“A constitution is a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.”
By this definition a constitution could be either a compact or a series of precedents from some source. The latter would be rendered by a judicial or other governing body rendered over an indefinite period time. It is notable that “precedents” is used to describe a “constitution” in part because some have been successful in “painting” the US Constitutional compact as a “living document” evolving by Judicial (Judicial in this case being the US Supreme Court) precedent, notwithstanding that no “evolutionary” provision was made. A compact on the other hand is an agreed upon set of principles and/or dicta by which a group, state or nation is governed and whose laws are based upon those principles or dicta; and, which is effective upon ratification or other approval mechanism.
A third notion of a constitution is one that is religiously/theologically based. One example would be a set of rules handed down by a Superior being to Lesser beings as the operating procedures by which those Lesser beings would live and be governed. Consider the Ten Commandments handed down by God to Moses and which Moses presented to the people of Israel.
The Ten Commandments are simple both to understand and to follow:
Exodus 20 King James Version (KJV)
1) Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…,
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain…;
4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5) Honor thy father and thy mother:…
6) Thou shalt not kill.
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8) Thou shalt not steal.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10) Thou shalt not covet…
History’s watershed event, the advent of Jesus the Christ and the New Covenant did not obviate the Ten Commandments…Jesus stated,
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”
Christians are those who are “Christ-like,” they are the body of believers in Jesus; they are the Church. However, He did not come to establish an earthly kingdom but a spiritual one:
“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.”
Jesus’ Constitution can be summarized as follows:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
The Koran, on the other hand, is a book written by Islam’s prophet and founder, Mohammed. It too has been greatly expanded and is the foundation for various shades and colors of Islam. It contains verses similar to the Ten Commandments assembled from various places within the Koran and when combined with the Hadith (a collection of writings compiled from oral reports that were present in society around the time of their compilation after the death of Mohammed) forms the Law of Islam. The Koran and Hadith are an integrated political, economic, social and religious system for Muslims. These two (and an entire body of religious rules enforced by religious police) are the “Constitution” for the Ummah which is “the whole community of Muslims bound together by ties of Islam.”
Finally, the most direct and easy to understand definition of a constitution in the context of this essay is as follows:
“...the act or process of constituting; establishment.”
Such is the Constitution of the United States of America written during the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention convened on May 25th 1787 and signed on September 17th, 1787. The signers were mostly Christian, with the possible exception of Thomas Jefferson who possessed a rather eccentric understanding of Christianity. Contrary to what some believe, there was not one Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist or etc. signer of the US Constitution. From the beginning of the United States it was not envisioned that Islam would ever become a part of the National fabric. And as an insignificant minor part today has a disproportionate influence for the worse.
Therefore, when the writers included in Article VI, clause 3 that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,” the Founders unwittingly left the door open for exploitation.
Until now, Article VI was not an issue and the no religious preference provision was a routine matter of registration to run for office. But, suppose that someday a Muslim might be elected as President, what then? Such an eventuality would signify a major Constitutional crisis because whereas the Constitution is tolerant of Islam, Islam is inherently intolerant of the Constitution. Until recently no President has sworn to defend the Constitution while at the same time openly eschewing it. On January 20th, 2009 such a person broke onto the National scene by swearing to uphold and defend the Constitution while repeatedly expressing opposition to it, and in practice circumventing its provisions.
It is belatedly evident that the Founders did not “what if” the Article VI provision. They failed to foresee that someday there might be someone with sympathy for Islam elected to be President and whose personal beliefs conflict directly with significant aspects of the Constitution. That oversight could “fundamentally change,” or in other words, destroy the United States. As all kids ask on any trip that is over an hour long, “Are we there yet?”