As Samuel Freedman observes in this article on American politics, religious faith often blends with nationalistic faith to form a kind of civil religion:
“God’s words, the concept of godly government, are woven into the warp and woof of the fabric of our nation and this Constitution. It’s rightly called the Miracle in Philadelphia.”
Mr. Manship’s own words, in turn, get at the essence of the Tea Party movement, and in particular its chosen role as protector of the Constitution. Rather than viewing the Tea Party as a political phenomenon — rather than wondering if it is populist or Republican or reactionary — one might better understand it through the prism of religion.
Seen through such a frame, the Constitution is the Tea Party’s bible, and that holy book is embraced as an inerrant text.
Those inclined toward biblical literalism are also inclined toward constitutional literalism, which is never a good mixture when combined with the usual ignorance of drafting history and interpretive skills. Where is Stanley Fish when we need him?