About Utah: Let's give talk about Constitution a needed rest


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  • DaveGarber1975 Provo, UT
    May 14, 2012 2:51 p.m.

    Also, as for Latter-day Saints like myself, devotion to the U.S. Constitution, plus its libertarian principles, is not only wise, but part of our religion.

    In LDS scripture, God Himself proclaims that He "established" this Constitution "by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up unto this very purpose," that He desires us to "befriend" Constitutional law, that "whatsoever is more or less than [it] cometh of evil," and that He wills that it "should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh."

    LDS General Authorities have reiterated such doctrines ever since, with remarkable (although imperfect) consistency. John Taylor taught that, "Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom and the rights of man." David O. McKay taught that, "Next to being one in worshipping God, there is nothing in this world upon which the Church should be more united that in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States." And Ezra Taft Benson prophetically urged us in 1987 to repent of our general "apostasy" from divine Constitutional principles. We should humbly heed such inspired counsel.

  • DaveGarber1975 Provo, UT
    May 14, 2012 1:15 p.m.

    America's wise founders, inspired by their excellent understanding of timeless political principles, created our nation's federal Constitution to help us to preserve our rightful liberty indefinitely as effectively as possible. I marvel that, despite its flaws, it has succeeded so well. It remains the supreme law of our land that our federal officeholders swear to uphold, and not a quaint-but-antiquated piece of advice that they may ignore as much as they can get away with.

    Sadly, under the long-term influence of modern political collectivists, our federal government has increasingly ignored this charter to degenerate into a bloated corrupt warfare-welfare state that engages in large-scale "legalized" murder and plunder---and that now teeters upon the brink of fascistic/socialistic despotism. I'm glad that some Americans notice this awful situation, and desire to restore our once-free Constitutional republic before its remnants, like Rome's, are discarded forever by would-be Caesars.

    We need to remind ourselves of our founders' wisdom, or else we may have to relearn it from our own sad experience. So, let's please keep not only talking about the U.S. Constitution but laboring effectively to reinstate it.

  • Spencer W. Morgan Riverton, UT
    May 14, 2012 7:59 a.m.

    This is such a ridiculous contradiction.

    You want people to "lay off talking about the Constituion" but you want the coercive impositoins of a government supposedly based on that document's validity to continue?

    Personally, I'm tired of hearing about the constitution too but as long as you want the government it supposedly created to continue operating, you must acknowledge the validity and limits of that very same document.

    I don't really care about that piece of paper. It doesn't change the morality of any specific action by or upon an individual. I care about what is the morally proper role of government, and since government does everything via force or a threat thereof it should only do that which an individual would be justified in doing to another individual using force... whether it's "constitutional" or not.

  • Mike in Texas Allen, TX
    Nov. 10, 2010 10:42 a.m.

    The constitution is being abused as we watch the decisions of an activist conservative court. "Citizens United" is the most obvious example. These folks put the Warren Court to shame. They rule that Corporations are citizens, and political contributions are speach. Ridiculous on the face of it. Make no mistake, if this foolishness is allowed to continue, we end up with the best government that money can buy, and our cherished constitution hanging, as it were, by a thread.

  • Independent Woman West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 6, 2010 10:35 a.m.

    Just out of curiosity, how many of you actually read past the headline of this column? If you did, you really didn't get what Lee was saying. He never said we should put the Constitution aside or that we should ignore its laws, etc. Where are you getting this from? Glen Beck?

    I agree with Lee wholeheartedly that too many people wave the Constitution around as if they alone know not only what it says, but also what it means. Believe it or not, there is disagreement even among experts about that. And who made you an expert?

    The article was meant tongue-in-cheek, at least partially. Try to get a sense of humor. I found much of it hilarious, as well as true.

  • Dana Bentley West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 6, 2010 12:18 a.m.

    And while we're at it, let's quit talking so much about the Book of Mormon. Not! We must be vigilant. The Constitution should be before us always. I would not ask someone to quit talking about the Constitution, as you have done. I would hope that you would welcome the fervor of people interested in keeping freedom alive.

  • Spencer W. Morgan Riverton, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 7:21 p.m.

    The Constitution isn't just some idea... IT'S THE LAW that is supposed to confine the actions of the Federal government. I'd be happy to blow it off, just as soon as the agents of government assume the same attitude about the "laws" that I am supposed to stay within.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 6:01 p.m.

    Lee Beson shoudl ashamed of lack knowledge of constion,

    along the many LEFTEST commentors,

    who know VERY LITTLE to NOTHING of what is actually IN the constitution,

    of what it actually says,

    NOTHING in constituion denies voting rights to black women of anyone,

    NOTHING in constituion denies interaciual marriage,

    most thing were elft up to statsm and tradition and culture of the time,

    many admendments just implicitly define a right, and make it federal law,

    rights that wer a;lready left to states and the people in the 10TH amdmendment

    too few people really knw what in the constitution

    that is why we need to read it, talk about it and learn more aboue about, educate it other about it, and we all need a more universal understanding of what is actually in it.

    YOu do not know what the proper ROILE of federal government and waht are primary governing laws of our country, nor what ourour srate and and indivual rights actually are,

    then they WILL be taken away from you, from your state, and the federal will metamorphosize into something terrible.

    to mock the importance the constitution and those who love it,

    is dishonorable and ignorant.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 5:12 p.m.

    Lee Benson has written ANOTHER great article.

    And to the rest of you self proclaimed Constitution Lovers....

    How many of you raised your right arm to the square, left hand on holy writ, and sworn the oath to God and Country to defend it with your very life if necessary?

    Name for me ONE Freedom lost.
    Which one was it?

    Right to keep and bare arms??

    Because if that's what's happening -- I'm with you!

    But my gut tells me you haven't a CLUE what freedom really is.

    T.V. personalities are using the Consitution as a prop to sell books and gold for profit.

    They are no different than T.V. Evangelicals using Jesus as a prop to sell books and gold for profit.

    Do yourselves a favor and turn off the TV, and go to a military cemetary or attend a solider's funeral if you want to see the real price of Freedom.

    Meanwhile, thank God we live in a country were Lee Benson can still write and post his artilces without going to jail.

    That's called freedom.

  • Fiannan Eugene, Oregon
    Nov. 5, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    I am sorry, but the reason many peolle are waving teh US Consititution around nowadays is out of fear that it is being abandoned by the people who now control our courts, administrative offices and legislatures. One wonders what would happen if every American turned off "American Idol" or the "Disney" and took the time to read and ponder what the founding documents of this nation really say, or what the founders of this nation really wanted.

  • Robert Horning Logan, Utah
    Nov. 5, 2010 2:49 p.m.

    This article is shameful because those who are complaining about the Constitution are those who feel that it is being ignored. If you want something different, at least admit that the Constitution of 1787, as amended, is no longer the law of the land. Until that is the case, we need to study this document and understand why it was written in the first place.

    Principles outlined by the founders of this American Republic are things I feel are needed, including the right to peaceably assemble and speak my mind. If you don't "get" what those who attend the Tea Party Rallies are complaining about, come out to one and find out for yourself. Of course showing up is going to get you labeled as a terrorist, so if you want the status quo of ignoring the constitution don't come and stay in your warm fuzzy cocoon thinking all is well when the Republic is under assault by people who write just like you do.

    The Constitution isn't scripture and it can be changed... by amendments properly debated in the 50 state legislatures of this country, not by judges who choose to ignore it.

  • John Potter Plymouth, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 2:26 p.m.

    The author of this "opinion piece" ought to be ashamed for publishing something so vague and intended to marginalize those who have done more to protect and defend the supreme law of the land than most making comments here on this board, along with the moderators of this board for removing my last comment which were nothing but sincere facts.

    When you have an overwhelming membership in each branch of government ignoring their oaths and the legally binding contract which binds them to certain specific duties, nothing more, and nothing less you must once again become vigilant and discuss our founding document.

    The Constitution. Still the Cutting Edge!

  • cbentley Layton, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 2:18 p.m.

    Agree 100%.

    I don't think anyone's arguing we ought to set aside the Constitution.

    But let's open our eyes and realize that some candidates in this state ran a political campaign for a major national office on almost nothing more than the claim of being constitutional experts. What's your platform, sir? Why, to return to the Constitution! Since when is claimed constitutional expertise the primary requirement of a national legislator?

    You think the federal government's too big? Fine, the work to reduce it's size. Think national health is a bad idea? OK, then work to have it repealed. Think we need entitlement reform? Great, the work to make our future fiscal commitments more realistic.

    But let's stop playing this little game of pretending that the Constitution irrevocably established the one true public policy direction for the USA back in 1787. The Constitution creates a government, not a party platform. It allows for flexibility in governing and provides for changing views.

    So argue the merits of your legislative positions, don't try to claim immunity from scrutiny by hiding them behind the Founding Fathers.

  • John Potter Plymouth, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 2:13 p.m.

    It's such a shame that comments like this were allowed to be published using the nebulous platitudes and vague smear references against those who have done more to protect the federal constitution in it's entirety than a single person here making comments.

    How would the church president feel about this once he finds out a church owned newspaper actually put into print such a flagrantly ignorant, "opinion" piece in the attempt to quell the inevitable public dissent of a constant, systematic subversion and chronic scofflaw actions of an out of control congress and unauthorized activist Supreme Court Judiciary which more often than not operate out of their scope of authority?

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 1:40 p.m.

    Think of the constitution as blueprints for a building. As you go you may need to add a wall here or knock out a window there, but in the end you have a beautiful building.

    Then an evil real estate developer comes along, and - ah, I'll save that for another day.

    I just wonder how many people who are screaming for or against the constitution have actually read it. If you havent, read it! Now it's more important then ever to understand our constitution, and how the government is slowly inching it closer and closer to the shred bin.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 1:03 p.m.

    This article might be worth agreeing with if the current government didn't ignore the Constitution completely.

  • valia La Verkin, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 12:10 p.m.

    I tried to say just a simple "Amen", but that was rejected, so I'm agreeing again. Amen.

  • BoomerJeff Saint George, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 11:53 a.m.

    In Mormon Scripture, the constitution of the United States has the seal of approval from God. Read D&C 101:80 This is the only government document in the entire world, that we know of, that has God's blessing. Are you seriously asking to "give the constitution a rest" Mr. Benson??? OK let's dabble in marxism and communism (2008 - on), do you feel better now???

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 11:26 a.m.

    'For years, the Constitution did not give black people the right to vote.
    For even longer years, more than a century actually, it did not give women the right to vote; and for longer years yet, Native Americans.
    Do the tea partiers want us to get back to that Constitution?' - Article

    Good point.

    'I want my country back.'

    Back before interacial marriage? Back before womens vote? Back before.....

  • lookbeyond Moab, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    We the people fortunately have been awakened to the truth of what is happening in America! Getting back to the basics, following the rule of law and respecting and following Constitutional principals is what the anger is all about. Because government has forgotten its place in our lives due to power hungry elected officials who have lost sight of their job descriptions for other issues that belong to the States, the people have spoken and desire now to return the power to "We the People" and if it takes a continued effort on Glen Beck's willingness to educate the people, then I support his efforts! We need to educate our youth to accepting responsibility for keeping America FREE, and protected from Socialism and Communism....we have been asleep at the wheel in spite of the warnings sounded in the 60's by Ezra T. Benson!!!

  • Mayfair Claremore, OK
    Nov. 5, 2010 11:18 a.m.

    I loved the "how far back" should we go reasoning,

    the observation that Glen Beck and others (way too many others) use the Constitution to inflate themselves,

    the too infrequently pointed out fact that some segments of our society think they have the lock on supporting or revering the Constitution and that anyone who disagrees with ANY portion of their opinion or world view can't possibly be any good,

    and the observation that it is a wise, good wonderful document, and yes maybe even inspired document, but not the end all.

    Wish those who were so sure it is a divine document gave real divine documents as much credence and attention.

  • Mr Big MONA, UTAH
    Nov. 5, 2010 10:54 a.m.

    Commerce Clause, Dormant Commerce Clause, Privileges and Immunities, Equal Protection, Due Process, evolving standards of decency, rationale reasoning, strict scrutiny, suspect class, affirmative rights...these ideas are easy to understand? I guess it depends whether you are an ardent originalist or let the Constitution float around according to our society's barometer. This article really bothers me. This is indeed our nation's perception of the Constitution. I would suggest you become more familiar with the document before making broad sweeping generalizations.

    Please, explain all these concepts to me.

  • 42istheanswer SLC, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 10:53 a.m.

    Lee is, like most people, tired of extremist know-nothings shouting about its "PRINCIPLES" to further their agendas rather than actually studying it & governing by it.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 10:16 a.m.

    No lee. More time should be spent learning what the constitution is and says. I should be understood by every fifth grader. Let alone every adult.

  • Furry1993 Somewhere in Utah, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 10:14 a.m.

    To SonOfLiberty | 8:57 a.m. Nov. 5, 2010

    Unfortunately, the far right is trying to set aside the Constitution. They claim to understand it but, at best, have a superficial understanding of it. They are willing to support only the parts of it with which they agree, and do their best to ignore or minimize the remainder. A lot, if not most, of the far right have at best a superficial, shallow understanding of the Constitution and do not understand the breadth and depth of it, nor do they really understand how it was written, what it means, and what it stands for. Its Bill of Rights and other amendments are intended to protect against the tyranny of the majority and, unfortu8nately, that is exactly what the far right want to impose.

    Certainly don't set aside the Constitution -- we badly need its protections. DO set aside the attempts by the far so-called "constitutionalists" from the far right to re-construe it.

  • SonOfLiberty West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 8:57 a.m.

    Really Lee? Restoring Constitutional PRINCIPLES is "extremist"? The solution to our woes is to set the Constitution and its PRINCIPLES aside?

    This op-ed is so wrong on so many levels. Were there compromises in creating the Constitution? Yes. Is the Constitution perfect? No.

    But the point we Constitutional “extremists” are trying to communicate is that we rightly fear the unprecedented growth in the size and power of the federal government. The Constitution has been trampled on by progressive politicians for the last 100 plus years to where it is no more than words on a piece of paper that is routinely IGNORED. The limits placed on the Federal government were put in place to protect Americans from tyranny and to foster prosperity and happiness — mine and yours.

    In the words of a much more famous Benson (Ezra Taft Benson), “Before we can intelligently sustain the principles of this divinely inspired document, we need to understand it and the philosophy that underlies it. We will then be in a position to determine encroachments on our liberty when well-intentioned, but unenlightened politicians attempt to circumvent those principles.”

    Sorry Lee, but we shouldn't set aside the Constitution.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 8:49 a.m.

    I think that's what got us into this mess, when we stopped talking about what the constitution allows politicians to do.

    We need to go back to the founding principles that once made this a great nation, and it can make us great again if we go back to it.

    Lee Benson needs to learn to accept diverse points of view. Not everyone is happy about talking about more bailouts or printing more fiat money. Some of us care about the future of this nation, unlike the current administration that hates this country and the people in it.

  • Tulip West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 8:40 a.m.

    I believe the constitution is what makes our country exceptional in all the world. It certainly has provisions when change is warranted. Perhaps we can take a break now from all the discussion but come time to vote again I hope we continue to study it's magnificence and vote by it precepts. I love this document.

  • Democrat Provo, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 8:20 a.m.

    I might ad that some who claim to love the Constitution and carry it in their pockets know little about it. A great example is Utah's "Patrick Henry Caucus" whose website says they unite to “sustain the Constitution”. Don't they know that Patrick Henry refused to go to Philadelphia because he "smelt a rat" and then voted against it during ratification?. I think Ron Paul would prefer to go back to the Articles of Confederation, but he knows that saying so will garner about as much support as his attacks against Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln and what he and Pat Buchanan view as "unnecessary" wars (Civil War and WWII, respectively).

    So when Lee Benson refers to those who are against the Constitution (but pretend to be for it) I would agree that they are extremists.

    Not long ago, Gordon B. Hinckley attested to the continued relevance of the Constitution. While I am troubled by some actions of the Supreme Court (particularly those of a generation ago), the document is still strong. The Rehnquist and Roberts courts appear to have been moving in the right direction on some issues.

  • Democrat Provo, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 8:05 a.m.

    I agree that the we should never ignore the Constitution, and I also agree that pre-Renquist the Supreme Court over-interpreted the Commerce Clause. However, I think that Mr. Benson is right that some of the people invoking the Constitution do so as if it were a talisman that only they know about. If Mike Lee's family really debated the Commerce Clause over dinner, then why did he (at times) act like there was only one true interpretation of it? Lee Benson's point is that even the founders were vague in their understanding of some provisions, so to invoke it like a talisman that magically settles every issue is wrong. That is what the ACLU does in the courts and what the Tea Party is trying to do at the ballot box.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 7:14 a.m.

    I completely agree. The fervor over the Constitution has gotten out of control and irrational. In my view the Constitution was divinely inspired and enabled this country to come together. It is not scripture and is far from perfect. It is an evolving document and was designed to be that way. Benson writes a lot of common sense, and it's good to see a Republican talking the right wing extremists down from their ledge. I still argue that moderation and pragmatism is the best way to go, and I really think Utahns are that way when you get down to it.

  • Mike in Salem Salem, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 5:57 a.m.

    This article is laughable. Do you think those of us "extremists" who wave the Constitution have problems with its amendments that have been ratified by a super majority of the states and congress? That we want to go back to a time when suffrage was limited by race or gender? Of course not.

    What we have a problem with is the selective incorporation if the bill of rights into the 14th amendment and the expansion of the commerce clause by activist courts. This has gutted the rights of states and expanded the scope and power of the federal government to the detriment of the country.

    If you think education or health care should be the responsibility of the federal government, use the legislative process to amend the Constitution like was done when women were given the right to vote. Until that is done, unless the law as it was written and intended is upheld, we may have a constitution, but we don't have a constitutional government and that should scare the heck out of everyone.

  • My2Cents Kearns, UT
    Nov. 5, 2010 4:26 a.m.

    We can never give the constitution a rest. And what these advocates are proposing is that it be a job requirement by all elected officials to at least read the constitution for which there were elected to uphold. I don't see anything wrong with that.

    Most lawyers and judges don't even know what it says so how can a legal system work if no one knows the rules?

  • MormonDem Provo, UT
    Nov. 4, 2010 11:33 p.m.

    Amen. Too bad more people didn't understand this during the last too years of shameful, extremist acrimony.