Congratulations, you've been defriended!

This week, I was defriended on facebook for the first time. Well, at least it was the first time I was aware of when and exactly why I was defriended.

I didn’t know the person in real life; we had met playing a game, for which you occasionally added people to further your progress. I have my facebook friends divided into lists and I put all the people I don’t really know into a list with privacy settings limited so they can only see details I want them to see. To find out more about creating lists of your own, you can check out the facebook help topics here. I HIGHLY recommend it if you have strangers as friends.

A few years back when I first added this person, it was immediately clear to me that he was emotionally unstable, possibly suicidal, and quite judgmental. He also professed to be a Christian, but made some very inappropriate comments for a Christian. I’ve lost a close friend to suicide, so I felt conflicted about removing him from my friends. Sometimes he’d catch me on-line and we would chat; most of those times I felt like I was a counselor, trying to encourage him that life really wasn’t so bad. I tried to encourage him in his faith (although it quickly became clear to me that he looked down his nose on anyone who didn’t belong to his denomination). But eventually things seemed to improve for him. He found a job, found a wife, and happened to move to Indianapolis, where I live.

More recently it became clear to me that he and I share very opposing political views. This is not uncommon for me, as I tend to be more liberal-minded than many of my close friends, many of whom would classify themselves as part of the “Evangelical Right.” I’m happy to have friends with different views, as I think it broadens my perspective. Most of the time I don’t comment on things I don’t agree with, but recently I haven’t been able to help myself.

This particular friend is a “birther”–one of those questioning the citizenship of President Barrack Obama. When the White House released President Obama’s birth certificate earlier this week, that friend quickly posted a “this doesn’t prove anything” status and began a rant about how President Obama’s father was Kenyan/British and therefore a “foreign invader” and that Obama doesn’t meet the Constitution’s “natural born citizen” requirement for President. *Sigh* I couldn’t help myself.

World Net Daily is an extremist blog that perpetuates the idea that there’s something sinister about President Obama’s thinking that he could possibly be eligible for the presidency of the United States. My friend is obviously a follower of this blog, as some of his statements were verbatim from the linked entry.

Let’s take a look at the U.S. Constitution from Article 2, Section 1 (September 17, 1787):

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

And from the 14th Amendment, Section 1 (Ratified July 9, 1868):

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Constitution does not define what constitutes a “natural born Citizen.” I don’t know about you, but I think it fairly “American” to leave that interpretation in the hands of the Supreme Court. So what has the Supreme Court said about the issue?

In  the United States v. Wong Kim Ark (decided March 28, 1898), Justice Gray stated:

The Constitution nowhere defines the meaning of these words, either by way of inclusion or of exclusion, except insofar as this is done by the affirmative declaration that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” In this as in other respects, it must be interpreted in the light of the common law, the principles and history of which were familiarly known to the framers of the Constitution…

…The fundamental principle of the common law with regard to English nationality was birth within the allegiance, also called “ligealty,” “obedience,” “faith,” or “power” of the King. The principle embraced all persons born within the King’s allegiance and subject to his protection. Such allegiance and protection were mutual — as expressed in the maxim protectio trahit subjectionem, et subjectio protectionem — and were not restricted to natural-born subjects and naturalized subjects, or to those who had taken an oath of allegiance, but were predicable of aliens in amity so long as they were within the kingdom. Children, born in England, of such aliens were therefore natural-born subjects. But the children, born within the realm, of foreign ambassadors, or the children of alien enemies, born during and within their hostile occupation of part of the King’s dominions, were not natural-born subjects because not born within the allegiance, the obedience, or the power, or, as would be said at this day, within the jurisdiction, of the King.

Hmm…this seems pretty straight-forward to me. But obviously not to my friend, who continued his rant about “foreign invaders” from Mexico who might cross the border just to have a child who would grow up to become the President of the United States, saying, “you wouldn’t stand for that, would you?” I guess he didn’t know that I almost had a little sibling who would have been born of similar circumstances as our President, if my mother hadn’t miscarried. My mother and her Mexican-citizen boyfriend (later husband) living legally in the United States were to have a child. Unfortunately, she miscarried. But had my little sibling been born as a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil to an American mother and Mexican father, and had he or she lived as a resident for 14 years in the U.S., I sure hope he or she could have believed themself eligible to one day aspire to the presidency.

I told my friend that his prejudices were appalling and not very Christ-like. Probably not my most shining moment, but true, nonetheless. I was defriended within seconds.

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One response to “Congratulations, you've been defriended!

  1. Sounds like this “friend” has his opinion and doesn’t want to hear any other. It’s to bad because our opinions may differ from our friends but listening and understanding theirs helps us grow as human beings and to be a wee bit more open minded to things. Sounds like this defriending might be a blessing in disguise.

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