Don’t abandon our Bill of Rights
by Donald Conkey
Columnist
December 13, 2012 12:53 AM | 784 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune columnist Roger Hines has done it again — he has written a column that has caused me to rewrite my column for this week. The Tribune editors gave his column a banner reading: “Third party? No. Conservatives need to ‘Stay in the Marriage.’” Every county republican should tape this column to their refrigerator and read it and then reread it again. Hines provides a very clear description of the confusion that today is causing the Republican Party to question its own foundational values.

My initial column was a reminder that on December 15, 1791 America’s 1st Ten Amendments, following ratification, became a part of the United States Constitution. Amendments that literally clarified in writing the freedoms the Revolutionary War was fought for: freedoms, often referred as freedom of religion, speech, the press, to assemble, to petition the government for redress, to own guns for self protection, to be secure in their homes, etc. These 10 Amendments were essential to keep the government from taking over the lives of all subjects, as has been done throughout the history of the world. Some people equate these 10 Amendments of the government shall not do to the 10 Commandments the Lord gave to the world via Moses anciently — also ‘thou shalt not commandments.’

The connection between these two tens is, at least for me, found in John 8:31-32, scriptures that read: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Christ is saying that personal freedom is dependent on living his word (his commandments) and the Founders were also saying that for a nation to remain free it has to maintain the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, and prevent the government from gobbling up the people and re-enslaving them and making them puppets of the state. Sadly there is a congressman here in Georgia who has stated publically that America needs to dilute its freedom of speech. Anyone who reads the paper can also see the assault on religion that is taking its toll on America’s way of life. Destroy America’s religious foundation and you destroy the freedoms that many Americans believe are inalienable. They are not inalienable, they can be destroyed and once destroyed will require God’s help to restore.

Hines’ column pointed out that all was not lost in the recent election but if the republican leadership, in their desire to regain the White House, abandons its the principles given America by the Founders then they, the Republican Party, will be no different than the Democratic Party, the party that is leading the charge to destroy those foundational principles. Roger doesn’t believe a third party will resolve the current leadership vacuum in Washington D.C., or even in the world. Perhaps, however, it’s time for the Republican Party to take a long hard look at itself and have the courage to take a stand on the moral issues of the day. They fear they will be blamed for the fiscal cliff issue if they don’t cave-in to Obama. They are going to be blamed regardless of how they react so why not take the high road and stand on principle and see where that takes them.

Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s chief rabbi describes how the world’s moral compass self-destructed in a Wall Street Journal article on August 20, 2011. Among other things, he wrote: “In virtually every Western society in the 1960s there was a moral revolution, an abandonment of its entire traditional ethic of self-restraint. All you need, sang the Beatles, is love. The Judeo-Christian moral code was jettisoned. In its place came [the adage]: [Do] whatever works for you. The Ten Commandments were rewritten as the Ten Creative Suggestions.” Rabbi Sacks continued: “We have been spending our moral capital with the same reckless abandon that we have been spending our financial capital. … There are large parts of [the world] where religion is a thing of the past and there is no counter-voice to the culture of buy it, spend it, wear it, flaunt it, because you’re worth it. The message is that morality is passé, conscience is for wimps, and the single overriding command is ‘Thou shalt not be found out.’”

If the Republican Party abandons its principles its dead and a vacuum will be created, a vacuum that the Tea Party must fill. Otherwise America’s Bill of Rights will indeed be an afterthought.

Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.
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