Number 3

MAYBE BECAUSE IT’S FLAG DAY… If we were to do a survey on the streets where I live and asked, “Which is your favorite of the 10 Amendments listed in the Bill of Rights?” I’m just guessing, but I think we might get some of these:

  • The Bill of Whats?
  • Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  • Definitely #2.
  • I like them all, but if I had to choose one, I would go with #2.
  • Which one is the one that says I get to keep my guns? [That would be #2.] Then #2, for sure.

I like #2 as well. Search my house though and you’re not likely to find evidence that I like #2. Oh, in case you’re wondering #2 is this one:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The only “arm” I have is a Red Ryder BB gun. Some might advise that I shouldn’t publish this publicly as it could make me a target of ne’re-do-wells or worse. Be forewarned, if there is a BB in my Red Ryder, I will shoot your eye out; unless I miss, the BB ricochets and I shoot out my own eye; as we were all warned could happen.

I have to say that my personal favorite is #1. Maybe it comes from my time at the University of Tulsa as a journalism major. Maybe it’s because I can still feel the rush of joining an all-night campus protest following the shootings at Kent State University, May 4, 1970. Maybe it was from a wonderful sense of simple freedom that came when we thought we were redefining “church” during the “Jesus Movement.”

Whatever it is or was; I love #1. All of it. Here, read it:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Isn’t that beautiful?! But this blog post isn’t about #1 or #2. This post is about #3. The one that is often called the “runt piglet” of the Amendments.

It goes like this:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

I guess they call it the “runt piglet” because it is the least cited section of the U.S. Constitution and no Supreme Court decision has ever used the Amendment as its primary basis. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “as the history of the country progressed with little conflict on American soil, the amendment has had little occasion to be invoked.”

And I’m not about to start invoking it now. Other than the occasional visiting brothers-in-law, I’ve not been faced with the issue of quartering soldiers in my house.

The reason #3 is fresh for me right now is that in a few days, with button-busting pride, we’re headed to Fort Benning, Georgia to pick up our soon-to-be-graduated U.S. Army Infantryman. And this new soldier can quarter at our house anytime, in time of peace or not. 

I have always leaned to the dove-ish side, politically speaking, and even more so now, with a son standing ready to deploy. But if war should come, help us God; I am honored to have a son who has raised his hand and said I will go and defend this country, it’s Constitution, it’s Bill of Rights with it’s ten Amendments and all the rest too, along with the people who enjoy these rights, even the Ss-Of-Bs that won’t stand up off their fat asses and take off their filthy hats when our flag passes and our National Anthem is played.

Well that’s not exactly the oath… just saying.