Opinion: God and the constitution

POSTED: 08/29/14 2:40 AM

Dear Editor,

Thank God for the persons who had the good sense to incorporate the following statement as the first line of the preamble of our constitution.

WE, THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN CONFIRMING that we recognize the guiding principles of Almighty God as the core of our Values……

These principles, contrary to the opinion of some, won’t take us back to the dark ages. On the contrary, living by these principles will make us great as a nation. Our economy will bloom, crime and corruption will drop drastically, and the elderly will be taken care of. In addition, a number of other positive ramifications will flow forth from such a godly lifestyle.

We need not fear these principles. They were given to us by our loving Creator who wants the best for us. Just take a look at His main principles or commandments and see how they would benefit St. Maarten:

  1. No other gods, only me.
  2. No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.
  3. No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.
  4. Observe the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath Day; he set it apart as a holy day.
  5. Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.
  6. No murder.
  7. No adultery.
  8. No stealing.
  9. No lies about your neighbor.
  10. No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.

 

Where do we, in the Judeo-Christian world, get our sense of what is right and what is wrong from? What is our measuring stick? Who is the final authority on moral issues? Don’t they originate from the list above?

Besides, nine (9) of the Biblical commandments are found in the Qur’an and four (4) among the 5 Precepts of Buddhism.

Either the Bible is the Word of God in its totality, or it is not. We cannot pick and choose what to believe and live by. When it comes to interpretation of the Bible, the late Dr. Lehman Strauss said the following: “When the plain sense of the Bible makes good sense, all other sense is nonsense”. In my opinion, this is an excellent interpretation guideline, which will take care of all mysticism and the like, when interpreting Scripture.

Sure, God Himself created us with the freewill to choose to follow His directives or not. (However, choosing the wrong path, will not be fine, especially considering that eternity is way too long to have been wrong!) Sure, we have the choice not to believe in Him and even to defiantly shake our fists in His face, as it were, and say we will live our lives the way we please; we don’t care one iota for most of your laws. We will only live by the ones we consider convenient to us, as to prevent total anarchy. We are our own gods.

The Ten Commandments can be summed up in just two (2) commands, namely, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Words of Jesus from Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)

In conclusion, couldn’t the relativistic worldview of some – to be more specific the Today newspaper’s editorial response to my opinion in Monday’s edition – be considered an imposition on the rest of the population of St. Maarten? To confirm that our constitutional democracy is really what it is purported to be, then let an investigation/study/referendum be done to find out what the opinion of the majority of the population of St. Maarten really is on all moral issues, which may include, but not be limited to abortion, euthanasia, pedophilia, and homosexuality.

Having said all that, I reiterate, that the people of St. Maarten, in the constitutional democracy in which we live, have confirmed in the very first line of our constitution that we recognize the guiding principles of Almighty God as the core of our values. And that is fine, very fine.

Joyce Varlack

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