Skip to main content

Tension in the Capitol

I'm only a few hours back from my first trip to Washington D.C.

While it was a working vacation, of sorts, I did have time to observe some of the more typical elements of that city that would be Rome.
I won't bore anyone with all the touristy details, but I did want to discuss one point. The wife and I visited the National Archives yesterday ( an interesting, though perhaps less glamourous stop than others). What I found, rather what I felt, hard to take was the rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. In the inside of this basilica were the "scripture" of the U.S.--the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution (Happy Constituition Day, BTW), and the Bill of Rights. Now, I found the fact that those were the original, faded documents very cool. What I had problems with were the quasi-religious elements at work. First the light is dim, yes, I know, to aid in the preservation, but let's be honest it is also meant to add to the air of holiness present. You are supposed to look on in hushed reverence, moving slowly (oh, so slowly) up to the relics to pay homage. If that isn't religious I don't know what is.
Don't misunderstand--those documents are the products of political geniuses--yes, I used the "G" word. I benefit daily from those documents (when the government isn't busy undermining them), and I appreciate the historical significance of them. But I CANNOT tolerate the attempt to create a new religion--The American Civic Religion--from these pieces of parchment and the reality and mythology that surround them. I'm not interested in worshipping at the altar of Columbia. I believe an author by the name of Gelertner just wrote about this very subject in the book (I believe this is the title) Americanism.
Anyway, I found the tension interesting between sacred and secular and the attempt to blur them.
I did get my Nat'l Park Passport stamped at the Jefferson Memorial. Yay! C'mon, you know you want a NP Passport too.


Popular posts from this blog

Dirty Hands Can Save You from Hell

"Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si
     Wonder and awe abound in the natural world for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

     Perhaps we are caught short by a vibrant purple emanating from the petals of a wild lupine. We might stare wide-eyed at the lazy circles of a turkey vulture soaring on thermal air currents. Even the most agoraphobic city-dweller can find something beautiful about a landscape even if it's simply the warm and varied red, yellow, and orange of a sunset glowing on a building.

     "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" asserts the Psalmist. If that verse is true, why don't we live like it? Why are we flabbergasted trying to come up with the names of the many plants and animals we pass by everyday?

     All people respond to beauty in some way or another--even those who have willingly or unwi…

Worth Quoting

"...[K]eep in mind that a human being is not made for the processing of data, but for wisdom; not for the utilitarian satisfaction of appetite, but for love; not for the domination of nature, but for participation in it; not for the autonomy of an isolated self, but for communion." --Anthony Esolen,  Foreword to Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott.

PESD? Post-Election Stress Disorder

As I write this, the presidential election is still undecided. Which is fine. The Republicans have campaigned for 17 months now...there ought to be a law against that!
When I wake up tomorrow morning, we will have a new President-elect, and frankly I don't care who it is because both the major party candidates nauseated me.
I voted for a small third-party that I was actually excited about, that I believe(d) in, and may try to get involved at the local level at some point. That was important to me--voting for something, rather than against.

If tomorrow morning you wake up in agony at the thought of our new president, ignore it. Better yet, put that energy into your community. Fill blessing bags for the homeless to carry in your car. Go to a parks commission meeting. Tutor a struggling student. Learn the names of the trees in your neighborhood. Know your watershed. Help a neighbor rake leaves. Learn your neighbor's names! Join a civic group. Buy some coffee for the teachers in …