Can we stop the Constitutional idolatry? | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Where to begin?! I could just say stick to theology and leave the constitutional analysis to lawyers and political scientists, but you have a right to an opinion on amending the Constitution. It's in the document in two places - the First Amendment and Constitutional Convention Clause in Article V.
I guess we can start with the Fortnight for Freedom. The bishops are whining because Valerie Jarrett set them up and they took the bait. Obama is not running and contraception is all but settled. They need to let go of the bone. Of course, the larger issue is that they want religious power, not religious freedom, including the power of moral scorn (which their members would echo - like that's happening ever gain). This power carried some weight in the 1950s. (It's probably why Lenny Bruce is dead). Thankfully, the Court found everyone else had a superior right to tell the Church where to get off and the Bishops look like white racists who can't get over the loss of their southern manhood to civil rights. Its pathetic and should stop.
The Constitution does expand, by the way. Gay marriage was found to exist in the basic right of marriage under Loving v. Virginia. Moral scorn against gays can no longer stop it and should not stop ENDA. That is also where we got a right to abortion - which resides in due process, not in the emination of penumbras of the Ninth Amendment - which is the right to be left alone in one's private decision making - a zone where legislators have no place passing laws. Of course, on abortion, Congress can move the bar and make recognized life begin at 28 weeks. Anything before that and you are protecting a fetus that cannot life outside the womb, either at all or without long term complications. You also lose abortion as an issue because no one gets out the vote or sends money to an issue that is solved.
Congress could actually ban assault weapons. States certainly have the power to and one just did - and the Court went along with it. They just don't have the votes in the House and Senate. Like abortion (on both sides), legislators are afraid that gun rights voters will primary them if they show sanity. That is a voter problem, not a constitutional problem and it ain't necessarily so. As for muskets - the modern day equivalent is the AR-15 - or the M-16 and members of the militia - the National Guard - have them. There is no need for anyone else to. You could collect most, if not all, guns as a public safety measure - even without warrant - and it would be constitutional, but the voters would be pissed. Like I said, it's a democracy problem, not a constitutional problem.
Everyone talks about getting rid of the Senate and the Electoral College, but it is hard to imagine Texas and Arkansas in the same national - or even regional government (that's constitutional too, by the way) without giving states and equal vote in one house. The problem is more likely that we need more robust regions with their own taxes (I suggest a VAT), regional caucuses and regional vice president to run most domestic affairs. Only the regional VAT would require a constitutional amendment. Congress could do everything else - indeed, the President can do a lot of it now. The advantage here is that one state cannot stop all action in all regions - although a minority party might - depending on the rules of the regional Senate caucus. Nothing can be done about a stupid majority, of course, except replacing it by election.
This is the point of veneration of the constitution. Most people who care like the rules the way they are. They were not only agreed up (and not even unanimously), but continue to receive agreement - at least among elites who could do something about changing it. The reason we don't have Article V conventions, by the way, is that the same party committees that elect the members of Congress and the Senate also elect the members of the state assembly. There will be no convention or 1000 amendments blooming.
This is not unlike most of our major credal dogma (exempting the pelvic stuff, which is natural law based and therefore based on understanding). Most of it is seen as true because we agreed upon it and continue to agree upon it. We have no proof either way. That is not possible when talking about God. I am not saying that the Constitution is like God, but the belief's are held on the same basis - mass agreement. Where agreement is flagging (like on pelvic issues, especially contraception), doctrine, or even dogma, cannot exist forever. One are where there is dogmatic movement is on the Crucifixion and what it accomplished. The St. Anselm angry God view is yielding again to the Augustinian view that God cannot be bribed. That is especially true in this era, but the hierarchy is as slow to act as those who keep the Constitution in place. Questions?