notes for ticket #cr476238968

Comcast: That ticket is showing Intermittent Internet issues. What was the amount of the refund being requested? – CR

None was discussed. This has gone on for 18 months. Multiple techs sent that were not Internet works about 40% of the time. What kind of refund do you think is appropriate? I’ll help you out. How about 18 months of free service? CSR I spoke with offered to have it looked into.

Comcast: After looking through everything, I’m not entirely sure the tech scheduled now will be able to do the service. I’ve added an Installation on the account as well for July 14th from 5-7pm just in case – that way you’re not having to wait any longer. If you don’t need that appt, then I can simply cancel it. As for credit, I’ve applied two months worth of credit on your account for a total of $xx. -EM

Me: I was told that the tech coming on the 12th would be able to replace the cable inside the walls of my home. But I have been told that before I have rescheduled my own clients enough that I am no longer willing to do so. All I have available is Sunday. This has gone on long enough. Either the installer does the work on the 12th, or I find a different service. No one will be available on the 14th. I will not readjust my schedule any more to accommodate.

Comcast: And that’s a fair ask. I’m going to escalate it to the local market in your area to be SURE that the tech coming out will be able to resolve your issue once and for all. -EM

Me: Unsurprisingly, the tech certified to replace the wire in the walls of my home was not sent. The tech that was sent was kind, professional and informative. If I could, I would offer him a job in my company. The incompetence of your scheduling and customer service depts. is truly the stuff of legend. Never have I been lied to, and treated so poorly as I have with Comcast. I don’t really know what else to say. I have already posted the problem to my twitter followers and facebook friends. My business clients and contacts will be told over the next month or so. The ones that I have told about the problem have suggested alternatives I have already started looking into. I am also not sure what you can say to me. Responding with an apology and attempts to by sympathetic will be received as scripted corporate speak that was likely cut and pasted from company form responses. I do not believe a thing coming from the CS dept. How could I? Why should I? Finally, the tech you sent out had to be frustrated that he told me everything the previous 5 or 6 techs have told me. Nearly word for word. His time would have been better spent sending to a house with an issue he was actually trained to resolve. You owe him an apology as well as appropriate additional compensation for his time. How incredibly rude and inconsiderate on Comcast part. So, if you want to do something to resolve this that will be meaningful, you can give me 18 months of free internet only service, and get someone in here soon that can replace the old analog cable in the walls of my home, with a digital cable. If I were you, I would also expect communication from the Better Business Bureau as well. Probably should check for posting about this On Yelp in the next few days as well.

Comcast: 🙁 Let me get somebody in your local market to call you. What’s the best number to reach you at? -EM

Me: What would be the point? What has happened in the last 18 months would convince me that anything different would happen?

Comcast: They’re the Escalations Team. It’s the once team that handles issues like this to make it right. -EM

Me: I have been told they will call before, so I am not holding my breath. Best number at the moment is xxx-xxx-xxxx. I am serious about what I said about keeping me. No less than 18 months free internet AND a tech to fish wire from the walls. Anything less is unacceptable. Absolutely no negotiation. Make sure they know that before calling me. I will no longer waste my time. This entire conversation is likely to be posted on my blog and linked on twitter and facebook. Today.

 


 

All is Well

I love Christmas music.  If you were to check my phone playlist, you would find Trans Siberian Orchestra, Peter Kendall Warren or Michael W. Smith Christmas music has probably been recently played.  At any time of the year.

Of all of the Christmas music I own, the one record that I have played more than any other, is Christmas, by Michael W. Smith.  Even at the age of 13, when the record was released, I was captivated.  For those of you who are familiar with producer Greg Nelson, who I have had the good fortune of meeting a couple of times, I have heard him say that this record is one of the finest Christmas records ever produced in Christian Music.  Smith self produced the is record.

I could put the whole record on repeat for hours, something that I tend to do with music I strongly resonate with, but the best song on the record, and my favorite Christmas hymn is “All is Well”.  Give it a listen:

 

Not only does the music grab my attention, but the Gospel astonishment of the lyrics as well.

All is well all is well

Angels and men rejoice

For tonight darkness fell

Into the dawn of love’s light

Sing A-le

Sing Alleluia

There is a fascinating and astonishing claim made in the opening line.  Things were not well at the time of Jesus birth.  Wars, rumors of wars, political unrest, the people of God held captive by the Roman state, poverty, confusion, violence, injustice, crime.  And in 2,000 years, not much has changed.  Yet, in the Gospel accounts and in this song, men and angels are called to rejoice.  On that night, darkness was dealt the first in a long line of fatal blows.

In Genesis 3, after our first parents sinned, God speaks to the serpent (think Satan), “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal.” (v15)  This He God refers to is Jesus, who will crush Satan.  Even in our first parents’ sin, God, in His great love for His people, makes provision for their salvation, and for ours.  The birth of Jesus is God’s opening salvo into His war to see His creation set to rights, and His people redeemed.  Truly a reason to sing Alleluia.

All is well all is well

Let there be peace on earth

Christ is come go and tell

That He is in the manger

Sing A-le

Sing Alleluia

 

Again, the astonishing claim that all is well, now with the invocation of Peace on Earth.  The Old Testament uses the word Shalom.  Shalom is related to the idea of peace, but has a far greater reach.  When I think of peace, many times, I think of the absence of war.  But Shalom is far more than that.  Shalom has far greater implication and reach.  Shalom is about the right ordering of all things.  Not just the absence of war, and the presence of real justice, but the need for war to be at an end.  For all eternity.  Not just an ending of hostilities, but the renewing and restoration of all relationships.  For all things to be as they were created to be.

With the first Advent of Jesus, an old world began to die, and a new one was birthed.  One where peace, no, better than mere peace, but the Shalom of God begins to break through and reign.  A new Kingdom, not of this world, brings light into dark places.  Starting in an animal stall in a little town called Bethlehem.  A Kingdom that advances, not by swords or legislation, not by electing the right people or party, not by doing or not doing a list of things, but by the transformation of hearts and minds in ways that can only happen and be sustained by the work of the Holy Spirit as He brings the Gospel to bear in every corner of creation.

All is well all is well

 

Lift up your voices and sing

Born is now Emmanuel

Born is our Lord and Savior

Sing Alleluia

Sing Alleluia

All is well

As I write this, I have had this song on constant repeat. I have a need to see the redemption of the Gospel. I need to be reminded that not only is the Gospel true, but that it has the power to redeem broken lives, hard situations, and damaged people. I need to see hope. I need to know that all is well, or at least it all will be well. The birth of Emmanuel, God with us, means that the Gospel can, and will comfort. There is a person I can take my sin to, there is One who will forgive, redeem, repurpose and restore.

I find the phrase “Lord and Savior” to also hold such hope and comfort. The One who is Sovereign over all things, that has ordered all things according to His good pleasure, who has the right to meet out judgment perfectly, is also Savior. He rightly judges our sin, and mercifully steps in as our redeemer. Not because we are good enough, or at least we are not as bad as I could be, not because we have anything that we can use to recommend ourselves to God, but because it is His good pleasure to redeem His people. It brings glory and honor to Himself. That’s one of the grand implications of being Sovereign Ruler over all of creation. What else can we do but sing. Alleluia.

 

Dryer Lint Adventures, Part Deaux

This will be short.  Electrician did not think that a permit needed to be obtained from city codes.  But the city codes dept. and the local electric company want a permit pulled and an inspection done by the codes dept.  Hopefully, the electrician will be able to pull the a permit and get an inspection scheduled today.  Please continue to pray for a quick resolution, but not at the expense of our safety.

It Turns Out That Dryer Lint Really is Flammable

After a couple of days of more than usual chaos, I have a bit of time to recount the events of the last few days.  I am going to be a bit brief, leaving out most of the details, and that mostly because I am only a lot tired.  There are some people that we have already told, but this is the easiest way to “inform the masses”.

Several weeks ago, we discovered that there was a leak in a water line behind the washing machine.  I fixed it, well, it was a fix that was ultimately temporary.  While I was out of town, my wife calls and tells me that that fix was, in fact, temporary.  She managed to deal with it.  I got got back home and tried a more permanent fix.  Sometimes, it is best to get the name brand, because sometimes, the name brand is actually better than the off brand. 

That one leak turned into 2 on the same pipe.  Finally, because the project became more time consuming than I could handle, and my wife called her dad.  He come and took on the project.  From this point, I may not have all of the details in, and I may even have a couple of details wrong, much of this stills feels like a blur.

By last Wednesday, we had 3/4 of the back wall of the laundry closet pulled out, and about half of the ceiling out.  We also discovered that the dryer vent pipe had an 8 inch gap.

WP_20140530_002

This is it.  Dryer lint that was suppose to be blowing out through the roof has been blowing into the ceiling above the dryer and inside the walls.  You might call it free insulation.  I did, but I do not recommend it.  This has been, as you see pictured to the left, for at least as long as we have lived there, and probably even before our landlord purchased it several years ago.  Before I go any further, our landlord has been fantastic, and there is no way he could have known about this.

I have a friend who has been in apartment maintenance for 20 years who offered to come over and sweat pipe if we needed it.  I took him up on it.  He came over on Thursday to sweat in hot and cold water valves for the washing machine.  He never got to it.

While he was looking at what he needed to do, and I assume also see what safety measures he would need to take, my father in law was trying to unclog a sink drain upstairs.  IN the process, one part of the drain connected with what we think was a ground wire, and there was an arc.  He flipped the switch a time or two and it arced again, causing a pile of dryer lint to flame up.

My boys are in Scouts.  Boy Scouts are encouraged to have a zip loc bag of dryer lint to help get a campfire started.  There is a reason for this.  Dryer lint is pretty easily flammable.  So, the pile of dryer lint inside the ceiling above the dryer catching fire is not a surprise.  I had a couple of fire extinguishers that I put near the laundry closet in case they were needed.  My wife and I were at work, while my father in law, friend and kids were at home.  The fire was put out.  A short time later they started to smell something funny.  There seemed to be some smoldering, and they were not sure if it was where the original fire was or if it was in the walls somewhere else.  They called the fire dept.  By providential grace, the trucks arrived fairly quickly.  Someone decided to pull the rest of the ceiling in the laundry closet down, and plop, the pile of dryer lint that fell was what was smoldering.  To be clear, no one was harmed, nor is there any property damage from the fire.

Given the situation, the electric company was called in and they pulled the meter box.  And that left our home without power.  We can get the meter box back after we have an electrical inspection.

We had an inspection today (Monday) of sorts.  The fire investigators said that an electrician could pull power into a house and do an inspection even if the meter was gone.  The electrician today apparently could not do that.  He did inspect the localized area, and will be getting a report to us that we can hopefully take to the electric company to get our meter box back in.  At that point a more thorough inspection can take place and issues addressed.

We spent the Thursday and Friday nights with some friends that introduced us to our landlord.  They had room and graciously let us invade their otherwise quiet home.  We are currently house sitting for friends who are out of town, and need their dogs looked after while they are away.  We can go back to the first house if we need to, so we have a roof over our heads.  As of this writing on Monday night, we are waiting for the report to come in.

A few people have made various offers of help, and those are greatly appreciated.  We are writing this for a couple of reasons:

1)There are several friends and family members who do not know and as was stated earlier, this is the easiest way to inform the masses.

2) We would like you to pray.  Pray for our nerves, as they can be shot when you are displaced in the best of circumstances.  Pray that this is completely resolved quickly, but more important, rightly.  We want all of the issues we don’t know about found and dealt with.  If that takes a little longer, that is fine with us.  Pray for our landlord.  He has made an investment in a property that has some problems that must be addressed.  Pray that these are not expensive.  He may or may not be financially better off than we are, either way, I do not believe this was something any of us could have known about.  He is being inconvenienced just in different ways than we are.

At this point, prayer is the immediate need.  As things change in the next day or so, we will post updates at the top of this post. 

Some Observation on David Platt’s Video Promoting His Book, Follow Me

David Platt Promo for “Follow Me”

 

A  friend of mine asked me to comment on this video that she posted to Facebook.   Watch the video first.  My comments are below.

(After several attempts to get the video from You Tube to post, I have finally given up. After Google gobbled up You Tube, my experience with it has been sub par. But that is the experience I have come to expect from all things Google.  Click here to watch the video.)

Let me start by saying that I have heard of David Platt. I know that he is an author and a pastor. And that is all I know about him. Given that, I am going to limit my comments to the content of the video, which is designed to get people to buy the book he is selling.

My first impression is that whoever produced the video has studied Rob Bell’s Nooma videos. It’s well produced, the music sets the tone well, the camera panning is good, the graphics are compelling. Bell is famous for not looking at the camera, but Platt does look directly at it.

Platt seems to care about the hearts and minds of people. He also seems to passionately care about their eternal destiny. He has a theology of heaven and hell. Not exactly sure what that theology is, but it is clearly not the same as Rob Bell’s theology.

Now to the first section of the content of the video, the story about his friend “John”. Based only on the facts Platt presents, there are some things that caught my attention. The first thing that got me was that the older man gave John no context for what John had experienced, what the Gospel is, what it does, why it matters. The older man seems more interested in just getting people to pray a prayer. Tag ‘em and bag ‘em evangelism. Just get people to chant out a prayer, and move on. No discipleship, no context, just chant after me and you’re good.

Given the facts shared, Platt asks 3 very legitimate questions “Is that true?” “Is that really what it means to be a disciple of Jesus?” “Is this really what it means to follow Him?” What makes this a great question is that it leads to a reexamination of the methodology of evangelism used, and a look at the beginnings of Christian evangelism and what it was designed to be.

Platt then goes on to say that when Jesus said “Follow Me” it wasn’t an invitation to pray a prayer, but “a summons for these men to lose their lives.” Platt is onto something here. I am reminded of the following that Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23:

Mat_16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Mar_8:34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Luk_9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Taking up a cross is not easy. It is hard. The use of the word “cross” implies suffering, something with which western Christianity, especially evangelicalism in the United States, knows little of. I also want to pull in something from James into this discussion in James 2:14 – 26:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;  and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Let’s just say for simplicities sake that faith produces works as a proof of faith, and works are not meritorious, but evidence. And I would argue that the good works we do are not ours, but works that belong to Jesus, that He does through us, and somehow, we get credit. That is not to say that any good work we do has any merit for salvation, but they merit evidence of faith.

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

In the second section of the video, Platt address cultural tides and church trends. Here I think may be setting up a home run point that I hope he addresses in the book. The last couple of hundred years for the western Church, specifically the Protestant expression of Christianity, are a mixed bag. Platt gives this a bit of a pass when he says that tides and trends changing the church have been done with good intentions. I only partly agree with this. Things like critical scholarship and the Jesus seminar from the left, and cold dead orthodusty from the right (a la Copenhagen, Denmark in the time of Soren Kierkegarrd) have not been good, and in at least some cases, intentional maliciousness has been a factor. That is not to say there is no hope, God has also raised up men like Calvin, Luther, Edwards, Piper, Packer, etc. etc. to hold the line, so to speak.

Platt is right that much of what passes for Biblical Christianity in the west is no longer believable anymore. Despite what most evangelical churches teach, Sola Bootstrapus is not actually one of the 5 Solas of the Reformation. Lone Rangerism is a plague on the church, with fewer and fewer believing it anymore. In many cases, people end up de-churching instead of rediscovering the Gospel. Christianese has also become problematic. There are certain words and phrases that we have used so much, that we have lost the wonder of words like “Gospel”, “salvation” and “grace” and hated concepts like “substitutionary atonement” and “sovereign”. I am not suggesting that we abandon those words and concepts, but it would be healthy to rediscover the wonder of those concepts that leads to Gospel astonishment.

In the third section, Platt seems to reveal the heart of a pastor that loves his congregation deeply. He seems to want the best for the flock he tends. He wants his flock to discover what Jesus calls us to. He seems to want his church, and the rest of us as well, to realize that when Jesus calls a man, He bids him to come and die.

In the fourth section, I start to have some trouble. Yes, the call to follow Jesus is important, and the implications for getting the Gospel wrong are deadly. What seems to come across though, is a fear that if we don’t get it right, we’re toast. That somehow, the eternal destination is up to us, not only what we believe, but what we do as well. There seems to be a fear that there will ultimately be more not in heaven that in heaven. That does not paint a picture of a victorious Christ to me.

Finally, he does ask a good question at the end. “Are we really, Biblically, personally, following Jesus?. Good question, and it is one that we should wrestle with, often.

The last statement is where I think Platt and I would disagree. Or at least from the content of the video, I think we would.

“Eternity is dependent on how we answer that question.”

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, a thousand times NO!!!!!!! Eternity is not dependent on how we answer, or don’t answer that question. My suspicion is that Platt identifies as an evangelical, and that is fine. I am not an evangelical, I sit in the Reformed camp, and so my perspective is going to be very different, especially on this issue.

Romans 9 starts with the apostle Paul longing for his countrymen, ethnic Israel, to see that Jesus is their long awaited, promised Messiah. He continues by going into a discussion about ethnic Israel vs. True Israel. Let me pick up in verse 8:

This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”  And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,  though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”  As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.  You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”  But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

The crux of what I want to focus on, as a response/disagreement with Platt’s last statement is verse 16:

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

On God’s mercy is what eternity depends on, and nothing else. Not human will, not human exertion, not human decisions, not human action, but on God’s mercy.

So, there are a couple of things in the delivery of this video that tweak me a bit. The last statement I think is poorly chosen, but that is me. But, there are many more things in the content of this video that intrigue me. I certainly think that there are questions he is asking in this video that are worth asking and answering. So, I would say, given all of that, read the book. My guess is that there is quite a bit worth wrestling with, studying, and examining. Even when we disagree with him and each other.

Why I Will Not Vote for Romney, or Obama, on Tuesday

I am just going to bullet point why I will not vote for any Democrat, or Republican, for any office on Tuesday, and why I am likely to never vote for anyone in either party for any position, federal, state, or local. Please keep in mind that I have every intention of voting on Tuesday.  Just because I will not vote for any candidate in either party does not mean I will not vote.  There are alternative parties and candidates that I will be voting for, and even in the “voting for” there will be some intentional “voting against” as well.

I also want to respond to some arguments I have heard from very good friends when they found out I would not vote for Romney, or any other Republican.  I still intend on being very good friends with them before, during, and after they vote differently than I do.  It is their conscience they must live with, not mine.  My encouragement to everyone is to vote in such a way that your conscience will not keep you up at night.  If that means voting for Romney or Obama, so be it.  As Martin Luther said at the Diet of Worms, to go against conscience is neither right, nor safe.

Finally, I want to explore some theological considerations regarding politics and elections.  This blog is, primarily, intended to be about theology.

So, first, here are the bullet points I have against voting for Romney, Obama, Democrats, and Republicans.

Democrats and Obama

  1. Obama Care.  Largest tax increase in history, with no Constitutional justification.  In fact, despite what Chief Justice John Roberts seems to think, Obama care is a direct violation of the 9th and 10th Amendments.  Further, Individual and corporate welfare is something that is not granted to the federal government to have any involvement in.  And Congress should really read a bill before they vote on it.
  2. Bailouts.  Again, a violation of the 9th and 10th Amendments.  It is immoral, and reprehensible for any government, at any level, to pick winners and losers in the private sector.  In a free market, there is risk, and no company is too big to fail.  Bush may have signed off on TARP, but Obama voted for it.
  3. Where is the budget?  Unless I am wrong, the Democrats have yet to submit a budget for consideration, while the Republicans have submitted several.
  4. Federal Reserve.  The existence of the Federal Reserve, and its function is a direct violation of Article 1, Section 8, clause 5 of the Constitution, and they have no discernable interest in repealing the Federal Reserve Act.  So, we can expect more bailouts, as well as more quantitative easing.
  5. Abortion.  I am pro life.  The Democrat party is not.  I believe that the right to life should be codified in the Constitution via the amendment process.
  6. Marriage.  Marriage is a function of the church, not the state.  It should not be regulated by the state at any level.  I support marriage in the context of one man and one woman.  I do not support gay marriage.  But, I do not support the state being involved in that decision.  Marriage is a theological notion first, and therefore should be something for the church to debate, not the government.  It has become an issue by which candidates on both sides of the issue can use to hold power over voters that they agree with, all while using it as a means of distraction.  Take away the issue from the government, and you take away a little power that politicians should not have to begin with.  Leave marriage as an issue for individual congregations to figure out, not politicians more interested in staying in power than rightly dealing with the issue.  If that means doing away with certain tax advantages with being married, then so be it.
  7. War.  Democrats talk a good game for peace, but when it comes to war, they are just as guilty as Republicans when it comes to the unconstitutionality of the War Powers Act.  Declaring war belongs with Congress, not the President, as per the Constitution.  But Democrats want their guy to be the war time president as much as the Republicans want it for their guy.  Let war be decided by Congress, and instead of giving lip service to not being the world police, returning the authority of declare war to the Congress, we will actually stop being the world police.
  8. Convention shenanigans.  If you plan on voting for Democrats, you will get more of this

Republicans and Romney

  1. Romney says he will repeal Obama Care.  But what will he replace it with?  Do not blind yourself to the fact that Romney Care is the stated basis for Obama Care.  What in Romney’s history would lead anyone to believe Romney will do any better?
  2. Federal Reserve.  Romney supports it.  Ryan supported TARP.  Although it “offended his principles”, it didn’t offend them enough to keep Ryan from voting for the bailout.  A bailout that had no Constitutional authority.  Don’t believe me on the quote?  Watch this.  Seems similar to what Bush said when he signed TARP.  He said he was abandoning free market principles, in order to save the free market.
  3. Abortion.  For 40 years, the GOP has promised that they would end Roe vs. Wade.  Hasn’t happened.  In fact, we haven’t even seen an amendment to the Constitution even get to the point of consideration.  Sorry, but after 40 years of nothing, I don’t believe the GOP anymore.  And Romney does not have a pro life history.  He is hoping that you will ignore his history, and believe his rhetoric. Personally, I have been given that speech one too many times, and I don’t buy it anymore.
  4. Marriage.  Republicans are just as guilty as the Democrats when it comes to the issue of marriage.  DOMA is out of step with the major theme of the Constitution, and marriage is a theological matter, not a political matter.  It is just another issue that the GOP holds over the heads of the voters, making the GOP faithful fear that if the Republican candidate is not elected, we will see gay marriage become the status quo.  Take the issue away from the politicians, and let the church deal with the matter.  Take it away from the federal, state and local politicians, and take back powers that belong to the people, not the state.
  5. War.  Just like the Democrats, the Republicans want their guy to be in charge of a war or 2.  While giving lip service to not wanting to be the worlds police, the Republicans seem quite content to get us into every conflict in the world.  I am not opposed to war, but the Constitution has a process for that, and the War Powers Act is not a Constitutional remedy.  No one man should have the decision to send men to their deaths.  That is within the powers delegated to Congress, not the president.  Romney promises more war, just like the Democrats.
  6. Judicial appointments.  Every Republican thought that John Roberts was the best replacement for William Rehnquist.  Then comes Obama Care, and what does he do?  He calls it a tax, which Obama said it wasn’t, so that he could get it passed in Congress, but his attorney said it was so that the Supreme Court would pass it.  And Roberts was appointed by a Republican.  What do you think will happen when a less conservative Republican appoints someone to the Supreme Court.
  7. Convention and primary shenanigans.  Lots of them.  HereHereHere. HereHereHere.  This is not the party I grew up believing in any more.  If the Republicans get power back on Tuesday, they will most assuredly govern in the way they have conducted their primaries and convention.  Much of what happened in these videos is akin to election tampering.  Federal law demands jail time for such actions.

There is more that I could add, but at the end of the day, neither party is bound to the Constitution.  And both parties  are only interested in keeping themselves in power.  I cannot have any part in putting either party, or either of these candidates in power.  If I vote against anything, it will be against both parties.  In my view, one party is no better than the other.  They are both equally corrupt, and equally disdainful of the Constitution.

Responding to issues raised

  1. “A vote for anyone other than Romney is a vote for Obama.” For someone like me, who has made an ideological shift away from the Republican party, this statement will only harden the resolve against both parties.  You will first have to convince me that Romney is actually significantly different than Obama.  That includes convincing me that his history, and current positions will not drive the country off a cliff.  And driving it off slower than Obama is not enough to convince me that it is actually better.  At the end of the day, this is simply a weak argument that no one in my position will even accept the premise of the statement.  A vote against Romney and Obama, is a vote against Romney and Obama, and a vote FOR a better platform.
  2. “Anybody but Obama.”  This one actually terrifies me.  I am concerned about a Romney administration.  I am a little afraid of another 4 years of Obama.  But the “anybody but Obama” crown actually terrifies me.  It shows a great deal of desperation.  It means that people will vote for anyone that comes around that looks good, sounds good, and talks conservativish, but can’t prove that they are actually conservative by their history.  This time, that someone is Romney.  On what basis do we know Romney will be better than Obama?  His rhetoric during stump speeches and debates?  And even then, not all of what he says is better.  What in his history lends anyone to believe he will actually be better?  If Romney wins, those who voted for him may actually end up having voters remorse and long for the days of Obama.  How many people have you heard that now long for the days of Clinton?
  3. “If we keep voting for Republicans, they won’t drive us off the cliff as fast, and they may turn everything around.”  Sorry, but if you have made the shift I have, this just sounds like wishful thinking, and history is on my side of this argument.
  4. “Libertarians need to start with getting House and Senate candidates elected, so that when they have a president get elected, that president will have a party to work with.”  Libertarians already have candidates in most districts and senate races across the nation.  Gary Johnson is on the ballot in all 50 states.  There is an alternative party that is ready to lead now.  In his political ads, Gary asks everyone to “Be libertarian with me for one election.”  There are viable, alternative choices.
  5. “You can’t focus on minor issues and expect anyone to get on board.  We have bigger issues to deal with.”  Monetary policy is actually a big issue.  The need to audit and dismantle the federal reserve is actually quite desperate.  It is a large part of why the United States is near the financial cliff.  I wouldn’t call that a small issue.  Also, being the policemen of the world not only costs us trillions we will never recoup, but it costs us in treasure and blood that cannot be replaced.  Lets make sure that our military engagement anywhere in the world is just and appropriate.
  6. “What about issue(fill in the blank with whatever issue you choose)?  Don’t you think that (whatever party you plan to vote for) is a little off on this issue?:”  Honestly, they probably are.  I have some difficulty with Ron Paul’s foreign policy.  Not sure I am completely on board with it.  I have some trouble with the libertarian view on drugs that are currently illegal.  I also have difficulty with the Constitution party on marriage.  They work for a Constitutional amendment, and I think it is a matter for the church, not the state. At least they are working through the Constitutionally prescribed process, and not legislation that is in conflict with the Constitution, which is more than can be said for the Democrats or Republican.  But you will not get total agreement with any one candidate, unless it is you that you are voting for.
  7. “You’re looking for the perfect candidate, and that candidate does not exist.  You won’t totally agree with any one candidate, so why go outside of the 2 party system?”  I would vote inside of the 2 party system if I agreed with either of the platforms more than 60% of the time, at best.  But when I agree 97% of the time with an alternative candidate, why would I vote for someone I disagree with 40% of the time?  I do not expect to ever find a perfect candidate.  It is not possible.  I do expect to agree with a candidate on at least more than half of the issues.
  8. “You are throwing away your vote.  You might as well vote for Mickey Mouse, or not vote at all.”  I take citizenship very seriously, and find it appalling that anyone would waste their vote on a cartoon character.  I am also disturbed by the thinking behind the statement.  It implies that I have not really done my research on the candidates.  If you are in my position, that is not true.  By a long shot.  I have examined the history and platforms of the candidates, and weighed them against the Constitution.  They have been tried, they have been tested, and the 2 major parties have been found wanting.  A throw away vote is a vote for a candidate you really don’t believe in.  
  9. “We are a 2 party nation.  3rd parties don’t do anything but take votes away from the challenger and give the incumbent the win.” Then maybe the party you think I should vote for should clean up its act.  If they want my vote, they need to earn it.  And the Republican party was an alternative party once,  Then they won the Presidency.  Remember Abraham Lincoln?
  10. “We should absolutely vote our conscience in the primary, but we should vote to win in the general.”  No, no, no, a thousand times no.  Always vote your conscience.  The thinking that frames this question is one of the ways the 2 parties keep the rank and file voting for them.  Try voting your conscience all of the time.

Theological Considerations

  • My vote on Tuesday will not count.  Neither will yours.  The president is elected, not by the popular vote, but by the Electoral College, as it should be.  But that vote does not even count.  Only one vote does.  There is only One voter that chooses.  Read from Daniel 2:20 and focus on verse 21:

20Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.  21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22 he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.  23 To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

  • Just because God has raised up a particular candidate to sit in the Oval Office, it does not mean that God is endorsing that candidates platform.  It simply means that the candidate that wins will serve God’s plan and purpose for a season, and once that purpose is fulfilled, then that candidate will no longer be in power. 

What Will Be True On Wednesday, Regardless of Who Wins on Tuesday

  1. God is still sovereign.
  2. Jesus still occupies the Throne in Heaven, and still reigns on earth.
  3. The Gospel is still true.
  4. Scripture is the Word of God and is still the best place to go to discern the will of God.
  5. The Church is still the Bride of Christ.  You cannot love Jesus and hate the Church.
  6. Jesus will still forgive and redeem us.
  7. The Kingdom of God will still expand.
  8. There will still be no corner of creation, where Jesus Christ, who is sovereign over all , that He will not cry out “Mine!”.
  9. Regardless of who wins, it will not be the end of this world, or the beginning of the next.
  10. Jesus will still need to come and make all things new.

Final Words of Advice for Those Voting on Tuesday

  1. Pray.  Pray for your vote.  Pray for those you will and will not vote for.  There will certainly be broken hearts on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.  Many people have worked tirelessly, as volunteers, or underpaid staff, and have given their lives for candidates that will loose.  Pray also for our current and future political leaders.  Scripture commands it. (1Tim 2:1-2)
  2. Do not place your hope in a victorious candidate.  Place it is a Risen Savior.
  3. Vote.  Vote in such a way that your conscience will not keep you from sleeping Tuesday night.  If you have voters remorse, confess it.  Let Jesus be your hope and comfort, not your candidate of choice.  And remember, your vote does not count.  Only One vote does.
  4. If your candidates win, rejoice without being rude about it.  If your candidates loose, do not mourn as if the world has ended.

There it is.  Why I will not vote for Republicans and Romney, and Democrats and Obama.  Feel free to correct any factual information that is incorrect.  Feel free to debate any point, or points you disagree with me on.  Comments that are respectful, and on topic are welcome.  Comments that are neither respectful, nor on topic will be deleted and ignored.

Freedom Matters – The Constitution – Part 10 –Amendments 21 – 27

This is the last post on the Constitution and the Amendments.

Amendment 21

1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

3. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Amendment 22

1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

This should be done for the House and Senate as well.  If we need to “grandfather” in those who are currently serving, fine.  But the House and Senate need term limits yesterday.

Amendment 23

1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 24

1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

Another amendment that is worthy of consideration is one that would untie the Republican and Democrat parties from a place of special privilege in the election process.  Let political parties exist, but give them no government support whatsoever.  Let the parties win, loose, rise and fall on their own merits, or lack thereof.  Also, do do away with the ridiculous hoops that 3rd parties must jump through to get on the ballot, while the donkey’s and elephants do not have to jump those same hoops.  What is required of one party, should be required of all.  What privileges one party enjoys, all parties should enjoy.

Amendment 25

1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Amendment 26

1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 27

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Another amendment that should be passed.  Stop paying Congressmen and Senators from the federal treasury.  Let them be compensated by those that sent them to DC.  In the House, let each district set the compensation for the people they elect to the House.  And it should be on the ballot every election.

For Senators, they should be appointed to the Senate by the state legislatures.  Let the state legislature set the Senators compensation when they select their Senators.

These changes should put the representatives much closer to the ones that they have been elected to represent.  The special interest then become the people that put them in office.

Freedom Matters – The Constitution – Part 9 –Amendments 11 – 20

Amendment 11 –

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Amendment 12 –

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Amendment 13

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 14

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of theUnited States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against theUnited States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Amendment 15

1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

Amendment 16

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Given the classism used to get the 16 Amendment passed, it should be repealed.  This was the first time that the argument “The rich should pay their fair share” was successful in the US.  The 156 Amendment is immoral as it punishes achievement.  Along with the Federal Reserve Act, have created more financial problems for the United States than they have solved.

 

Amendment 17

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

This is another amendment that needs repealed.  The states themselves have no representation in Washington, so Congress can do what it wants to the states, and the states have no recourse.

While the Constitutional method of state legislatures has its difficulty, the people directly electing Senators is an even less ideal method.  The Senate is suppose to be a bit more removed, and a deliberative.  The choosing of Senators by the state legislatures makes that possible.  Direct election of Senators by the people puts the Senate at the whim of the electorate.  That is already the case in the House, and it should be.  But the Senate must be more removed.

Amendment 18

1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

This amendment was, thankfully, abolished.  It was out of step with the tone of the Constitution as a whole, which severely restricts the power of the federal government, and maximizes the freedom of the people.  This amendment does the exact opposite. 

Additionally, the theological framework that was used my the prohibitionist/ temperance movement is unbiblical.  There is no place in Scripture where total, and full abstaining from alcoholic beverages is commanded.  No where.  It does not exist.  There are specific instances that abstaining from alcohol is commanded, but never a general, blanket prohibition.  I have spent a great deal of time looking and it just isn’t there.  In short, the problem is not the consumption of a substance, it is the sin in the heart of man that turns a substance into an idol, and thus the substance is abused.

Finally, the prohibition of alcohol did not stop the consumption of it.  Production and distribution went underground.  And tax revenue was lost.  Once repealed, a whole new set of problems were created.  Access was artificially limited to age, which is part of the reason we have such an underage drinking problem today.  Had the government let the people deal with the consequences of their actions, I contend that the alcoholism of the time would have eventually reduced.  We would not have an artificial rite of passage around a substance.  The church and the government has handled this poorly, and we still suffer from bad theology, exegesis, and law. 

Amendment 19

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 20

1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

Freedom Matters–The Constitution–Part 8–The Bill of Rights–Amendments 1 – 10

The Bill of Rights are the legal codification of very specific rights that the framers intended to protect with special placement in the Constitution.  While the 7 Articles place impositions on the federal government, the first 10 Amendments give greater freedom to the people.  I will make some comments about some of these Amendments, and some Amendments I will let stand as they are written.

Amendment 1
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress can not establish a religion.  That only means that legislation can not be brought to the floor of the House or Senate that creates a federal religion.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  Just because a city has a Manger scene on city property, does not mean that it is an establishment of religion.  To establish an official religion, there must be actual legislation.  To my knowledge, no such legislation has ever existed in the US.  I could be wrong, and am willing to see evidence to the contrary.

The press has the right to report what it want’s, but not the right to libel or slander, both of which happen frequently, and the press gets away with it.  The slightest accusation of the press abusing their privilege, and they scream the 1st Amendment.  The press is more engaged in infotainment than in being the press.

The right to petition allows a people to make their disagreements known in an orderly fashion, and limits insurrections.  It also a means to keep politicians from going too far.

Amendment 2
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The right to bear arms does not have a limit on it.  So, automatic, semi automatic, double barrel, sawed off, whatever.  To limit the type, amount, or the ability to have arms is unconstitutional.  This is not for hunters, or simply gun enthusiasts.  This amendment is designed to hold a tyrannical government at bay.  A well armed people will defend themselves if and when the government rises up against them, say like invading a state that has left the Union.

Amendment 3

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment 4

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 5
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

 

Amendment 6
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
 
Amendment 7
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
 
Amendment 8

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment 9
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This is a key amendment.  It is a reminder that the Constitution severely limits the powers of the federal government, and the great freedom it is designed to protect for the people.  It assumes that the people have rights that are not necessarily spelled out in the Constitution, but that does not presume that the federal government is granted the right to limit those unenumerated rights of the people.  Rather this amendment places another constraint on the federal government, and it reminds the federal government that only the powers delegated to each branch of the government are those powers that each branch may retain.  Any additional powers are forbidden.

Amendment 10
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Probably the most ignored amendment by politicians.  It puts a specific cap on federal power, and nearly unlimited political freedom on the people.  There is little wonder that Washington ignores this amendment.  It marginalizes political power.  There is so much of the federal code that has ignored this amendment.  Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will let any of the power they have both unconstitutionally grabbed, go back to the people.  Why should we continue to vote for them.