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We Hold These Truths to be Not-So-Evident


Obama stood in the National Archives yesterday, and spoke these words:

The documents that we hold in this very hall — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights — these are not simply words written into aging parchment. They are the foundation of liberty and justice in this country, and a light that shines for all who seek freedom, fairness, equality, and dignity around the world.


A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled — one of those documents behind Obama — laid out the complaints of the colonists against King George. Among them:

For protecting them [government soldiers], by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States . . .

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences . . .

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny . . .

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. . .

Compare that with yesterday, when an American president stood in front of that Declaration at the National Archives and proclaimed proudly that he is in favor of indefinite "preventive detention" — holding people without charges, without trials, without appeal, and without end. That’s an idea the Founders rejected, but yesterday Obama made it clear that it is a policy he supports and intends to continue.

Maybe President Obama should have turned around and read that Declaration.

As for me, I’m with Glenn, with Ian, and with the Founders. How about you?

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I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect.

And Preview is my friend.