• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

Should the Constitution be regularly revised?

Discussion in 'American Politics' started by jayem, May 30, 2019.

  1. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

    +3,630
    Atheist
    Married
    This is a spinoff of the thread on amending the Constitution by a convention of the states.
    Thomas Jefferson was our ambassador to France when the Constitution was written. He had no role in the document. But he had an interesting idea. In a letter to James Madison, he proposed that the Constitution (he also mentions every law) should expire, and be rewritten every 19 years. Which he calculated as the average time each generation has authority in government:

    "On similar ground it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. They may manage it then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct. [The legal right to use or benefit from something you don't own.] They are masters too of their own persons, and consequently may govern them as they please. But persons and property make the sum of the objects of government. The constitution and the laws of their predecessors extinguished then in their natural course with those who gave them being. This could preserve that being till it ceased to be itself, and no longer. Every constitution then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right." (Emphasis mine.)

    This doesn't mean a complete rewrite. Whatever still works should be maintained. But as times change, some parts become no longer valid, and this allows outdated or unworkable provisions to be regularly revised. Just like computer software is regularly updated. The logic is pretty solid. But given our serious ideological divisions, the execution would be a nightmare.

    Any thoughts?

    Thomas Jefferson to James Madison | The Papers of Thomas Jefferson
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Archivist

    Archivist Senior Veteran Supporter

    +4,100
    Lutheran
    Single
    US-Republican
    In 14 states the question of whether to hold a constitutional convention is supposed to be automatically placed on a statewide ballot without any requirement for a vote of the state legislature. In Ohio, for example, it must be on the ballot every 20 years. One of states, Oklahoma, has ignore this requirement for many years.

    I don't know that any of the states that has this requirement has ever called a constitutional convention as a result of the vote.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
  3. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life A Sinner

    +5,290
    United States
    Reformed
    Married
    If the constitution needed to be completely rewritten every 19 years then the United States of America would fall apart. We should be grateful that we have a document like the constitution which binds us - conservatives and liberals - together. If the US were to break up then we would be weak and vulnerable to US adversaries like Russia and China. We'd be done for and so would the brightest lamp for democracy that the western world has ever known.

    The constitution certainly may be revised, amended, and updated. But there is a procedure to do such things which ensures that we can do this in a way that is democratic and promotes unity.
     
  4. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +2,979
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    I would say > of course, if it is wise to reevaluate the Constitution, it is wise to reevaluate what founding fathers and others have said :)

    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

    As we grow in Jesus, how we understand things can grow in creativity of how to love.

    Possibly, there need to be not requirements, but resource guidelines. And it is hoped that people with sense can tell the difference about what is good, at any time. I think consensus of the sensible ones is the best way to go. But there can be ones present who are a problem, and they just need to be ignored and kept in their place > like happened with David and how he needed to just dismiss the input of those "wicked and worthless men" > 1 Samuel 30.

    But the character of ones in government can be a drawback, and no law can fix this.

    And if divisive people are on all sides of an issue, nothing can work. It will be the ones with the most votes will be able to more or less gang up on the others. And this will be sad.

    And even if you have people to do it right, how many Americans will have the character unselfish to understand it and do it right?

    Whatever is written, we need to apply it in an unselfish way.

    And my opinion is that we in Jesus can apply pretty much any form of government in His way. For one example, we see how Joseph used the Egyptian government for God's purpose > Genesis 37-50. Pharaoh, it seems had full dictatorial power, including to execute whomever he wished, with or without reason. And he conferred this to Joseph, but Joseph did not use the power to kill, but used it all for loving and helping even his brothers who had sold him into slavery.

    So, there is the originally intended purpose, and therefore the rightful interpretation of any guideline of government, I would say. God uses each secular ruler for His purposes > "he is God's minister to you for good" > in Romans 13:1-7.
     
  5. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +19,495
    Anglican
    Married
    Contrary to what the OP concluded, I have to question whether "The logic is pretty solid."

    The framers of the Constitution correctly asserted that there are natural rights that are eternal, inherent, and even God-given. They were, in fact, the culmination of centuries of progress in Western law and thought.

    To put all of that on the chopping block for the sake of whatever is trending intellectually at the moment, and among the people who would get to draft the changes in particular...would be a big mistake.
     
  6. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

    +5,989
    United States
    Protestant
    Single
    US-Others
    The SCOTUS routinely reinterprets or upholds Constitutional law. And many agencies and individuals ignore it altogether.
     
  7. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +2,979
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    And some number of individuals use it merely for their own selfish purposes. It seems to me that people even have the technically legal right to do some number of selfish things.

    If each citizen has one's own vote and rights, a person can be one's own dictator . . . a tyrant of oneself . . . in one's own independence which has the person isolated in not caring about others as much as one cares about one's own self. There is no requirement that a person becomes unselfish before he or she may have a vote and do other things which are supposed to be a privilege. There is little vetting of who is qualified to vote.

    But our Covenant of being ruled by Jesus rules against any and all selfish motives. No selfish interpretation is allowed < where is this law in the American Constitution?? :)
     
  8. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

    +5,989
    United States
    Protestant
    Single
    US-Others
    I think that might be a different subject altogether.
     
  9. TRVL ONE

    TRVL ONE Member

    276
    +40
    United States
    Christian
    Divorced
    I think that the consitition should be amendened, so that it has to line up with the bible.
     
  10. Shiloh Raven

    Shiloh Raven I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

    +10,580
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Green
    As a Christian myself, I staunchly disagree. I don't believe Christians living in America are entitled to have their Christian beliefs endorsed or promoted by the federal government. I also strongly disagree that Christians deserve preferential treatment based on the fact that they are Christian. America is not a Christian nation and it never has been. And despite the popular belief among right wing Christians, this nation wasn't founded upon Christian principles or upon freedom, liberty and justice for all.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  11. USincognito

    USincognito Milk-Bones for Cerberus is a cool album name Supporter

    +13,544
    United States
    Atheist
    Private
    Jefferson wanted us to be alargely agrarian society and was anti-Federalist. The early nation decided to go with Hamilton and Madison instead.
     
  12. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

    +5,989
    United States
    Protestant
    Single
    US-Others
    This country was founded on the birthright promises given to Manasseh.
     
  13. Desk trauma

    Desk trauma Atheist Capitalist Supporter

    +5,399
    Atheist
    Private
    US-Libertarian
    Need to get rid of all that pesky individual liberty.
     
  14. Shiloh Raven

    Shiloh Raven I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

    +10,580
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Green
    You have the freedom to believe whatever religious beliefs you want that give you comfort.
     
  15. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

    +3,630
    Atheist
    Married
    The Constitution is the foundation of our government. What's sound is the concept that the Constitution is reviewed on a regular schedule. Just like it would be prudent to inspect your home's foundation every 5 to 10 years. If everything is tight and dry with no cracks, then leave it alone. It should never be required that the Constitution be rewritten. But--just like a regular home inspection--it's a sensible idea to maintain the Constitution in optimal shape to deal with changing conditions. But I'd agree that operationally, it could easily be disastrous. And given the political climate, would be almost certainly impossible to carry out.
     
  16. Shiloh Raven

    Shiloh Raven I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

    +10,580
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Green
    Not for everyone if biblical principles were written into the Constitution, but not just any biblical principles. It would be biblical principles that align with conservative evangelical Christianity.
     
  17. Shiloh Raven

    Shiloh Raven I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

    +10,580
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Green
    Which Bible? Catholic or Protestant? If you respond with Protestant, then which Bible version and doctrinal interpretation of the Bible would you prefer? Which specific Protestant denomination would you prefer to be endorsed and promoted above all the rest of the Protestant denominations?
     
  18. TRVL ONE

    TRVL ONE Member

    276
    +40
    United States
    Christian
    Divorced
    It is up for debate whether this country was founded on Christian principles or not, or by Christian politicians or not. Maybe it was maybe it wasn't. I want a Christian nation and it looks like I'm not going to get that until Jesus comes back and reigns.
     
  19. USincognito

    USincognito Milk-Bones for Cerberus is a cool album name Supporter

    +13,544
    United States
    Atheist
    Private
    What would that entail and how would it manifest?
     
  20. TRVL ONE

    TRVL ONE Member

    276
    +40
    United States
    Christian
    Divorced
    There can be freedom with no privacy.
     
Loading...