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  #1  
Unread 12th July 2011, 04:31 PM
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God, Slaves, and Women in the Constitution

I really appreciated Bishop James Conley’s “On the Square” article yesterday, “America’s Atheocracy.” In fact, I like every bit of it, with the exception of one short paragraph:
It is true: the Constitution that America’s founders would later draft makes no mention of God. It is also true that this Constitution denies full rights to slaves and women.
As some of the commenters pointed out, the Constitution does make one mention of God, when it says, just at the end, after Article VII and before the signatures of the framers, that the work of its framing was done “in the Year of our Lord” 1787. It might be debated what significance to attach to this, but there it is.

I want to take issue with the second sentence here. In fact, the Constitution does not deny any rights to women at all, and it is not really correct to say that it is responsible for the denial of rights to slaves, either.


Take the case of women first. Throughout the Constitution, both the original text and the subsequent amendments known as the Bill of Rights, there are numerous references to “persons” and “citizens.” But no sex distinctions are drawn. Women, like men, have rights to due process, jury trials, freedom of religion, and so on. And if you think the Constitution “denied” women the right to vote, think again. It didn’t grant anyone a right to vote; it merely referred the question of voting rights to the states. The only federal officeholders, under the original Constitution, who were directly elected were the members of the House of Representatives. And the norm for federal suffrage, in each state, was simply that if you were qualified to vote for your state legislature’s lower (or “most numerous”) house, you were eligible to vote in U.S. House elections as well (see Article I, section 2). This is still the standard, by the way, qualified further by the constitutional expansions of suffrage in the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-sixth Amendments.
Continued- http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2011/07/05/god-slaves-and-women-in-the-constitution/
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  #2  
Unread 12th July 2011, 04:38 PM
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The bible (old testament) is against women and slaves not the country.
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  #3  
Unread 12th July 2011, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Michie View Post
As some of the commenters pointed out, the Constitution does make one mention of God, when it says, just at the end, after Article VII and before the signatures of the framers, that the work of its framing was done “in the Year of our Lord” 1787. It might be debated what significance to attach to this, but there it is.
I know. And we also know that without the Declaration of Independence (and the Federalist papers) there would *be* no Constitution and those do so give credit to God, our Creator. It's amazing what educators today try to get away with when they refuse to give God His just due. The fact is, our founders were religious men and Washington even said that this country could not stand without it too being moral and religious.
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Unread 12th July 2011, 04:58 PM
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Not all of them were. Jefferson and Franklin were deists.
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  #5  
Unread 12th July 2011, 05:17 PM
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The real question is whether or not slavery is actually absolutely morally wrong.
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Unread 12th July 2011, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Vendetta View Post
The real question is whether or not slavery is actually absolutely morally wrong.
Good point. I think the slavery of back then is different. The reason I say so, is because Paul sent the runaway slave, Onesimus, back without a qualm in the world. IOW, just because a person's occupation was a slave, that didn't mean they were any less a fellow Christian, and just because someone had slaves that didn't mean that they were bad people.
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Unread 12th July 2011, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
Good point. I think the slavery of back then is different. The reason I say so, is because Paul sent the runaway slave, Onesimus, back without a qualm in the world. IOW, just because a person's occupation was a slave, that didn't mean they were any less a fellow Christian, and just because someone had slaves that didn't mean that they were bad people.
Yes, slavery in antiquity was incredibly different from slavery in America.
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  #8  
Unread 12th July 2011, 10:37 PM
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The Jefferson Bible

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States, was characterized by some of his contemporaries as "the arch-apostle of the cause of irreligion and freethought."1 Even impartial historians are forced to conclude that he had "deistic leanings,"2 and that his friendship
with notorious infidels like Thomas Paine did "much to propagate deistic views" in the early years of the American Republic.3 However, there is another side to Jefferson's character which is not so well known as the negative one of his antipathy to organized religion. Whatever else may be said in his favor, it must be admitted that he had a reverence and respect for the person and teachings of Jesus Christ which according to his limited vision he tried to put into practice. The purpose of this study will not be to prove that Jefferson was a Christian, or that he was not a deist. It will only be to present a piece of historical evidence which should indicate that the full Jefferson portrait has not yet been painted, at least on the side of his religious beliefs. There is no need to point out how important is a just estimate of Jefferson in this matter, since much of the present-day controversy in America over the relations of Church and State revolves around the pivotal question of what our Founding Fathers intended to legislate on the subject of religion; and their intention, it is safe to say, was an expression of their own religious convictions.

History of the Jefferson Bible

The so-called Jefferson Bible, or more accurately, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, is now the property of the United States National Museum at Washington, having been obtained by purchase in 1895. It is a small folio booklet, some 8 by 4 inches in area and one inch thick. There are 83 leaves to the book, which is bound in red leather, and on the title page, in Jefferson's handwriting, is the caption, "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, Extracted Textually from the Gospels in Greek, Latin, French and English." Except for two maps of Palestine and Asia Minor, which are inserted among the leaves, the whole volume is a compilation of four parallel columns of Gospel texts, two to a page, in the four languages mentioned in the title. The texts are not written but were cut out of printed copies of Greek, Latin, French and English Testaments and pasted in this book of blank pages.

It is not certain exactly when Jefferson composed this collection of the sayings of Jesus. The closest estimate is the winter of 1816-17, or about nine years before his death. From his correspondence, however, we know that he had been thinking about the project as early as 1803. In a letter which he wrote to the chemist, Joseph Priestley, he congratulated the latter for his comparative review of Socrates and Jesus, adding that in his opinion the Gospels contained much extraneous matter. By careful pruning, he thought a selection could be made of those sayings which were absolutely the words of Jesus Himself.4 A week later he wrote a friend that he considered "the moral precepts of Jesus as more pure, correct and sublime than those of the ancient philosophers."5 On April 21, 1803, he wrote to Dr. Rush, a physician and sincere Christian, sending him the syllabus of an evaluation of the doctrines of Christ compared with those of other great teachers. Secretive by nature, Jefferson explained that he was sending this for his own eye and indicated its confidential character:
In confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies. I am, moreover, averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public, because it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavoured to draw them before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquest over the rights of conscience, which the laws have so justly proscribed. It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself to resist invasions of it in the case of others, or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.6
Continued- http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=6040
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  #9  
Unread 12th July 2011, 10:40 PM
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Ever notice how Thomas Jefferson is styled today as a ‘Deist’???

People today celebrate the ‘separation of Church and State’, even though that’s not actually in the Constitution. They hail Jefferson’s phrase in one letter he wrote once. What people often don’t know is that Jefferson had religion, and it’s evidenced in the documents he wrote. Two accomplishments which Jefferson held most dear were the authorships of the Declaration of Independence, and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

We’re all familiar with the preamble to the Delclaration of Independence “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Why were we declaring independence from Great Britain? Hmmm?

Because of the oppressive British government under King George. King George, simply put, thought that he was God and that he bestowed rights on the people in America, because they were subjects of the British Crown. This statement from the Declaration of Independence shows that our forefathers knew better, and is a statement of where our rights come from. Jefferson put it very nicely…God gives us our rights.

Jefferson’s second crowning achievement, in his mind, was the Virginia Staute for Religious Freedom, which reads:
Continued- http://rootofjesse2.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/ever-notice-how-thomas-jefferson-is-styled-today-as-a-deist/
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The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, it’s more than that. It’s a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.


- Fr. Gregory Jensen
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  #10  
Unread 13th July 2011, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
Good point. I think the slavery of back then is different. The reason I say so, is because Paul sent the runaway slave, Onesimus, back without a qualm in the world. IOW, just because a person's occupation was a slave, that didn't mean they were any less a fellow Christian, and just because someone had slaves that didn't mean that they were bad people.
Perhaps. They didn't throw slaves to the lions in the 19th century, or force them to fight to the death in gladitorial battles.

Whenever I read Acts, though, I always wonder how much of a say those slaves had when noblemen and noblewomen converted, along with their whole household...

You may call it "saving their souls..." But are you saving someone's soul when you take away his/her free will?
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