What I'm saying is The Constitution has always been a document that was essentially a compromise between extremely different visions of what America should be and American ideals. And we've been fighting over it ever since. In the aftermath of the Civil War we settled a few things about the Constitution, and to be messing around with some of those primary tenets and the notions of what the bargain was, is in historic terms, not the safest and wisest thing to be doing. Take separation of church and state; the role of any particular religion in public life. That's been sort of a long-standing Constitutional bargain. Back in the day when they were working on the Constitution, greater New England, Yankeedom, actually had a state-sponsored church where state taxes were imposed on them. And they were worried about losing that. An other people didn't want the Yankee Congregational Church to be ruling over them of course. In fact,

If you had a federal government, whose church? Different areas had different religious heritages. Some were dominant Anglican, some were dominant Calvinist, some were founded like New Netherland on the ideal of tolerance of all different religions. You couldn't possibly pick one that was going to be the federal religion and therefore the deal was none of them will be. You keep that out of our government framework because otherwise we're going to be fighting about which one.

That seems to have been forgotten in the evangelical Christian right side now where they say we're a Christian nation and they mean a particular interpretation of Christianity on top of that. Many people are not Christian and many many many people are not from the Protestant tradition that is concerned primarily with personal salvation rather than trying to make the world as it exists now better. They're two very different ways of looking at religion's role in life.

It's fraught with danger once you start trying to bring religion into the public sphere because we've made the deal that for the good of the religion and for the good of the public sphere you don't mix those two. Only one religion would be able to be dominant, and everybody else wouldn't be happy about it. That's the bargain. For one or multiple regions where the majority culture are adherents of a particular religious worldview to think that somehow the Founding Fathers wanted that worldview to be exercised by public institutions across the federation is ahistorical and it's also entirely impractical and if ever imposed would be something of a deal-breaker for the future of the federation because many regions in the country would not tolerate that. Them's fighting words.

ANOTHER THING YOU WRITE IS THAT ONE OF THE WAYS THE COUNTRY MIGHT CONTINUE TO EXIST IS LIMITING CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. That's another scenario. But that would be a change in our current form. If we want to continue in our current form we need to respect the grand bargains of the Constitution and the way some of them were settled after the Civil War, because some of these things were settled by force. There were different regional interpretations of it meant and what it should mean and we had a horrific war about it and it will be good for the Union as a whole if weren't re-fighting those same battles.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |   next >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   PORTLAND VS. HER PEOPLE  |  March 19, 2014
    This city, which all agree is lucky to have so many options, has leaders who do not behave as if they have any choice at all. To the frustration of the citzenry, the City Council and the Planning Board often run off with the first partner who asks for a dance.
    Two bills before the Maine legislature seek to pry lessons from the hard time FairPoint has had taking over the former Verizon landline operations in Maine since 2009.
  •   BEYOND POLITICS  |  March 06, 2014
    Today’s US media environment might well seem extremely gay-friendly.
  •   THE ONLINE CHEF  |  February 27, 2014
    It turns out that home-cooked scallops are crazy-easy, super-delicious, and far cheaper than if you get them when you’re dining out.
  •   RISE OF THE E-CURRENCIES  |  February 12, 2014
    Plus: Is Rhode Island ready for Bitcoin? Two perspectives

 See all articles by: JEFF INGLIS