resident John Adams made that statement in an address to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, 1789.
Frame what follows within that thought.
Evidence abounds that some leaders of our nation don’t even know our Constitution.
Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, quoted the Constitution as saying “all men and women are created equal.” Not! It is the Declaration of Independence that contains the quote she misquoted. The Declaration uses the phrase “all men are created equal.” Though it does not say “women,” as Pelosi said it does, certainly the term “men” as used here means males and females.
She also said, “...all members of Congress took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people.” There is no reference to protecting the American people in the oath. Her Mother Superior personality came through in that statement.
The Republicans are not to be left out on misquoting. Speaker of the House John Boehner held up his pocket copy of the Constitution and referring to it professed to “stand here with our Founding Fathers, who wrote in the preamble: ‘We hold these truths to be self evident....’”
Oops! That too is the Declaration of Independence.
Adam’s statement refers to “a moral and religious people....” Does that describe our culture in general?
Perhaps it might better be defined as a “crotch society.” That is base, but it seems most of our humor, TV sitcoms, movies, and novels are crotch centric. Most role models for our youth are immoral and irreligious.
Evidence abounds that we have slowly, almost imperceptibly, abandoned morality and forsaken religion. Persons who stand for these twin virtues are often demonized and their principled comments mocked.
The statement by Adams is looked at as an opinion and not as an intended absolute. It is not a flexible statement. In many regards we are ungoverned, our behavior is out of control, though a string of endless laws get adopted. Mass shootings are exhibit “A.” What is the proposed solution? Pass gun legislation. That is the symptom. The sickness is the erosion of our moral and religious values. No good doctor treats symptoms. They treat the sickness.
Young people without a moral compass form youth gangs with their gang ethic and rules. This shows they want restraints, but not knowing the value of the restraints of our Constitution they form their own guidelines which for them forms their comfort zone devoid of morals and religion.
In the preface of one copy of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is this statement, “What a difference it could have made if the village priest could have convinced the young Adolph there was a better way of life.”
For our youth gangs, there is a better way of life. But who is telling them of it?
We can’t leave this topic without one quote from Thomas Jefferson who said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it away from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is a true corrective of abuses of Constitutional powers.”
Are you listening educators, religious leaders, civic club members, and parents? What response does this solicit?
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus at Roswell Street Baptist Church.