I was recently asked to speak to the Haverhill, Massachusetts High School Government Class. Arrangements were made to be there for the 8:15 A.M. class to speak about the Constitution Party on November 16, 2010. After about 10 minutes covering the Party’s beginnings, it was then time for Q &A. I must say that these young people were well informed on the Constitution Party platform, and a lot of very good questions were asked, ranging from education, same-sex marriage, gay rights, abortion and federal aid.
One student asked me about the “separation of church and state” and the “establishment clause,” and the alleged fact that it is in the Constitution. I asked if I could read the First Amendment, because this is where this controversy comes from. They said, “Yes,” and I proceeded to read the Amendment.
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.
I stated that no where are those words to be found there, and that they were taken from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association addrssing their concern about the possibility of the formation of a state religion. It was mostly because of them that we have the First Amendment, and Jefferson’s understanding of those concerns.
A follow-up question was to the affect that if I was passing laws on my religious beliefs, was that not in fact producing a state religion? My answer was, “not if I were abiding by the U.S. Constitution.” Regarding an abortion question, I again asked to read from our founding documents, but this time I went to Preamble to the Declaration of Independence. I read to them the second paragraph where it clearly states:
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
His follow up question was, “When do I believe life begins?” My answer was, “at conception.”
I was also asked about hate crime legislation, and if I believed that if a crime was committed because of hate, shouldn’t that mean that the individual should receive a harsher punishment? Of course the belief that we can prosecute one more severely if they commit a crime because of hate is really quite ludicrous, in my opinion, and that evil comes from within one’s heart. I do not support hate crime legislation, and I only wish I would’ve pursued that subject further. I would have gone into the fact that when laws are created for the benefit of the gay community (and any other “group”) that there would be unequal justice and the infringement of freedom of speech for individuals. That’s why our system of governance protects individual rights, and laws protecting or discriminating against groups are, by there natuere, unconstitutional.
There was much concern about the educational systems of communities like Lawrence, Massachusetts, for example. The City of Lawrence (and many other communities) have really been in a state of depression for some time now. I felt that by promoting economic reform by supporting businesses, by lowering taxes, would have a positive effect by growing the tax base. I did make it quite clear that I did not approve of federal government involvement in education, and they do not have any such mandate in the Constitution.
All in all this was a very interesting learning experience for me. I have never taken on anything like this, and I must say that these young people acted politely and respectfully. They were well prepared for my visit. I greatly appreciate being asked to address this class by their teacher, Mr. Tom Jordan, Tom also contributed to the discussion at times. Of course I have not listed all that transpired, but these are some highlights of my visit.
I did thank them for allowing me to be there, and encouraged them to pursue political office if it was their desire. Such was my trip to Haverhill on November 2010.