Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Civil Religion and the Seventh-Inning Stretch (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the unhealthy partnership of "major" sports with the state (particularly evident with the New York Yankees), which may only be a sign of things to come:

“There is … a purely civil profession of faith of which the Sovereign should fix the articles….

While [the State] can compel no one to believe them, it can banish from the State anyone who does not believe them.

The Subjects … owe the Sovereign an account of their opinions only to such an extent as they matter to the community….

Whoever dares to say, `Outside the Church there is no salvation,’ ought to be driven from the State, unless the State is the Church, and the Prince is the Pontiff….

If anyone, after publicly recognizing these dogmas, behaves as if he does not believe them, let him be punished by death; he has committed the worst of all crimes, that of lying before the law.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, excerpts from The Social Contract, Book IV, describing his totalitarian concept of the “Civil Religion.”

All that Brad Campeau-Laurion wanted was to use the bathroom.

The beer he had consumed an hour earlier had completed its tour of his digestive tract and was impatient to leave. So when the Seventh Inning Stretch arrived, and the crowd at Yankee Stadium arose to sing “God Bless America,” Campbeau-Laurion quietly excused himself to attend to this biological imperative.

He wound up being assaulted by two off-duty New York police officers and dragged from the stadium – in humiliating fashion, in full view of tens of thousands of people – for desecrating a recently minted “patriotic” tradition.

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