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18 September 2011

The Values and Language of 1790

Last week, I attended a talk on campus by Gary. J. Simson, dean of Mercer University School of Law. It was the keynote address for Constitution Week here at Georgia College. One of my colleagues, a political scientist, was surprised to see me there. "I didn't know sociologists cared about the Constitution," she said. "We do," I responded, "when we're tearing it apart." In that spirit, I had a couple thoughts.

It occurred to me that, essentially, we have crystallized the values and the language of a handful of white men who lived in 1790. Forgetting for a second about the "how," why do we feel compelled to defend this?

I fear what will happen as the rise of spirtualism vis-à-vis religion (i.e. individualism over communalism) confronts Constitutional law regarding "religious" practice. Does the Constitution protect "Sheilaism?" Is an individual's spirituality an "establishment of religion?"

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