[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Holy Empire of New Israel has published its new constitution, ratified on January 31, that brings significant reforms to the model of governance and the place of religion within the fundamentalist Catholic micronation.
The constitution also enshrines a number of “Rights of the People”; yet, on closer inspection, the law does not appear to be as strong a protector of human rights as leaders of the micronation might wish the citizenry to believe. In fact, in some aspects, the law encapsulates New Israel in this historic intolerance of the Catholic Church, while other “rights” are either questionably motivated or poorly considered and therefore open to abuse.
One of the overriding “General Principles” of the constitution is the government’s strict control over the right to limit publication or trade of media that, and to prosecute individuals and associations who, convey “blasphemous, seditious, heretical or harmful ideologies.” Given the wording of the law, it is the domain of the government to define exactly what expression qualifies to be limited under these definitions. As an overriding principle of the state, this strict control on freedom of expression serves to invalidate several of the rights that the government has, in effect, pretended to give its citizens in articles of lesser precedence within the constitution.
The “Rights of the People” allow a citizen who causes the death of another to claim refuge by alerting the authorities and telling them that it was an “accidental manslaughter”. As history has shown, this licence-to-kill is open to abuse by certain parties, whether private citizens, or citizens acting on behalf of the religious or state authorities, especially in a state that strictly controls freedom of speech on the basis of divine law. In effect, if one were to commit murder by staging an “accident” and reported forthwith to the authorities that it was accidentally-caused by him or her, the constitution requires that the killer be given refuge.
Finally, the constitution allows the government to limit freedom of association and freedom of assembly should it define the organizations and associations founded by certain citizens to “militaristically oppose the state or the principles of the true Gospel.” The constitution does not differentiate between a state of physical militarism or simple verbal threats made in passing by frustrated individuals.
Overall, the new constitution is arguably one that, based on its current wording, in practice allows the government to dictate the rights of its citizens, as opposed to the modern society practice of the rights of the citizens dictating the government.