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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Justice for All

It is interesting to read about the Constitution. Indeed it was inspired, but it is not scripture. Dallin H Oaks said, ”Reverence for the United States Constitution is so great that sometimes individuals speak as if its every word and phrase had the same standing as scripture. Personally, I have never considered it necessary to defend every line of the Constitution as scriptural. For example, I find nothing scriptural in the compromise on slavery or the minimum age or years of citizenship for congressmen, senators, or the president. President J. Reuben Clark, who referred to the Constitution as “part of my religion,” 6 also said that it was not part of his belief or the doctrine of the Church that the Constitution was a “fully grown document.” “On the contrary,” he said, “We believe it must grow and develop to meet the changing needs of an advancing world.””
While the men who gathered to established the Constitution were good, God-fearing men, whey were still 18th century men and their ideals were far different from ours.  Many of them were slave owners.  They considered women to be property as well, with no rights and they had very specific ideas about what Christianity was. 
I personally believe the constitution was inspired in its language even though those who wrote it did not realize what they were writing. In its language, it provided for more in the way of liberty than even the founding fathers intended. The Declaration of Independence states that All men are created equal. This has come to mean all mankind. Those who wrote it obviously meant – wealthy, white males. However, this statement along with the purposely vague language of the constitution made it possible for greater freedom for all of God's children. It took nearly 150 years for everyone to be considered equal under the law. Those who wrote the Constitution did not really intend for blacks, women and the underprivileged to be part of the voice of America but the language they used allowed for it. I believe that was because they were inspired to use that language. They spoke of liberty but left out their own prejudices.
The preamble reads: “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. “
Words like, “people”, “Common” and “general” include all races and genders, and make it clear the intent of our constitution is to protect the liberties of all – not just the the ruling white males.
The Bill of Rights includes freedom of religion. It seems obvious that the main reason was to prevent the formation of a state-sanctioned religion. They most likely had ideas of what they thought a religion should be but once again, they did not clarify. So, when the gospel was restored, despite the fact that many people thought that talk of visions and latter day prophets and other things that challenged the notion of what Christianity was, were blasphemous, the constitution eventually protected our rights.
Wars have been fought, people have been tortured and persecuted and it has taken a long time to come to the understanding that we have today of what our Constitution means.
Despite the shortcomings of those who gathered to create this constitution, God established a nation where all of His children would be free to exercise their agency and worship according to the dictates of their own conscience.