In search of the Constitutional Ideals of America
written by Dennis Jamison August 30, 2018
Since 2018 is an election year, and since recently there has arisen such a Leftist assault upon the ideals and principles embedded in the Constitution of the United States, it seemed appropriate to set out on a search to find the Constitutional ideals in America. In other words, in light of the civil war that is raging across America over the ideals in the bedrock of the nation, it was important to at least one person to see if the U.S.A. is still “run by the book,” or whether the federal and state governments are following the original blueprint of the founding fathers.
An invitation to attend Camp Constitution in the summer seemed opportune, but it was being held on the other side of the country, in Massachusetts. A hard decision had to be made as to whether traveling across the United States by automobile would provide a good return on the investment of time and the physical endeavor required — especially for someone well past 60 years of age. This article would not have been written if the investment had not been worthwhile. Driving from California to Massachusetts is a challenge for many people, but if taken in somewhat manageable increments it is much less daunting. On the way, stopping off near Salt Lake City to visit friends, a clear instructional moment occurred as I was made aware that even Bible-believing Christians are tolerated in Mormon dominated Utah. And, even Mormons, not being considered mainstream Christians, are tolerated in the U.S.A. This was a living lesson about the very First Amendment. So, I was receiving an education on the Constitution before I ever arrived at Camp Constitution. It occurred to me that our Bill of Rights were created by the founders who were both wise and blessed with vision for the future. It was that is reassuring to know that Freedom of Religion still exists in the U.S. despite the recent attacks against the First Amendment,
In visiting family and friends in Iowa, open discussions between Atheists, Catholics, Lutherans, and Bible-focused Christians, was refreshing as we were all civil with one another, No arguments erupted that escalated into flaring tempers and displays of anger over who was right or wrong.. It was gratifying that the wars that were fought in Europe centuries before were no longer being waged in 2018, or Iowa would have been a battleground state. Reflecting on this current state of affairs in America provided additional gratitude that the founders had made it clear in the First Amendment that there was to be no establishment of a state religion, as had been practiced regularly in battle-beleaguered Europe. Unfortunately, upon deeper reflection, it is apparent that there exists today in America a remnant of the Europe that turned against religion being embodied in the mistaken concept of separation of church and state. The founders did not want a state mandated religion, but they also did not want a government that interfered with religious worship or “the free exercise of religion.” Sadly, the Bill of Rights has been contorted by politics and political figures that sought to re-write the Bill of Rights with their own interpretation, or under their own agenda, which was intended to limit or restrict religious practice in the United States. It is a fundamental problem for those who profess a religious faith in 2018. This reality alone should awaken people of faith in relation to how their freedoms are viewed by contemporary politicians.
There are those in the hallowed halls of America’s current government institutions that are actively doing their utmost to undermine the well-being of the people who have some avowed faith. This represents an area in which Leftists, who are essentially atheistic, are assaulting the ideals, principles, and values within the Constitution. It is a source of great concern for the people of faith because the faithless are using the Constitution against them and their rights to freely exercise their religious faith, which runs counter to the original intent of the First Amendment. Amazingly, it Is a divisive issue among Christian ministers because some ministers believe that the government has the right to silence them by threats of revoking precious government rewards for their silence (tax-exemptions prove effective in the battle for freedom of speech).
Yet, it was refreshing to learn at Camp Constitution that the First Amendment rights that were supposed to be protected under the U.S. Constitution have not yet been revoked! The battle is still raging, however, as citizens are aware that humble bakers can be slandered, sued, and/or fined for refusing to bake a cake for people whose lifestyle offends their religious sentiments. Yet, there are those in government positions who believe it is acceptable to offend people of faith, and unacceptable to offend those who have no faith. The realization that the reason for the quest to find America’s true relationship with the Constitutional ideals, is a reason for all Americans to start to question the people they are electing to public office. After all, 2018 is an election year. It is a good time to start a quest to find how the Constitutional ideals are being practiced by those seeking votes from the public.
At Camp Constitution, it was refreshing to learn that some of our elected political figures still believe in the ideals, principles, and values embedded in the Constitution. Yet, while the camp was in session, the organizer of Camp Constitution, Hal Shurtleff, and Rev. Steven Craft, and Pastor Earl Wallace, and Dr. Kishore went to attend court when represented by Liberty Counsel, oral argument was given in Boston, Massachusetts in a federal lawsuit “against the city of Boston and one of its officials for censoring the Christian flag that Boston resident Hal Shurtleff and his Christian civic organization, Camp Constitution, requested to fly on the city’s public forum.” This effort of standing for citizens’ fundamental rights was a very practical lesson of application of the principles embedded in the Constitution. The realization was strong that the organizers of Camp Constitution not only taught these principles, they were willing to defend them as well.
Yes, it is about time — 2018 is a good time for all concerned American citizens to start a quest to find how the Constitutional ideals are being implemented by our government officials in America.All that Mr. Shurtleff had requested through a city permit was to raise the Christian flag on Boston City Hall flagpoles “to commemorate Constitution Day (September 17) and the civic and cultural contributions of the Christian community to the city of Boston…” The denial from the city prompted the lawsuit, which can be a time-consuming hassle to many, but to the American citizens who are concerned about the blatant disregard for the rights enshrined in the Constitution, it is not some inconvenient hassle, it is a duty to protect and defend those rights while they still exist.
One of the most refreshing discoveries at Camp Constitution was the many polite, cheerful, and articulate young people. Despite the dynamic and powerful speakers at the camp, the quality of the young people who attended could not go unnoticed. They were able to answer questions on the Constitution that some adults were not able to answer. A memory of some of the televised “man in the street” impromptu interviews of local citizens who revealed hilariously dumbfounded ignorance of the Constitution or the U.S. government created a sense of gratitude for what the kids at Camp Constitution would learn in the summer. In reality, America’s children are the future of our nation, and they are enough reason to start an individual quest to discover how the Constitutional ideals are being practiced in America in 2018. American citizens who care would be proud of the kids that attended Camp Constitution. These kids receive the truth about the actual way that Constitutional ideals are being practiced by our national, state, and local governments in America. The speakers were all capable of keeping an adult audience on their toes with the education they imparted at the camp. More significantly, the various presentations dealt not just with the fundamentals of the Constitution, but with the actual application of the law of the land to contemporary strife in the nation regarding law, legalities, and the fundamental battle over how Constitutional ideals are being implemented on all levels.
Although Camp Constitution was only a week long, it provided hope that maybe all is not lost in the U.S.A. just yet. Although there is only one Camp Constitution that is held each summer, there are some who would like to see other Camp Constitutions spring up across the entire country. All Americans will be challenged in 2018 with a decision to vote or not vote, and if they do vote, the choice of whom to vote for can be daunting if they take their rights seriously. Often Americans are uncomfortable with challenges that threaten to burst their limited, ego-centric bubbles, but this challenge has never been greater. It is the time Ronald Reagan described as the time of choosing for this generation. Americans are facing choices in November that literally will determine the fate of the nation’s existence as formulated by the Founding Fathers. Today, there are people who call themselves Americans, but they are intent upon undermining, if not destroying, the fundamental rights that have been guaranteed and protected by our federal and state governments since the beginning. American citizens can choose to ignore such an insidious effort to continue it; however, that effort will not go away, the rights people fought and died for will go away. It truly is a time of choosing.
For the sake of the future, America needs more Camp Constitutions. Despite the thought that the public schools today are adequately preparing our young people to properly govern our nation “by the book,” according to law of the land, it is being done poorly at best. One concern among many citizens contacted along the journey eastward was that American students in the public schools are being indoctrinated by teachers who do not have any faith, and who may not have the best interests of the United States at heart. It is a fact that the current education in public schools no longer includes civics, and the system of preparing our future leaders must not be working very well because very few leaders that are entering the political arena understand or value the Constitution. Upon returning to California, it was revealed that a flyer announcing a local “Constitution Day” event had been deemed “too offensive” to pass around in a city sports field. The manager, a city official, had (like many who work for local city and county governments) to offer an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. It was easy for the person who calls himself an
American to swear an oath to get a job, but not so easy to offer personal allegiance to the rights of citizens who actually pay taxes for his employment with the city. It was refreshing to learn that at least one local County Supervisor in California still knows how to protect fundamental freedomsthat many take for granted — or find offensive. The flyers were distributed. Small challenges need to be won on a daily basis. America does need more Camp Constitutions because it is a place where young people learn how to win challenges to the Constitutional ideals and principles — even on a small scale. America needs more Camp Constitutions because it is a place where the young people learn how to out into practice and to defend the Constitutional ideals and principles on all levels. Although such camps aim at educating young people, their parents and volunteers are also able to learn valuable lessons in self-governance and proper application of America’s founding values in everyday life experiences. A simple conclusion is that America needs more Camp Constitutions for the sake of America’s future.