Sunday, August 15, 2010

Let the Negative Campaigning Begin! Constitutional Roll-backs?

There are two rather interesting issues that have emerged lately in the political debate, issues that to my mind strike at the very core of the American ethos.  Both seem to me to be rather blatant challenges to American freedoms and opportunities -- and no that issue here isn't the right to bear arms.  The issues though are related.  One has to do with immigration and the other with religious freedom.

It saddens me to watch as two Republican Senators, both of whom have stood at the head of the line in support of comprehensive immigration reform, back pedal and embrace the repeal of the 14th Amendment, which interestingly enough was engineered in the 1860s by leaders of the Republican party.  The 14th Amendment has several parts to it, but the section relating to the current conversation reads:

Section. 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.
Sen. Lindsey Graham has suggested that this provision be rolled back, because it provides opportunity for "anchor babies," a rather ugly term that suggests that women come to the US to "drop babies," another popular term -- so that they can have residency in the US.  It has been rare in American history to roll back constitutional protections.  The only amendment that has been passed and then repealed was Prohibition.  Supporting Graham is John McCain -- also in trouble politically in his home state -- which has led him to take up causes he once opposed.   Do we really want to undermine constitutional protections that make it possible for the children of immigrants to become citizens?  Oh, it might be politically popular, but do we really want to go there?   And let me remind readers that this Amendment was Republican sponsored and largely opposed by the Democrats of the day.  

The other issue is the proposed mosque in Manhattan (and other mosques around the country).  The First Amendment reads:

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.
The Constitution reads pretty clearly here -- Americans have a freedom to exercise their faiths.  This includes popular and unpopular ones.  Unless they are clearly breaking laws or impinging on zoning restrictions, people have the freedom to gather wherever they like.  Thus, the sponsors of the Manhattan mosque and community center have the right to build two blocks from "Ground Zero."   It may not be politically popular -- and apparently the Republican Party is ready to make this a "campaign issue" for the fall -- but its a Constitutional protection.  I continually hear Tea Party folks and others talking about the Constitution -- usually their right to bear arms -- but when the Constitution doesn't go their way, well then -- "the Constitution be damned!"   My hope is that the American people have a broader and more open vision of the world than to decide who should govern them on the basis of the President's remarks about the mosque in New York. 

So, here's my question -- not so much as a Christian (my faith calls for justice for all people and therefore my view is colored by that theology, but I think this time the question emerges from my being a citizen of this nation) as an America citizen:  Do we really want to undermine constitutional protections of religion and citizenship?


Ace said...

Thank you for the thoughtful (as always) discussion. I agree.

Gary said...

Do women come to the U.S. for the purpose of having a baby here thinking that if they do, that will give them, and their families, an "anchor" in the USA and make it much more difficult to remove them? Well, if you are as naive as Bob Cornwall, you probably think not. But people who are capable of rational thought know that such a thing happens all the time.

What is to be done to prevent this? Again, the Cornwalls of the world think that having "anchor babies" here is a good thing, and nothing should be done to prevent this practice. And again, rational people see it as a problem that needs a solution.

I have heard that the amendment was not intended to be abused as it now is, but I'm sure all the liberals would strongly oppose any attempt to interpret the amendment in a way that would change the status quo. Gotta keep those "undocumented Democrats" here until a way can be found to give them amnesty.

The same gullibility has taken hold of liberals when it comes to Islam. I think it is interesting how liberals are so defending of Islam, and yet so very critical of Christianity. Liberals have embraced Islam and homosexuality as their chief causes right now. And the irony is that, if the Muslims ever got power, the homosexuals would be executed by the same Muslims that the liberals love!

By the way, Obama is a Muslim. You can see it all over him.

David Mc said...

They're not all taking the poison bait. The fact is, 53% of MANHATTAN POLLED ARE IN FAVOR of the community center. Greater NY polls ~35%. Yes, this is a local issue- hijacked by non-local jack-@#$^s. It's no different than when the KKK visited Skokie Ill. Yeah, you have a lawful right, but the polite thing is to stay home-

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist told CNN Saturday that he fully supports Obama’s decision to back construction of an Islamic center and mosque near New York’s ground zero.

“I think he’s right - yeah,” Crist, who was elected governor as a Republican but is now running for Senate as an independent candidate, told CNN. “We are a country in my view that stands for freedom of religion. You know, respect for others. I know there are sensitivities and I understand that, but I think Mayor Bloomberg is right and I think the President is right.”

David Mc said...

We would have to change that great song "Born in the USA".

Interesting, aren't we doing joint defensive war games with Vietnam now? We can hope for peace when we both accept each others' humanity

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just covering up now

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says, 'Son, if it was up to me...'
Went down to see my VA man
He said, 'Son, don't you understand?'

I had a brother at Khe Sanh fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone
He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go

David Mc said...

Opps, make that Nazi party, not KKK. My sister and I were traveling through back then and asked some kids in Skokie for directions. They thought we were Nazis!

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

I should add to this conversation, once again, that I grew up Republican. I went door to door for Nixon in 1972 (as a 14 year-old). I voted for Ford in 1976 (my first time voting), and Reagan in 1980. I even voted for Pete Wilson when he first ran for governor of CA -- 1984, I believe. The GOP of today is a far cry from the GOP of my growing up years. In today's GOP, Barry Goldwater would be considered a moderate. So, part of my bewailing of the GOP's hard lurch right has to do with my own upbringing. The GOP has always been business friendly -- often libertarian. The views presented these days by "mainstream" GOP leaders are similar to those of the John Birch Society, which was a fringe group.

Although the GOP might make gains in the upcoming election, they will be short-lived if they party continues to follow the direction it has been taking.

Cammie Novara said...

"The issues though are related. One has to do with immigration and the other with religious freedom." I completely agree with that. There's a really interesting debate that I thought would be of interest on evolution vs. intelligent design going on at

Gary said...

Some questions for those who defend the people that have come, and those that are still coming into the USA illegally:

1. Don't you really believe that there should be no laws limiting who is allowed to come into America?

2. Do you extend that to other countries, such as Mexico? or is that something you believe should only apply to the USA?

3. Do you believe that the very idea of "nations" and "national borders" is offensive to the concept of "human rights"?

4. Do you believe that anyone should have the right to live anywhere in the world they please?

5. Do you prefer the idea that everyone is a "citizen of the world" to the idea that people are citizens of a specific country?

6. Do you find that you are more sympathetic to the United Nations than to the United States?