This article originally appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, September 16, 2014, and is reposted with the permission of the author.

By Bryan Fulwider

The Rev. Bryan Fulwider recounts the many reasons he's a fan of the Constitution.

 Granted how much I've written about the U.S. Constitution over the years, you could get the idea that I'm a fan. So let me remove all doubt: I am. Unabashedly.

We loudly celebrate July 4 because on that day in 1776, our forebears declared their independence from Great Britain. But it was the ratification of our Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, that dictated what kind of government the recently liberated colonists – and you and I – would live under.

I'm a fan of our Constitution because it's a compromise document. People with differing concerns came together, debated, struggled and finally drafted a document that gave no one all he or she wanted, yet satisfied enough of what everyone wanted that the document was approved. The Constitution is a tangible symbol of governing by give and take.

I'm a fan of the Constitution because its framers recognized that the document they so struggled to write could – and most likely would – be inadequate in some way at some point in the future. Thus they provided for change. But, wisely, they didn't make it easy.

I'm a fan of our Constitution because it's based on the once-radical notion that ordinary humans have the ability – indeed, the right – to govern themselves. But the document's framers also recognized that unfettered majority rule can impose its own form of tyranny on the minority. Thus our Constitution provides for majority rule while seeking to protect minority concerns.

I'm a fan of our Constitution because it recognizes the need to safeguard individual freedoms while not ignoring the compelling interests of the greater society. The Constitution isn't so much a document of rules as of rationales. It isn't the final word so much as the framework into which all final words must fit.

As a member of the clergy, I'm especially a fan of our Constitution because it seeks to remove government from religion by, as much as possible, refusing to restrict conscientiously motivated individual actions and by not taking sides in religion's marketplace competition.

Because I'm truly a fan of our Constitution, I find a mere 400 words hopelessly inadequate to convey the list of reasons we have to celebrate Sept. 17.

The Rev. Bryan Fulwider is president of the nonprofit Building US and chair of the executive committee of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida.

 
 

2 Comments

  1. Sally Natividad says:

    I profoundly agree with Reverend Bryan Fulwider's reasons as to why our American Constitution is great. Similarly, I believe that the Bill of Rights added to the eminence of our Constitution because it established protections for the minorities while keeping the majority satisfied. So, it can be reasonably concluded that the men who opposed the Constitution, the anti-federalists, contributed to the Constitution's success along with the Framers. The Bill of Rights allowed for the Constitution to be more appealing to those who were not so convinced about its benefits. Thereafter, the Constitution provided a sense of security for those people who were petrified about having a possible tyrannical government like the one in Great Britain since it contained the concept of Federalism, or the limitation of government. The astute system of checks and balances, to this day, has provided an effective safeguard against tyranny. It is surely no wonder that the American Constitution is the constitution with the greatest success out of all the documents ever written.

  2. Blanca Lissette Rivas says:

    The Framers of the Constitution were indeed very wise to inculcate the idea of separation of church and state in such a powerful document. With an unsuccessful history of theocracy down the drain, our founding fathers came to the logical conclusion that keeping government out of a private citizen's life was essential for a sane "give and take" type of government that Rev. Bryan Fulwider spoke of. The first amendment is, in my opinion, the most significant amendment in the constitution because it establishes our nation's government as one with no preference to any particular religion, even though we might on occasion refer to God in our currency or pledge of allegiance. It sets this government apart from any other that had been created beforehand, and because of its innovative aspects such as freedom with compromise, it has withstood much controversial trials throughout the decades.

 
 
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