Christ and the Constitution: How Millions of Americans Get Both Completely Wrong

bible-constitutionA liberal and a conservative can each read the Constitution, and even though both individuals read the exact same text, two very different interpretations are formed from what they read.

I guess that’s what happens when millions of Americans in 2014 base their entire existence on something written in the late 1700’s.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe our Constitution is one of the most brilliant pieces of literature ever written.  The birth of this country was truly extraordinary.

But let’s be honest — flawed men wrote our Constitution.  It was written for a society that no longer exists today.  That being said, the power it has over our nation is unquestioned and it’s never going to change.

Which is also part of the problem.

Words written over 200 years must now be interpreted to rule over situations our Founding Fathers could have never imagined.  And it’s within that interpretation that a lot of things get completely screwed up.  How can we really say what the Founding Fathers would have believed on issues such as defending against cyber threats, how much privacy we should have on the Internet, should regular citizens own assault weapons or any number of modern-day issues considering these are things they could have never thought of.

The Bible is another piece of text that millions of people interpret in completely different ways.  Honestly, as a Christian, the Bible is something of a paradox for me.  While there are many great stories within the Bible, there are horrific things written inside the book as well.  There are just so many contradictions and hypocrisies inside it’s impossible for me to believe that everything inside is exactly the way it was originally written.

And that’s the indisputable reality — the Bible has been translated many times over centuries.  If I chose ten people to take the Bible and rewrite it in their own words, I’m pretty certain I’d get 10 different books.  Sure, some similarities would exist, but each person’s own assessment of what they were reading would have a drastic impact on how they worded their individual translation.

Now imagine if those ten people chosen were rich and powerful members of a society who saw religion as a great tool to manipulate the masses.  Do you think they would write an interpretation that had their best interests at heart or the best interests of the majority of the population?

And then you get what we have now where you have the tens of millions of people who try to combine the Bible in with the Constitution.  These people are then trying to take two very old pieces of text, translating them into a modern society and then merging them together.

Maybe that’s why Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson were fairly open and adamant about a separation between church and state.

But the fact of the matter is, when it comes to interpreting both the Bible and our Constitution, tens of millions of Americans get it completely wrong.

What I believe is often very different from what millions of others believe.

There’s not a soul on this planet who follows the Bible word for word.  So essentially when someone says, “This is how things should be because the Bible says so,” they’re instantly making themselves hypocrites.  Unless someone is going to live their life based on every rule within the Bible, then who are they to judge someone else for handpicking what they want to follow?  Every Christian does it.  Which is why religion should stay as far away from government as possible.

Our First Amendment basically says this as well.  An amendment millions of Americans also interpret completely differently.

As Americans, we interpret these pieces of text differently because they weren’t written by a modern society.  And that’s really the source of the problem for both, especially our Constitution.

For faith, interpretation is our right.  Which again is why religion should stay out of government.  One person’s interpretation of faith shouldn’t have an impact on another person’s life.  It’s why nobody is really right and nobody is really wrong.  That’s why it’s called faith — not fact.

But for our government, interpretation can be very dangerous — especially when millions of those Americans are trying to interject religion into that interpretation.

Faith doesn’t need to be based on anything more than what we choose to believe, but our rights as Americans should be based off of reality and proven facts.  Faith is about control whereas our Constitution is about freedom.  Faith is an individual’s choice whereas our Constitution is about allowing individuals to choose for themselves.

So when tens of millions of Americans continue to try to blend our Constitution and Christ, they’re only proving they don’t really understand either.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Steven

    You have hot the nail right on the head in this article about the bible. But you are the one who is very wrong about the founding fathers and the constitution. The topics you mentioned, cyber, internet, and the like should only be concerns of a big all encompassing government, which is not what we are meant to have, and on the topic offire arms, they knew exexactly what they were doing. Your problem is you want to live in Europe, so why don’t you just move there already.

  • Jim Bean

    Three observations: (1) “flawed men wrote our Constitution” That statement is no more or less valid than this statement: “flawed men pass judgment today on those who wrote the constitution.” (2) “It was written for a society that no longer exists today” – I take issue with that as well. The cornerstone of that document was individual liberty and it still exists in large part today despite the constant chipping away at those individual liberties by folks who foolishly think they will profit more handsomely if they are replaced with collectivism. (3) It was not uncommon for people to use firearms for illicit purposes in the 1700’s. Its irrational to believe that’s probably something they ‘could have never thought of.” Furthermore, if the constitution is to be regarded as moot in matters ‘they could have never thought of’ then gay marriage and abortion rulings go out the window.

    • moe/larry & curly keys

      I prefer to gauge the total accuracy of his assessment of that scumbag VOODOO book ( bible) and all the total superstitious “mierda del toro” that small brained lemmings “follow” even though it is IMPOSSIBLE to follow such a hypocritical writing–
      MAD magazine makes much more sense.

    • Mr President Sir!

      The general principle of individual rights to Personal freedoms have not changed nor will they ever. What they could not do was anticipate every detail of the future. What they did do was set a ground work and depend on the next generations to tweak and strengthen as needed. They expected the future generations of Americans would recognize the value of what they had created. They expected the next generations to be at least as intelligent (if not more so) than themselves. Most of all they expected that future generations would put what was best for their Country and their civil duty to it ahead of their pocket books.Unfortunately that has not turned out to be the case. Some intelligent changes due to details they could not foresee like guns that could conceivably kill 100 people in less than a minute. Would not detract from it but would strengthen it for future generations. I believe that is what Mr Clifton is getting at here.

  • Pipercat

    The basic argument falls between two thoughts regarding the Constitution: Is it a legacy or a prophecy? This notion centers around the concept of original intent. We see this all the time when people draw broad conclusions as to what the founders intended. Conversely, the founders cannot speak for themselves; so, should the document be applied to the contemporary scenario?

    • David Cutler

      The founders did speak for themselves on many issues. Read what they wrote, or what others wrote about the government and the Constitution in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

      • Pipercat

        That doesn’t count, because they’re dead. They can’t speak for themselves in the here and now regarding contemporary issues.

      • David Cutler

        The principles apply no matter the time. Article 1, Section 8 which defines the powers of the FedGov, still define them today. If they need to be changed, the founders even provided methods for change. Now how forward thinking is that?

        I just thought of a fun little exercise. You give me a few issues of today and I’ll see if I can provide the Constitutional answer for you. Whaddya say?
        Don’t be surprised if most of the answers are something like “It’s left up to the states to do for themselves”.

      • Pipercat

        You don’t get it Dave, it’s about original intent as it applies to the Constitution; not Constitutional Jeopardy. How original intent interpreted by courts for example in recent decisions. Have ever you read a supreme court decision? What’s the FedGov by the way? Is that some sort of newspeak?

      • David Cutler

        I have read some SC (that’s Supreme Court) decisions and they don’t always follow the Constitution in making something law, or invalidating it as law. An SC decision is merely a vote among 9 people. Does this mean that those in the minority don’t know what is in the Constitution? Even in the majority, they don’t always agree on the principle, just the final yes or no. The Dred Scott decision was one of the worst. Should we abide by it because it was a SC decision?
        FedGov is shorthand for Federal Government which, in the context of the statement I made should have been apparent to anyone with a modicum of intelligence. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

        The “original intent” was that the FedGov would be limited to only the powers granted them in the Constitution. The Bill of Rights (which rightfully should be called the Bill of Limits) further limits the FedGov. This is obvious to anyone who isn’t trying to twist the Constitution to allow the FedGov to do whatever they wish.

      • Pipercat

        You still don’t get it. Original intent is derived from originalism. The concept requires that laws must be legislated, implemented and interpreted by what was originally intended, by the framers, in the Constitution. Has nothing to do with you babbled on about. In fact, you perfectly illustrated this by drawing an unsubstantiated straw man conclusion in your last paragraph.

        I love how serious you are now when you were totally fucking flippant in your second post. FedGov isn’t shorthand, it’s a bullshit buzzword that creates an illusion of illegitimacy.

      • David Cutler

        Are you really limited to using profanity in an attempt to make your points?
        I was not being flippant. If you know what FedGov is, then why did you ask me what it was? My definition of FedGov is what I use it for. It’s just easier than typing out the entire phrase.
        Let’s break it down to the simplest concept. My interpretation of the Constitution is pro freedom for the individual, yours is pro government control of the individual.

      • Pipercat

        Welcome to the big leagues little feller. Um, I made no assertion to what my interpretation of anything was, I pointed out a concept called originalism and its component original intent. You went off on pre-progammed crusade to explain the whole thing to me; assuming I was totally mistaken about how the world works; all the while, missing the premise of the article and my original post. Sorry Bubba, but Internet Constitutional Experts get eaten for lunch over here. I already have you making excuses for your, “shorthand.” Not my problem you stepped on a rake…

  • rossbro

    Problem is religious nuts demanding that our Country follow their religious beliefs. Separation of Church and State is required by common sense.

    • David Cutler

      What religious beliefs are being made into law in violation of the Constitution? I don’t care what religious nuts want or do, only what elected nuts want to do.

  • June Blalock

    Although society changes, the rules and foundation upon which our nation was built should still apply. There are some things which should never change.

    As far as the Bible, it was written by the Holy Spirit through men. People find this hard to comprehend if they don’t understand having the Holy Spirit operate in you and through a person.

    Jesus is the only way to God the Father. If you live for Him, HE IS IN YOUR EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY. There are rules set in the Bible, more than the ten commandments. In the Constitution the BY LAWS WERE SET!

    Why even try to change what is an established concrete basis for our existence both by God and by the Founding Fathers of the USA?