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The woke right: The Constitution is a 'dead letter'? (part 1)

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In August 2022, two Ivy League law professors argued in The New York Times that liberals who have been "attempting to reclaim the Constitution for 50 years" should not bother anymore. Instead, they wrote, "The real need is not to reclaim the Constitution, as many would have it, but instead to reclaim America from constitutionalism."

Less than two years later, the new "woke right" Christian nationalists — something of a fraternal twin to the "woke left" in tactics — now have begun to come out from behind the curtain and argue essentially the same thing.

In one recent piece, oddly titled "The Constitution is Not Holy Writ," American Reformer contributing editor Mike Sabo defended an embattled public statement made by — curiously enough — a co-founder of American Reformer, woke right Christian nationalist Nate Fischer.

Fischer — a venture capitalist who also is founder and chairman of New Founding — wrote: "I understand nostalgia for the constitution, or longing to restore the principles the founders established. But if you will not accept the reality that this is long gone — if you judge others based on fidelity to a set of 'principles' that govern no one — then you are a fool."

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Anyone who refuses to admit that the U.S. Constitution is "long gone" is a "fool?" Rushing to Fischer's defense against multiple Christian conservatives online who rightly objected to the post, Sabo opined: "It is especially strange to see determined critics of Christian Nationalism treat the Constitution as a sacred document, even implying that political opinions like Fischer's are somehow sinful."

Who is saying that the Constitution is a "sacred document" akin to "Holy Writ" or that Fischer's opinions are "sinful?" No Christian is saying it's sinful to notice massive constitutional violations and overreach by the left. In case Sabo hasn't noticed, Christians have been noticing acutely the erosion of originalism and constitutional fidelity and decrying it and working to fix it for decades. No Christian is trying to make some blasphemous case that the Constitution is "Holy Writ," either.

These baseless claims are undoubtedly why Sabo doesn't even make the attempt to back up what he's saying with either hard evidence or direct quotes. Instead, he spends the rest of the article trying to make his specious argument look impressive with quotes from a few extremist woke right Christian nationalist podcasters, without even identifying for the reader who his far-from-expert sources on the subject really are.

Whacking the Constitution again, Sabo concludes: "Straitjacketing ourselves within a document that in fundamental ways is a dead letter, while the Left gets to do what they (sic) want, merely perpetuates our suicidal status quo. There is no returning to 1787 ... American Christians ... must work to reassert the political in an age that ... has an 'unmanly contempt for politics.' Nothing less will save our country from impending disaster."

"Reassert the political?" Exactly what does that mean? Is he talking about creating a new constitution? Launching a new revolution? These are significant questions, considering that neither Fischer's post nor Sabo's article called for either a conservative defense of or plan for restoring the application of the principles in the greatest, longest-lasting constitution in the history of mankind, the document that has upheld individual liberty in unprecedented ways for more than 240 years. Sabo actually advocates the opposite, asking, "How exactly could one even begin to go about reestablishing republican government without working outside of its parameters?"

Readers, no doubt, would love some clarification on what Sabo is actually saying. But it’s not there. The article, unfortunately, displays the same murkiness that's par for the course with the woke right as a whole. This crowd is all about hinting at potential positions and future plans, while rarely getting into any particular, publicly clarified details about them. Everything's on a need-to-know basis, folks. And apparently, you don't really need to know.

However, Fischer did offer a little clue in a podcast interview last year about what "reasserting the political" might mean.  Describing his vision of building a better America, he stated: "We are very explicitly looking to transform the country, and that requires a scale of leadership that requires a big tent." He also noted, "I very explicitly see American Reformer as an anchor point that provides a level of governance for that vision ..."

Exactly how do New Founding and American Reformer plan to "transform the country?" And what does he mean that American Reformer will provide “a level of governance” for his vision? Perhaps Nate was referring in part to New Founding's recently stated plan to hasten the American balkanization this crowd so regularly advocates through the "Highland Rim Project," a real estate development that is seeking people to join new communities it wants to build in the Eastern Highland Rim area of Appalachia.

It is also relevant to Fischer’s post about the constitution that he is the president of the secret Dallas lodge of the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR), which advocates a "renaissance" and "renewal, returning to success, heedless of nostalgia." That's an interesting, murky word choice, considering that "nostalgia" is the same word Fischer used in his X post to constitution-shame Christians who aren't willing to give up on our republic just yet. That Bill of Rights. What a bunch of nostalgia.

As it happens, Fischer's comrade in arms — SACR founder Charles Haywood — "has mused on his website about his possible future as a 'warlord' at the head of an 'armed patronage network' which might engage in 'more-or-less open warfare with the federal government' in a post-collapse U.S.,’" The Guardian reported last year.

No wonder Christians are beginning to notice that the vision for America held by woke right Christian nationalists and their political allies doesn't comport with that of traditionally patriotic and biblically conservative Christians, who treasure and want to save the freedoms our constitution guarantees.

Josh Buice, founder of G3 Ministries, has aired his concerns about the anti-constitutional values in Haywood's "seriously troubling" manifesto, which explains his ideology of "Foundationalism." Haywood's ideology, Buice said, "functions through nationalism and is mainly centered on a new form of American life" and is "intentionally ambiguous on the issue of violence and chaos."

Christians should be concerned to note that Haywood's vision is the same disturbing ideology that Fischer effectively has signed onto as a leader in SACR and which undoubtedly informs Fischer's assertion that longing for the restoration of constitutional principles in American life is mere "nostalgia." Might that also explain why American Reformer — the entity Fischer co-founded — is doing his public relations in earnest, while falsely charging Christian critics with treating the Constitution as if it is "Holy Writ?"

Woke right Christian nationalists are not like the regular Christian conservatives who've been insulted as "Christian nationalists" by the left for the last several years. They may look like typical culture warriors, with great lines about ending abortion for good or stopping the "transing" of kids, but the true objectives of this movement are not typical at all. Their claims about the Constitution as a "dead letter" are a dead giveaway that they have a long-term political purpose most regular Christians do not yet comprehend.

Moreover, while it is true that the Constitution certainly has been dangerously wounded and subverted by the left — no conservative would deny this — there also is strong evidence to show that it is not yet dead and gone, as Sabo claims. And even the woke right itself has shown that fact to be true, which will be explained in Part 2.

Janet Mefferd is a longtime Christian radio broadcaster whose nationally syndicated talk shows aired on more than 450 stations nationwide. She is a former news and religion reporter and editor for newspapers including The Dallas Morning News and the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, She now writes at Substack:

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