Amy Coney Barrett considers herself a “Constitutional Originalist.” What, exactly, does that mean? According to Merriam-Webster, it is “a legal philosophy that the words in documents and especially the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted as they were understood at the time they were written.” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/originalism)
Think about what that means. If we are to interpret the Constitution based on the realities of the day in the late 18th century, then shouldn’t the only people allowed to vote in national elections be white, property-owning men? What do we make of the 3/5 clause of Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and how do we reconcile the 14th Amendment (passed in 1868) with the “original” intent of said Article?
In my less than humble opinion, this concept of originalism is as flawed as belief in the Bible being the infallible word of God. Both require one NOT believe in evolution; I don’t here mean biological evolution (which many Bible believers don’t recognize as real) but the natural evolution of society and its economic, political, and general attitudes toward what’s good and just for a people. Our laws, our habits, our customs, our culture, even our morals change over time; sometimes imperceptibly and others rapidly and definitively.
When the Constitution was written, the framers included (Article V) the ability to amend it and, in fact, the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights—were needed to ensure adoption of the nascent Constitution by some of the States who wanted more guarantees of freedom from unnecessary restrictions on the States and individuals.
Inasmuch as there is a method by which the Constitution can and, in fact, has been amended how can a logical argument be sustained that it must be interpreted in light of the reality of nearly two hundred fifty years ago? This makes absolutely no sense. Two hundred fifty years ago virtually none of the structures, organizations, and technologies we currently enjoy existed. How do we interpret their use and ownership if they weren’t around when the document was written?
Originalism is a sham argument and should be completely ignored. Any jurist taking such a position is, IMLTHO, an intellectually dishonest poseur and should be ignored . . . if not ridiculed. This includes Amy Coney Barrett who, if she had any integrity at all, would not allow this raw power grab and farce of a nomination process to continue.
What follows is the third post I’m bringing over from my old blog, The Cranky Curmudgeon. I wasn’t — and I am decidedly not — really all that cranky, but I liked the concept and I was working on slipping graciously into my dotage. It seemed like a decent bit of schtick to hang my hat on at the time. This post was written on February 26, 2006 – nine and one half years ago. It reads just about the same as I would write it today, though I might now be a bit more sarcastic, as the positions taken by today’s crop of “persecuted” Christians seem to be even angrier, more hateful, and less like anything Jesus would have done. Click on the graphic for an interesting, contemporary take on the subject.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
(New International Version)
In Honor of all the Christians Struggling for Respect
I don’t believe in God. I really don’t care if others agree with me. I only care that they respect the relationship I have with the Universe, whether it’s through a God, a group of Gods, or woven between the interstices of the space-time continuum contemplated by quantum physics. I believe that having convictions, and being secure in those convictions, means not needing to be validated by the acceptance of others.
I have difficulty calling myself an Atheist, only because I can’t prove the non-existence, anymore than anyone can provethe existence, of God. However, I don’t like referring to myself as an Agnostic, mostly because it sounds rather smarmy to me; like I’m not sure of what I believe. Mostly, I like to say I’m a Quantum Gestalt Humanist. You figure out what it means. I need to get to my rant.
How many times during the day, while driving to and from work, grocery shopping, dropping the kid(s) off at daycare or school, etc. do you see either those little fish (some plain; some with the greek letters for ichthus, or fish) or a window decal depicting a little girl or boy, or both, supplicating themselves in the shadow of a cross? What are these people trying to say? Is it meant to be some sort of secret code, so Christians can recognize each other across the lanes?
If you listen to some Christians whine and complain about how they’re persecuted, you’d have to believe this is their secret, vehicular handshake. These people actually think they’re persecuted. WTF? The United States of America is what, something like 90% Christian? They permeate every aspect of society and are represented overwhelmingly in all levels of our government. Christmas, the holiday many of them have taken to complaining is being phased out, effectively lasts for well over 10% of the year, the admonition to wait until after Thanksgiving before decorating notwithstanding.
I’ll tell you what I think it is. I think it’s the very thing Jesus was saying one shouldn’t do in the above quote found in Matthew. I think Jesus knew people whose faith was steadfast had no need to brandish it publicly, as though it were a badge of courage or strength. Indeed, I think those people who feel the necessity of advertising their religion are the least faithful of all.
I’m not exactly a religious scholar, but I think it was Paul of Tarsus who made proselytizing into a competitive sport. I don’t think Jesus would have approved. After all, he was Jewish and Judaism teaches that the most important thing one can do is live a “good” life, that is an ethical, righteous life. It is more important than liturgy or dogma and, therefore, it is one’s deeds, not one’s words by which we are judged. As a Jew, Jesus would not have found it necessary to convert people, or to preach to them. He was a teacher, not a preacher.
I think Paul felt guilty because he had persecuted and killed so many early Christians and, much like Charles Colson or numerous serial killers who, after lives of despicable and heinous acts, find and accept Jesus as their personal savior, he determined to make amends for the damage he had done. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing he repented; only that – like so many true believers – he swung that pendulum just as far in the other direction from where it had been and, therefore, avoided any kind of moderation in his pursuits.
In his book “The Wisdom of Insecurity”, Alan Watts discusses the difference between faith and belief. He posits that belief is rigid and unyielding, but faith is open and accepting. People who feel the need to wave their so-called religious convictions in our faces are believers. Faith is beyond their comprehension, because having faith requires an openness to things as they are, not as we wish them to be. These people, these cross-wavers – at least the worst of them – are certain they “know” exactly what truth is, and they are not shy in telling us where our faith leads if it isn’t in line with theirs.
I really don’t care what religion you are. I expect the same from you. Your religion, your belief, your faith are none of my damn business. However, the moment you start pushing your brand of soap as the only way to be clean, as the only way to live one’s life, as the only way to what you believe is the ultimate goal of our existence on this planet, then you’ve made your religion MY business. You open yourself up for criticism and you deserve every bit of scorn and anger dumped on your judgmental hide.
Since my retirement from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in 2010, I have spent quite a bit of energy on developing work as a social media marketer for small business, a business manager for an AI software development firm, and as an editor/proofreader for a number of business books and a couple of novels, as well as a two-year return engagement at Rocketdyne from 2015 to 2017.
I have decided to stop actively pursuing business in these fields and am now positioning myself to be a writer. I have done quite a bit of writing over the years, but I’ve never really attempted to make any money at it; at least not specifically. I’m starting out with a couple of memoirs and, currently, I’m studying the craft, creating a detailed outline and timeline, and honing my skills as a storyteller. Pretty sure I’ll be writing some fiction as well.
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.