Saturday night we were at the ACLU of Illinois 2006 Celebration of the Bill of Rights dinner . One of the lawyers at Kate’s firm had bought several tickets (he could not attend) and offered two of them to us. It was a cool evening, we met some interesting people at our table, one man from down state had been as a child to the 1933 Worlds Fair, and regaled us with various stories from his life and why he was a member of the ACLU. The individuals we met made more sense to me then some of the speeches we heard. But I am thinking that I have little patience for any sort of civil religion. I am glad there is such a thing as a Bill of Rights in our constitution and I am concerned that the current administration may be instituting things that could very well be detrimental to everyone civil rights in this country. Yet, I don't think that the founders of this country were superior in any way or that the constitution of this country is a special document. I felt that from most of the speeches given and some of the literature that I was expected to see the working for civil liberties as the beginning and ending of moral and ethical considerations. Now there are a number of reasons why this impression would have been given even if it wasn't what people or the ACLU intends in their rhetoric. Ultimately I felt that there was a strong possibility that for many there at the dinner Civil Liberties and the US constitution stood where Christ stands for me and therefore that to some degree they might expect a Christian to set aside their belief in Christ for this particular understanding of the American way. It struck me that those at the ACLU were as pro-American as any neo-con or American Evangelical who wants to convince me this is a Christian nation. Forgive me if I don't bow at either altar of American patriotism. the American constitution is a fallible human document like all constitutions of Governments, it may be superior in some ways but it has its deficiencies. I will live under its rule but I refuse to accord it or civil liberties transcendental and ultimate status.
And so Sunday I presided at communion, reminding us all that what ever is good has its source in the god come to earth as a human being in Jesus of Nazareth, who died and rose again and ascended to heaven so that all the powers that seek to dehumanize and bring death and alienation were defeated and so we would know to whom our ultimate allegiance should be given.
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