Downsizing the Bill of Rights


Maybe I’m telling you something you already know, but I just
discovered a disturbing trend. With an empty nest, my supermarket shopping
tends to be light these days. As such, I treat it as a welcome break in my schedule,
a chance to chat with neighbors and be away from the computer. Today, however,
I paid attention while I was shopping, and I certainly didn’t like what I saw.

While I have been aware of prices going up for quite a
while, today I realized that at the same time, packaging has been getting smaller.
My 64 oz. container of orange juice? It’s now 59 oz. The packages of cocoa that
I like keeping in the pantry? They are no longer ten to a box, but instead
there are only eight. Not only am I paying more, but I am also getting less.

Really, this is just a reflection of what’s going on in
general. When taxes go up, as they will be doing, I get less income for the
same amount of work. When employees need to spend time dealing with more
regulations and paperwork, as they will, businesses make less profit even if
they have same amount of sales. Even if all our 2013 calendars show a
twelve-month period, less of it will be available for productive and rewarding

Constitutional principles are shrinking as well. Do you
remember learning that freedom of religion was a basic First Amendment right?
Try asking David Green, owner of the Hobby Lobby chain of stores about that
one. As Obamacare rolls in, with its contraception and morning after pill
mandates, the company is finding that it needs to choose between allegiance to the
little ‘g’ of government or to the big ‘G’ of God. While many Americans do not
believe that the morning after pill is a form of abortion, many business owners
do—and one has to think that if they had known of such a thing, most of the
original supporters of the Bill of Rights would have agreed. Either way,
freedom of belief means that each of us should be able to follow our own
consciences on that issue. Yet, the government is declaring that only religious
institutions may cite freedom of religion in in choosing not to provide those
items for their employees. Hobby Lobby’s case that a private business owner is
also entitled to freedom of religion is rolling through the courts. Meanwhile, the
company has announced that it will not comply with the new regulations and
faces gargantuan daily fines. Hundreds of other Christian and religious
business owners are similarly being forced to defy the government or betray
their own convictions.

Let me get this straight. We already know that many in
government believe that the second amendment applies only to government, rather
than to protect the individual’s right to bear arms.  Now the argument is being advanced that the
first amendment should apply only to religious organizations rather than to
individuals. Perhaps they believe that a business owner doesn’t actually own the
business but rather that he or she manages it for the government.  Why don’t they just scrap the entire Bill of

In the grand scheme of things, a smaller orange juice
container seems like a petty annoyance. It actually isn’t. If I buy less, and
if I am representative of other consumers, an industry suffers. If I buy the
same quantity and so have less money available for other purchases, the economy
still suffers. Nevertheless, those consequences are manageable. If the Bill of
Rights shrinks, much deeper trouble than supermarket sticker shock awaits us.


8 thoughts on “Downsizing the Bill of Rights”

  1. What does turning to God look like in our culture? I read the book of Jeremiah (it took me several weeks) and his message to the people was “turn from your idols and worship God.” Could we turn from ours? Internet games, TV, Bowl games, Facebook, decorating magazines, on and on.

  2. I didn’t mean to imply that food companies were evil. I understand completely how the costs of producing and getting food to the market have skyrocketed. I do see something understandable, though perhaps not quite upright, in reducing costs by making the package look exactly the same as the original while it delivers less.
    I’m glad you can be optimistic. I believe in the powers of repentance and that the human spirit can get America back on the right track but I think it will be a long, hard journey.

  3. Yes, Susan, food has really gotten more expensive–and in smaller packages for the same price. But I look at it a bit differently–manufacturers are entrepreneurs who are also trying to make a profit by giving people what they want and need. The increases are largely because of the cost of fuel, notably gasoline. These companies are competing for our food dollars; they’re not the enemy just because they’re shrinking the amounts they give us for the same price. They want to be the products we keep buying when having to decide how to spend our food dollars. It FEELS like a deception when we pay more for less content, admittedly, but I do see it as their coping with rising costs.
    The changes in values, however, are a different and more serious issue. This is a battle between those who believe they know what’s best for everyone else and society and individualism and personal independence. It’s a conflict between those whose allegiance is to a collective humanist good and those who have a personalized, independent relationship with their God; who are willing to go against group ‘wisdom’ in favor of a less fashionable but more enduring edict from the Almighty.
    The good news is that values gain and recede; when behavior declines it can and often does rebound toward the positive. There’s now less divorce and less crime than just 20 years ago. Susan, your post sounds so disheartened, but I believe that the human spirit–and spirituality–can rebound.

  4. Ah yes, but you seem to have forgotten: it is not God we are supposed to worship, but Government. All-wise, all-powerful Government.
    Ronald Reagan once said, “Our liberal friends believe a great many things that just aren’t so.” Liberals believe in the perfectibility of man, and apparently that the Government can perfect him. Those who believe that Big Government is or can be benign have disconnected from historical reality and from human common sense. One telling model is the Army, a gargantuan, wanton, impersonal, unthinking organization. The Army is composed of human beings, but a swollen mega-organization is always greater than the sum of its parts, and much more sinister. The Army punishes everyone for the mistakes of one ne’er-do-well. Its policies tend to be one-size-fits-all, exceptions are not tolerated. It assigns cooks to the motor pool and mechanics to the kitchen. And incompetence has a way of rising.
    Government is the same: its all-seeing eyes are still very blind. Back in the 1980’s we knew a poor woman with a retarded daughter, mentally perhaps four years old, but with the body of a sixteen-year-old. Because of some minor red-tape technicality they could reap ZERO government benefits. Yet the “urban poor” could waltz in designer jeans up to the supermarket cashier, pay for lobster and choice cuts of steak with food stamps, and drive off in their shiny Cadillac. Many who need cannot get, yet those who defraud and milk the system will reap in abundance from the Government. So it goes. And the bigger Government gets, the greater the burden of regulations, the bigger the drain on the economy, and the more expensive everything will become. They tell us what we will eat, whether or not we can defend ourselves. They will define the reproductive amorality which by law we must support. Soon they will tell us when we can die.

  5. The “majority has spoken” is a reality we all have to face. We are getting ready to face a big dose of reality. Right now, it is chipping away at our pocketbooks but as you said it is getting ready to chip away at our basic rights; the rights that make America the place everyone wants to come to and live because of freedom. I hope people wake up before the Bill of Rights becomes an email joke about the “good ole days.” I recently heard a term called “low information voter.” It is a voter who cares nothing about finding out about the issues or taking the time to be informed. We are turning into a nation of LIVs. If history is any teacher, the winners write the history. We have forsaken God and he is in the process of disciplining us for having done so as a culture. We must pray and turn to Him.

  6. So right you are! Yes, the government wants to own us all – individuals & businesses alike. “We didn’t build that” – as Pres Obama likes to say – no, but I paid the taxes that enabled the local, state, or federal entity to buy the equipment & pay it’s workers. So in effect, I (and you) did build all of that!!!
    Everything we are suffereing from is a breakdown of traditional Judeo-Christian values. I’m not sure what will be required for this country to wake up & realize our Constitution & Bill of Rights are in serious peril. Sorry to say, I just have a bad feeling about 2013.
    Thank you for all you & your husband do – you both are wondreful voices crying out.

  7. isn’t this communism — “small” changes (i.e. pay more for less) and then more changes and more changes until before you know it, rights have been diminished????

  8. Daniel Thomas Stack ( Spokavriel )

    The package contents have been getting reduced consistently for 2 years now. Even Tortilla chips from Frito Lay. Remember 2-3 years ago they had a 2 pound bag for 99¢? Now its nearly $2 for a 1 lb bag.
    The problem though is the federal regulations are making it too expensive for food to exist cheaply. Those same regulations which we now have tens of thousands more of thanks to the Obama administration’s first term are also what are gutting civil rights and freedom.

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