I Make Students Read the Constitution
It’s Amazing What You Can See Just By Lookin
By Lucas J. Mather
Class this week : I placed a Constitution on the Doc Camera, and it shined on the board for all to see. And I did a brief overview of Articles 1 through 7, with special focus on Articles 1-3. And the word “Lord” above George Washington’s signature, a word that refers to Jesus of Nazareth, the Hebrew Messiah, the Son of God. And that got us wondering about the relation between religion and this government, between God, and the United States of America. And it was just a hop skip and a jump over all of those signatures, 39 I think, to the First Amendment, and the protection of religious freedom and a restriction on its establishment by Congressional law.
And I told them a story.
I used to debate the atheists who’d protest the Nativity Scenes on the bluff of Santa Monica during Christmas time. There’d be 12 or so of these wonderful Nativity Scenes lined up in that park overlooking the ocean. And I’m like Will Ferrel in Elf. I KNOW HIM! And two atheists would be there with their rickety chairs and literature, one inevitably an attorney and the other like and engineer or something (never a janitor). And I would ask them what the problem was, and they’d say “Separation of Church and State!” This is city property. Government and religion cannot mix. There needs to be a wall of Separation of Church and State.
A wall? I’d ask.
Yes, a high, thick wall.
And I’d ask to see that in the Constitution. And of course it’s not there.
The students wrote that down. Some of them did a double take. I had the text of the First Amendment shining. I had already read it aloud. Slowly.
The word “church” never appears anywhere in the Constitution. That phrase never appears. The word “Lord” does, when George Washington clarifies how many years it’s been since The Big Bang I mean Jesus’ birth.
“Congress shall make no law” is what it says. And I asked, is the City of Santa Monica Congress?
No. But it means the same thing. It means Separation of Church and State.
The students were thoroughly hooked by now. I mean, this is the end of class, and they were as alert a German Shepherds. Some of them had their heads cocked sideways.
So I said, I’m going to give you a quiz. I’ll tell you what’s on it: the exact wording, down to the comma, of the First and Second Amendments. First thing next class.
And then I went on with my story.
I said, the word is “Congress.” Yeah. The word is “law.” Congress shall make no…law. Respecting an establishment of religion. We are no where near Santa Monica.
There is no argument. They were stunned. An attorney quoted a Supreme Court decision to me. A decision which I know better than he. I’m not bragging. It’s just that I read more carefully, is all. And I teach logic. When your first MA is in literature and hermeneutics, it teaches you how to read, and mine’s in Biblical Studies–we read that text carefully. Very important to get the wording right, and the context. Same in the Constitutional setting. Very important. The wording is the law.
What the Supreme Court says is the law!
Well, the Constitution created the Supreme Court. Not the other way around. The Court didn’t exist until Article 3 went into effect. The Constitution is the standard by which you measure anything the Court says. Not the other way around.
And there is no argument. They were stunned. The students were, too.
Think about what you’re saying. A “wall” of separation. Lord !
Do you know who the City of Santa Monica is named after?
The atheists were like…oh s–t !
Yeah, it was like bird poop was about to hit them in the face. That look. Right before it happens.
And as I’m telling this story to my students, they have the same look.
She was a Catholic Saint.
Oh, by the way, her name, in Spanish, is all over everything owned by the City of Santa Monica. Including that sign over there. Including every police car. Every piece of paper with the City Letterhead. That’s all government property. And you want a Wall between the Spanish/Mexican people, and the property belonging to any entity in the United States. A WALL .
—A SHOCK WAVE hit the classroom—
And it hit those atheists , their wind swept hair blown by the gentle Pacific breeze.
What next? Remame Santa Barbara? By the way, she was a real person, too. From the Middle East, possibly Lebanon. Possibly Turkey. UC Santa Barbara is one of at least 3 colleges and universities named for women. Mount Saint Mary’s, and Santa Monica College–a government college–being two others.
Do you notice a pattern of some kind? A religious pattern?
Oh, and by the way, Saint Monica was from Africa. She was an African woman. And a college, in Los Angeles–which by the way means what exactly?–is named after her. An African woman who never even went to community college, let alone marched without a bra in some stupid drunken drugged up First World Problem-obessesed yuppy-assed mob in the 60s. Or last year. Yeah, she didn’t need you. She kicked major ass way before “feminism.” And now you want a Wall. Which isn’t even in the Constitution.
By this time, the twitching going on in eyes, the facial ticks that bespeak an anxiety previously unanticipated emerged onto the faces of those atheists–who by the way I personally liked. I liked them as people. They were just not used to being challenged, being sort of elitists. And my students, they didn’t have that. They had this curiosity , this fire, especially the Hispanic women, that I rarely see at the end of class. A smile. Not a smirk. A smile. A beaming smile. Like, wow. I….yeah….there’s something I’m going to learn in the is class. I will never be the same after this class. I can feel it. That kind of smile. (I’ve smiled it many times before myself).
So we returned to the text of the First Amendment. And I said, so you see, before you read the Court’s opinions, you need to know the text. Because otherwise you’ll miss things that are right in front of you. And you won’t even know, is the most pathetic thing about that.
And that was after we talked about Habeas Corpus, about Ex Post Facto laws and Bills of Attainder. About the Unified Executive–why there is one president, not two or three like Rome had. After we talked about the role of the Court in relation to the Constitution–for instance–Dred Scott was 7-2. But that wasn’t the final word about slavery. In fact, it blew flames on the Republican Party and kept that baby from being strangled in the crib by Democrats.
I get paid for this. Not much. Hardly anything, in fact.
And after class, I drove 5 minutes to our Board meeting at a Political Action Committee that I helped to found less than a year ago, a PAC called Orange County Gun Owners (look us up on FB, and we have a website with dot com after it). And we met for 3 hours and hammered out a lot of work. And then I drove a grueling 12 minutes home.
I’m used commuting to a Cal State campus in north Los Angeles that is at least an hour and half away, with no bad traffic. Or to Malibu or West LA, where the rich Democrats live, and that takes about the same.
So, that’s my week so far.
Going pretty good.
Kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop. But what if it doesn’t? I could get used to this.
We’re going to Make California Great Again. Or die trying.
Copyright Lucas J. Mather, 2018
All Rights Reserved
Originally Published to Facebook Tuesday 30 Jan 2018 at 11:10 pm
Dr. Lucas J. Mather, Ph.D. is the producer and host of The Republican Professor podcast. The weekly Journal of Demonic Activity published by the NEA lamented that TRP podcast was the publication most corrosive to the gates of hell in 2022 next to The Holy Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.
Check it out sometime. Be ready to take notes.
Lucas J. Mather, Ph.D.
The Republican Professor Podcast
The Republican Professor Newsletter on Substack
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@TheRepublicanProfessor