bels paces back and forth across the stagernbehind a large glass podium, often deliveringrnhis sermon in khakis and a polornshirt.rnThe seeker service is designed to getrnyou in the door. I’hen, you can be introducedrnto the cultural life of WillowrnCreek—the food court, the health-andfitnessrncenter, the singles groups, and thern”New Communit)’.” The “New Communib,”rnis the “real” church service forrn”fully devoted followers.” There, you willrnbe expected to sing (though shll with arnrock band), and the sermons are slightlyrnless “relevant.”rnThis may sound like a weird cult thatrnmeets just 50 miles from The Rockfordrnhistitute. But the Willow Creek visionrnhas moed beyond the plexiglass walls ofrnthe theater and now seeks religious hegemonyrnthrough the transdenominationalrnWillow Creek Association. Pav $249 perrnyear, and Hybels will help ou transformrnyour dving Methodist, Baptist, or EvangelicalrnFree Church into a Willow Creekrnclone. ‘1 here are now over 2,000 churchesrnin the Willow Creek .Association, andrnmany evangelical seminaries offer creditrnfor attending leadership seminars at WillowrnCreek.rn”I met Bill biybels at the Go’ernor’srnMansion in Little Rock when I was president-rnelect,” boasted Clinton. “I was impressedrnwith the wa’ Willow Creek gotrnstarted, and I applaud the work WillowrnCreek is doing to revitalize churchesrnacross America.” Since becoming President,rnClinton said, “I have learned a lotrnabout what I do by watching what [Hybels]rndoes.” hideed.rn-Aaron D. WolfrnT H E ROCKFORD SCHOOLS CASErncontinues, and, as the most recent rulingrnby Magistrate P. Michael Mahoneyrnmakes clear, there is no end in sight. OnrnAugust 11, the imperial ruler of Rockfordrndenied the school board’s motion forrn”unitar- status,” a legal term denoting thernend of court control, hi itself, that’s nornsurprise: Other than a couple of boardrnmembers with delusions of grandeur, nornone expected this case to end after onlyrn11 years and one-quarter of a billion dollars.rnStill, the vehemence of the magistrate’srnattack on the “white majority” ofrnthe school board for appearing on a stagernwith a “co-founder of. . . the League ofrnthe South” (namely, the editor of thisrnmagazine) struck most people in Rockfordrnas a bit excessie.rnThe second Rally for Rockford, tornwhich the magistrate referred, took placernon Februar- 16, 1998, and featured,rnamong others, Don ManzuUo, the congressmanrnfor Illinois’ 16th District, andrnStephen Presser, the legal affairs editorrnfor Chronicles and the Raoul Berger Professorrnof Legal fIistor at NorthwesternrnUniversib, School of Law. (Sec CulturalrnRevolutions, Ma- and Jul}- 1998.) Interestingh’,rnMahonev fails to note their presencernat the event, and he doesn’t acknovrnledge that it w^as sponsored b ThernRockford Institute, rather than thernLeague of the South (which had nothingrnto do with it). Instead, he characterizesrnthe rally as a series of “rousing speechesrnbefore a raucous crowd.” He condemnsrnthe school board members for exercisingrntheir rights to free speech and free association,rnwriting: “Board President PatriciarnDelugas, Vice President Theodore Biondo,rnand member Mr. [David] Strommer,rnall members of the white majorih”, werernfeatured guests at this ralK’. Ms. Delugasrnand Mr. Strommer testified at trial thatrnthey had received personal pleas from thernhead of the local chapter of the NAACPrnalerting them to [Thonias| Fleming’s associationsrnand urging tiiem not to attend.rn. . . They did attend, however, and togetherrnwith Mr. Biondo appeared on therndais with Mr. Fleming himself.” In arnfootnote, Mahonev complains that “Thernvideotape of the rally reveals that Mr.rnFleming, in his own speech that night,rncharacterized the federal courts as ‘imperial’rnand the undersigned magistraternjudge as a ‘viceroy.'” The statementsrnmade by the board members and Dr.rnBOOK OF NEXT MONTHrnOur book for next month is Democracn’ and the AmericanrnPart}’ System b’ Austin Ranney and Willmoore Kendall.rnWliile Ranney and Kendall ultimately support a vigorousrntwo-party system, they point out the important role ftiatrnthird parties have played in raising issues that dierndominant parties refuse to address.rnFleming, he argued, “speak for themselves.rnThey do not show the coiut,rnmuch less the minorit)- community arngood faith commitment to the [desegregation!rndecree or the principles underhingrnit.”rnOf course, as IVlahone’s own rulingrnindicates, the school district has implementedrn(to the detriment of public educationrnin Rockford) almost eer- elementrnof the court’s decree. That fact has leftrnmany in Rockford scratching their heads:rnIf the board has followed the court’s ordersrn(even while they were appealingrnthem), then why shouldn’t the districtrnbe released from court control? Thisrnstraightforward bit of logic, however,rnmisses the point. The magistrate’s insfstencernthat “good faith” is measured byrnw ords, rather than deeds, is an attempt tornturn the rule of law on its head. Compliancernwith the law has alwa’s been measuredrnbv action; under Mahoney, it mustrnbe measured by purit}’ of thought. Thernboard members’ exercise of their FirstrnAmendment rights to free speech andrnfree association have become haterncrimes. The same is true of those whornwould like to see Rockford return tornneighborhood schools (the only successfulrnform of public education). One of thernstatements that the magistrate believesrn”speak for themselves” was made by PattirnDelugas: “Neighborhood schools are illegalrnand inherentlv racist. False!”rnSchool board members aren’t the onlyrncitizens of Rockford who Mahoneyrnseems to think are guilt)’ of hate crimes.rnHe begins his attack on the “white majorihrn” of the board by noting that “Historicallv,rnthe Rockford Board of Educationrnhas been predominantly made up ofrnwhite members. That holds true toda’:rnfive of the seven members currenth’ sittingrnare white, while one is Hispanic andrnone is African-American.” In the magistrate’srneyes, the voters have shown theirrnown bad faith b electing a “white majorit).”rn(Never mind that the district’s sccnrnsubdistricts have been gerrymandered tornensure minorih’ representation; or thatrnonl’ 14 percent of the population ofrnRockford is black, while less than ten percentrnis Hispanic; or that the board’s votesrnrarelv—if ever—split along racial lines.)rnRefusing to grant the district unitar- status,rnMahoney w rites: “The court’s experiencernin this case and the evidence admittedrnat trial nrake one propositionrnexceedingly clear: This Board, at thisrntime, cannot be fully trusted with thernconstitutional welfare of the minorit’ stu-rn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn