A Reading of the Constitution

By Stevens Miller

BOS members get a lot of invitations to attend all kinds of events. How would people seeing it from a Northern Virginia Republican Viewpoint interpret my attendance at the one described below?

Sent: Monday, August 29, 2011 9:49 AM
To:
BOS
Subject: Reading of the Constitution

Good Morning,

My name is Eric Johnson, and I work in Purcellville for the Home School Legal Defense Association. On Saturday, September 17th, HSLDA, in conjunction with Generation Joshua, will be hosting a Reading of the Constitution on the front steps of Founders Hall at 10:00am.

I would like to invite you to attend and participate. Citizens from around the area will gather, and participate as we read aloud the document that is supposed to guide our federal government today. Local media, elected officials, students, and veterans will also be joining us that day. We anticipate the event lasting about one hour.

I understand that you maintain a busy schedule, but we would be honored by your presence, even if only for a short time.

I have attached the flyer that we are using here in Purcellville to advertise the event. Notices will also go out to all Loudoun news papers.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions on this matter.

Eric Johnson, CP

Certified Paralegal
Home School Legal Defense Association

(Note: Mr. Johnson’s e-mail doesn’t say, but “Founders Hall” refers to a structure at Patrick Henry College.)


Comments

  • Charlie King says:

    When I lived in Falls Church we would gather in the council chambers at 12:00 noon on the 4th of July and read aloud the Fairfax Resolves, the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

    This ceremony was started almost 20 years ago by Louis T. Olom, who, at one time, was the staff director for the United States Information Agency under William Buckley.

    Each person, young and old, would read a sentence or phrase. It is a very moving ceremony.

    At the time, these documents were considered radical and highly inflamatory. Reading them reminds one of how great the founding fathers were at expressing the concept of liberty and weaving together rights we often now take for granted.

  • BlackOut says:

    Why do I get a icky feeling about this?

    I think there is a difference between the Falls Church council chambers and Patrick Henry College.

    Not that I am against the reading and often reading of the Constitution. It just seems this reading has an agenda.

  • Dan says:

    Mr. Miller, my perspective is not a Republican one (although I understand Republicans happen in even the nicest of families) but I think you should go if your schedule permits. I realize that many of the folks beating their chests about the Constitution lately are merely making the specious claim that only their opinions comport with the Constitution and that all political opinions they don’t agree with are either unconstitutional or un-American or both. But I don’t think home schoolers as a group fall into the same category with those prevaricators and reading the Constitution is certainly an innocuous act. Considering the poor state of civic education in this country it is probably beneficial.

    I don’t know much about HSLDA but if they merely advocate for parents who make the decision to home school and assist them in conforming with various laws and requirements then I see no reason not to accept their invitation. Heck, even if they are part of the unspooled “public schools are unconstitutional” crowd you should still go. Engagement is a good thing.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Go. And if you could, make sure they don’t leave stuff out.

  • BlackOut says:

    …or add anything.

  • Cato the Elder says:

    Make sure you open-carry as well.

  • LeesburgDad says:

    Too Conservative needs to see about adding *like* buttons for people’s comments. I’m looking at you, Cato.

  • AFF says:

    The best 4th of July party I ever attended began with a reading of the DOI, complete with booing and hissing at any mention of the King. Everyone got a paragraph to read which we were encouraged to do with feeling.

    I suspect many of our fellow citizens have never heard any of our founding documents read in their entirety.

  • liz says:

    Don’t forget to bring your own copy. Make sure they read all twenty-seven amendments. Our copies (Bicentennial Commission, 1986 Edition, 1991 printing) don’t include #27.

  • Mosby's Ghost says:

    That is because is was not officially ratified until 1992.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Oh man, is every Stevens Miler post going to be about himself?

  • Sanity says:

    This is a pure political stunt by evangelical Christians intent on turning us into a Theocracy. Quotes from “Generation Joshua”:

    “The Vision of Generation Joshua is to assist parents in raising up the next generation of Christian leaders and citizens, equipped to positively influence the political processes of today and tomorrow.”

    “Generation Joshua wants America to be a perpetual ‘city on a hill,’ a beacon of biblical hope to the world around us. We seek to inspire every one of our members with faith in God and a vision of what America can become if we equip Christian citizens and leaders to impact our nation for Christ and for His glory.”

    This is completely antithetical to Jesus’s teachings. Jesus was focused strictly on the religious leaders of the time and had no interest in becoming politically active, or a political leader.

    Run away. Run away as fast as you can. These people should be shunned and ignored.

  • Fred says:

    Sanity – You may want to do some due diligence on the Founders of our great nation, it may shock you what most of them believed.

  • BlackOut says:

    Fred,

    You’re buying into the hype of revisionism.

    I don’t want a preacher telling me what the Constitution says, and I don’t want a politician telling me what the Bible, Koran etc says.

    Nor do I want religious institutions of higher education focusing on overtaking the government with “their” philosophy. I get wigged out by the thought of a bunch of religious-bots entering politics, with a mission of saving everyone.

  • Fred says:

    Blackout– You too may want to do some due diligence on the Founders of our great nation, it may shock you what most of them believed.

  • leeter says:

    In addition to what everyone else has added – what’s with the “certified paralegal”? Doesn’t the legal defense fund have an attorney? Have you contacted Americans United? This is just icky on so many levels! It doesn’t pass the sniff test.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Fred, what they came up with were the great work products that we still use today (and read in public on occasion).

    Jesus, Christ, and any of the many protestant movements were not mentioned in the documents.

    Only a creator.

    Our Founders were smart enough to know the difference between governance and religion.

  • Cheryl Brooks says:

    Sanity-

    I’m curious how reading the Constitution publicly is creating a Theocracy. Pretty sure that every interpretation of the Constitution opposes that.

  • BlackOut says:

    The only shock here Fred is what the revisionists are saying. I am well aware of our history and consider myself well read on the subject. I can smell a rat when it comes to this new and dangerous angle being initiated by religious zealots.

    I get very concerned when I hear about “holy soldiers” being deployed to “take back our country”.

  • BlackOut says:

    The Constitution should be read, word for word, often and by or too all.

    Additionally I think all should be very concerned about the New Apostolic Reformation movement. Read and listen to this:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/08/24/139781021/the-evangelicals-engaged-in-spiritual-warfare

    And before Fred jumps all over this for being a NPR related piece, do your own due diligence. The same subject is covered by numerous and diverse sources.

  • BlackOut says:

    Here’s the transcript if you prefer reading to listening:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=139781021

  • Fred says:

    EB – killing unborn babies was not mentioned in any of the documents, yet it’s the law of the land. Jesus was not mentioned either, but to Christians, God and Jesus are one in the same.

    BO – here’s a sampling of some of the wild views our Founders has on God: http://wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=78

  • Lloyd says:

    Child, please! Yes, the Constitution is important, but it’s a pretty damn boring read.

    And, your right, Fred. What the founding fathers believed about religion is eye opening. For example, Thomas Jefferson did not believe in the divinity of Jesus. How ya like ‘em now?

  • BlackOut says:

    Fred, I admire the faith exhibited by the Founders noted in your link. Good for them and I am glad they used their religion as moral compasses.

    Not to my surprise, I didn’t read anything in there saying that they thought their religion was superior and something that needed to be accepted by all, or that non-believers were subservient or of need to be converted.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    Should they not also read at least the decisions for all the SCOTUS cases – or don’t they have anything to do with the Constitution?

  • Dan says:

    Lloyd, in case you hadn’t noticed these theocrats have been de-emphasizing Jefferson in their self serving revision of American history. They are airbrushing him out of the picture in much the same way that Stalin did with those who had fallen from his good graces.

    Integrity is not their strong suit. They will rewrite history with whatever fiction suits their goals. Goals which they seem all too willing to hide or disguise because they know regular folks would be appalled by them.

    I’m not a terribly devout soul myself, but I know, have worked with and for, and am related to people of deep religious faith. It is something I greatly respect when it is genuine. One thing these genuinely devout souls have in common is the deep conviction that the next world is the important one. That the things of this world are of little importance. They have no interest in seizing political control in this world and ruling over it. I believe a fellow named Jesus instructed them pretty clearly on this point.

    These Dominionists have twisted and perverted Christianity beyond all recognition. They seek a toxic mixing of religion and politics that was all too common in the Europe that we left. A mix that our Founding Fathers attempted to avoid for us with a Constitution that prohibited the very sort of government promotion of one particular flavor of religion that these fanatics see as their duty. Reading the Constitution won’t help them much because they simply pretend it says what they want it to say rather than what it actually does say.

    One thinks of the Islamic countries in which government functionaries must look to clergymen before they can initiate any policy. These people want the same thing here except with Christian clergymen of their choosing serving as the American mullahs.

    The Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves at the efforts of these so called Christians trying to destroy the marvelous system they gave us.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Will they kick out any gay folks who want to attend???

    I would bet that Janet Clarke will have a big part in the event. The P-ville Mafia will be well represented. Then there will be a big front page glowing story in the Purcellville Gazzette. The circle is closed.

  • Sanity says:

    Fred,

    Most of the Founders were religious. So what?

    And yes, the D of I mentions a “Creator”. How do you have “unalienable rights” without one? They weren’t granted by “God”, but by a nebulous, each-to-his-own “Creator”. All religions and collective spiritualities have some sort of creation story.

    I’d just like you find one, just one, law that we have that’s specifically Christian. Not shared by most or all major religions, but Christian-specific.

    Then you’ll realize why these Generation Joshua folks are so dangerous. They want to complete upend the apple cart and turn this country into something it’s never been.

  • Linda B says:

    Mr. Miller, consorting with home schoolers? I suppose that’s all fine and good, so long as you don’t mind being blackballed from ever running for office again as a Democrat.

  • Fred says:

    @Dan “The Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves at the efforts of these so called Christians trying to destroy the marvelous system they gave us.”

    Oh quite the contrary. Their spinning in their graves because the public school system has openly declared war on God. The Federal Government (Dept. of Veterans Affairs) won’t allow the mention of God at military funerals. Christmas is not acceptable language in the public square. A crucifix on private property is an “assault” on civil liberties. Yes indeed the Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves.

  • liz says:

    Fred, don’t be ridiculous.
    Virginia public schools are required to begin each day with the Pledge of Allegiance (“One Nation Under God”) and a moment of silence. Required. It’s the law. How is that a war on God exactly?

    The Dept of Veteran’s Affairs leaves it up to the families of the fallen to decide whether God, and (if so) WHICH God will be mentioned at each funeral. Are you in favor of forcing families of Jewish and Hindu soldiers to participate in prayers to Jesus at the funerals for their sons and daughters?

    Considering that Loudoun does allow religious displays on the courthouse grounds, I don’t really see how you can say that Christmas is not acceptable in the public square.

    As to your crucifix complaint, I haven’t heard anyone complaining about displays on PRIVATE land.

    Now, if you think that no one else’s religion but yours should be allowed, that’s a different story.

  • BlackOut says:

    Fred,

    Our Founders and those who fought for religious freedom would be appalled at the Dominonist movement.

    “Dominionists celebrate Christian nationalism, in that they believe that the United States once was, and should once again be, a Christian nation. In this way, they deny the Enlightenment roots of American democracy.”

    ” Dominionists promote religious supremacy, insofar as they generally do not respect the equality of other religions, or even other versions of Christianity.”

    Do you agree with these statements? I sure hope not. How can you justify it when considering the Constitutions our Founders and those you reference?

    The First Amendment guarantees both the free practice of religion and the non-establishment of religion by the federal government (later court decisions have extended that prohibition to the states)

    What will happen to the American Muslims, Buddihist, Hindus, Jews, non-believers, etc.? Read the 1st Amendment. These classes were just as protected as some attempt to amalgamate the numerous different versions of Christianity.

    As I stated before Fred. Believe and teach your children as you wish, but don’t FORCE AND/OR LEGISLATE, your views or beliefs on others. That my friend is what the Founders fought the British for and that is what they believed in and imortalized in the Constitution.

  • Lloyd says:

    Fred, if you or Stevens will be reading the Constitution for this group of zealots hell-bound on finding constitutional precedent for their religious bigotry, make sure to put special emphasis on Art. VI, par. 3, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    And, like Liz suggested, make sure you get in the amendments, including this one, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    Heck, why stop with the Constitution if we want to talk fouding founders? How about the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, “[N]o man . . . shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; 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 nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

    The hypocrisy that comes from the religious right in this area is beyond astounding. It’s sickening.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    The genius of what Lloyd is sharing is that these thoughts were largely the product of people that were not secularists.

    People of deeply held faith and letters came together to create the greatest secular governance structure of man.

    Our heritage and their great advancement of the rights of man built on the shoulders of the enlightenment — now a victim of growing ignorance.

  • @eb: “Growing ignorance” that is deliberately cultivated by some deep pockets.

  • Dear Supervisor Miller,

    Thank you for posing this question. I think your respectful attendance at the HSLDA event for a reading of the Constitution would be good form. The Constitution is neither a Democratic or Republican document; it transcends partisan politics and should be viewed as source of law that can unify us and commit us all to a common purpose.

    Ask yourself this question: Would the late Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democratic Senator and President pro tem of the United States Senate or the late United States Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, both liberal Democratic icons in their own rights, feel uncomfortable attending a public reading of the Constitution? Absolutely not. I think both would appreciate such a reading and view it as a good and honest thing.

    Now, following that public reading of the Constitution, arguments could ensue over interpretations of the Constitution, such as the ones that a conservative, framer’s intent jurist such as Justice Scalia could have with a liberal, expansive view jurist such as Earl Warren.

    But, those interpretation issues can be left for another day.

    I look forward to seeing you up there.

    Best Regards,

    Randy

  • Thanks, all, for these thoughts.

    Randy, do you look forward to seeing me because you’ll be there yourself?

    (On that other topic: I still have 30 .45 rounds and 45 .357s, if anyone wants them.)

  • Ravis Oli says:

    Mr. Miller, Ravis believes that you should go and participate in the reading of the Constitution.

    Ravis also believes that you should take the Bible with you, and when the reading of the Constitution has been completed, you should yell out before the assembled crowd, “IN THE BEGINNING, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”

    Then, in a moment of goodwill, pass the Bible to Randy Minchew who will be standing next to you, so that he too may read a passage from the good book. Then, he too will pass the book to the next person, and what started out as a simple reading of the Constitution will morph into a full blown revivial, the likes of which haven’t been witnessed in Purcellville in….how do you say…a coon’s age?

    You may be at the PHC campus for a few days reading from the Bible, unless you are stopped by someone from the PHC administration from doing so, which would be tragically ironic.

    As has long been said in the place where Ravis is from, let no good deed go unpunished.

  • This is a profound statement:

    “The genius of what Lloyd is sharing is that these thoughts were largely the product of people that were not secularists.

    People of deeply held faith and letters came together to create the greatest secular governance structure of man.”

  • Linda B says:

    eb is a profound dude.

  • Fred says:

    Liz – My comments were not specifically targeting Loudoun County, although some folks have tried to get a Christmas nativity removed at the Loudoun County Courthouse. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/01/AR2009120102503.html

    The assault on people of faith continues – now Mayor Bloomberg has banned any religious leaders to participate in the 9/11 anniversary, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/25/911-ceremony-wont-include_n_936336.html

    @BO – “don’t FORCE AND/OR LEGISLATE, your views or beliefs on others.” So when laws around the world prohibit murder, and even classify between 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree murder, how is that not imposing one’s beliefs?

  • liz says:

    Ah, but the vote on whether to have religious displays at the court house went 8-1 in favor…and yes, I know who that one was, and I agree with his reasoning that the court house should be especially free of religious iconography (right to a fair trial), and he suggested the displays be moved to the Government Center instead.

    So. Religion. Public Square. It’s there. It’s staying. And now people are upset that anyone can put up any display they want there, because (gasp!) the atheists have been putting up displays.

    Which brings us back to the 1st Amendment, the point of which is: The government can’t play favorites with religions. So if you want your creche to be on the courthouse lawn, you’ve got to put up with the other 9 groups who get slots on the lawn too.

  • BlackOut says:

    Fred, those aren’t necessarily religious beliefs. Not relevant to this debate.

    Here’s another example and question. Why was the Our Father read at the LCRC Convention? Would that not make a buddist or a new feel uncomfortable or unwelcome? Or does the acceptance of the Our Father some type of membership requirement?

    Wouldn’t it be more reflective of our Founder’s intent to make all faiths feel welcome at a political party event?

  • dntrllycare says:

    1st Amendment should only apply to the federal government, the 14th Amendment was never properly ratified (nobody seems to care though).

    http://www.constitution.org/14ll/no14th.htm

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/healy1.html

  • Fred says:

    BO: Your mixing apples and bananas my friend – not relevant to this debate. The LCRC is not a government entity. But I’ll answer you anyway. The Our Father mentions God as does the pledge of Allegiance – the former is professing allegiance to America, the latter is honoring the author of life and all things in it. If you go to any LCRC meeting you will notice that every meeting begins with an invocation and the pledge of allegiance. There are non-Christians that attend LCRC meetings and I have never heard anyone offended by an invocation. You’re the first person I’ve heard offended by the Our Father. It was said by a priest and he invited all attendees to join in. Surely if the Our Father was contrary to one’s beliefs no one was forcing them to recite it.

    Both government and non-government entities honor the tradition of prayer and or the pledge at the beginning of proceedings. It’s a time-honored tradition that has come under attack in recent years. That radical, Ben Franklin, invoked the power of prayer to break the logjam at the constitutional convention. Those radicals in the House of Representatives have the audacity to have a chaplain to guide them in prayer.

    http://www.homeofheroes.com/hallofheroes/3rd_floor/god/2_convention.html
    http://chaplain.house.gov/

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