A Primer on Intepreting the Constiution

Constitution of the United States of America
Constitution of the United States of America (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

The Constitution of the United States is our civil covenant and it describes both the manner and extent of our federal government. Truly, the Constitution implies that the details of the Judiciary’s function were “to be worked out in practice” (O’Brien, 24), more than the other branches. The Branches of our government have certainly grown and morphed beyond their original outline because it has served the needs of the people to do so. But, the Constitution does not give the parameters for its own interpretation. The Constitution is not a document penned by a single person, but is a work of collective ingenuity. One person’s opinion of its intention in 1789 is no more binding than the notion that it is unbound from concrete principles.  It means what it says. Though the Constitution is alterable and thus boundless in its limits, its words are not living organisms that morph with each new generation like subjective mutants. There are principles of governance that are stated clearly in it and are self evident when the words of the Constitution are taken at face value. The founders knew, however, that it could not serve all people in all times and built into the Constitution alterability by Amendment. Continue reading “A Primer on Intepreting the Constiution”

The Gentle Puritan

English: "A Front View of Yale-College, a...
English: “A Front View of Yale-College, and the College Chapel, New-Haven, printed by Daniel Bowen from a woodcut.” In the lithograph, Yale students near President Ezra Stiles are seen removing their hats, a Yale custom of the era. The building known as Yale College was built in 1717 and demolished in 1782. The ‘College Chapel,’ originally known as ‘First Chapel, was built between 1761 and 1763. From 1824 until its demolition in 1893 it was known as The Athenaeum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Book review of The Gentle Puritan by Edmund S. Morgan

Ezra was a great man. He was orthodox but liberal and gracious while seeking ecumenical unity amongst the American Churches. He believed that Christian sects were as important as local bodies because they were all flawed in some way and therefore humility, graciousness and kindness should prevail amongst men who served Christ.

He improved the American college system by raising the standards and ceremony of Yale through a thorough and excellent liberal arts education. He was a great preacher, pastor and scholar. He did not diminish the role of Yale in providing preachers, he made them better candidates and improved the learned professions in his state and the United States.

He was not a fan of the New Divinity School of thought as it strayed from “Edwardian Divinity” as he understood it. He believed the New divinity was hyper-Calvinistic and that it offered those who most needed the good news, nothing but contempt and vitriol. Stiles was an “old Light” but resembled the Puritans more than the “New Light” preachers like Whitfield. Stiles foresaw that Whitfield and other itinerant preacher’s teaching would gave way to anti-clericalism that weakened the faith and the church in Connecticut. Continue reading “The Gentle Puritan”

The First Arabic Mass in Albuquerque

Flag of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Image created...
Flag of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Image created by uploader based on the previous bitmap image and other imgages found on the web. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are wonderfully unexpected sounds coming from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Byzantine Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The songs of the saints there are not in Latin or Spanish or English, but Arabic.

Due to the increasing persecution of Middle East Christians, 2000 year old communions in the Middle East are emptying of their members who are seeking a better life in the West. One positive consequence of this tragedy is that a revival of Maronite and other Orthodox branches of Arab Christianity in the United States is beginning. The Arab Christians are going into exile from their homeland and beginning to regroup in, of all places, Albuquerque. Continue reading “The First Arabic Mass in Albuquerque”

Capitalism, the Straw Man

Many opponents of the current economic system of the United Sates are under the impression that it is laissez-faire capitalism; this is far from the truth. It is not truly capitalism and has not been for many decades. In fact, even in its purest form to date, the markets never reached true freedom in the United States. Over-regulation by bureaucrats who do not know anything about sustaining a profitable business has created a system that rewards failure and punishes success; the exact opposite of capitalism. The government is propping up failing companies and creating an economic atmosphere of higher taxes and inflation.  The central planning of the Federal Reserve, Congress and the Treasury Department keep the market from being truly free in any reasonable sense that Adam Smith, the author of The Wealth of Nations and founder of Capitalism, meant it to be. We are witnessing the folly of the world attempting to pass itself off as benevolent wisdom.

Competition is the key to Capitalism. Once you destroy the competitive aspects of the markets, they are no longer free. This competition is often described as greed, but the Capitalist system is not based on swindling; if customers are not treated well or products are shoddy, consumers will no longer trust the swindling company. Free markets foster incentives for people to behave honestly, thereby enjoying big profits from satisfied customers. If a company isn’t conducting good business it will fail. When the Government decides that certain companies are too big to fail or should win regardless of their failures, the competition dies and so do excellence and striving for success. Continue reading “Capitalism, the Straw Man”

Thoughts on Government

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten ame...
English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If angels were men then we wouldn’t need governments. Governments are not a necessary evil. They are a blessing from God in direct response to the reality of mans depravity and inability to govern himself as he should in light of the laws of God. We should be thankful for the provision of government. Political leaders exercise justice, execute the law and defend the citizens from enemies foreign and domestic. The modern view of government as a necessarily group of mongrels, is inaccurate and an overreaction to the mismanagement of state affairs by generations of politicians. Governments are not evil in themselves, but are only as evil as the men who wield them.

And yet, over the two hundred and eleven years of Constitutional democracy in the United States, quite a few things have changed. It is easy to compare current events to just a few years ago and see that they are different, that we are drifting. However those ‘by-gone” years were themselves drifts. Continue reading “Thoughts on Government”