From a friend of mine who shall remain, for now, nameless
I got this e-mail in my mail box recently and thought I'd share it with the world:
I've been reminded of late that a lot of my feelings on current issues are pretty retro. I keep finding that a lot has already been written that seems to basically sum up my feelings on current events.
On the practice of locking up American citizens without charge, trial, or counsel because of fears of terrorism:
"No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"
- The Unites States Constitution, Amendment V
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury . . . and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."
- The Unites States Constitution, Amendment VI
On "Gay marriage":
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
- The Unites States Constitution, Amendment XIV
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
- The Unites States Constitution, Amendment IX
On the role of the government in determining what expressions or philosophies are damaging enough to be regulated or proscribed. To me, this goes to most cases where proponents of government regulation argue that God says something is bad:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . . or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble."
- The Unites States Constitution, Amendment I
On the role of religion-based arguments that underpin proposed government action:
"[O]ur civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence . . . is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; . . . that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, . . .
We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever . . . but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."
- Thomas Jefferson, "A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom"
On the role of the government in determining whether I can choose to be armed:
"[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
- The Unites States Constitution, Amendment II
On the right of the government to look into my personal shit:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause."
- The Unites States Constitution, Amendment IV
On those in government who would pursue courses of action in opposition to the stipulations of the Constitution:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same"
- From the oath taken by military officers, enlisted, members of Congress, and others.
Oh, that goes for the President too:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
- The Unites States Constitution, Article II, Clause 8