Wednesday, July 05, 2006


We The People

All right, all right. We know RSR has been unconscionably lax these past few days. We've alternated over the long weekend between extended bike rides in the country and lazy hours out back on the deck, smoking ribs, patting the dogs on the head, and celebrating -- in our own contemplative way -- the nation's declaration of independence.

We also bought our oldest daughter, soon to be 16, a used car, but I'm over that experience now and really don't want to talk or write or even be reminded of it anymore.

Last night, as the sun went down and the Kansas summer heat subsided at last, RSR reflected on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that came, in the course of time, from the events set in motion by that signal act of political courage.

These days, religious fanatics are moving heaven and earth to stake a claim to both God and country. Anyone who dares to stand up to them is immediately labeled a bad Christian -- or worse, an atheist -- and a traitor to boot.

It's a matter of some amusement to RSR that those who nowadays wrap themselves in the flag are -- how shall we say it? -- more than somewhat conflicted about the document that binds us together as a nation.

When the Constitution was adopted outraged sermons were preached from pulpits across the young nation because the power that forged our unity flowed not from God or divine right, but from "We the People."

Today, blowhard patriots dishonor the Constitution each and every time they refer to our country as a Christian nation. The fundamentalists among us accuse everyone else of disloyalty as they busy themselves with the business of undermining the judiciary, destroying the wall of separation between church and state, and smuggling discriminatory amendments never imagined by the founding fathers into that historic document.

These days, the sort of political courage that brought us our independence and a novel new constitution -- which based the government's legitimacy and moral right to wield state power not on the Bible, but on the consent of the governed -- is in short supply.

Those who nowadays piously wrap themselves in the flag, and the fawning politicians that chase after them, demand loyalty, but loyalty to what? Certainly they don't mean our nation's founding document -- the U.S. Constitution.


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