Jim HoffmanCONSIDER THISFree Press Opinion Columnist

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January 17, 2013
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HOFFMAN: For those in need of a Constitutional primer

There are so many out there these days raging about the U.S. Constitution, one wonders if they have really taken the time to read it. Let's take a few seconds to review some of the provisions that seem to be discussed, ignored or misunderstood. Normally, when we discuss the Constitution we are referring to the Bill of Rights and its various Amendments to the Constitution.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof......." There seem to be many in current society who feel as though they have the right to determine which religions are worthy of exercise. Some have even gone so far as to demand that government prevent the use of existing buildings or the erection of new buildings for the exercise of religion. These folk seem to believe that the Constitutional right to the exercise of religion was intended for the Christian faith exclusively. When we seek to restrict the free exercise of religion, we seek to undermine the basic premise upon which our nation was created. To demand that government restrict erection of houses of worship is to deny the very foundation of our nation.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." In the great debate over this right, the first 13 words seem never to be acknowledged. In my mind, the very direct implication here would be that the right to bear arms is directly related to membership in a "well regulated Militia" for the security of the State, NOT the right to bear arms in preparation to subvert the State. Acknowledging that I am not a legal or Constitutional scholar, I merely find it curious that these first 13 words are always omitted by those who declare themselves Constitutionalists but always limit their citation of the Second Amendment to the final 14 words.

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. ..."This one was designed to protect birthright citizenship. Now Congressman Steve King of Iowa along with 13 co-sponsors shall attempt to "clarify" the amendment. King claims the grant of citizenship to children born in the U.S. is a "flawed interpretation" as the Founding Fathers could not have envisioned illegal immigration. His claim is that had they envisioned it they would have not written the amendment in this manner. Since his logic could be extended to include assault rifles which the Founding Fathers likely could not have "envisioned," then it would seem equally appropriate that legislation be introduced to "clarify" the second amendment.

Extended voting rights to blacks, females and 18-year-olds, in that order. We have all read the rants of some who "want my country back" and then go on to wax nostalgic about the days when "only property owners could vote, not drug-using teens and welfare cheats." These folks are advocating that we strip the vote from women, blacks and those under 21 years of age. For, in reality, the times and the America they hold dear was a time in which blacks were mostly enslaved, few women could own property, and the voting age of a "property owner" was set at 21.That Constitution is a wonderful thing when you agree with it. At other times it certainly can be pesky. It is with some amazement we hear people proclaiming the need to adhere to the Constitution while advocating against other Constitutional rights which they seemingly fail to comprehend. For some it seems their battle cry should be: "Our Constitution, Love It, and Ignore It."Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 17, 2013 01:19PM Published Jan 17, 2013 01:17PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.