GLEN COVE, NY — Ireland has created and inserted a “right” to homosexual marriage into its Constitution by a simple vote in a plebiscite. Decisions on important constitutional issues by plebiscite became popular in Europe as it embraced “democracy” in the twentieth century. A constitution, however, that can be made to contradict centuries of national tradition by a simple, one-time popular vote is no constitution at all.
Much damage has been done by the worldwide rebellion against sexual and family morality.
The Constitution of the United States is an ideal model of a written constitution. Precisely because the Founding Fathers wanted to minimize the risks of fundamental changes due to temporary public passions, they constructed the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and amendable only by a complex process.
The final step in the process is ratification by three-quarters of the states, but this level of state support alone is not sufficient. All 50 states have approved non-binding requests to Congress to amend the Constitution to protect the American flag, for example, and the House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to pass such an amendment. The amendment has never been adopted because it has failed to receive more than 66 votes in the Senate, one short of the required number.
The flag protection amendment may be adopted eventually, but one aspect of the genius of our Constitution is the careful reflection and broad support needed to change it. If we could easily amend our Constitution, then unpopular momentary minorities — such as German-Americans during World War I, Japanese-Americans during World War II, and Socialists during the Korean War — would have seen their mistreatment become the law of the land.
The British (originally English) Constitution is widely admired as a model of an unwritten Constitution. It certainly has the advantage of the strong respect of the people for continuing to do things the way they have historically been done. Edmund Burke’s influence still counts for something.
Yet even the British Constitution is far too easy to amend. By a simple vote of both houses of parliament, or by a series of simple majority votes in the House of Commons, virtually the whole of Magna Charta has been repealed. Parliament can confiscate the people’s firearms, abolish trial by jury, outlaw fox hunting, and pass ex post facto laws and bills of attainder.
The Irish social media have engaged in a relentless campaign for legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
Britain has recently become enthusiastic about referenda. It has never been completely clear which parts of the law are in its Constitution and which are not; what have not been in doubt are the laws for which a momentary majority of the living has voted. Referenda acquire a kind of sanction, as the supposed voice of the people, which destroys institutions — the “democracy of the dead” — without adequate reflection.
Ireland has been one of the most Catholic countries in the world. It was heroic during extended periods of persecution. Its outlawed priests had to travel to France to receive their seminary training, and these seminaries were more rigorous than most in their approach to the Faith. The priests shared this rigorous approach when they returned home. Furthermore, the central characteristic of Irish Catholicism has consistently been a great and healthy piety.
Even though the words of the Preamble [to Ireland’s Constitution] remain unchanged, a single orchestrated majority vote means that they are no longer true.
In recent years, however, something unhealthy has occurred in Ireland. Massive propaganda campaigns have undermined confidence in the Church by defaming priests and religious women and fostering false versions of the teachings of Vatican II.
Much damage has been done by the worldwide rebellion against sexual and family morality. In particular, enthusiasm has been growing, in Ireland as in most countries, for pornography, unnatural contraception, homosexual practices, abortion, small families, and forms of “marriage,” such as same-sex marriage, previously unknown in the Christian world. The Irish social media have engaged in a relentless campaign for legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
These aberrations may do great damage, but they are too self-destructive to be permanent. If, however, they are incorporated into the nation’s constitution by a single majority vote, they can do great damage to the nation’s rule of law.
Historically, the Irish Constitution was Christian. The Preamble is as follows:
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
We, the people of Éire,
Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,
And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.
Now, even though the words of the Preamble remain unchanged, a single orchestrated majority vote means that they are no longer true.
The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2015
by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com.
All rights reserved.
This column may be forwarded, posted, or published if credit is given
to Charles Mills and fgfBooks.com.
Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the
New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in
many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles
about the law.
See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.
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