The BLOG: Campaign 2016

Should ‘natural-born’ matter?

The past few news cycles have drawn attention to a clause in the American constitution that the President must be a natural-born citizen. I feel that vigorous debate over this could be healthy, but I am disturbed by the large number of people who shrug off the issue with a “Who cares?” I also am troubled by the way that many people interpret this clause and the rest of the constitution opportunistically.

I would not object to a constitutional amendment that allowed any U.S. citizen, of any age, gender, race, or digital format to become president. I would be willing to support the direct election of any citizen who the people chose — if the constitution were amended to prescribe that.

However, a generation of people who have grown up after a president whose sworn testimony has its validity dependent on what “is” means is becoming a generation for whom all rules mean whatever it feels the rules should mean.

The same approach can be seen in many people’s approach to the Bible. There is a difference: The U.S. constitution is amendable, and the Bible is not. But the attitude seems the same. If the rules don’t “work for me” or make me uncomfortable, then it’s fine to ignore or reinterpret them to mean what I want them to mean.

The ability to follow rules even when they don’t work in your favor is a part of being an adult. We ought to learn that the world is relatively inflexible, and that working with it is an important part of life. I hope that more of us may grow up a little.

Hugh Rutledge

Hugh Rutledge

Dr. Hugh Rutledge is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Boston University, and Boston College.