The Political Theology of Battlestar Galactica
by Pil and Galia Kollectiv
The relationship between the renewed television series of Battlestar Galactica and political theology, particularly in relation to Giorgio Agamben’s writing on the State of Exception, is often discussed in online chats and fan sites, as well as academic papers. Relying mostly on the work of Carl Schmitt, Agamben explores the role of the exceptional in determining political norms and describes the current crisis of an immanent state of emergency, which turns the exceptional into the norm. In a permanent state of emergency, the state reduces life into what Agamben calls “bare life”, a narrow bio-political definition of what it is to be ‘human’, which is meaningless beyond the most basic biological forces that are shaped and controlled by the state. For Agamben, this crisis stems from the very definition of the sovereignty and political life and is therefore shared by authoritarian dictatorships and liberal-democracies alike. Agamben’s attack on the foundations of the liberal state has been accompanied in recent debates by a new discourse of revolution which posits a total rupture with the conditions of late capitalism as the only way out of bio-power, identity politics and the post-communist crisis of the left, largely centred around Badiou’s notion of the event. In this paper, we would like to examine these ideas in relation to the thematics of Battlestar Galactica and suggest that while the series investigates many ideas close to those of Agamben and Badiou, it also challenges their conclusions through its narrative action. In a decisive anti-Adornian instance, Galactica shows that popular culture doesn’t simply reproduce intellectual ideas in a commodified and sterile form in order to block their political effectiveness. Even a hugely successful sci-fi television series can complicate theoretical models and open up tensions that political philosophy is too quick to resolve. We are therefore not merely applying political philosophy to the show’s scenarios, but rather using the latter as an examination and critique of the former.
As Kieran Tranter has noted, the narrative of the remade Battlestar Galactica lends itself easily to Carl Schmitt’s idea of the sovereign as the one who makes the decision on when a state of exception (or state of emergency, in Anglo-American discourse) is declared. The first three seasons of the series feature a large number of incidents in which democracy is deferred in favour of the politically exceptional, or what Tranter calls “Schmitt in Space" . Schmitt presents his theory of sovereignty and critique of liberalism in terms of a ‘political theology’, in which the exception parallels the Catholic miracle : the exception sits outside the law, and yet constitutes it by defining its limits, just as the miracle is external to ordinary experience and yet paramount for the faith that sustains it. It is the weakness of liberal societies that they attempt to deny this: having secularized the institutions of the state, they reject the implications of sovereignty and try to replace decisionism with discussion . However, for Schmitt, since the exception is the foundation of the law and of sovereignty, it is this foundation – explicit in societies that acknowledge the divine source of the sovereign’s power but repressed in post-enlightenment, secular political life – which is exposed when a state of emergency is declared, and the law suspends itself . In the presence of a real enemy, in a real catastrophe, deliberation will not do and the violence implicit in sovereignty is released. For Agamben, however, following Benjamin, “in conformity with a continuing tendency in all of the Western democracies, the declaration of the state of exception has gradually been replaced by an unprecedented generalization of the paradigm of security as the normal technique of government”, in other words, the state of exception has become the norm. “This is that case also and above all because naked life, which was the hidden foundation of sovereignty, has meanwhile become the dominant form of life everywhere”.
Battlestar Galactica starts with a catastrophe, the destruction of the colonies by the inorganic Cylons, machines which have turned on their masters. Crucially, in the new version of the show, the Cylons look like humans and not like the metallic hulks of the original series, turning the distinction between friend and enemy from a morphological question into a political one. This attack requires that a decision be made that Colonial life has been disrupted, that new conditions prevail, and that these conditions should be declared exceptional if the human race is to survive and find Earth, a mythical planet mentioned in an ancient prophecy. Normal law becomes useless for determining political action under these circumstances. - Admiral Adama, the show’s main protagonist - the fleet commander who represent the military wing of a fragile coalition between the army and civilian ships, assumes the role of the sovereign at several points following this event, most notably when he declares military rule and deposes the president. As the show progresses, the exceptional circumstances of last survivors fleeing an enemy become increasingly permanent, and the role of the military in authorizing tribunals, executions and anti-terrorist measures grows. Sovereignty’s founding distinction between friend and enemy comes to define the realm of politics within the fleet, best exemplified by Adama’s speech in “Unfinished Business” (episode 9, season 3) - “When you stand on this deck, you be ready to fight, or you dishonour the reason why we’re here. Now remember this - when you fight a man, he’s not your friend” . These actions correspond to Schmitt’s assertion that “The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy” . However, as Tranter is also aware, Battlestar Galactica offers many points of resistance to Schmitt’s and Agamben’s theories, and it is to these that we shall later return . The vacillation between civilian politics and military rule, religious and secular interpretations of events and biological and technological paradigms is crucial to the narrative drive of the series. It is our contention that the narrative act that dictates the show’s perpetual ideological inversions challenges Agamben’s reduction of the law to the production of bare life. It is exactly because of the formal constraints of an episodic television show that BSG provides us with the means to understand politics beyond the state of exception.
First, though, we should elaborate on some of Agamben’s concepts. In Homo Sacer, Agamben traces a long lineage of political theory, which distinguishes between two meanings of life, from the Greek zoe – or life in general common to man and animal - versus bios – life proper to an individual or a group, to modern differentiations between humans and citizens as expressed through the idea, for instance, of civil rights as opposed to human rights. If states are social contracts set up to protect people from the potential of a pre-societal anarchy and violence, as for instance in Rousseau’s formulation, then it is on the exclusion of this notion of a human condition outside society on which they are founded. The existence of a denuded human category which must be given rights, is therefore a product of the state, and vice versa: the state is produced from the exclusion of a raw state of nature, which it simultaneously includes and even creates in order to define itself in opposition to it. This bare life is that which dwells within the state of exception in which we now, according to Agamben, all live: “At once excluding bare life and capturing it within the political order, the state of exception actually constituted, in its very separateness, the hidden foundation on which the entire political system rested”.
This foundation of human society is hidden within the figure of the sovereign: the sovereign’s capacity to decide on the limits of the law and to embody a violence external to it but which at the same time constitutes the law is what enables the rest of society to live as political, civilised beings. In a ‘functional’ state, bare life is never a part of political life and only emerges in extreme states such as war, when the law is suspended and survival is at stake. But, Agamben continues, “[w]hen its borders begin to be blurred, the bare life that dwelt there frees itself inside the city and becomes both subject and object of the conflicts of the political order, the one place for both the organization of State power and emancipation from it” . For Agamben, this is why the camp – an ill-defined zone between the state and its exterior - is the contemporary paradigm: places like Guantanamo bay or refugee camps, in which people are interred without being members of society and without the law being applied to them, are the inevitable consequence of the fact that our very notion of politics derives from the duality of citizenship and bare life and of the constitution of order, or the norm, through the state of exception. In other words, society is only provisionally constructed in the knowledge that at its limits, in a crisis, its laws can be suspended and a violence transcending the law can be unleashed. Society is there to protect us from this violence, but it can and must assume it, through the sovereign, to survive, and the repression of this fact only serves its inevitable, infinite expansion.
As we have seen, Battlestar Galactica takes this crisis as its starting point, and its consequences are made clear throughout the series. The protagonists of the show are constantly preoccupied with their definition of what it is to be human. At many points in the series, survival comes to be thought of as the defining feature of humans. It is in the name of this survival that life can be instrumentalised by the state, reduced to the bio-political essence described by Agamben. Biological weapons are justified in the extermination of an enemy, the Cylons, who falls outside the category of human (“The “Measure of Salvation”, episode 7, season 3), dehumanisation being the flipside of the humanization of the other in a politics of rights. This tendency reaches its apex in the decision to ban abortions to propagate the species, which turns people into mere reproductive machines (“The Captain’s Hand”, episode 17, season 2), but also informs the treatment of workers, are exploited in the name of survival, as discussed in the episode “Dirty Hands” (episode 16, season 3), for example: just as women are reduced to their capacity to reproduce, all people are reduced to their capacity to produce in the name of the defense of their sacred right to life, to survive.
On the surface, the Cylons seem to suggest an alternative interpretation of the meaning of life. They briefly attempt a version of biopolitics: first, in their breeding farms, where they seek to create a human-Cylon hybrid and bodily reproductive functions take precedence in their quest for a new techno-organic politics (“The Farm”, episode 5, season 2); and then in the detention camps of New Caprica (“Occupation”, episode 1, season 3), where humans are denied basic rights with the aim of enforcing some kind of co-existence. But the Cylons finally reject this option in favour of an idea of becoming and belonging, creating life, a hybrid baby, out of human-Cylon love. This, interestingly, comes closer to the theology of St. Paul, in which many contemporary philosophers, including Agamben, have taken an interest precisely because it offers a way out of the problematic politics outlined above. For the Cylons, life is not sacred, being a renewable resource: they awaken on a resurrection ship whenever they are killed, their consciousness downloaded into a new body. The paradoxes identified by Agamben therefore hold no power over their political structures.The humans in the series present varying degrees of observance in relation to a polytheistic religion of rites, scriptures, prophecies and acts. By contrast, the Cylons espouse a faith based monotheistic religion focused on God’s love and subjective fidelity to the truth. It is their idea of God, which proposes a form of life, or being, totally outside the law, rather than in a mere suspension of the law, that the Colonials struggle with most.
Yet it is precisely this kind of worldview that has drawn philosophers to the figure of Saint Paul. According to the Pauline doctrine, whether or not Christ died and was resurrected is not what matters. Christianity, unlike Judaism, does not seek a consistent law. Rather, it is the faith in the singularity of this event that constitutes the Christian subject, and this faith transcends the law. If we concede that the current recourse to the state of exception is a consequence of the internal structuring of our notions of law and sovereignty, Paul’s emphasis of faith over the law seems to offer a significant alternative. His objection to the rule of the law parallels Agamben’s reservations about the constitution of political power on the paradoxical inclusion and exclusion of bare life: under the law, the salvation of the subject comes in the form of wages or reward, but for Paul grace can never be thought of as work for which one is rewarded, just as man is not first a creature who must then earn civil rights. To quote Badiou, who has also seen in the Pauline doctrine a solution to the impasse of contemporary politics after the fall of communism, Paul describes a “monotheism [which] can be understood only by taking into consideration the whole of humanity...if a truth is to surge forth eventally, it must be nondenumerable, impredicable, uncontrollable. This is precisely what Paul calls grace… grace is the opposite of law insofar as it is what comes without being due” . In the political sense, the rewards or wages for the individual’s compliance with juridical sovereignty are ‘civil rights’ which are the opposite of the free ‘gift’ of grace: “if one understands man’s humanity in terms of his subjective capacity, there is, strictly speaking, nothing whatsoever like a “right” of man” .
The Cylons’ political and ethical decisions are guided by their fidelity to the will of a monotheistic God rather than by a legal debate over rights, which can be easily suspended under a state of emergency. Understood this way, their decision to produce a human Cylon hybrid through love rather than machine rape is crucial: they are not merely interested in replication and procreation, as some have suggested , but rather they are seeking to create an ‘evental’ subject in Badiou’s terms, who is totally universal and does not recognize difference as such. For Badiou, “an event is the appearance of something foreign to the situation that cannot be encompassed within it. It breaks through the order of things, making possible new ways of thinking, acting, and being”  The birth of the human Cylon child, Hera (“Downloaded”, episode 18, season 2), is exactly such an event. Her ‘neutral’ blood is proof that she transcends the man/machine dichotomy of the situation altogether (“Epiphanies”, episode 13, season 2). Moreover, through this child, Athena, the Cylon mother, is herself transformed into a universal subject whose agenda is no longer aligned to humans or Cylons, but to the wellbeing of her child alone. The singularity of the child, the fact that it is only one child’s survival that is at stake, is thus expanded, along the way affecting the loyalties of the Cylon Caprica Six, the human father Helo and others, projecting outwards to produce a universal idea of existence. Its birth is a paradigm shift that equates to Badiou’s ‘Christ event’: as Badiou writes, "every truth erupts as singular, its singularity is immediately universalizable" .
Throughout the series, the fact that God’s will, as mediated by Six to the ambiguous figure of Cylon sympathizer and collaborator Baltar, appears true and even coincides with many human prophecies, seems to indicate that the Cylons’ universal religion does indeed represent the evental truth to which Badiou alludes. However, one of the most consistent plot devices employed in Battlestar Galactica, the dialectical inversion of opposing positions, undermines this fidelity to the truth and throws into question the new political theology that we have been describing thus far. Just as the series overturns viewers preconceptions about religion and terror by casting Cylons as crypto-Christians and humans as pagans, or presenting the Colonials as terrorists and the Cylons as occupiers of new Caprica, so it shifts our points of identification by mirroring human and Cylon decisions and behaviours and presenting division within these categories. The Cylon human supporters are reflected in human Cylon supporters, with secularism and religious fanaticism present in factions on both sides, including a schism of Cylons who attack the resurrection ships in order to know death. Superstitions turn out to be provisional truths, while assumed truths are revealed as superstitions, as in when Adam’s bluff about the existence of Earth, initially meant to boost morale, is called, and the mythical planet is somehow discovered through maverick pilot Starbuck’s visions and paintings. Baltar’s private, mental projection of Six is duplicated in Six’s private fantasy version of Baltar, while his treachery in collaborating with the Cylons is supplemented by a working class politics that sees him assuming the role of a Christ-figure for the people. We are confronted with uncomfortable choices between president Roslyn’s fundamentalist democracy (increasingly guided by drug induced visions concerning the way to Earth) and general Adama’s enlightened military rule, secular yet despotic. And of course just when one has made up one’s mind about a character, they are revealed to be an undercover Cylon, or a human after all.
Unlike philosophy, fiction is inherently non-essentialist. If Battlestar Galactica were driven by the same quest for truth and the origins of the law as Badiou and Agamben, it would lack its powerful narrative thrust. According to Henry McDonald, “[w]hat constitutes the narrative act is the process of constructing or making the story. In so far as interpretation produces ‘meaning,’ it produces that which is radically incommensurate with a process or ‘action.’ For meaning, like the position of a particle, must be described in atemporal terms, whereas action, like a wave, must be described temporally…It follows that any interpretation of the story will interfere, although not necessarily to an equal degree, with and change the values of the narrative act by ‘freezing’ the latter at a certain point. By producing, through our interpretations, a ‘still shot’ of the narrative act, we impose an invariant intention on what is in most cases a variable process” . It is this variable process of interpretation that not only makes the series compelling viewing, but also suggests a weakness in Agamben and Badiou’s critiques of liberalism. Because of their suspicion of laws and their inclusions and exclusions, neither provides us with criteria to distinguish a good event from a bad one, or a democracy from a totalitarian regime. All are subject to the same truths and laws, so that both Nazism and current American foreign policy rely on the exception and the camp despite their marked differences. Many events fulfill Badiou’s idea of an event as a radical change, but we have no means of differentiating the Iranian revolution from the French revolution. Even with regard to the consequences of Saint Paul’s ideas, as James D. Ingram writes, “The injunction to love one another, and to enjoin others to do so as well, seems universal enough. But as soon as it ceases to be potential and becomes a matter not of addressing or propagating but of concretely changing things, this universality vanishes” . The law’s origins do not necessarily help us understand its application and consequences.
This is why we find it so hard to decide with whom to identify in Battlestar Galactica. Ultimately, if the show has any political-theological position it is one that stresses the importance of interpretation. There is no singular Cylon or human position, no originary law or evental truth, only interpretations that form and split alliances, all created through action. While Agamben follows Schmitt in centering his understanding of the political around the figure of the sovereign and his double, bare life or the sacred man, and Badiou identifies Paul as a philosopher rather than religious leader, they too quickly discard the role of the prophet in negotiating a political theology for the present day, and it is this role that the series not only presents as central, but also imposes on the viewer. In the last two episodes of season three, a recurrent musical leitmotif is a catalyst in the disclosure of four main characters as Cylons. The music they hear before their re-birth is a psych-rock version of Bob Dylan’s famous “All Along the Watchtower”. Recovering from a motorcycling accident in 1967 and reading the bible daily, Dylan based the song on the apocalyptic prophecy of Isaiah, in which the prophet defines his role as a passive watcher witnessing the fall of mighty empires rather than an active, decision making sovereign: “Upon the watch-tower, O Lord, I stand continually in the daytime, and I am set in my ward all the nights.” (Isaiah 21:6). Already in itself an interpretation of a prophetic text, the song’s meaning is obscured and removed from its metaphysical ‘truth’. Equally, other prophesies in Battlestar Galactica are presented as meaningless, drug-induced rambling. The source of their power is not the words that inscribe them with religious authority. Only in allowing characters to negotiate, mistake or construe their meaning do these prophecies become significant political acts, their metaphysical “outside” standing for an empty sign which is charged with meaning only inside language and culture.
Badiou dismisses prophecy as a “Jewish discourse of exception [in which] the prophetic sign, the miracle, election, designate transcendence as that which lies beyond the natural totality… it is constitutively exceptional.” Unlike faith, the prophetic law relies on the “mastery of a literal tradition” which leads to a theory of salvation tied to mastery (to a law)” , signifying again work for salvation instead of the free gift of grace. But once we forgo the assumption that prophecy is linked to truth and open interpretation to the field of debate, we arrive at a far more democratic idea of the prophet’s work. Writing about Franz Rosenzweig’s political theology, which rivaled Schmitt’s, Bonnie Honig has claimed that “Rosenzweig aimed to assert the centrality of miracle through a philosophical reconsideration of the concept. Traditionally, the miracle is a sign of divine providence that is experienced as such and opens us up to the divine in the context of the everyday. But Rosenzweig’s miracle is based on entirely different circumstances: An “interruptive” quality is not a necessary condition of miracle. The event, in Rosenzweig’s conception, is the very act of prediction; thus, miracle and prophecy are inextricably linked. The miracle is a miracle because it comes about when it does: after it has been forseen. In retrospect, it can always be explained away in rational terms; nonetheless, it remains a miracle, because it invites us to something other than explanation. The distinction thus arises between the prophet and the magician; the prophet predicts the miracle, and it comes about, while the magician creates surprise—the sorcerer’s intervention is not expected…Miracle “cannot happen if it is infelicitous,” and it does not generate its effect on its own, but rather in the context of prophesy…Rosenzweig understood that the only way to combat the “otherworldliness” of theology was to create a theology of this world, a “this-worldy theology” that conceives of the so-called sacred as a plural entity which is integrated into our existence. In this way, Rosenzweig moves beyond the binary logic laid out by Schmitt. The ‘exception that revitalizes,’ and that invites the many to decide rather than the one, will ‘break beyond the rule-exception binary’”  .
The paradoxical origins of the law are neither repressed in Battlestar Galactica nor allowed to expand indefinitely in its suspension. On the contrary, the societies represented in the series repeatedly question their application of laws, codes and even emergency measures. Survival is used as a justification for many dubious decisions, but there comes a point where both humans and Cylons understand its limitations as a goal. As Lee Adama, the admiral’s son, explains in Baltar’s trial in the final episode of season three, “We are not a civilization anymore, we are a gang, and we’re on the run. And we have to fight to survive. We have to break rules, we have to bend laws. We have to improvise. But not this time…not for Gaius Baltar…we, the mob, we want to throw you out the airlock…because that’s justice…This case is built on shame…and we’re trying to dump all that guilt and all that shame onto one man…so that we can live with ourselves, but that won’t work, because that’s not justice” [BSG season 3 episode 20]. Changes and reforms to the system, like the setting up of a union, do not come out of a revolutionary break with the situation but out of debate and negotiation. Both Agamben and Badiou look for an outside to present conditions, but Battlestar Galactica turns the exception on its head: there is no outside, just inversions and interpretations. This is perhaps inescapable in the context of a remake. Constantly measured against divergences and loyalties to the original series, the very premise of the show establishes the politics of Battlestar Galactica as a field of interpretation.
The fact that the allegorical world of the Colonies is preoccupied with a search for a planet by the same name as the one we live on is therefore crucial. Although the program’s mythology is largely derived from the original 1978 series’ Mormon creator, within the framework of the remade contemporary series the reference to Earth functions in a similar way to the Bob Dylan song. Like Schmitt’s miracle, Earth seems initially posited outside the known parameters of the universe and the laws of nature. However, as soon as we realize that this outside is our inside, already constructed by our language and culture, we must accept our own position as relative too, to that of the show’s protagonists. This relativism, which is enhanced by the mirroring of characters and plot lines, mentioned above, is what makes it such an effective tool for analyzing contemporary politics and for moving beyond identitarian politics of difference without succumbing to the metaphysics of revolution as revelation.
 Tranter, Kieran, “’Frakking Toasters’ and Jurisprudences of Technology: The Exception, The Subject and Techné in Battlestar Galactica”, Law and Literature, Spring 2007, Vol. 19, No. 1, p. 50, Posted online on April 2, 2007 at: http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/abs/10.1525/lal.2007.19.1.45. [accessed19/07/07].
 "All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts not only because of their historical development – in which they were transferred from theology to the theory of the state, whereby, for example, the omnipotent God became the omnipotent lawgiver – but also because of their systematic structure, the recognition of which is necessary for a sociological consideration of these concepts. The exception in jurisprudence is analogous the miracle in theology”, Schmitt, Carl, Political Theology: Four Chapters On The Concept Of Sovereignty, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985, p. 36.
 “Just as liberalism discusses and negotiates every political detail, so it also wants to dissolve metaphysical truth in a discussion. The essence of liberalism is negotiation, a cautious half measure, in the hope that the definitive dispute, the decisive bloody battle, can be transformed into a parliamentary debate and permit the decision to be suspended forever in an everlasting discussion”. Ibid, p.63.
 “In a critical move against the liberal assumption of the sufficiency of law to order the entire range of political problems, Schmitt had argued that sovereignty is revealed only by the state of emergency and that the sovereign is the one who has the power to invoke it. According to Schmitt, who reaffirmed and defended his views in a second edition published in the 1950s, this extra- or pre-legal authority distinguishes the political as the foundation of the state. The state is constituted by a political sovereignty that precedes the law and may in fact exist without it. Liberal political theory lacks the tools needed to analyze this duality of sovereignty and the law because it is insufficiently aware of its own religious roots”. Zank, Michael, “Beyond the ‘Theologico-Political Predicament’: Toward a Contextualization of the Early Strauss”, 2005, at: http://www.bu.edu/mzank/Michael_Zank/Beyond_Theo_Pol.pdf [accessed 24/07/07].
 Agamben, Giorgio, State of Exception [Kevin Attell – trns.], Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005, p. 14.
 Agamben, Giorgio, “Form-Of-Life”, Means Without End: Notes on Politics (Theory Out of Bounds) [Vincenzo Binetti and Cesare Casarino - Trans.], Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2000, pp. 6-7.
 “Unfinished Business”, Battlestar Galactica, Sci Fi Channel/NBC Universal, 1 December 2006.
 Schmitt, Carl, The Concept of the Political [Georg Schwab – trns.], Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996, p. 26.
 Citing William P. Macneil’s methodology, Tranter explains that the ’project of popular jurisprudence’ is that “talking jurisprudentially through popular culture opens a space for critical engagement with jurisprudence, a space that is liberated from the accretions of the discipline’s formal lexicon and institutional forms…Battlestar Galactica offers enticing parallelisms for thinking about Schmitt and his contemporary legacy within jurisprudence. However, in animating the friend/enemy distinction, it also shows some of Schmitt’s limits”. Ibid., pp. 46 and 56.
 Agamben, Giorgio, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, California: Stanford University Press, 1995, p.9.
 Badiou, Alain, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism [Ray Brassier – trns.], California: Stanford University Press, 2003, pp. 76-77.
 “The Cylons are not content with their mass production of 12 different humanoid models, but need to fulfill God’s command to multiply”. Tranter, Ibid., p.59.
 Ingram, James D., “Can Universalism Still Be Radical? Alain Badiou's Politics of Truth”, Constellations, Volume 12, Issue 4, Pages 561-573, Posted online on 21/03/2006 at: http://www.politicalreviewnet.com/polrev/reviews/CONS/R_1351_0487_050_1005361.asp. [accessed19/07/07].
 Badiou, Alain, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism, p. 11.
 McDonald, Henry , “The Narrative Act: Wittgenstein And Narratology”, Surfaces, vol. 4, 1994. Posted online on 15/9/1996 at: http://www.pum.umontreal.ca/revues/surfaces/vol4/mcdonald.html [accessed19/07/07].
 Ingram, Ibid.
 Badiou, Ibid, p. 41
 Buchholz, Paul, from an abstract of Honig, Bonnie, “The Miracle of Metaphor: Pluralizing Political Theology”, presented at Taking Exception to the Exception, conference at Cornell University, September 2006.