About the Constitution’s ‘simplicity’

The Amarillo Globe-News published a brief editorial this morning. Two elements contained within it compel me to respond. Here’s the editorial:

Sunday was Constitution Day — the day set aside for celebrating the anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.

Allow us to present a few facts about the U.S. Constitution, which more than likely are not in history books.

The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the U.S. Constitution.

The concept of marriage is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, much less the authority of government to require marriage licenses.

The U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest of written, national constitutions. There is probably a reason for this — simplicity. The document was written in clear and concise language.

It is too bad these facts about the U.S. Constitution are forgotten — or ignored — today.

I love the U.S. Constitution as much as the next guy. Maybe more so. Allow me this brief rejoinder.

The Constitution doesn’t need to use the phrase “separation of church and state” to make this point abundantly clear. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” Is that clear enough? I believe the intent in that clause is to separate church from the state.

Nor does the Constitution need to insert the term “marriage,” either. I am guessing the G-N is suggesting that same-sex marriage, which the U.S. Supreme Court has sanctioned, isn’t covered by the nation’s founding governing document; the G-N opposes the court’s decision. You see, the 14th Amendment provides “equal protection under the law” for all Americans. That includes marriage, by golly.

If we’re going to parse the Constitution’s language, let’s also note that it doesn’t mention the words “murder,” or “extortion” “bank robbery,” let alone does it say specifically that those activities should be deemed illegal.

I do agree that the founders wrote a fairly simple and declarative document when they created the United States of America. They didn’t need to clutter it up with a lot of do’s and don’ts to make clear what’s allowed.

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