26/CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnor perfection. It is pollution if a priestnhas only one eye or if a man confoundsnthe order of things by mating with hisnsister. Morality is more a question ofnrights. It protects a husband againstnadultery, but Holiness separates whatnshould be kept separate. Incest, adultery,nand homosexuality are abominationsnnot so much because they infringenupon anyone’s rights but because theynare confusions. It is easy to read anFreudian message into all the taboos onnsexual behavior and bodily emissions.nObviously, we are all more or lessninterested in our own bodies and tend tonsee the universe as a projection of ournphysical shapes. We devise tools tonextend the use of our hands (hammersnand axes), our feet (the wheel and thenMercedes), and even our eyes (the telescopenand microscope). We classify inanimatenobjects as masculine or feminine,nand our old system of weights andnmeasures was based, by and large, onnthe proportions of the human body. Innfact, we still measure horses by handsnand whiskey by fingers. It is only naturalnfor us to be concerned with apparentlynborderline cases. Saliva, excreta,nand nail-clippings have magical properties,nprecisely because they were but arennot part of us. Disputed boundaries arenalways dangerous.nThe most important boundaries onnour lives are the basic facts of “birth,ncopulation, and death,” in Eliot’snphrase. They are all periods of transitionnand times when the social order isnthreatened by disruption. We hedgenthem about with laws and taboos in annattempt to defuse the danger and reassertnsociety’s right to control even ourngrief, our joy, and our intimacy. Thenrituals which surround a marriage or anburying help to “create a reality whichnSoul of ModerationnBrian De Palma, a master of contemporarynAmerican cinema, explained hisnpersonal code of decorum to the ChicagonTribune. It isn’t easy to murdernpeople creatively, he argued:nBut I know what I’m doing. Inknow when I have a guy pick up andrill there’s gonna be a lot of peoplenbe offended by it. But itnseemed to me to be the right instrumentnfor that time in thenmovie. He could have stranglednher or hit her ovei the head with anclub. But 1 thought this way wasnbest. . . . Don’t make it sound likenLIBERAL ARTSnwould be nothing without them. It isnnot too much to say that ritual is morento society than words are to thought.nFor it is very possible to know somethingnand then find words for it. But it isnimpossible to have social relations withoutnsymbolic acts.”nModern men have done their best tondo without symbolic acts. In the namenof enlightenment and humanity, thenritual forms which gave meaning—andneven existence—to our inchoate passionsnand aspirations have all, by andnlarge, been swept away as so muchninsincerity. The points raised bynDouglas in 1966 (reissued by the wisdomnof the publishers) now seem morenthan ever like warnings. “If a ritual isnsuppressed in one form,” she observed,n”it crops up in others, more strongly thenmore intense the social interaction.”nNo society can survive without ritualnand taboo, but it is equally true thatnrituals are not generalized abstractions:nthey are an inextricable part of thensocial order which they help to reinforce.nChange the ritual and younchange the society. The strong newnsocial rites offered by the likes of BhagwannShree Rajneesh and Sun MyungnMoon may have their merits as religions,nbut they are not the fruits of ancenturies-long adjustment to Westernnsocial life. They go straight to the rawnnerves of existence and serve to reinforcena sort of culture that we in thenWest have not experienced since wenlearned to make tools out of bronze. Asnthe symbols of our common life becomenextinct, they are being replacednby sectarian fetishes which serve tondivide, not unite us. A people that losesnits national rituals is no longer a nation.nIt is an uneasy federation of tribes.n(TJF) ccn1 went craz) with that scene.nWhen lie finally drills her, I didn’tnshow the drill going into her Ixxiy.n1 could hae done that, but 1ndidn’t. ccnnnIN FOCUSnSay a Little Prayernby Steven HaywardnGeorge Goldberg: ReconstructingnAmerica; Wm. B. Eerdmans; GrandnRapids, MI.nMany years ago Leo Strauss remarkednthat the Supreme Court is more likelynto defer to the contentions of socialnscience than to the Ten Commandmentsnas the words of the living God.nStrauss was, of course, basing his observationnon the use of social science innBrown v. Board of Education in 1954,nbut he did not live to see the other shoendrop; in 1980 the high court ruled thatna Kentucky statute requiring the postingnof the Ten Commandments in publicnschoolrooms violated the “establishment”nclause of the First Amendment.nThe Kentucky case illustrates thencurrent state of judicial wisdom on thensubject of “separation of church andnstate. ” The relevant clause of the FirstnAmendment reads: “Congress shallnmake no law respecting the establishmentnof religion or prohibiting the freenexercise thereof.” Well, Congress madenno law; the Kentucky legislature did.nBut the modern Supreme Court, in a fitnof judicial irredentism, has applied then”establishment” clause to state actionsnas well by way of the 14th Amendment’sn”equal protection” clause. Goldberg,na Jewish lawyer, outlines the historynof the Court’s debauchery of thenFirst Amendment’s intention”, from thenfirst church-state cases at the beginningnof this century right through the 1984nPawtucket creche case.nGoldberg cannot contain outbursts ofnjust indignation at the Court’s tendentiousnreasoning on religion cases. It hasncome to this: a public school teachernwould probably lose his job for leadingna prayer in the classroom, while anteacher who showed a pornographicnmovie would be successfully defendednby the ACLU (Anti-Christian LitigationnUnit?) on First Amendment “free expression”ngrounds.nAnd what about the “free exercise”nclause of the Amendment’s religionnclause? In the current judicial interpretation,nthe “establishment” clause eatsnup thp “free exercise” clause, such thatneven a “moment of silence” in publicnschools is proscribed, as well as voluntarynreligious meetings on schoolngrounds during off hours. Surely thisnflies in the face of the intention of thenFramers of the First Amendment, who,nrecognizing the salutary effects of reli-n