Yes, We Do Know Better Than The Founding Fathers

Yes, We Do Know Better Than The Founding Fathers March 25, 2018

The other day, on the facebook page, I got jumped on by a commentator who told me I was “so not pro-life and so not Catholic it’s unbelievable.”

He was right; I didn’t believe him.

I asked him who created him bishop and gave him the ability to excommunicate, and he asked if I was worried. I asked him to point out the Catholic doctrine I had violated and even gave him a link to the Catechism so he could teach me. He not only refused to do so but admitted he couldn’t find any errors. He went on for quite some time, calling me “pro-democrat” and a “CINO.” Finally he snarled that I was a “leftist,” as are all people who “think they know better than the Founding Fathers.”

I suppose he’s got me there.

I know better than the Founding Fathers on many topics, and so do you. So do most people. We know better than the Founding Fathers about all kinds of things.

I’d fascinate Benjamin Franklin with what I know about how electricity works. I know that penicillin is a better treatment for Scarlet Fever than leeches. I know that curly white wigs look silly on men. I know about DNA and internal combustion engines. I’ve seen color photographs of the Crab Nebula. I know how to type. I know how to use Velcro and tie shoelaces. And I think most of my readers are the same.

We also know that women are equal to men; that we deserve the right to vote and an equal chance at governing. The Founding Fathers could have known that. Abigail Adams tried to tell them, but they laughed at her. They chose not to listen.

We know that black people are human beings and not livestock. The Founding Fathers could have known that. Other people had known it before, even if it wasn’t the fashion to acknowledge it at that point in history. They chose to continue to allow the chattel slavery that was the backbone of America’s budding economy. They chose money, when they could have chosen human rights.

We know that genocide is wrong, and what was done to the Native Americans in this country is a human rights atrocity that can never be excused.

We now know many of the ways in which the second amendment has been construed as an excuse to murder and endanger Americans instead of protect against tyranny. The Founding Fathers couldn’t know that. They might have guessed– and they did guess that the document they were composing when they established the constitution was imperfect and subject to change. They foresaw that it would change. They included right in the constitution the means by which amendments to the constitution could be passed.

I said something like this to my commentator, who got even angrier with me. He asked if he thought I also knew better than Saint Augustine and Teresa of Avila.

I answered that, in some ways, I did. They knew a lot more than I on a host of topics, but at this point in history I do know things they didn’t. That’s nothing against them. They’re better than I am. But I do know things that they did not.

But I wondered: why was my commentator comparing the Founding Fathers of the United States to saints?

They weren’t saints.

The vast majority weren’t Catholic; they would have despised Catholics. Many of them weren’t even Christians but Deists. They were secular men, gifted men, talented writers and speakers, inventors and military generals, men of tenacity and strength. In many ways they showed great courage and that courage was real. In many ways, they were heroic. They were also guilty of inexcusable cowardice, greed and pride. As I mentioned before, they chose money over human rights. They chose to ignore women eloquently pleading for our equality. They committed acts of great cruelty. Washington wore a set of dentures made of teeth extracted from the human beings he bought and sold. Jefferson raped his slaves.

The United States of America is a nation which I love, a nation with many good and noble things to be found in it. There are many things to be found in America and her constitution that I can support wholeheartedly. We are also a nation guilty of many sins. We must speak out against these sins, repent of them and make reparation however we can. The Constitution of the United States is a document that was revolutionary for its time and has many commendable things in it. But the men who wrote it were no saints. They were not writing under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost as the Evangelists were. The Constitution is not a divinely inspired document; it is a document written by flawed human beings, and their flaws are written into the body of laws they created. In any way that the Constitution is found to be lacking, it ought to be changed.

Does believing that make me a leftist?

It’s not my idea of the thing, but by that commentator’s definition I am.

I am also a Catholic, and pro-life.

(image via Pixabay) 

 

 

 

 

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