Beliefs Columns Culture Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Author points to persistent ‘slaveholder religion’ among evangelicals for Trump

 

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of “Reconstructing the Gospel”

 

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a Christian activist in North Carolina working with youth, prisoners, and neighborhoods. Much of his work these days is part of The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

He’s also an author, most recently of Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion, just released from InterVarsity Press. In it, Jonathan draws a strong distinction between true evangelical Christianity and what he calls “slaveholder religion,” to which he fears many American evangelicals have fallen captive. — JKR

 

RNS: What is slaveholder religion?

JWH: Frederick Douglass made this distinction in the 19th century between the Christianity of the slaveholder and the Christianity of Christ. Douglass knew that the slavemaster called himself Christian and had a whole way or reading the Bible and understanding God that went along with that. Douglass also knew Jesus for himself, and knew that he was a Christian. And that these two ways of living out the faith that go by the name of Christianity were diametrically opposed.

RNS: You argue that this conflict with slaveholder religion is playing out right now. How?

JWH: I feel like almost every week, there’s something in this administration that leads the media to ask, “Will Trump’s faith advisors still stand by him in the face of this allegation, or this reality?” And we have seen that the answer is yes. There is no moral failing or questionable activity that is going to cause people who call themselves evangelical Christians and who are backing him to turn away.

That’s confounding to some people, but if what is driving them is the slaveholder religion that drove the “redemption movement” of the 19th century – the preachers and politicians who understood Reconstruction after the Civil War to be an immoral imposition by white northerners that God called them to overthrow — then it fits. It fits with the historical pattern of being that kind of Christian in the American story.

For the Trumpvangelicals, this is a redemption presidency. In their imagination, they have deracialized a faith formed by the justification of race-based slavery. No one wants to think of themselves as racist. So they say the problem was not that Obama was black but that he was liberal, which to them equals immoral and ungodly in the same way that Reconstruction equaled immoral and ungodly in the minds of the redemptionists. But of course in both cases it had everything to do with race.

RNS: Were you surprised by Trump’s election?

JWH: No. I had witnessed the backlash of the Tea Party in North Carolina and in other southern states in 2012. Obama won North Carolina in 2008 and lost it in 2012.

So it was not surprising, but it was to me deeply saddening precisely because the younger evangelicals in the South and in other parts of the country are not represented. I don’t think that the Trumpvangelicals are an authentic representation of where that demographic is.

[RNS note: See here for Pew’s latest findings, released this week, that only 23% of Millennial women now identify as or lean Republican.]

But what was somewhat surprising was the ease with which the Trump campaign manipulated the machinery of the southern strategy, and how little capacity the Christian community had to resist that. It took a year for Christianity Today, which fashions itself as a moderate evangelical publication, to say something critical about Donald Trump. I remember that the editorial that Andy Crouch wrote, which was a basic moral argument against the extremism Trump represented, didn’t come out until October, right before the election.

But I had talked to some of the folks there in the spring [of 2016], when Trump was one of many candidates, about why they couldn’t say clearly that that sort of racist nativism was not acceptable, and they said it was because he could become the Republican candidate. To which I responded, “That’s exactly why you have to say something! We all have to say something!”

RNS: Will young Christians give up on evangelicalism because they’re so disgusted with the Trumpvangelicals, or will they work to change things from within?

JWH: I think the “empty the pews” movement has a lot more energy right now. When I talk to high school and college students today, I hear people who are ready to move on rather than ready to reform Christianity.

Of course that doesn’t mean that Christian institutions will go away, but evangelical schools and magazines and such have to take seriously that there is a generation of people for whom these institutions have very little credibility. My 13 year-old son didn’t know an America without Barack Obama as president. I mean, he was born when Bush was president, but he wasn’t aware then. And this violent backlash against Obama right now is just wildly disorienting for him and for his generation. It’s like the kids in Florida protesting the school shooting.

RNS: What’s your audience for Reconstructing the Gospel?

JWH: I’m writing to evangelical Christians, fellow evangelicals, in this book. And I think it’s incredibly important for people to understand that I’m not just saying, “You’re racist.” As I’ve said before, I know from personal experience that people who have inherited this particular heritage of reading the Bible don’t see themselves that way. In the book I tell the story of Easter dinner at my parents’ house. I watched as my African American son was sitting next to my white southern grandfather, when he realized that his grandfather might vote for Trump. “But he’s extreme,” my son said. And they both just stared at one another, unable to imagine how they other person felt.

For my son, with his experience of living in a black body, the idea of Trump as God’s man made absolutely no sense. Yet I could see that my grandfather, who had been told for generations that liberalism is immorality, and that immortality is what the Bible is against, was trying to reconcile that even if Trump was not a perfect candidate, he represented a way of winning that could defeat what my grandfather saw as liberal immorality.

That’s what I mean by slaveholder religion; this is how Christians in the South learned how to read the Bible in the 19th century. My son and my grandfather embody very different ways of sharing the faith that we have in common. So I close the book with a letter to both of them, after trying to sort out this history. I really wanted to try to speak with one voice to both of them.

RNS: You book was so powerful, and also very hard to read. How will it be received, do you think?

JWH: I think some people who probably won’t even read it won’t like it, because it could be misunderstood as a white evangelical saying that a lot of other white evangelicals are racist. When, as a matter of fact, what I’m trying to do is confess. And this is what Christians do during Lent, isn’t it? We turn away from sin and turn to grace.

So I’m hoping that people who don’t consider themselves inheritors of racism might grapple with this and consider how the patterns of our churches and of our politics reflect a broken history that we need to repent of. I know that is possible because I’ve seen it. So I share the book in hope that new patterns and coalitions in public life are possible.

 

About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church," which will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2019. She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

152 Comments

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  • it looks like a fascinating book. I can’t wait to read it. This applies so well to mormons. I was talking to a friend who is also a member two days ago. She said trump was the first president in a long time to bring God back to the White House. I laughed because I thought she was joking and I looked at her in horror when I saw she was serious.

  • Obama should have been that president “to bring God back in the White House” (as much as any one person could help contribute to.)

    Obama certainly put on a good show at first, in 2008. Knew all the right words to say (and especially to *avoid* saying) in front of the cameras, in order to neutralize Black churchgoers (and white ones too.)

    Slicker ‘n’ 3-In-One oil, along with his disciple Hillary. But after 8 years, America had enough of that mess.. Trump? Lesser of 2 evils.

  • Here you go, folks – the latest & greatest samples of OXYMORON:

    (1) “Trumpvangelicals … have DERACIALIZED a faith formed by the justification of RACE-BASED slavery.”

    (2) “My … son … WAS BORN when Bush was president, but he WASN’T AWARE then.”

    (3) “BACKLASH AGAINST OBAMA right now … [i]s like the … Florida … SCHOOL SHOOTING.”

    (4) “[My] not just SAYING, ‘You’re racist’ … could be misunderstood as a white evangelical SAYING that a lot of other white evangelicals are racist.”

  • Isn’t your god supposed to be everywhere? I mean, that’s the story they tried to sell me in Sunday School. Since Obama was elected this god became such a wimp that it can be tossed about at will. A god that requires public ostentatious displays of piety and the possession of an idol (bible) in order to be considered “there”, wherever there happens to be.

  • Liberalism is immoral because it seeks to overthrow our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But promoting liberalism is what RNS is all about.

  • I wasn’t talking about me calling for “bringing God back into the White House,” that was just a partial quote from another poster.

    But in fact, that one issue HAS been a big problem, even as far back as Reagan, Carter, Nixon, JFK, etc.

    Men and women politicians saying all the right things to get church folks or ethical folks to vote for them, but not really committed to God being the Lord of themselves and the White House (or their congressional seat, or their USSC bench.)

  • Your first sentence is pure crazy-talk. Is there a mental health facility you can check into? I don’t want you to hurt yourself.

  • You sound like a true liberal fascist locking people up in mental institutions and gulogs for believing our rights come from God not from liberalists.

  • White Guilt, White Guilt, White Guilt…………………it will never end. The Cultural Marxist Mind Virus knows no bounds.

  • “your first sentence is pure crazy-talk” is code-word for “I have no retort because you are right and let’s hope your average American stays asleep”.

  • The author didn’t mention that slavery, racism, and the redemption movement were all run by the Democrat party. And that the Confederate flag was the Democrat party flag.

  • Conservative Christians got their start opposing racial integration. Racism was always under the surface of their positions and rhetoric. Now it is out in the open. Even their rhetoric opposing gun control justifies gun hoarding and assault weapons out of fear of armed people of color/race war tropes.

    “overthrow our Declaration of Independence”
    Homeschooled ignoramus doesn’t realize the DoI never formed the basis of government. Dominionist wingnuts like to invoke it because it has the word “Creator”. In their ignorance they never remember the term is used as a Rorschach test to apply to any or all beliefs at the time.

  • Roy, you are as Christian as they come. Don’t ever let your fellow Christians get away with saying otherwise.

  • You are full of misinformation. From the start of Abolition of slavery through the civil rights movement it was Christianity and Christians that led the way.

    The DoI is the foundation for the US Constitution. Democrats always hated it because it condemns racism and slavery and the Constitution must be read by its light. You need to read the Lincoln / Douglas debate on this then you won’t sound like an ignorant liberal.

  • The “Creator” is capitalized because it is a proper noun referring to God and later in the DoI He is invoked in a prayer.

  • While what you say is true on the surface, it completely ignores reality. It ignores the existence of liberal Republicans who were the leading abolitionists of the Civil War era, and who were the leaders of racial intergration in the South, to the extent that it existed, during Reconstruction. Those people are no longer in the Republican Party for the most part, and to the extent that they remain, are marginalized. It ignores that African Americans were largely Republican until the FDR Administration. It ignores Nixon’s Southern Strategy that would move Conservative Democrats in the South (Dixiecrats) to the Republican Party. In short, times have changed.

    What you ignore is that slavery, racism, and the redemption movement is not endemic of party, but of ideology. Political parties in the US were not as ideologically pure until the last couple of decades. Slavery, racism, and the redemption movement are endemic of a mindset. Take ownership, but then you need to have the courage of conviction rather than hiding behind half-truths and deceptions. Simplistic arguments and ignorance are for the weak.

  • If you understood anything about Jefferson’s beliefs and those of many of the signatories, you would not say such an ignorant statement. If a reference to the Christian Biblical God was meant to be explicit and exclusive, it would have been made as such. There would be actual mention of Jesus or God in there. But there isn’t.

    As I said, Rorschach Test for people to impute their own beliefs into it.

  • You know what they say about halfa truth? It’s like half a brick. You can throw it so much further.

  • Cultural marxism, as opposed to religious marxism, anti Semitic Marxism. Marx certainly can’t put anything over on you.

  • I am not the one who started with a ridiculous wingut insult statement . Your opinion as to what constitutes a fact is of no consequence.

    Abolition of slavery was done by people you would easily describe today as “not being real Christians”. In modern times that are the progressives/liberals you attacked in your first sentence. Not mainstream believers or even conservative believers by any stretch of the imagination. You are simply trying to put a fundamentalist tramp stamp on something you cannot possibly take credit for.

    Because fundamentalists don’t do much of anything of value in society. They simply want to glom off the efforts of others and take credit for them. The Segregationist Bible Thumping Southern White Christians who attacked MLK in the 1960’s try to take credit for him 1-2 generations later.
    “The DoI is the foundation for the US Constitution.”

    Not at all. The Constitution wasn’t even the first foundational document for our nation. If you actually read the DoI and not just took what Dominionist websites say about it, then you would know it is not much more than a written statement about splitting off from Great Britain. It mentions little to nothing about the shape or form of the government the colonials sought to create in its stead.

    “Democrats always hated it because it condemns racism and slavery”

    Does anyone not call you a lying troll when you mention that? For forgetting to mention that under Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” those segregationist Democrats became Republicans after 1964 and are part of the group you identify with? I bet not.

    I guess your own history is too embarrassing to talk about it honestly.

    I am under the conclusion you are not ignorant. You are just dishonest conservative cretin and simply want to troll people for its own sake. Nobody is stupid enough to take your statements at face value. The soul purpose is to cheese people off with malicious attacks and untruth.

  • Because the author is not a lying troll who omits important parts of history for the purposes of annoying others.

  • Yeah, you so-called “Christians” can’t get enough of lies, pu**y-grabbin’ and extramarital affairs with porn stars. What a role model for y’all.

  • Is bragging about pu**y-grabbing immoral? Is lying on a daily basis immoral? Is adultery with porn stars immoral? This kind of idiocy is why we have immoral Trump in the White House.

  • “He turned out to be slicker ‘n’ 3-In-One oil,” aka every President ever?

  • “God is still omnipresent, (or we’d all be dead by now),”

    Not seeing compelling evidence for such a claim.

  • Which Protestant denomination is the largest in the US?

    Southern Baptist Convention

    Which denomination began to advocate the owning of slaves.

    Southern Baptist Convention.

    “The DoI is the foundation for the US Constitution.”

    Actually no….Lockien works, the Iroquios nation and Greek works inspired Madison.

  • Indeed…but party positions change over time.

    Fun fact – Jefferson was in the Democrat-republican Party (yes that was a thing).

  • Not when you consider the Democrat party still today is on the side of being anti Declaration of Independence and anti Constitutional.

  • The Framers of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence all believed in the God of the Bible. Not one was an atheist.

  • Slavery was a conservative institution. So is racism. Liberals are against both things. So for either conservative Democrats or conservative Republicans being for slavery…bottom line conservatives were supporting slavery.

  • “Providence” being capitalized in the Declaration of Independence stands for God of the Bible. Jefferson meant God of the Bible. It was a word used by preachers in sermons in Jefferson’s day.

  • Have you actually ever read any Marx? The is no such thing as a “Cultural Marxist Mind” except at places like Fox news, etc. who invent terms like that.

  • The Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written to abolish slavery. US Constitutional conservatives have never supported slavery or racism.

  • If you chose to believe that. But since the intent was to not about creating a Christian theocracy, and the term itself is rather vague of such meaning, one cannot claim such a meaning was the only one possible or expected.

  • You do realize the classical liberals like Jefferson, Madison Thomas Paine (atheist), John Locke are primarily responsible for the Declaration and Constitution. The conservatives were supporting King George.

  • LOL! Trolling is duly noted. No sense in pretending you will bother to read all the posts correcting your bullcrap.

  • Not all of us have the benefit of copying the drivel from radio talk show hosts like you do. 🙂

  • Then why did the Declaration and Constitution not abolish slavery? …And count black slaves as three-fifths of a person?

  • You know…I think Jeffry may not think he is trolling …he may believe his BS and just be that dumb !!

  • Because the slave states wanted to count slaves as 1 person each. If that was written then we would have slavery still today. Think about it Einstein.

  • Read some Thomas Paine….

    -> “One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.”

    -> “What is it the Bible teaches us?–raping, cruelty, and murder. What is it the New Testament teaches us?–to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief of this debauchery is called faith.”. [Thomas Paine, Letter to William Duane]

  • The Framers intent was a society based on Christian principles not on a Christian church establishment.

  • -“the slave states wanted…”
    So you are saying the Constitution supported slavery and the slave states.
    The civil war ended slavery.

  • You need to read Abraham Lincoln who said the DOI is the golden apple inside the silver frame of the Constitution.

  • Although the U.S. Constitution (approved September 17, 1787) contains no direct references to slavery, it includes several indirect references to that “peculiar institution.” The following are the references as well as translations of the legal language.

    Article I, Section 2 . . . Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. . . .

    Translation: State representation and taxation will be based on the number of “free Persons” (whites) plus “three fifths of all other Persons” (blacks), implying that blacks are less than full human beings. This passage is generally referred to as the “three-fifths rule.”

    The passage was changed by Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment (ratified July 9, 1868): “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”

    Article I, Section 9. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

    Translation: The “Importation” of certain persons (the slave trade) could be stopped after 1808. After that date, Congress could place a tax on anyone brought into the United States as a slave. This passage had a horrific impact on enslaved Africans, because slave traders would sometimes dispose of their “cargo” to avoid paying taxes.

    Article IV, Section 2 . . . No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

    Translation: Anyone escaping from bondage into another state would be returned to his or her “owner.” Before this law was passed, slaves were free if they could escape from a “slave” state to a “free” state. After the law was passed, enslaved blacks had to escape to Canada or Mexico to secure their freedom.

    This passage was changed by Section 1 of the Thirteenth Amendment (ratified December 6, 1865): “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

    In addition, amendments to the Constitution were required to enable blacks to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, to integrate schools and other public facilities, and to enable blacks to exercise their right to vote. Clearly, then, the phrase “all men are created equal” did not apply to blacks, because the “founding fathers” perceived them as being less than human.

  • Like when Thomas Paine wrote this: It has been the error of schools to teach astronomy, and all the other sciences and subjects of natural philosophy, as accomplishments only; whereas they should be taught theologically, or with reference to the Being who is the Author of them: for all the principles of science are of divine origin. Man cannot make, or invent, or contrive principles; he can only discover them, and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author.
    When we examine an extraordinary piece of machinery, an astonishing pile of architecture, a well-executed statue, or a highly-finished painting where life and action are imitated, and habit only prevents our mistaking a surface of light and shade for cubical solidity, our ideas are naturally led to think of the extensive genius and talent of the artist.
    When we study the elements of geometry, we think of Euclid. When we speak of gravitation, we think of Newton. How, then, is it that when we study the works of God in creation, we stop short and do not think of God? It is from the error of the schools in having taught those subjects as accomplishments only and thereby separated the study of them from the Being who is the Author of them. . . .
    The evil that has resulted from the error of the schools in teaching natural philosophy as an accomplishment only has been that of generating in the pupils a species of atheism. Instead of looking through the works of creation to the Creator Himself, they stop short and employ the knowledge they acquire to create doubts of His existence. They labor with studied ingenuity to ascribe everything they behold to innate properties of matter and jump over all the rest by saying that matter is eternal.
    And when we speak of looking through nature up to nature’s God, we speak philosophically the same rational language as when we speak of looking through human laws up to the power that ordained them.
    God is the power of first cause, nature is the law, and matter is the subject acted upon.
    But infidelity, by ascribing every phenomenon to properties of matter, conceives a system for which it cannot account and yet it pretends to demonstrate.

  • Terms you can’t define in an honest and sane fashion.

    “Christian principles” mean whatever you feel like calling them. But it most likely involves nothing to do with the New Testament and teachings of Jesus Christ and will just involve taking credit for things on the basis of the demographics of the person.

    So what is so specifically Christian about our Constitution and DoI?

    Please cite to the chapter and verse of the New Testament which specifically was referenced in those founding documents.

  • Not likely. Unfortunately for America, Obama was smarter — and slicker — than most presidents or wannabees on either side of the aisle.

  • No, it does not imply they are not full human beings. It means that the slave states would not get to exploit them for full representation to gain leverage over the north.

  • . “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

    Deuteronomy 32:8 – When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

    Ezra 6:21 – And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,

    Romans 2:14 – 16 – For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

    Psalm 19:7 – The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Psalms 19:1 THE heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

    Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    Leviticus 24:22 – Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the Lord your God.

    Romans 2:11 – For there is no respect of persons with God.

    Genesis 9:6 – Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

    Exodus 20:15 – Thou shalt not steal.

    Exodus 21:16 – And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

    Psalms 128:2 – For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

    Ecclesiastes 3:13 – And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

    Leviticus 25:10 – And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family

    “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

    In John Wycliffe’s first English Bible (1384), the General Prologue states this purpose:

    “This Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.”

    Exodus 19:7 – 8 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.

    Deuteronomy 16:18 – 19 – Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. Galatians 5:1- STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

    Isaiah 9:6 – 7 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    Leviticus 25:10 – And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

    Psalms 133:1 – Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Jeremiah 34:15 – 17 – And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

    Philippians 2:2-4 – Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

    “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that

  • I figured that sentence might get somebody’s attention. It’s worth pondering. Whether you’re Atheist or Christian, if God were to abandon you for a single nanosecond — just one — you’d be three notches past dead.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+1%3A17&version=TLB
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Lam.+3%3A22-23&version=TLB

    By the way, let’s introduce you to a little pet. He and his cousins are living inside you right now. Every day. And if just ONE of them decides he don’t like you anymore — well, it’s good that God is watching out for you, yes?

    ********

    Species commonly found in humans: Bacteroides caccae, Bacteroides distasonis, Bacteroides eggerthii, Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroides merdae, Bacteroides ovatus, Bacteroides stercoris, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, Bacteroides uniformis, Bacteriodes vulgatus (all potential pathogens).

    What it does: This bacteria (bacteroides), has a complicated relationship with humans. When they’re isolated to the gut, they assist in breaking down food and synthesizing nutrients and energy for the body to use. But when they escape the intestines, they can cause particularly deadly infections in the blood and can form abscesses all over the body.

    — from Julia Calderone, “13 creepy pictures of the microbes that are living inside of you,”, Business Insider 11-13-2015.

  • Funny that none of those quotes have anything to do with the DoI quote or the Constitution. Your cut and paste skills are admirable. Your analysis and explication is non-existent. I have no need to read into the Bible passages anything relevant to that statement above. Apparently neither did you.

    “This Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.”

    Free Exercise of religion and the Establishment Clause are in direct conflict with that concept.

    Better luck next time. Maybe you will learn that a block quote is not a substitute for an intelligent response.

  • Except for the ones who didn’t. Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine especially.

    Why must you lie so badly and so often?

  • Cultural Marxism/Neo-Bolshevism in simple terms is the Destruction of Western Civilization. Anyone with half a brain can simply just “observe” and see that your eyes don’t lie.
    In 1919, Lukacs, who was considered the most brilliant Marxist Theorist since Marx himself, ask who will save us from Western Civilization. That same year, 1919, Lukacs became Deputy Commissar for Culture in the Bolshevik Bela Kun government in Hungary. Where he launched program—culture terrorism. As part that program, Lukacs introduced a radical sex education program into the Hungarian Schools. Political Correctness as we know it was already beginning to take form. http://arcofcc.freeservers.com/Documents/frank.html

  • Jefferson selected the term creator. He was a Deist that denied the truth of Christian teachings or those of any other religion that he studied, which were several.

    He wrote that he was a follower of the philosophy of Epicurus. Epicurus was also a Deist and considered it logical to believe in a creator as how else could such a systematic reality have appeared. He and Jefferson felt that the creator God was not interested in our activities and did not act in our reality.

    If Jefferson had known the coming evolutionary discovery of the process of natural selection, which is our actual creator, he may have no longer been a Deist.

  • Many studied enlightenment thought. A number were Deists and denied Christianity and the truth of its Bible. Your correct that few if any were atheists.

  • I don’t know this reference to Thomas Paine.
    At that time those in western Christian society that studied our reality through observation and experimentation were called Natural Theologians and proceeded in a similar manner to your article above.

    Charles Darwin was one of them and studying in that manner had the dangerous realization that an intelligent creator was not necessary to explain design. He avoided publishing this idea for most of his life as he was concerned about its effect on society.

    As to your opinion that Paine was a Christian this is from his writing about his own religious beliefs, Paine wrote in The Age of Reason:

    “I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.
    I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
    Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

    You can find this and more in the Thomas Paine article on Wikipedia.

  • Just as the intention of the contents of the Bible can only be found by following some “teacher” or “prophets” opinion, we can’t be certain of the actual intentions of the authors of the Declaration or Constitution. You have been parroting the political propaganda of the Christian Nationalists.

  • You replied to yourself…perhaps you have a split personality.

    And nobody gives a sh*t about Lukacs, or the “Bela Kun government in Hungary”. Get a life!

  • Jefferson called himself “I am a Christian” never a deist. Also the Declaration of Independence invokes by prayer to God to intervene. Deists do not believe that God intervenes in our affairs.

  • So was your point “all men” excluded black people?because it didn’t. All meant everyone. You need to read Abraham Lincoln on the matter.

  • Errors, Will Robinson.

    The Constitution is not properly called a “law”.

    Prior to the Constitution the treatment of slaves in free states depended on the law of the free state.

    In the 1772 decision in Somerset v Stewart. Lord Mansfield ordered that a fugitive slave from Virginia who had reached England, where slavery was prohibited, was a free person who could not be legally returned to his previous owners. Absent a long-standing local custom or positive legislation requiring the return, judges were bound by English law to ignore the prior legal status of the fugitive under foreign laws.

    This generally carried over after the Revolution between the states.

    Under the Articles of Confederation, there was no provision compelling free states to capture fugitive slaves from other states and return them to their former masters, although there were provisions for the extradition of criminals. However, there was not a widespread belief that this was a problem or that northern states failed to cooperate on the issue, due in part to the fact that by 1787 only Vermont and Massachusetts had outlawed or effectively outlawed slavery.

    At the Constitutional Convention, slavery was a major impediment to passage of the new constitution. However, there was little discussion about fugitive slaves. After the issues involving the slave trade and the counting of slaves for representation purposes regarding both the distribution of taxes and the apportionment of the members of the United States House of Representatives, two South Carolina delegates, Charles Pinckney and Pierce Butler, proposed that fugitive slaves should be “delivered up like criminals”. James Wilson of Pennsylvania and Roger Sherman of Connecticut objected. Wilson argued that the provision “would oblige the Executive of the State to do it at public expence”, while Sherman stated that he “saw no more propriety in the public seizing and surrendering a slave or servant, than a horse”. After these objections, the discussion was dropped, but the very next day Butler proposed the language which was passed with no debate or objections.

  • You have proven my point that liberalism is immoral by resorting to lies to survive. Read Lincoln:
    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.

  • The war was against the Democrats who, like today, reject the ideals in the Declaration of Independence.

  • I would absolutely love it if you would diagram “A god that requires public ostentatious displays of piety and the possession of an idol (bible) in order to be considered ‘there’….”

  • C’mon, don’t splap the hand that feeds you, ‘bruh. News-wise, I mean. Better here than at The Gospel Coalition, Break Point, WorldNet Daily – any day. Though I do like Christian News Network on the one hand, and Friendly Atheist on the other.

    Point being: if “liberalism is immoral”, then conservatism is amoral. That’s one Culture Wars Bandwagon we best get off of. And just follow THE God & Jesus of the gospels, epistles & revelation, instead.

    Okeydokey, as you were.

  • I realize, that as is typical of Christian Nationalists who only accept facts that confirm to their agenda, you will probably not read these documents written by Jefferson after he retired:

    To William Short, with a Syllabus Monticello, October 31, 1819
    http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl259.php

    Thomas Jefferson to Charles Thomson, 9 January 1816
    https://founders.archives.gov/?q=%20Author%3A%22Jefferson%2C%20Thomas%22%20charles%20thomson%201816&s=1111311111&r=6

  • Wilson-Hartgrove, quoted: “I’m writing to evangelical Christians, fellow evangelicals, in this book. And I think it’s incredibly important for people to understand that I’m not just saying, ‘You’re racist.’”  

    I wish this author the best of luck, but I also know that people will see the subtitle, “Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion,” and immediately assume they’re being called racists — without regard to whether or not the book’s content does so.  

  • Re: “[Obama] was a carrier of an unprecedented virus — and he unleashed it.”  

    If so, then according to your Bible, it was your own deity’s wish that he be president and do so:  

    “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Rom 13:1)  

    “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” (1 Pt 2:13-15)  

    These and other passages in the New Testament reflect others in the Old, e.g.:  

    “By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, all who judge rightly.” (Prv 8:15-16)  

    Happy to clear that up for you.  

  • Re: “Liberalism is immoral because it seeks to overthrow our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.”  

    Actually, some “liberals” I know would say it’s conservatives who want to overthrow our country’s foundations. I can’t really speak to that, but historically, it’s undeniable that the Religious Right in the US originated as a reaction to segregation and the civil rights movement:  

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133  

    Note, it’s not just Politico that says this, nor was it revealed in 2014: A dozen years ago, evangelical Randall Balmer wrote pretty much the same thing:  

    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5502785  

    So pardon me if I don’t find the American Right, as it currently stands, “moral” since it is, at its core, inherently racist. To be clear, that doesn’t make every Rightist racist. Definitely not! It just means there’s a racist impetus behind the movement to which they belong. As for what to do about that … well, since I’m no longer part of that movement, I have no say in the matter. What I can say is that continuing to rail and fume at the existence of “liberalism” and insulting “liberals” all the time, cannot and will never magically fix Rightism and divest it of its racist origins.  

  • It is deniable that the so-called “Religious Right” in the US originated as a reaction to segregation and the civil rights movement.

  • There is no right. There only are those who believe in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution as written and all others are left wing nut cases.

  • “I am a Christian” means he was an atheist to you? Are you aware that he ended his official documents as President with: “In the year of our Lord Christ”. Does that sound like an atheist interpretation of the separation of church and State?

  • Re: “There is no right.”  

    Of course there is.There’s a Right, and a Left, and one or more Centers, and not even standing on that scale are Cynicalists like myself.   Everyone has his/her own beliefs in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. What I can say, is that the latter begins, “We the People,” not “We the people who think in one particular way,” so it goes without saying that there can, and will, be disagreement about that. The mature thing to do is accept it and not dismiss everyone else insultingly as “nut cases.”  

  • Actually … no it’s not. The Religious Right definitely began as a reaction to segregation and the civil rights movement. There are some, like you, who deny the historical reality of that — but too bad so sad for all of them, they remain firmly and desperately wrong.  

  • Your comment is an example of why people should disown CHrstianity. WE do not need God in the White House in a pluralistic society. What we need is ethical behavior and integrity. We do not have that in Trump.

  • The preamble to the Constitution sets our the overall purpose. A key phrase in the Preamble is “to provide for the general welfare.” Conservative politics, from blind worship of guns to contempt for the poor and for education and science and social security and food stamps and environmental protection make providing for the general welfare impossible. As usual with conservatives you robotically assert a simple and extreme statement without citing any specifics or credible evidence.

  • The Constitution, in contrast to all other governments at that time, makes no claim that its legitimacy derives from Good. Instead it takes the liberal posture that the government’s legitimacy derives from the people. A large majority of the American people, including old fashioned conservative, favor liberal polices. the word God nowhere appears in the US Constitution.

  • I know history too. Better than you:

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133
    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5502785

    Obviously you missed these when I first posted them. Go ahead and dismiss them as “commie propaganda” or whatever label you throw around in order to avoid having to read history that’s unflattering to your religionistic movement … but they’re correct, no matter how vehemently you say they’re not.  

  • Apparently you don’t know history better than I do.

    I predated yours by forty years.

    If we threw Prohibition into the mix, and we should, I can move that back another quarter century.

    What is demonstrably not true is “that the Religious Right in the US originated as a reaction to segregation and the civil rights movement”.

  • “The general welfare” means for the well-being of the nation not taking money from people who work and giving it to lazy asses calling it welfare…a term not known until after FDR.

  • It means you are acting illiterate on purpose, twisting meanings in documents written for the layman to understand, for your political agenda.

  • Re: “It means you are acting illiterate on purpose …”  

    … says the person who uses nonsense phrases like “reader-based interpretation.” I have no idea what you’re trying to say. Let me know when you feel like making yourself understood. You don’t even need to use English … I can read Latin, German, Greek, and a few others beside. So pick one and use it. Thanks!  

  • Those two op-eds are NOT evidence.

    They are evidence that folks, like yourself, with axes to grind crank out “history” by the yard like sausage to suit their purposes.

    An example is the election of Trump by “evangelicals”, which has all the scientific support of a Martians and UFOs for true believers.

    I already demonstrated that a “Religious Right” existed during FDR’s presidency, a full forty years earlier than you – and the ninny at Politico – suggest.

    I can move that back much further.

    Since verb “originate” means “Have a specified beginning; create or initiate (something)”, and the Religious Right existed forty years earlier than “segregation and the civil rights movement”, it cannot have originated then.

    Speaking, of coruse, of “Grow(ing) up and stop(ping) being a sniveling infant”.

  • A deist doesn’t believe God gets involved in our affairs. Jefferson invoked God to get involved in our Declaration of Independence. Therefore he was not a deist. He never said he was a deist but said “I am a Christian”. He founded a Christian university not a deist university.

  • Well, let’s check the scorecard. Trump had “Extramarital Affairs.” Hillary had “Open Marriage.”

    Stormy says Trump paid her big $$$$$ for sex (and she took it!), but then some anonymous guy bullied her with a threat if she snitched on Trump. Juanita says that Bill didn’t pay her any $$$$$ after the rape, but then Hillary herself grabbed her arm hard and bullied her (with an implied threat) if she snitched on Bill.

    So tell me now, did you support your role model Hillary in 2016? Hmm?

  • How, exactly, do you know I am a “post-modernist” (not that that term means very much to me)? Please cite specific evidence.  

  • Re: “Those two op-eds are NOT evidence.”  

    They’re not both “op eds.” The Politico piece is journalism. The other is basically a confession by an evangelical who was part of, and helped fuel, the movement.  

    Re: “I already demonstrated that a “Religious Right” existed during FDR’s presidency, a full forty years earlier than you – and the ninny at Politico – suggest.  

    The R.R. did not exist until Weyrich, Schaeffer, etc. invented it. I have no idea what this movement is you think existed in FDR’s time, but it is not the R.R. It would help if you would first figure out what it is you’re posting about, before you post your insane drivel.  

    Re: “I can move that back much further.”  

    I’m sure you can … but you’d be back somewhere off in a la-la land of your own private delusion. Have fun back there! 🙂 

    Re: “Speaking, of coruse, of ‘Grow(ing) up and stop(ping) being a sniveling infant’.”  

    … says the guy who obstinate and petulantly refuses ever to grow up. Because, I assume, his deity granted him license to be a sanctimonious rube.  

  • Yes, some people believe some things about it, and others believe other things about it. That’s a fact. I never said it should be that way. I just said that IT IS that way.  

    And guess what … it is!  

    So bluster and fume at me all you like. Call me a post-modernist, if it makes you feel better to do so. I’m not one, but don’t let that get in the way of you comforting yourself by throwing that accusation at me. Because after all, the single most important thing in all the universe is YOUR personal, emotional comfort, now … isn’t it?  

  • The Declaration of Independence says our rights come from God and the Constitution is written off from the DoI and must interpreted in its light.

  • You belie yourself since you implied there is no one interpretation to the DoI and Constitution but many (right, left, and many centers). Now you are lying to yourself and others but you can’t lie to me. I have been at this game too long.

  • Re: “I have been at this game too long.”  

    Obviously you have, if you’re unaware of how many 5-4 decisions have been handed down by a divided Supreme Court — divided by the ways in which they interpret the Constitution.  

    So please, by all means, tell me again how there is ONLY ONE permissible interpretation of the Constitution, and anyone (like me) who points out that people differ on it (e.g. the collected 9 justices of the Supreme Court) can only be an insolent, hateful “post-modernist.” Yeah. Go ahead. Tell me ALLLL about it!  

  • An author has has only one intended meaning. Do you really think your last comment claiming many interpretations by Supreme court justices can be also interpreted that you are saying there is only one interpretation by Supreme court justices too?

  • Re: “An author has has only one intended meaning.”  

    That may or may not be true, but it’s irrelevant to what I said.  

  • The DOL had not thing to say about slavery, since its authors was a slave owner and obviously did not mean what he said about all men being born equal. In addition, he edited the Bible to eliminate any reference to Christ as a miracle worker or to his divinity. He viewed Christ as a moral sage, that’s it, making him hardly a Christian (when did Christians get the right to edit the Bible for irrationality?). Look up the Jefferson Bible. The DOL is a racist document, if you read it through and get to the part about Native Americans. The DOL has no legal standing in the USA.

  • So you’re saying that Democrats hated the CIvil Rights Act, signed by a DEmocrat President.? R are you saying that the racist Democrats, now solidly Repyblican and right wing, hated the DOL? Don’t be so quick to throw arounf the wrod ignorant or libera; in light of your innocently or deliberately deceptive post.

  • DoI is not a racist document because it doesn’t state one race is superior. It states “all men are created equal”. The DoI states the king of England was training and arming native Americans to massacre civilian colonists women, children, elderly, sick etc. That’s a statement of fact not racism.

  • The Supreme Court had ruled that it is constitutional to own slaves, put Americans of Japanese descent into internment camps, make Jim Crow laws, all by ignoring the DoI. The DoI is the foundation for our laws.

  • I don’t care about your question. I only care that I’m correct that — in fact! — there are disagreements as to the meaning of the Constitution. My evidence … among many other things I could have offered … is that even the nine Supreme Court justices do not agree on it.  

    Nothing you ask me can ever magically change that, so no question you ask will ever have any bearing on this discussion.  

  • Obama never said, God bless America. And the minister of religion he listened to said in effect that God should curse America. Oh, don’t forgot how Hillary cursed the unborn with a death sentence, proclaiming that they are really aren’t persons, so go ahead and kill them. so speak the left. Obama supported abortion.

  • The Jewish people as a whole will be its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races…and by the establishment of a world republic in which everywhere the Jews will exercise the privilege of citizenship. In this New World Order the Children of Israel…will furnish all the leaders without encountering opposition…” – Karl Marx in a letter to Baruch Levy, Reprinted in the Review de Paris, June 1, 1928

    Communism is Jewish invention, Communism’s roots are entirely Jewish. Karl Marx was ancestrally Jewish; his maternal grandfather was a Dutch rabbi, while his paternal line had supplied Trier’s rabbis since 1723, a role taken by his grandfather Meier Halevi Marx. Contemporary Zionist leaders venerate Moses Hess as the “forerunner” of modern Zionism.

    Moses Hess taught Karl Marx many of the principles of Communism. In The Encyclopedia of Zionism in Israel, under the entry for Moses Hess, is the following: Pioneer of modern socialism, social philosopher, and forerunner of Zionism…. Hess was thus a forerunner of political and cultural Zionism and of socialist Zionism in particular. He became deeply involved in the rising socialist movement. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels acknowledged that they had learned much from him during the formative years of the movement. — [The Encyclopedia of Zionism in Israel. (1971). New York: Herzl Press/McGraw-Hill. p.496-497.]

  • The Jewish people as a whole will be its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races…and by the establishment of a world republic in which everywhere the Jews will exercise the privilege of citizenship. In this New World Order the Children of Israel…will furnish all the leaders without encountering opposition…” – Karl Marx in a letter to Baruch Levy, Reprinted in the Review de Paris, June 1, 1928

    http://www.jta.org/1962/01/04/archive/ben-gurion-foresees-gradual-democratization-of-the-soviet-union
    “In Jerusalem, the United Nations (a truly United Nations) will build a Shrine of the Prophets to serve the federated union of all continents; this will be the seat of the Supreme Court of Mankind.” ~ (David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, Look magazine, 1962).

    “federated union of all continents” — A very clear description of globalist union, global order!
    “this will be the seat of the Supreme Court of Mankind.” — pretty clear that this is where the “federated union of all continents” will be governed from, the seat of the Antichrist.
    “Jerusalem” — So we know the city where this “Supreme Court of Mankind,” i.e. the central government overseeing the “federated union of all continents” will be based.

  • Don’t you think you should go and crawl back under your rock? The real world is too frightening for you.

  • Speaking of racism, the views of former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Ovadiah Yosef, were republished by the official Jewish Telegraphic Agency http://www.jta.org/2010/10/18/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/sephardi-leader-yosef-non-jews-exist-to-serve-jews
    ♦ “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel.”
    ♦ “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat,” he said to laughter during a weekly sermon.
    ♦ “With gentiles, it will l be like any person: They need to die, but God will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant. That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-cheif-rabbi-black-people-monkeys-yitzhak-yosef-talmud-sephardic-a8267666.html
    One of Israel’s chief rabbis, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, called black people “monkeys” during his weekly sermon. During his weekly sermon, the rabbi used a derogatory Hebrew term for a black person, before going on to call a black person a “monkey,” according to footage published by the Ynet news site.

  • Yascha Mounk, is a German born (Jewish) Lecturer on Political Theory at Harvard University’s Government Department, who was interviewed on German state run TV about why “evil right wing populists” are on the rise in Germany and Europe.

    Yascha Mounk gives three reasons and either intentionally or accidentally admits, quote: “We’re trying a historically unique experiment: Transforming a mono-ethnic, mono-cultural society into a multi-ethnic one.”

    WATCH: Harvard Elite Insider Yascha Mounk Admits Turning European Countries Multi-Ethnic Is An Experiment. https://youtu.be/_4EZpUb9CJU

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