Friday, December 03, 2010

The Mormons and the Constitution

It's an article of faith -- or a "prophecy" from one or another of the old "prophet, seer and regulator revelator" guys at the top of the Mormon hierarchy -- that one day the US Constitution will "hang by a thread" and it will be up to a Mormon to save it.

Could it be we've already found our boy? Newly-elected Teabagger senator from Utah, Mike Lee, a scion of "Mormon royalty"-- he is a direct descendant of John D. Lee, infamous for being Brigham Young's scapegoat for the savage Mountain Meadows Massacre of white settlers who had the gall to cross Mormon land -- says that the Constitution is "divinely inspired" and he personally knows ('cause god told him, presumably) how to interpret it.

Here's Buzzflash's Mark Karlin:

What is the difference between religious fundamentalists and so-called "strict constructionists"? Actually, they are two sides of the same coin.
First, they both believe that the Constitution and the Bible are divinely granted documents. Secondly, they believe that there is a literal interpretation to both, and that they are the ones who know what that is. Thirdly, anyone who disagrees with them is either a heretic or un-American, or both.
The New York Times makes note of one newly elected Tea Party Republican senator:
Mike Lee, a 39-year-old Republican from Utah, has the most impeccable establishment legal credentials: the son of Rex Lee, a solicitor general under President Reagan, he attended law school at Brigham Young and later clerked for Samuel Alito on the U.S. Court of Appeals and then the Supreme Court. But on the campaign trail, especially during his heated primary battle with the three-term Republican incumbent Bob Bennett, Lee offered glimpses of a truly radical vision of the U.S. Constitution, one that sees the document as divinely inspired and views much of what the federal government currently does as unconstitutional.
This radical viewpoint is what characterizes the "Repeal Amendment" movement, which I wrote about yesterday. It is the fanatical, cultist viewpoint of those who believe that only they have the divine knowledge to understand "God's word" in the Bible and in the Constitution.
For these extremists, the Constitution is not a document of men and women that threw off the shackles of a Europe still governed by the claim of divinely sanctioned royalty, but rather, like the Ten Commandments (an apt analogy), a manifestation of the will of God - and an exclusive Christian God at that.
"As your U.S. senator," Lee promised during the campaign, according to the Times, "I will not vote for a single bill that I can't justify based on the text and the original understanding of the Constitution, no matter what the court says you can do."
Of course Lee is just the one, having labored in the august halls of the SCOTUS as a clerk for Scalito, to know exactly (and rather smugly I might add) just what the Constitution allows.

BTW, be sure to read that inner link to How Radical Is the Republican Leadership in Congress? Very.:
How radical is the Republican leadership in Congress? Let's just say that some of them make anarchists look like "centrists."
Eric Cantor, who was elected incoming house majority leader by the GOP caucus, is backing a plan, according to Talking Points Memo (TPM), "to blow up the Constitutional system and replace it with one that would give state governments veto power over federal laws."
A few years back, such an anti-constitutional notion would have been considered the province of unbalanced individuals and extreme, right-wing cultists. Now, the notion of states overriding the Constitution and federal law has apparently become mainstream for the Republican Party.
Of course, it would take an amendment to the Constitution, called the "Repeal Amendment," to eviscerate the founding document of our nation and our legal system. Cantor, for his part, thinks that this is a good idea, saying: "The Repeal Amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach, and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around. In order to return America to opportunity, responsibility, and success, we must reverse course and the Repeal Amendment is a step in that direction."
According to TPM, one of the main goals of the Repeal Amendment is to overturn the 17th Amendment, which allows for the popular election of senators. This is an objective both the Tea Party and Antonin Scalia share, as BuzzFlash pointed out in a recent commentary. This fits in well with the perplexing notion that the "rabble of democracy" is a danger to the Republic!
So back to little Mikey Lee. He probably believes -- truly believes -- in the kind of crap he's spewing, and since he's already part of Mormon royalty, how hard can it be for him to already think he's The One who will save the Constitution?