Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Divinely Inspired Constitution"

Americans have a long history of revering their Constitution. Such veneration is particularly strong among politically active Evangelicals of the so-called "religious right," some of whose leaders have termed the U.S. founding documents "the most wonderful instrument ever drawn by the hand of man" (echoing Justice William Johnson in 1823). But Ron Paul, U.S. Representative and Republican presidential candidate, takes this one step further in his "Statement of Faith", which in the second-to-the-last paragraph reads:

" I am running for president to restore the rule of law and to stand up for our divinely inspired Constitution."

Christian bloggers have already castigated Ron Paul as heretical for this statement (see Parableman and evangelical outpost, with Paul's clarification in comment 78). I think it rather represents a logical outcome of efforts to elevate the iconicity of the U.S. Constitution which has, in turn, fueled reactions to portray the Christian Bible as supreme (e.g. with Ten Commandments monuments). Though theologians would like to believe otherwise, practices generate beliefs as often as the reverse. Monuments and shrines to national texts will generate beliefs in their supernatural origins.

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