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The Doctrine and Covenants and American Exceptionalism


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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

I come asking for help Scott. I hear over and over the scare word "socialism". What exactly does that mean to you? I believe socialism is better than capitalism. Capitalism has now been shown that it stays at the top, the tax breaks etc. stay at the top and none are trickling down like so many said would for years. Capitalism, to me, is what's hurting our country, not socialism, which to me, is good roads, help for the unemployed, good affordable health insurance, social security for seniors, disability insurance, medicaid/medicare, free lunch program for students...there's too many to list. Is this wrong? Because in my eyes, it's the most Christlike behavior. The capitalist's ways, seem more like tyranny to me, those at the top will get their way, by use of money. The little people will pay more taxes than they, we've seen that in action with our own eyes. I am sincere in asking this, I know I'm naive when it comes to things like this. I hope this can not be taken in context of being political. I just need a good answer to the question I've asked over and over in my mind, but haven't been able to get an answer. I guess I should go back to school. 

Sorry, Tacenda, I’m not going to get drawn into that. I’ve already got people here mad at me and trying to get my thread shut down because they think I’m underhandedly discussing politics. 
 

What you ask is quite outside the scope of this thread, which I opened  with the intent of highlighting the Lord’s endorsement in the Doctrine and Covenants of the U.S. Constitution and to consider it in terms of American exceptionalism. 
 

You’ll have to look elsewhere for an apologia (defense) of a free-market economy. I think you’ll find plenty of sources for that from an ordinary Google search. You don’t have to get it from me. 

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55 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

I think Ralph M has made it pretty clear that his point was that the constitution itself does not have to stand in its present form for the Church to survive. I have to agree with this. At the least in order  for the constitution to survive it needs an additional amendment so that the type of politics I disdain will be (mostly) eliminated. What we now see is a result of lobbying with large donations to back them up. Eliminate these large donations by single entities, and most of our problems with "politics" would dissipate. The money drives the politics when it should be the people driving the politics. That last verse, although scripture, was a prayer, and not necessarily the will of the Lord BTW. I think certain principles of self-governance and freedom are worth preserving, but I don't think it is necessary for our constitution our even our country to stand indefinitely for scripture to be fulfilled. In the end all nations shall fall in favor of Christ's government. What we are now seeing is only the beginning of the image of the beast prophesied in  Revelation.

I have to disagree with BY. What we are seeing is the fulillment of the time of the Gentiles. This will end at the time of His coming in the clouds. I guess it may depend on what one considers the time of His second coming. If one considers that to be the time of the next resurrection, then BY is wrong. The New Jerusalem will be built after the prophesied resurrection in 3 Nephi 21.

If that city is the City of the New Jerusalem, I can agree with you. Yeah, I think the immediate future will see the image of the beast which will be constitution and freedom destroying. I have to agree with you there. But the basic principles of the constitution at least will be preserved in the New Jerusalem. Whether one wants to call this the constitution hanging by a thread doesn't really matter to me. That point is basically irrelevant to me. If it does survive in its present form at all, it will have to at least be amended significantly.  The courts have read all too much into it. 

“When the day comes in which the Kingdom of God will bear rule, the flag of the United States will proudly flutter unsullied on the flag staff of liberty and equal rights, without a spot to sully its fair surface; the glorious flag our fathers have bequeathed to us will then be unfurled to the breeze by those who have power to hoist it aloft and defend its sanctity.” (Brigham Young)

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17 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

On another thread, Ralph Manchou posted this (I’m pasting in the whole post so as to avoid taking it out of context):

“Always a difficult subject, because the American myth is so deeply seated in Mormonism: The American Religion.

“At some point we have to let go of it. Our salvation is not at all tied to the fate of America or the victory of one economic or political ideology over another. When you look at conflicts or tensions between faiths, it's almost always a conflict between economic or political ideologies or a battle for geography.

“I once had the opportunity to spend two weeks with the Prime Minister of the Exiled Government of Tibet. He's also a devout monastic. I attended a film festival with him about the conflict between Tibet and China and one of the scenes was the tank man in Tiananmen Square. I was floored when he later told me he had never seen that clip before. He explained to me that, even though he was the elected Prime Minister of an exiled and oppressed nation, he avoids political media and political debates as much as he can. His reasoning was that if you become attached to the political or economic ideologies of a "homeland" you will eventually be consumed by those attachments and your spirituality will suffer. In his mind, TRUTH is not dependent on place or time.  

“Before we can reconcile, we need to extract politics and economics from our faith, to the point where we can stand together without hard feelings or ill will towards each other.”

End of the quote from Ralph

Not clear what is meant by “the American myth” here, but there are aspects of American exceptionalism that are baked into latter-day Restoration scripture and doctrine, namely the role of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as pertaining to preserving the principle of moral agency, not just for Americans, but “for all flesh.” 
 

This is so explicitly stated in the Doctrine and Covenants that it cannot persuasively be denied. 
 

Consider:

5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
 

Elsewhere:

 

77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

 

And further:

54 Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever. 

Some interesting pertinent quotes from President Brigham Young will follow,. There are many others if you’d like me to post them as well. President Young’s convictions fly in the face of any of the naysayers who would try to minimize the central importance of the Constitution of the United States to the success and endurance of latter-day kingdom of God on earth. President Young makes it clear the Constitution is not just of utmost importance to the United States itself but that it’s equally important to the rest of the world as well. If anyone wants to find a foremost advocate for American exceptionalism due to it being the covenantal land of God that, by his own word, is choice above all other lands, and the birthplace of the divinely inspired U.S. Constitution, Brigham Young is that man...

1) That people (the Latter-day Saints), whom the very great majority have striven to obliterate, will step forward and continue to honor the Heaven-inspired Constitution bequeathed to us so rich a legacy by our forefathers.

2) I want to say to every man, the Constitution of the United States, as formed by our fathers, was dictated, was revealed, was put into their hearts by the Almighty, who sits enthroned in the midst of the heavens; although unknown to them, it was dictated by the revelations of Jesus Christ, and I tell you in the name of Jesus Christ, it is as good as I could ask for.

3) Every organization of our government, the best government in the world, is crumbling to pieces. Those who have it in their hands are the ones who are destroying it. How long will it be before the words of the prophet Joseph will be fulfilled? He said if the Constitution of the United States were saved at all it must be done by this people. It will not be many years before these words come to pass.

4) I hope and trust and pray that the government of our country may remain, because it is so good; but if they cut off this, and cast out that, and institute another thing, they may destroy all the good it contains. This, I hope, they will not do; they cannot do it. I expect to see the day when the Elders of Israel will protect and sustain civil and religious liberty and every constitutional right bequeathed to us by our fathers, and spread those rights abroad in connection with the Gospel for the salvation of all nations.

5) If our present happy form of government is sustained, which I believe it will be, it will be done by the people I am now looking upon, in connection with their brethren and their offspring. The present Constitution, with a few alterations of a trifling nature, is just as good as we want; and if it is sustained on this land of Joseph, it will be done by us and our posterity. Our national brethren do not know how to do it. They are not capable of controlling their own passions, to say nothing of ruling a nation. What is the reign of a king who cannot control his passions? Will not his subjects sorrow? Yes, they will feel the weight of his wrath, and their backs will ache, and their heads will ache, and they will receive the lash from a heavy hand.

 

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

I come asking for help Scott. I hear over and over the scare word "socialism". What exactly does that mean to you? I believe socialism is better than capitalism. Capitalism has now been shown that it stays at the top, the tax breaks etc. stay at the top and none are trickling down like so many said would for years. Capitalism, to me, is what's hurting our country, not socialism, which to me, is good roads, help for the unemployed, good affordable health insurance, social security for seniors, disability insurance, medicaid/medicare, free lunch program for students...there's too many to list. Is this wrong? Because in my eyes, it's the most Christlike behavior. The capitalist's ways, seem more like tyranny to me, those at the top will get their way, by use of money. The little people will pay more taxes than they, we've seen that in action with our own eyes. I am sincere in asking this, I know I'm naive when it comes to things like this. I hope this can not be taken in context of being political. I just need a good answer to the question I've asked over and over in my mind, but haven't been able to get an answer. I guess I should go back to school. 

Capitalism by itself is not a form of governance. Unreigned and unrestricted it can lead to numerous inequities and evils. It should be the job of our government to reign it in where it leads to undesirable results. Even Trump had issues with some capitalist desires for mergers, etc. Capitalism is an economic model for efficient output. Combined and limited with basic Christian principles of fairness and decency, it has resulted in the growth into the greatest economy and scientific progress the world has ever seen. That is its strong points. I am typing and communicating with inventions spurred by the capitalist system. I would not want to live without the advances capitalism has brought about. However, I do agree that capitalism by itself is definitely not the perfect system. To work at its best it must be combined with Christian norms of love, fairness, and decency - otherwise it can break down into a fairly evil monopolistic system.

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18 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

...................... the American myth is so deeply seated in Mormonism: The American Religion.

“At some point we have to let go of it. Our salvation is not at all tied to the fate of America .................

Ralph is correct that our individual salvation is separate from America as a political or geographic entity.  He is also correct to suggest that America is very similar to most other nation-states in having flaws which are in need of constant monitoring and repair.  Most LDS members live outside the USA and speak languages other than English.  They are duty-bound to obey the laws of their individual countries.

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Not clear what is meant by “the American myth” here, but there are aspects of American exceptionalism that are baked into latter-day Restoration scripture and doctrine, namely the role of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as pertaining to preserving the principle of moral agency, not just for Americans, but “for all flesh.” 

I just wish that more Americans would read and formally study the Constitution.  Most of them seem not to have a clue as to its content or meaning.  Their exceptional ignorance is astonishing in view of the importance of that great document.  It would be wonderful if more Americans would actually accept that Constitution and live according to its principles.  If we can be that city on a hill whose light so shines..., then perhaps people in other countries will be influenced by us for the better.

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13 hours ago, teddyaware said:

The Lord himself said any system of earthly government that’s any more or less than the Constitution of the United States “cometh of evil.” 

Not quite.  He said that any "laws" which are not constitutional "cometh of evil".  

Unless you are suggesting that all other governments "cometh of evil", you might want to reconsider.  Their constitutions most certainly are "more or less than"...

In reading the background and context of the section, you are extrapolating beyond the focus of D&C 98, which is US law and the men/women living within that "land" (specifically Kirtland, Ohio).:

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6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the aconstitutional law of the land;

7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. D&C 98

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

So expressing opposition against socialism is prohibited? What other trigger words must we be wary of? Will it now be verboten here, under penalty of being silenced, to express one’s disapproval of communism in the course of a discussion about a Church topic? Fascism? Antisemitism? Authoritarianism? Autocracy? Despotism?

Of course you counter the socialism thing by bringing up all the ideologies you actually like.

💣

Edited by The Nehor
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41 minutes ago, pogi said:

Not quite.  He said that any "laws" which are not constitutional "cometh of evil".  

Unless you are suggesting that all other governments "cometh of evil", you might want to reconsider.  Their constitutions most certainly are "more or less than"...

In reading the background and context of the section, you are extrapolating beyond the focus of D&C 98, which is US law and the men/women living within that "land" (specifically Kirtland, Ohio).:

 

 

I’m surprised you missed the plain meaning of the very verses you quoted. Let’s take a look...

6 “Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;”

It’s manifestly obvious that “the constitutional law of the land” spoken of in verse 6 is none other than the Constitution of the United States. Yes? 

7  “And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” 

And it’s also as plain as can be that the expression,’‘And as pertaining to the law of man” has reference to the law of all mankind in general. If it were otherwise, and verse 7 is only speaking of the law this land (the United States), verse 7 would read, ‘And as pertaining to the law of this land,’ meaning the United Statesof America.

 

 

Edited by teddyaware
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26 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

I’m surprised you missed the plain meaning of the very verses you quoted. Let’s take a look...

6 “Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;”

It’s manifestly obvious that “the constitutional law of the land” spoken of in verse 6 is none other than the Constitution of the United States. Yes? 

7  “And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” 

And it’s also as plain as can be that the expression,’‘And as pertaining to the law of man” has reference to the law of all mankind in general. If it were otherwise, and verse 7 is only speaking of the law this land (the United States), verse 7 would read, ‘And as pertaining to the law of this land,’ meaning the United Statesof America.

The very clear context of the chapter exempts it from needing redundant clarification further to say "...meaning the United States of America".  Read the chapter heading, it would be completely out of place for God to be randomly commenting on other nation's laws. 

Just to clarify, you are calling all other governments evil with your interpretation, correct?  If so, I am the one who is "surprised". 

 

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Ralph is correct that our individual salvation is separate from America as a political or geographic entity.  He is also correct to suggest that America is very similar to most other nation-states in having flaws which are in need of constant monitoring and repair.  Most LDS members live outside the USA and speak languages other than English.  They are duty-bound to obey the laws of their individual countries.

I just wish that more Americans would read and formally study the Constitution.  Most of them seem not to have a clue as to its content or meaning.  Their exceptional ignorance is astonishing in view of the importance of that great document.  It would be wonderful if more Americans would actually accept that Constitution and live according to its principles.  If we can be that city on a hill whose light so shines..., then perhaps people in other countries will be influenced by us for the better.

What are some of the key universal, non-partisan principles that are instituted in the Constitution of the USA that would benefit the world?

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20 hours ago, teddyaware said:

So I guess this means we’ll have to give up on fulfilling the prophecy that the elders of Israel will save the Constitution as it hangs by a thread in order to maintain harmony among the members?

You realize this is a Mormon folktale, right?  There is no scriptural basis......

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@teddyawareand @pogi, I find your respective views on D&C 98, one very broad in application and one very specific in context (not that there's anything wrong with either) very interesting. How might they be melded? Or, given that revelation can teach truth of various kinds at various levels, can both views be valid, depending on the circumstances and needs of the reader?

For example, how does each of you apply this section to yourselves (if that wouldn't be sharing too much)? Thank you --

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You all realize that American exceptionalism has nothing to do with the LDS Church right?

From Wikipedia:

American exceptionalism is the theory that the United States is inherently different from other nations.[2] This stems from its emergence from the American Revolution, becoming what the political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset called "the first new nation"[3] and developing a uniquely American ideology, "Americanism". This ideology is based on liberty, equality before the law, individual responsibility, republicanism, representative democracy, and laissez-faire economics. This ideology itself is often referred to as "American exceptionalism."[4] Under this other definition, America is seen as being superior to other nations or having a unique mission to transform the world.[5]

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4 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

You all realize that American exceptionalism has nothing to do with the LDS Church right?

From Wikipedia:

American exceptionalism is the theory that the United States is inherently different from other nations.[2] This stems from its emergence from the American Revolution, becoming what the political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset called "the first new nation"[3] and developing a uniquely American ideology, "Americanism". This ideology is based on liberty, equality before the law, individual responsibility, republicanism, representative democracy, and laissez-faire economics. This ideology itself is often referred to as "American exceptionalism."[4] Under this other definition, America is seen as being superior to other nations or having a unique mission to transform the world.[5]

I disagree that it has nothing to do with the Church of Jesus Christ. 
 

If we accept what the Lord made clear in His revelation, that the principles of the U.S. Constitution are for the benefit of “all flesh” and for the preservation of human freedom and God-given moral agency, then the United States of America has an implicit duty to promulgate these principles to the nations of the earth and to set the example in holding fast to them. 
 

I call this duty American exceptionalism; you may call it what you will. 

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2 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I disagree that it has nothing to do with the Church of Jesus Christ. 
 

If we accept what the Lord made clear in His revelation, that the principles of the U.S. Constitution are for the benefit of “all flesh” and for the preservation of human freedom and God-given moral agency, then the United States of America has an implicit duty to promulgate these principles to the nations of the earth and to set the example in holding fast to them. 
 

I call this duty American exceptionalism; you may call it what you will. 

We aren't the greatest country in the world. There are several statistics out there I could provide. We've got a lot of work ahead to do especially. Or does my comment not apply to the topic. When I think exceptionalism, I think that we are the stand out. But if you want to know the truth, we don't. 

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8 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

We aren't the greatest country in the world. There are several statistics out there I could provide. We've got a lot of work ahead to do especially. Or does my comment not apply to the topic. When I think exceptionalism, I think that we are the stand out. But if you want to know the truth, we don't. 

For the purpose of this thread, I’m focusing on the exceptionalism inherent in the implicit duty of the United States of America to uphold before the world the principles of liberty and human rights espoused by the Constitution as endorsed by Jesus Christ in the scriptural passages I have cited in the opening post. 

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21 hours ago, rongo said:

New Jerusalem will be in America. It's hard to have America completely decline in favor of non-America with that being the case. That is not to say that the Constitution won't die and America won't decline, big-time. 

This is a good example of American exceptionalism. 

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19 minutes ago, 2BizE said:

This is a good example of American exceptionalism. 

What do Adam-ondi-Ahman, Garden of Eden, the Restoration (including the plates in Cumorah), New Jerusalem, etc. look like without "American Exceptionalism, @2BizE? Is it possible to believe in these things without it being what you call "American Exceptionalism?" If so, how? 

I could be wrong, but I think 2BizE thinks the only way for this not to be "American Exceptionalism" is for one to believe that they are all made-up nonsense. 

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22 hours ago, rongo said:

New Jerusalem will be in America. It's hard to have America completely decline in favor of non-America with that being the case.

When I was studying in America, I attended a satellite CES broadcast with Pres Hinckley as speaker. He specifically told us to avoid 'doom and gloom' and assured us that the role the US will play as the protector of the Restored Church should give us confidence that America will not completely fall into disarray. I cling to that promise. As a believing non-American Latter-day Saint, I have no vested interest in America's downfall ... deserved or otherwise.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

What are some of the key universal, non-partisan principles that are instituted in the Constitution of the USA that would benefit the world?

They are twofold, and involve two separate parts of the Constitution.

1. design of the govt with three separate, coequal branches (legislative, judicial, and executive), along with checks and balances based on the assumption that men are not angels.

2. a Bill of Rights based on the assumption that men are not angels (officials cannot be trusted to exercise high ethical and moral norms), and whose foundation was built directly on the bill of rights passed by Parliament in 1689.

     a. protecting freedom of assembly, speech, thought, inquiry, religion, and the press (free agency enabled)

     b. protecting privacy, papers, possessions, weapons, home, and one's person from gratuitous invasion or seizure (free agency enabled)

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1 hour ago, mrmarklin said:

You realize this is a Mormon folktale, right?  There is no scriptural basis......

I’m presuming you do realize that since the days of Brigham Young many Church Presidents and apostles have endorsed this prophecy and reiterated it’s validity as a promise that will surely come to pass. If you’ll forgive me, I’ll defer to the leaders of the Church before I defer to your sarcastic and dismissive assessment of the prophecy.

You are apparently unaware of the fact that with the establishment and triumph of Zion will inevitably come a worldwide enthronement of the divinely inspired constitutional system of government that will guarantee the inalienable, God-given rights of all flesh. In other words, the only way the prophecy can’t true is if the ultimate success of the kingdom of God on earth fails to come to pass..

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3 hours ago, pogi said:

The very clear context of the chapter exempts it from needing redundant clarification further to say "...meaning the United States of America".  Read the chapter heading, it would be completely out of place for God to be randomly commenting on other nation's laws. 

Just to clarify, you are calling all other governments evil with your interpretation, correct?  If so, I am the one who is "surprised". 

 

I will shortly prove analysis is incorrect. But before I do please explain how the words “And as pertaining to the law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this (the Constitutional system) cometh of evil” is speaking of a system of divinely inspired government that’s  meant to be a blessing only to the American people?

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33 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

If you’ll forgive me, I’ll defer to the leaders of the Church before I defer to your sarcastic and dismissive assessment of the prophecy.

Including the Church leaders who issued this statement in 2010: 'The so-called "White Horse Prophecy" is based on accounts that have not been substantiated by historical research and is not embraced as Church doctrine'?

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4 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

And as pertaining to the law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this (the Constitutional system) cometh of evil” is speaking of a system of divinely inspired government that’s  meant to be a blessing only to the American people?

So now it's the constitutional system and not the constitution itself?

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

For the purpose of this thread, I’m focusing on the exceptionalism inherent in the implicit duty of the United States of America to uphold before the world the principles of liberty and human rights espoused by the Constitution as endorsed by Jesus Christ in the scriptural passages I have cited in the opening post. 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

They are twofold, and involve two separate parts of the Constitution.

1. design of the govt with three separate, coequal branches (legislative, judicial, and executive), along with checks and balances based on the assumption that men are not angels.

2. a Bill of Rights based on the assumption that men are not angels (officials cannot be trusted to exercise high ethical and moral norms), and whose foundation was built directly on the bill of rights passed by Parliament in 1689.

     a. protecting freedom of assembly, speech, thought, inquiry, religion, and the press (free agency enabled)

     b. protecting privacy, papers, possessions, weapons, home, and one's person from gratuitous invasion or seizure (free agency enabled)

I take the "Blessings of Liberty" from the Preamble to be these various enumerated rights (stemming from the inalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence), with attendant responsibility (liberty being freedom that is limited by the rights of others). We have the right and responsibility to secure these blessings for posterity as well as ourselves. For me this is very much in the spirit of Elijah, at least half of it!

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