The Conservative Constitution Explained

bachmann-constitutionThe Conservative Constitution is very different from the actual Constitution. Much like American history, and the Bible, conservatives like certain parts of the Constitution. The parts they don’t like, they simply ignore. Now to be fair, some liberals also have problems understanding portions of the Constitution. However, since conservatives are the people who consider themselves the party of the Constitution, and can often whip out their pocket version of said document, they are the focus of this piece.

Before we continue, we need to understand that the Declaration of Independence is not the Constitution. Conservatives often confuse the two, and in rather spectacular fashion. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, in order to assert our independence from Britain. The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. The Declaration of Independence is where we find “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” while the Constitution is where we find this:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure Domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The word “God” never appears in the Constitution. Never. The only possible reference to God is in the Signatory section, where the date is written “Seventeenth Day in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.” However, that was a common method used at the time, in both religious and secular contexts. But many conservatives not only believe the Constitution was “divinely inspired,” and at least one guy thinks Jesus delivered the damn thing to the Founders.


For example, in a commencement speech to a graduating class at Liberty University, Glenn Beck stated:

It is God’s finger that wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This is God’s country; these are God’s rights. I have no idea what he wants us to do with them, other than protect them, and stand with Him.

If God’s finger wrote the Constitution, you would think his name would be in there, right? I mean, other than some fairly common reference to “Lord.” There would be God this, and God that, not just some “Year of our Lord” signature, used in both religious and secular contexts.

This is common among the constitutional conservatives. They don’t really get it. Michele Bachmann said the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery. Really? When? Before or after they declared black people 3/5 of a person? Did they work tirelessly to free their own slaves? Well, no, she meant John Quincy Adams, who was nine years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed. He was not one of the founders, but Bachmann insisted he was instrumental in… I just can’t.

David Barton claims the Founders yanked whole passages out of the Bible, and shoved them into the Constitution. He believes the Constitution was taken “verbatim” from the Bible. Barton also likes to trumpet the fact that many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence had “seminary degrees.” In David Barton’s world, this means they were all right wing Christians, when the truth is, in the early days of this country, the phrase “seminary degree” meant college or some formal schooling.  John Witherspoon was the only signer with a divinity degree, trained as a minister.

It goes on and on, but we need to get down to some details. There are states that have laws on the books, banning atheists from running for public office. Conservatives cheer these laws, because they believe what Glenn Beck believes about God’s finger. And I would bet that many if not all of these conservatives claim to understand and support the Constitution. Guess what? Here’s what the Constitution says about religion and public service, from Article VI, paragraph 3:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Well, that’s awkward. Oh, they’ll claim states rights, while championing the Constitution. It’s like Cliven Bundy, bellowing he doesn’t recognize the United States government, while waving a giant American flag. They like the parts they like, and the rest, screw it.

Conservatives’ favorite part of the Constitution is the Second Amendment, except for the “regulated” part. Right to bear arms, they cry, while marching through the parking lot of a strip mall, because you never know when terrorists are going to invade a tanning salon. Our favorite Constitutional non-scholar, David Barton, once said he thinks American citizens should have the same weapons as the military:

Whatever the government’s got, you’ve got to be able to defend yourself against.

I wonder when Armslist will start selling surface to air missiles and enriched uranium?


Finally, the First Amendment. I love the First Amendment, because it lets me write everything from this article to The Bachmann Diaries. Is satire mentioned in the Constitution? Nope, but thanks to Larry Flynt, it falls under the protection of the First Amendment. Conservatives seem to believe this protection is only for them. They can boycott everything under the sun, but when liberals do it, we’re stomping on someone’s First Amendment rights. Burn Dixie Chicks CDs? First Amendment! Boycott Chick Fil-A? Stomping! Ted Nugent was joking, the New York Times misquoted Cliven Bundy, nothing conservatives say is hate speech, it’s all a liberal conspiracy to destroy America.

I wish the “constitutional party” would read the Constitution, but given how badly they perform as the “party of family values,” I’m not going to hold my breath.

Erin Nanasi

Erin Nanasi is the creator of The Bachmann Diaries: Satirical Excerpts from Michele Bachmann's Fictional Diary. She hates writing about herself in the third person. Erin enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with family. And wombats. Come visit Erin on on Facebook. She also can be found on Twitter at @WriterENanasi.

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  • Edward Krebbs

    Not to mention that 3/5 of a person was a compromise worked out. Mainly an insurmountable difference between the slave states (where slaves would count as a full person. But, of course, slaves wouldn’t get to vote so the power would go to their owners – as the only voters were landowners and state legislators) and the non-slave states who worried that giving slave states increased representation on the basis of their powerless, non-voting slaves would upset any balance of power. In short, an early example of the 1% wanting to use their possessions (the little people) to gain power for the benefit of the 1% but without giving the 99% anything in return.

    BTW – if Jesus gave us the Constitution, why isn’t it written in King James English ?

    • VeteranMom

      Try Aramaic or Hebrew.

      • Pipercat

        Latin?

      • bamcintyre

        Greek!

  • Connie Shetterly-Strnat

    One of the best explanations I’ve read on the Conservative perspective on our constitution! Thanks, Erin!

  • Shari D

    Wasn’t it Michelle Bachman who claimed ownership of a nonexistent degree in a nonexistent subject in a nonexistent program at the College of William and Mary? Wasn’t that her? Sure was. Hmmm ~ I’m thinking back to that debacle, and when she first lost all semblance of credibility with me. Since then, nothing she spouts from that big, loud, ugly mouth of hers has any value above sewage as far as I’m concerned.

  • auntielib

    Everything continues to unravel for the dishonest Progressives and their sicko Democrat Party:

    “The White House found itself on defense Wednesday following the release of emails tying a top aide to former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial Sunday show statements after the Benghazi terror attack.

    During those interviews, Rice erroneously blamed the attack on protests over an anti-Islam film. New emails indicate a White House adviser helped prep her for those appearances and pushed the “video” explanation — and now, the White House is facing credibility questions after having downplayed their role in Rice’s “talking points.” “

  • Doug Blanck

    This is hilarious, and the really sad thing is, it’s accurate. That
    said, a couple of points: 1. In the Second Amendment, the phrase “well
    regulated” is completely misunderstood by the vast majority of people on
    the left (and on the right for that matter; they simply ignore it). (Just to be clear, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool liberal.) It’s a result of erroneously applying modern meanings to the language used.
    In the context it was used, “well regulated” did not in any way mean
    “controlled by government directive.” It simply meant “practiced;
    ordered; prepared for action.” In fact, the “militia” was the totality
    of the armed citizenry. 2. People on the left frequently counter the
    (often over-the-top) Second Amendment assertions of the right with
    reductio ad absurdum cases (as in this article) of American citizens walking around with surface-to-air missiles, or RPGs, or driving around in tanks.
    Again, it’s a misunderstanding of terminology. “Arms” referred to
    weapons that could be carried by an individual, i.e. knives, swords,
    pistols, or rifles. Surface-to-air missiles, RPGs, canon, and atomic
    bombs are not “arms;’ they’re *ordnance*. BIG difference. The Second
    Amendment didn’t (and doesn’t) apply to ordnance, so using those
    examples to attempt to imply an extendable a priori limitation inherent within it is misconceived.

    • Ronald Mack

      Good points, but there is no reason to arm a well regulated militia. Today, that well regulated militia is the National Guard.

      • Doug Blanck

        That’s certainly a point you might make, though something to keep in mind is that the National Guard is a tiny fraction of the population, certainly nowhere near the number that would be “necessary to the security of a free state.”

    • Bob Dobalina

      I think that the “well regulated” phrase is just as misunderstood (or completely ignored) by those on the right. The “practiced and ordered” part is currently being fought out in attempts at legislation requiring firearms training which the NRA and most of the right seem to feel impinges on their rights. The term “arms” would also include sub-machine guns as they are individual carry weapons. I don’t think I would want concealed-carry permits issued to most of the populace giving them the right to carry a full-auto MAC-10 under their jackets.

      • Doug Blanck

        That’s something I’ve never understood, especially coming from the mouthpieces on the right about this issue, the NRA. You would think they would be in favor of the people carrying firearms around having been trained in their use and safety. While I personally wouldn’t be too keen on the population in general walking around with automatic weapons, they are actually legal to own, though there are a LOT of hoops you have to jump through to do so. You do NOT have to have a “Class 3 FFL” however. (The fine print is that only fully-automatic weapons registered prior to 1986 can be sold/transferred to new owners.)

      • Bob Dobalina

        I think you are only partially right Doug. My understanding is that ownership of automatic weapons does NOT require a Class 3 DEALERS License, but you do have to have the weapon federally licensed (@ $200.00/yr) and that only SOME of the US states allow ownership. I know that IN is one of them, but IL is not. I seem to recall reading that 22 states allow for automatic weapon ownership, the rest do not. I do think your “fine print” is also correct.

  • James Threadgill

    This is assuming they have the ability to parse a document written in their native tongue. That’s a reach.

  • Mister_YT

    Communist liberals don’t belong in God’s America!