State of Confusion

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Constitutional Amendments

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

Author: H. Franklin

 

Besides lying and spinning, one of the favorite pastimes of the right is dreaming up Constitutional Amendments. You can count among them:

Prohibiting Abortion
Prohibiting Same sex marriage
Displaying the Ten Commandments in or on public property
Repealing term limitations on the Presidency.
Burning the flag.

The first three are religiously motivated, and the last two are political, although the religious right is a political arm of the Republican Party

Need I remind you that except for the Bill of Rights, in over two hundred years, (219) our Constitution has only been amended seventeen times, and then the eighteenth amendment (prohibition) was repealed by the twenty-first, effectively canceling them both. Prior to the last amendment in 1992, the next previous one was 1971.

Up until now, Constitutional Amendments have been taken seriously, and not some knee-jerk reaction. That’s why The Constitution requires THREE QUARTERS OF THE STATES to ratify an amendment, and not just a plurality or simple majority.

The ones proposed that I have listed above either are, or could be handled by legislation of the individual states. Indeed, same sex marriage is already prohibited by several states, my state being one of these.

Now that I have your attention, after deliberate and careful consideration, I have an amendment myself to propose to article II, the Presidency.

These are the requirements to run for the office of president as found in Article II.

No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.

Count them! There are only three requirements! We have more requirements for Sunday School teachers than that. The highest office in the land.

I would propose that persons running for the office of President be required to demonstrate some form of expertise and experience, perhaps that of having held high elective offices before. High elective offices would be limited to Governor of a State, Vice President, Congressman or Senator. The current term limitations would apply, and indeed, be expanded to include all elected offices.

A simple amendment to Article II would do it. And by simple, I mean readable and understandable by everyone. Let it say what it means, period.

State of Confusion

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

Author: H. Franklin

   These are indeed confusing times for Christians as well as non believers. Historically, there has been confusion and misunderstanding since the beginnings of Christianity which was founded by an itinerant Jewish Carpenter from an unlikely place called Nazareth. He came expressing ideas of love, peace and brotherhood, which seemed to conflict with traditional Jewish teachings.

   The ordinary people did come to hear him and embrace his teachings, but the Keepers of the Jewish “truths” and traditions were at odds with him from the beginning. He seemed to be ignoring their laws and traditions, and yet said that he didn’t come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it. Not so, said the hierarchy, he is teaching blasphemies. He is a threat to the good little thing we have here. Their dogma was indeed engraved in stone – The Ten Commandments.  A lot of today’s Christians don’t realize or ignore the fact that Jesus was a practicing Jew. Some of them think that He was a Christian.  Not so.  His followers were called Christian, but not him.

   Now, let’s go back and look at how the Jewish leaders didn’t want a good thing being put into jeopardy:

   They kept the Jewish people under control, and curried favor with their conquerors – Rome.  They had the good life as long as they didn’t upset the Roman Governors sent to rule over them.  The Governor had to keep Caesar happy, and indeed they were seeking Pax Roma. As long as Caesar was happy the Governor was happy, the priests happy, and the people did what the priests said.

   This spilled over to the Christian Church when they outgrew the small community fellowship meetings, and decided to organize.  Some organization, of course was necessary, but over the years, it has taken more and more to sustain that organization.  We are now at a point where the organization is the served rather than the servant.

   To me, one of the biggest scams perpetrated by the organized Christian Church is the idea that to be a good Christian attendance at and membership in an organized church is required.  In reading Jesus’ teachings and the Acts of the Apostles, I don’t see where this was ever suggested or a requirement.  Also, not incidental to regular attendance, but regularly giving to the coffers of the church is expected.

   The particular church I attend spends all the money it receives on itself.  Only about 11% of what is taken in goes to outside benevolences.  To my way of thinking, a church in this position is in its death throes.  It has what I call “Inward Vision”.  It has turned into itself and become a close-knit clique, which does not even encompass all who attend and are members.  Most of what is brought in goes for staff and ministerial salaries.

   Herein is the crux of the problem.  Of course a minister encourages church members to give.  For him/her it is their livelihood and job security.  The United Methodist Church, which I attend, has a preacher’s union that is the strongest part of its organization.  Several years ago, we were told that there was a shortfall in pensions for retiring preachers, and churches were asked to make that up. No, not asked, but mandated, because that’s the way of the UMC.  Now, ten or more years later, they are still coming to local congregations for more and more funds for retiring ministers.

   This is only one problem.  The larger problem is that the UMC is top heavy in management (for lack of a better word).  There are so many boards, commissions and committees, not only in the hierarchy, but the local churches as well, that almost total inertia and a scramble for self preservation has set in. This didn’t just happen recently, but has been going on for centuries.

   Back when the Roman church was the only recognized body of Christianity, they had an organization that was more powerful than most governments.  As a matter of fact, they controlled most of them.

   How many people gave and sacrificed to support this organization and to build the magnificent churches of Europe that we admire today?

   This is enough for now.  I’ll leave it with one thought:

“Attending a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than attending the theater makes you an actor.”