The Constitution: What Do You Know?

Posted on Sep 17, 2018 in Wisconsin Family Connection Transcript


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2018 | Week of September 17 | #1273

September 17 is officially recognized as Constitution Day. All week various events will take place in honor of the day in 1787 when the young congress ratified our Constitution. So here’s a quiz to see what you know about this unique founding document.

Here we go.  First question, True or False. The US Constitution expressly gives America a democratic form of government.  If you said False, you are right. The US Constitution doesn’t even mention the word democracy and further, in Article IV, it clearly states that the US “shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” If you don’t know the difference between a democracy and a republic, I strongly suggest you figure that one out. It’s crucial to maintaining what we have.

Second true or false question: The US Constitution is based on and establishes a system of federalism.  The answer to this question is TRUE.  Do you know what federalism is and how it works—or is supposed to work?  It has to do with the delicate balance between the federal government and the right of the states to govern themselves. The 10th amendment addresses this very clearly.

Third question:  True or false: The opening words of the US Constitution are “When in the course of human events…”  And the answer is FALSE. The opening words of the US Constitution are…”WE THE PEOPLE.”  The Declaration of Independence is declaring our independence and laying out the reasons we were doing so…”When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…” The US Constitution is establishing the form of government this new country would have and declaring who has the power. Hence, “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Fourth true or false question:  John Adams is considered to be the “Father of the US Constitution.”  And the answer is FALSE. James Madison is considered the “Father of the Constitution.”

Final question:  True or False. The US Constitution defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.  If you said, TRUE, you’re wrong. The answer is FALSE. Our founding fathers couldn’t imagine having to define marriage in the constitution.  Homosexuality was not regaled as wonderful, right, normal and maybe even better than heterosexuality.

No, homosexuality was considered wrong, sinful, and frankly, abhorrent.  It existed of course; but our founders knew what marriage was and is. They knew marriage was natural law—God’s law. They lived under this natural law and observed it.

Now, for several years there has been talk of amending the US Constitution to clearly state that the definition of marriage is up to the states. I don’t look for that to pass anytime soon, by the way, because most politicians, regardless of party affiliation, don’t want to touch the marriage issue anymore and are just fine letting the US Supreme Court decision from 2015 be the final word. That’s beyond unfortunate. Congress has the authority to make law; it needs to use it in positive, constructive ways.

Speaking of the courts and the Constitution, we have the Kavanaugh vote looming in the US Senate. Judge Kavanaugh made it very clear in his nomination hearing that he respects the Constitution, seeks to uphold its literal, original intent and is all about the rule of law—not legislating from the bench and seeking to insert his own interpretation of the Constitution into court decisions. That bodes well for the high court.

Well, the quiz is over. How’d you do? No matter how you did, it’s always appropriate to take some time to know what this ruling, governing document actually says and how it came to be.  September 17, 1787, Congress adopted the Constitution and in the summer of 1788, enough states had ratified it that it became the law of the land. The Bill of Rights was ratified 3 years later in 1791.

Our Constitution is still the best in the world. When we don’t know what it says, we are much more likely to lose it. Take some time this week to shore up your own knowledge and your family’s knowledge of this founding and really astounding document. In fact, it just might be appropriate to exclaim about the US Constitution what Samuel Morse said about his invention of the telegraph, “What hath God wrought?!”

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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