Constitutional Protestantism or Constitutional Televangelism

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5 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    “On this picture of things, We the People may not be in the driver’s seat of constitutional interpretation, but constitutional Protestantism gives us power to decide to whom we hand the keys”: I thought the Constitution, not “constitutional Protestantism” gives us at least that right (voting, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, e.g.); whether we have the power to do so is a much more complicated question of fact. I agree with you that elites often have that power; the material bases of that power, though, may make it moot whether we trust them or not. E.g., a popular lack of trust of “big business” and “big banks” hasn’t exactly diminished the power of either.

    It’s easy to trip up over these religious metaphors, and moreover their choice is somewhat arbitrary: e.g., why Catholic/Protestant and not Sadducee/Pharisee, kohanim/rabbinim? But if we insist on sticking to them, then we should remember that the ultimate redemption includes the rebuilding of the Temple — and that means returning power to the priests.

  2. Brett Bellmore says:

    “Elites who go to law school can be socialized into a world where particular bits of text matter.”

    Really? I would have said the exact opposite: Elites who go to law school are socialized into a world where they’re trained to ignore particular bits of text. You know, like reading the interstate commerce clause, and knowing you’re supposed to ignore the “Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;” part, and just read it as “[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate”.

  3. A.J. Sutter says:

    [Correction: of course I meant rabbonim.]

  4. Jennifer Laurin says:

    To push the analogy, of all Protestants, Quakers are perhaps the most radical adherents to the idea that the people can interpret the Word for themselves – entirely unmediated by elites. (if Quakers can be identified as such . . . perhaps not all can be) I know of only one substantial effort to examine Quaker constitutionalism; it’s a book that bears that title. It focuses on the political theory of John Dickinson, Quaker delegate to the Constitutional Convention. And it argues that Quakers (as represented by Dickinson, if that’s a fair premise – debatable, probably) espoused a coherent and particular theory of constitutionalism, typified by a radical iteration of popular sovereignty and a complicated marriage of notions of endurance and amendment.

  5. Shag from Brookline says:

    Brett obviously needs a salve or balm for his chronic “Wickburn” condition.