I have, I believe, a fairly pragmatic viewpoint… that both frameworks were written with the perspective that the Documents try to cover a LOT of ground, and deal with some pretty vast and ranging themes, and the intent was to provide a structure upon which the finer points could be worked out by courts. So, I believe, the Writers’ purpose was to provide a framework… a structure upon which, additional structure could be added as needed… but largely leaving the INTENT of the document, intact.
When drafted, both these documents were written from a perspective of honourable, virtuous integrity. The language of these texts, assumes that the citizens will act in a responsible manner. And this is where, when taken to an extreme, that my viewpoint falters.
I believe that the documents contain the purpose, that citizens will act in the same caring manner and perspective, with which it was written.
So, rather than simply quoting the Second Amendment’s right to “…to keep and bear arms…” We must look at the intent of the writers, at a time where they were without a national army, declaring independence from a foreign power, and look at the Amendment, in its entirety:
“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.“
Similarly, the First Amendment talks of freedoms granted:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.“
It says that folks can collect, speak and practice religion, as they wish.
I don’t think it says that it is a good idea to collectivize a religious group as zealots, nor do I read anything about taking their precious religious writings, and burning them, as an exercise. I don’t believe that was the INTENT or PURPOSE of the writers, to make those freedoms available.
To decide what is, and what ISN’T appropriate, comes to a point where citizens must choose for themselves if they will accept an act as being correct in perspective… or it should be allowed, but ignored, as an act of ill-conceived hatred.
I myself, do not like that someone is talking about burning a Quran.
I believe it is a mis-guided act of hatred, and acts to characterize all Muslims as zealots and extremists. Extremism, in ANY form, is usually unflattering to the related cause. The 9-11 Terrorists do not represent Muslims well. Similarly, I don’t believe Reverend Terry Jones shows a particularly flattering side of the Christian Faith.
But, whether he burns a Quran, or just talks about it… he is hate mongering, in my opinion. But, within the context of the law, he is seemingly not breaking the law… and the determination of what is legal, is best made by others than I.
If there is a law he breaks by doing it… then throw him in jail.
If there is no law, then we should ignore his actions, WHATEVER they end up being… and focus on others, more important.
It is with that intent, but in the context of these events, that I wrote this post.
I saw a tweet on Twitter, and it brought tears to my eyes.
Amidst all the outrage, and anger… Hostility and Hate… a Reverend at a church in Mississauga, Ontario has the vision to fight Anger with Peace, and Hate with Love.
In my opinion, if Erindale United Church Reverend Neil Young doesn’t get MASSIVE coverage, with many other churches following suit? Maybe the idiots are winning…
But I hope, in the hearts and minds of people everywhere, the intent and context of the Constitution and the Charter shine through Reverend Young, and people look at the actions of a church in Mississauga with greater weight, than the actions of a deluded individual with an agenda, somewhere else.
I believe that just because we live in a society where we have freedoms… we have a responsibility to exercise those rights with care… and not everyone does. But we must be wary of giving those with extreme viewpoints an elevated platform, from which they can broadcast their messages of hate.