Linus agreed. “Freedom isn’t a very easy business either, Charlie Brown.”
But finally, on June 21, 1788, New Hampshire cast the deciding vote to approve the Constitution! The United States had become truly united. . .
from: Here’s to You, America!
by Charles M. Schulz
adapted by Justine and Ron Fontes
interior art adapted by Paige Braddock
Little Simon, 2002
And less than four years later, on December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights became law.
Society needs rules. Our Constitution weaves the fabric, devises the organization, and supports the structure of our Democracy. From the early drafts of the Constitution, the founders sought a balance between individual rights and the general good of all people.
In its preamble, the document declares a majority rule in the first three words: We the People. When we acknowledge this consensus as the backbone of our Justice system and Legal system, we cement our responsibility to each other.
The point of the Constitution is to establish a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.
The point of the Bill of Rights is to protect those very people, us, from the government. Protecting the minorities and individuals from the majority.
But sometimes bad laws are made.
The most recent example of a bad law is the immigration fiasco. The resulting horror and tragedy are still very much with us. In defense of that bad law, Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States, quoted the Christian Bible, specifically Romans 13, the same passage that was used to defend slavery! How dare he quote a Bible verse as his authority to enforce a bad law!
Sessions claims he is broadening the interpretation of the Religious Freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. If he *really* believes in Religious Freedom, he needs to stick to the Constitution and Bill of Rights as his authority, not the Christian Bible.
Here’s what Martin Luther King, Jr. had to say about following the Law:
One may well ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some
laws and obeying others?’ The answer lies in the fact that there are
two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate
obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility
to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to
disobey unjust laws.
from his "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
If Sessions can change the law of the land to allow the majority to run rough-shod over individuals, whether those individuals are physically, emotionally, or intellectually disabled, whether those individuals are economically struggling, whether those individuals hold a minority religious belief, or whether they are members of the LGBTQ community, and claim his authority is the G-d *he* believes in, we are all in serious trouble.
Rules are a part of life. Some people are rule-makers. Some people are balkers. Some are rule-breakers. Being a bit of a rule follower has kept me out of heaps of trouble of one kind or another.
My parents were rule-makers. Especially Mom. But in a good way. Wash and brush. Walk your bike across the streets, clean your room.
Then, later on: Be home by midnight, watch out for your little brother, set priorities.
Then I was on my own and needed my own rules. Respect Life. Respect Earth. Respect Self. These are not easy rules to follow. But life, generally is not easy.
Probably, it is not meant to be.