Have They Even Read The Constitution???

All members of the United States Congress, as well as all state governors and legislators are required, before taking their seat, to swear an oath to the Constitution of the United States.  Now, if I’m going to swear an oath to something, then I am damn sure going to be clear on exactly what it is I’m swearing an oath to.  I take such things seriously.  I’ve never been elected to office, so have never had to swear an oath to the Constitution, but I have studied Constitutional Law at length and have read the full document numerous times.  I keep a pocket Constitution on the table next to me and have another in the drawer in my nightstand.  Apparently, that is not the case for some of the people who have sworn an oath to the document.

My jaw dropped yesterday when I read that Kentucky lawmakers have passed a bill that would make the state a so-called “Second Amendment sanctuary,” prohibiting local law enforcement from enforcing federal firearm bans.  Say WHAT???

The US Supremacy Clause, found in Article VI is a provision in the US Constitution that states that the Constitution and the laws and treaties of the federal government are the supreme law of the land. The clause ensures that federal laws and regulations take precedence over any state or local laws that may conflict with them.

The state of Missouri tried the same crap last year when Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed into law the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA), which declared that limitations on gun transfers, firearm registrations and other federal regulations are unconstitutional.  A federal judge struck down the law earlier this month, saying …

“While purporting to protect citizens, SAPA exposes citizens to greater harm by interfering with the Federal Government’s ability to enforce lawfully enacted firearms regulations designed by Congress for the purpose of protecting citizens within the limits of the Constitution.”

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has appealed the decision.

What part of the Constitution do the lawmakers in Missouri and Kentucky fail to understand?  It’s plain as day!  It’s written in English, not Swahili, the language is purposefully kept simple so that anybody, regardless of level of education, could understand it, and yet we have highly paid elected officials who either have not bothered to read it, else are not bright enough to understand it!

Kentucky’s bill passed the state House in a 78-19 vote last month, and cleared the state Senate on Wednesday 27-9.  Apparently there are more than just a few dumb asses in the Kentucky legislature!

Those who represent the people of any state need to understand that this is a nation, the United States of America, and that we stand together, we have federal laws that supersede any and all state or local laws, that have been deemed to be in the best interest of the nation.  We cannot have state after state simply decide which laws they will abide by and which they will override.  That’s NOT how it works!

I sincerely hope the court system sends these bills to the shredder as fast as it can, and sends a loud and clear message to other states that might be considering similar actions.  My concern, naturally, is that when one of these cases works its way up to the Supreme Court, the compromised court may fail to do the right thing, as they have done numerous times in the past year.

If the laws in Missouri and Kentucky are ultimately upheld by the highest Court, then think about the consequences …

  • A six-year-old kid walks into a gun store … as long as he’s got the money, he walks out with a gun
  • A drunk staggers into a gun shop, tells the clerk “Gimme the biggest gun you got … I’m gonna kill that bitch.” As long as he’s got the money, he walks out with a gun.
  • A woman gets out of prison after serving five years for attempting to kill her spouse. Her first stop is the gun shop, and as long as she’s got the money, she walks out with a gun.

Guns are not toys, and I am horrified that gun ownership is more highly cherished than the lives of the children of this nation.  But if states are allowed to override federal laws, it could well get even worse.  What’s next?  Do some states write laws to disregard the 19th Amendment that makes it illegal to deny the right to vote to any citizen based on their sex?  Or the 15th Amendment that makes it illegal to deny the right to vote to any citizen based on their race?  Or perhaps the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery?

People … it’s on US to ensure that the people we vote for are qualified, that they fully understand the Constitution to which they will be swearing an oath, and that they respect the people of this nation enough to follow the laws of the land, not to be wasting their time scheming for ways to uproot the safety and cohesion of the nation.

We are a nation, not just 50 states, but ONE NATION.  The “UNITED” States of America.

Kentucky Governor Strikes Again …

“The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion.” 1797, The Treaty of Tripoli, initiated by President Washington, signed by President John Adams, and approved by the Senate of the United States

Recently I wrote a post about Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin because of his ridiculous notion that the solution to gun violence was to have roving ‘prayer groups’ throughout the city of Louisville.  Today, I find I must re-visit Governor Bevin, for he has crossed a line that I find intolerable.

church-state“Separation of church and state” is paraphrased from Thomas Jefferson and used by others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Governor Bevin is a former businessman, and apparently has very little knowledge of the Constitution, and the same must surely be true for the members of the state legislature.  For last week, Governor Bevin signed into law HB-128:

“AN ACT relating to Bible literacy courses in the public schools.

Create a new section of KRS Chapter 156 to require the Kentucky Board of Education to promulgate administrative regulations to establish an elective social studies course on the Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament of the Bible, the New Testament, or a combination of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament of the Bible; require that the course provide to students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy; permit students to use various translations of the Bible for the course; amend KRS 158.197 to permit a school council to offer an elective social studies course on the Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament of the Bible, the New Testament, or a combination of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament of the Bible.”

The Kentucky House of Representatives is currently comprised of 100 members, 64 of whom are republicans.  The Kentucky Senate is currently comprised of 38 members, 27 (71%) of whom are republicans.  There seems to be a disconnect between the state of Kentucky and the rest of the nation, for most of us understand that religion is not to be taught in public, taxpayer-funded schools.  It crosses a line. Yet, this law allows Kentucky schools to teach from and about the Bible, a document that is unique to one religion, the Christian religion.

Within the United States, there are nine major religions outside of Christianity.  There are also a number of Native American religions, as well as those who identify as agnostics, atheists, secularists, or simply ‘unaffiliated’.  In fact, the percentage of Christians in the U.S. has dropped from 93% of the population in 1962 to just 70.6% in 2014, according to Pew Research Center.

According to Bevin, “The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy. I don’t know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this.”

church-state-2According to the bill, the courses must discuss all aspects of the Bible — such as characters, poetry, and narratives — because they are “prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture.”  Excuse me, but only the culture and society of Christianity … what about the rest of us?

The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it, and treaties made under its authority, constitute the supreme law of the land. It provides that state courts are bound by the supreme law; in case of conflict between federal and state law, the federal law must be applied.

Why does it matter?  Apart from the illegality, it matters for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that non-Christian parents will almost certainly have strenuous objections to their children being taught another religion that may be contrary to their own.  Think about it this way … how would Christian parents react if they found their child was being taught the Qur’an in their public school?

It matters because religion is a very private, personal choice, and even among Christians, there are numerous sects who practice their religion in a variety of ways.  It matters because, while the intention of the Kentucky law is said to be simply to use the Bible as a teaching tool for literature, art, culture, history, etc., there is a fine line between that and pushing beliefs. It is, after all, Kentucky, one of the most homophobic states in the nation.

If there were to be any fairness in this law, then they would also teach from the Qur’an, the Talmud, the Tripitaka, the I Ching, and … well, you get the picture.  At this point, the schools would no longer be teaching Math, History, Literature, Science, or anything but religion.  We send our children to school to learn to think for themselves, not to be told how to think.

Then, of course, there is the taxpayer’s viewpoint.  I willingly pay taxes and am happy to support public schools, however I draw the line at paying for children to learn a religion.  Teaching religion is the responsibility of parents and churches, if the parents so choose.  It is not John Q. Taxpayers responsibility.

Mind you that I have nothing against Christianity, though it is not my own.  I also have nothing against Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Jain, or a hundred other religions. I believe everyone should have the freedom of religion, but also the freedom from religion.  When it becomes a part of public school education, or workplace mores, then it is taking rights away from some and it is tearing down the fundamental premise of separation of church and state.

The most likely outcome is that the law will be challenged in the courts and ultimately struck down as being unconstitutional.  That is the right and proper outcome.  However, it will take time and money – taxpayers’ money.