“Let the Reader Beware” And the First Amendment

For whom am I writing this blog?—well today I am writing to anyone who will listen to and consider (not necessarily accept) what I believe is a bit of “reason” regarding life, liberty, and government in the United States.

First, this blog really has nothing to do with religion or bashing President Obama.

One other thing: this “rant” references only the attached video clip (a new blogging element for me) of an Obama Speech and his reference to the Sermon on the Mount. He has said many other things that I find disturbing, but will leave that for another day.

I recently came across a Facebook® posting offering “proof” that Obama was not a Christian.

The title of the posting was “Obama makes fun of Jesus, Calls the Bible “Radical“ and follows this with the following tagline: “In case you were wondering if the President claims to be a Christian solely for political reasons, the answer is yes and this vintage footage from 2006 will serve as proof. Obama bashes the Bible again…”

At this point, I have no idea if Obama is a Christian or not but he is clearly a politician! Also, I must make one thing clear, I did not vote for Obama, and despite the fact that some economic indicators for this country have improved, I believe Obama’s administration has been divisive and contrary to the best interests of the United States—and I believe the economy would have recovered somewhat for any president. (My Republicans in Congress have not behaved very well either!)

The point of this “rant” is that I am tired of people telling me what someone said, in this case Obama, and in the process completely twisting what appears to be an obvious truth to me. To me, to misinterpret anyone is just as “evil” as the “evil” they want to portray in the speaker they are misrepresenting.

Do NOT criticize me for defending Obama—I am not.

Here is what I mean.

In the video, I did not hear him call the Bible “radical.” I did hear him say that the Sermon on the Mount was “radical,” because the military might not survive. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provides instructions to his disciples and a crowd of people on how to live together, including not persecuting people who believe differently. If everyone on earth lived by the principles Jesus spelled out in the Sermon on the Mount, there would be no need for a military. Now that is a “radical” concept!

I did not hear anything in this speech that “made fun” of Jesus. While there are apparent contradictions from one section of the Bible to another, it is a complex document, and caution should be exercised when quoting scripture out of context.

What I did hear in this speech is Obama reaffirming the principle of separation of church and state; a founding principle of the United States and documented in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The point of this is, those who deliberately misconstrue, misinterpret, and/or misquote someone for the purpose of discrediting his or her positon, character, or actions, have lowered themselves to no better than the person they are misquoting. It also suggests to me that they cannot find, or are too lazy to look for, real-world performance issues on which to criticize the individual. Unfortunately, in the land of free speech (also in the First Amendment), an individual can declare as fact anything he or she wants, especially within the anonymity of the Internet, without being held accountable for the accuracy of those statements.

There is a corollary to the warning, “Let the buyer beware.” It is “Let the reader beware.”

Freedom of Religion as Defined by the First Amendment of the Constitution

“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.”

“Freedom of religion means freedom to hold an opinion or belief, but not to take action in violation of social duties or subversive to good order,” i.e., obey duly enacted social laws.

(Fact) What this means is that anyone of any faith or no faith can live and prosper in the United States so long as they accept and obey Constitutionally established laws of the United States.

(Opinion) I fear there are forces at work that are weakening the Constitution, which is the backbone of our society. But that is a subject for another day.

Follow the link for more information on the First Amendment and the reasoning used by the Founding Fathers in creating the First Amendment.

About/Content Entry
“Let the Reader Beware” and the First Amendment is an idealistic rant about misconstruing a person’s statements, in this case, I suspect deliberately.

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11 Responses to “Let the Reader Beware” And the First Amendment

  1. Pingback: Renaissance Musings Table of Contents | Renaissance Musings

  2. lilypup says:

    What I love about your post is the right you have to write it. Being a rabid Republican, I don’t always agree with blogs, but I love the honest talk. Thanks for your opinion. http://lilypupslife.wordpress.com/

  3. merlinjr01 says:

    Lilypup, thank you for your comment. It means a lot.

  4. Lexy says:

    I like that you have a strong opinion with arguments to support it. I’m sick of the notion of subjective writers and thinkers being dubbed as fanatical – there’s no middle ground anymore – we’re either radical or passive – which is why I appreciate your post 🙂 You’re not bashing anyone, just stating your opinion. Perfect!

  5. axelan says:

    Good post Jeff, nicely stating much of what I feel. While I’m not republican, neither am I democrat. I lean conservative but because of abrasive politics cannot sign up to any party’s platform.

  6. merlinjr01 says:

    Axel, I am probably more in line with your thinking than anything. I really did not want the post to be political. Just a rant about how people twist and misrepresent what they hear others say.

  7. What did the great Christopher Hitchens say? “Mr Jefferson, build up that wall!”
    Ps, don’t start watching Hitchens clips on YouTube, because you’ll probably turn atheist like us lot over here……

  8. merlinjr01 says:

    Thank you for the comment, though I confess I will have to do some research to fully understand the meaning. 😉

  9. That’s great. I urge you to watch some Hitchens on you tube. Will confound most of your opinions on religion I’m sure

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