HOW CHRISTIANITY MADE AMERICA WHAT IT WAS

bibleDoes a Conservative have to be a Christian? No. Does an American have to believe that America is a Christian nation? No. But if one understands the importance of the contributions that Bible-believing Christians made to America, it is easier to be a Conservative Republican who loves America.

So let’s consider what is so special about what Christians believe. What is the core idea of Christianity? Jesus redeemed us.

  • We cannot save ourselves.
  • Because He loves us Jesus paid the price for our sins.

How did Jesus redeem us? In obedience to God, He became our high priest (Hebrews 5:1-10). He lived as a man (Philippians 2:6-11), sacrificed Himself on cross (Mark 15), and He rose from the dead (John 20).

We have little conception of the price Jesus paid for our redemption. Consider how this line mystifies us.

Hebrews 5:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

Jesus is God! What could He have learned? Yet as He died He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). What was it like for the Son, who had been with the Father for an eternity to suddenly be separated from the Father by the burden of our sin? Our sin. Was this the price Jesus paid for His obedience? And He paid it out of love? For us? Sinners? Why?

Christianity teaches that all men are brothers, that we are all God’s children, that we belong to Him. Thus He gives our rights. And that we must allow nothing — nothing — to come between us and our love and obedience to God. Anything that comes between us and God is an idol. Forbidden.  Thus, as Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense (see ONE OF THE SINS OF THE JEWS), when they asked for a king, the Jews displeased God. Here is what God told Samuel.

1 Samuel 8:6-9 English Standard Version (ESV)

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

And warn them is what Samuel did, but the Jews, wanting to be like other nations (sort of like Americans wanting to be like the socialists in Europe) still demanded a king. So to their sorrow, God gave them a king.

Bible believing Christians, the Americans who founded this nation had little desire to idolize government. They wanted no king. They wanted no more government than necessary. What they wanted was a government that protected the rights of their families, friends, and neighbors. And because they understood that they were Christians and Jesus had not ordained any particular type of government for Christians, they knew their government would be one of their own invention. So the Constitution does not mention God or affirm that it is of God. Instead, they prayed for His guidance. And when they felt He had given it, they humbly thanked Him for His Divine Providence.  For example, as George Washington neared the end of his 4th State of the Union message he offered the Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives these words.

The results of your common deliberations hitherto will, I trust, be productive of solid and durable advantages to our constituents, such as, by conciliating more and more their ultimate suffrage, will tend to strengthen and confirm their attachment to that Constitution of Government upon which, under Divine Providence, materially depend their union, their safety, and their happiness. (from here)

For a better explanation of what George Washington, the man who presided over the Constitutional Convention, thought about God, see George Washington, Proclamation: A National Thanksgiving.  Washington made it quite clear that he thought we should “unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations.”

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I am just an average citizen interested in promoting informed participation in the political process.
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29 Responses to HOW CHRISTIANITY MADE AMERICA WHAT IT WAS

  1. Gunny G says:

    Reblogged this on CLINGERS… BLOGGING BAD ~ DICK.G: AMERICAN ! and commented:
    GyG!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. scout says:

    Would it also be easier to be a liberal Democrat who loves America if one understood the contributions that Bible-believing Christians made to America?

    A somewhat related question that I’ve asked before here, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard an answer, is whether, in your view, it is possible for a liberal Democrat simultaneously to be a Christian.

    • From what you say, you are an example of one. At least for the second question.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    • Citizen Tom says:

      It occurs to me that your comments don’t refute this post. Instead, they suggest I am trying to judge people. Doesn’t that put you in the position of judging me as judgmental?

      Are there things the Democratic Party promotes that I consider sinful. Yes. As a Christian, I oppose sin, not sinners. Vengeance I leave to the Lord.

      Read Matthew 13:24-30, Matthew 13:36-43, and Matthew 25:31-46 . I am not the Son of Man. I am not Jesus. I want to live as the Bible says we should, and I encourage others to do the same, but God is God. I am not. Jesus will separate the grain from the weeds. Jesus will separate the goats from the sheep.

      1 Corinthians 4:5 English Standard Version (ESV)
      5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

      • scout says:

        I wasn’t trying “to refute” your post. It has a lot of interesting content. My question was whether you believe that a liberal Democrat could simultaneously be a Christian. (This followed my question as to whether understanding the contribution of Bible-believing Christians made to America would also assist liberal Democrats who love America – I still would be interested in your views on that).

        I’m not sure what question your reply addressed, but it doesn’t appear to be mine. Perhaps there is some degree of responsiveness in your comment that “Vengeance I leave to the Lord”, following your statement that the Democratic Party promotes things you consider sinful. Are you saying that you believe Divine Vengeance will be a possible response to political positions of Democrats in America? Are there things that the Republican Party promotes that you believe might also be targets of Divine Vengeance?

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Proverbs 21:2 English Standard Version (ESV)

          Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
          but the Lord weighs the heart

          Why don’t you consider how this shoe fits upon your own foot? Just as the Democratic Party has resolutely advocated redistributing the wealth (stealing), abortion (murder), same-sex “marriage” (fornication), many years ago that Party advanced the cause of slavery and latter the Jim Crow laws. Given you have stated an abhorrence for slavery, I too am curious. Was it possible for a Democrat to simultaneously to be a Christian and advocate slavery?

          As for me, I cannot be certain of the answer. I have no way of weighing another person’s heart; I can only conjecture as to whether someone be a Christian acceptable to God and still own slaves. So I will leave the task of judging souls to our Maker. I have enough trouble deciding how to do the right thing the right reason.

          http://citizentom.com/2010/04/14/our-fill-in-the-blank-constitution/

        • scout says:

          It appears the structure of your site won’t let me respond below your last comment, so I’ll insert this above it.

          My “own foot”, Tom? I am neither a slaveowner nor a Democrat. So I can’t speak for 19th Century Democrats. At that time there were also Whigs who owned slaves (see, e.g., Henry Clay – it’s possible that there may even have been some early Republicans who owned slaves, but that would have been an outlier, given the considerable abolitionist component of the early Party and its regional anchor in the Northwest Territories) . And, as you say, the Democratic Party in the South was a champion of segregation and Jim Crow. The more hardened elements of that segment of the Democratic Party became the Dixiecrats, many of whom ultimately migrated to the Republican Party, oddly enough (see, e.g., Strom Thurmond) and we have been remiss in not repudiated their presence among us. My personal view is that slaveowners, segregationists, champions of Jim Crow, were out of touch with some of the central messages of the New Testament, although slavery was an established fact in the time of Jesus and the early Church, and there are passages in scripture that appear to indicate acceptance of slavery, while making the point that the status of slavery in the secular world has no bearing on the redemptive power of the Gospels as they relate to the next world. Many of the advocates of slavery and segregation based their advocacy on their interpretation of both old and New Testament writings and certainly considered themselves to be Christians.

          But my question to you related to present-day “liberal” Democrats. Obviously, within any political party, there are people who live at varying distances from God, but I strongly suspect that the issues that control the degree of those distances have little to do with contemporary secular politics. I know many liberal Democrats who are pillars of strong Christian worship communities and who do tremendous work in Jesus’s name for the less fortunate among us. When I read some of your posts, I often get the impression that you view Christianity as a secular political movement and assess the elements of Christian belief to align rather tidily with your view of “Conservative” secular policy determinations. Hence my question. I accept that you do not care to answer it, so I will drop it for now.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          And, as you say, the Democratic Party in the South was a champion of segregation and Jim Crow. The more hardened elements of that segment of the Democratic Party became the Dixiecrats, many of whom ultimately migrated to the Republican Party, oddly enough (see, e.g., Strom Thurmond) and we have been remiss in not repudiated their presence among us.

          What hogwash! It would fun to see Keith chew on that one. I suppose you never heard of Senator Byrd.

          For the most part Southern Democrats left the Democratic Party because they don’t support big government or the racism that attends policies such as affirmative action. Regardless of which part of the country they come, you will find relatively few Republicans who support race-based programs, but you will find Democrats. It has taken a different form, but that party’s racism persists.

          Anyway, instead of answering my question, similar in nature to your own, you prevaricated. Whereas, I stated I am not equipped to answer such a question. And if I did answer your question, you would be all over me because you know I have no business trying to answer it. That suggests why you did not admit you have no business answering my question. You still want me to answer your question.

          So here is a another question for you. When we don’t like the message, is shooting the messenger the appropriate response? You just have find a lame excuse, right?

  3. scout says:

    Poor reading skills, again, Keith. I’m a Republican and a traditional conservative (although I have previously expressed my concern that many of the New Age “conservatives” that seem to be emerging these days have very little depth to their political philosophy and are more like crowd scene extras for the shallowness of cable and radio media). I also am a Christian (so I can give you partial credit, I guess). But I take your answer to mean that you believe that it is possible for someone to be a liberal Democrat and a Christian simultaneously. I agree with you on that. I’m not sure Tom feels the same way, given the tenor of some of his posts. I also believe that you have previously stated that you come to this discussion from the viewpoint of a non-religious participant. That doesn’t mean that your opinion is without value, but I actually was posing the question from a more “inside Christianity” angle.

    • It doesn’t matter to me how you are officially registered for party affiliation. Chuck Hagel, fierce warrior for the left and longtime public disdainer of America, is a registered Republican. You are a continual campaigner for liberal/Democrat causes by adopting a pose and attacking from within. Not that you’re effective at it, but that’s not the issue before us.

      You use “traditional conservative” very carefully, as a synonym for liberal, and it is clear (even from your most recent comment) that you consider your position opposed to limited-government conservatives like myself and like Citizen Tom.

      I have accepted arguendo your statement that you are a Christian.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      • scout says:

        Interesting comment, Keith. However, I am not touting my registration. In the state where I live, we do not have party registration. I was basing my assumption that I am a Conservative Republican on my life experience of having come from a founding Republican family, a family of LIncoln-ites and Unionists, of soldiers and abolitionists, of civil rights activists, and on having worked on the campaigns and/or financially supported Republican candidates for President in 1964, 1968, 1972 (I probably should take that one back, but the alternative was worse), 1976, 1980, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2008 and 2012. (You’ll note that there are some gaps there. The one in 1984 was simply because, having gone back into government service in the first term of the Reagan Administration, I had just left for private practice and was building up my business. I supported McCain in 2000 and wasn’t ready to go back into the fray for the general election. I sat out 2004 because I considered Iraq to be a complete squandering of American treasure, blood and power at a critical time in the history of Western civilization). I also have been active in Republican politics since 1962 in my birth state and then, after 1970, in my current home state. Had I realized that these activities were, to use your words, evidence of my being a “continual campaigner for liberal/Democrat causes” I would have repented of them. I just didn’t have the benefit of your wisdom and insight at the time. I guess, had I realized the error of my ways, as illuminated by you in the comment, I would have supported Carter, apparently the Conservative Republican candidate (what did I know in my feckless youth?) in 1980, an election that, until a few minutes ago, I regarded as the high point in my life of political involvement. At least I had 34 years of happiness before you woke me up. I have never missed a Republican primary at the state level, never given a dime to a Democrat, but, now, based on your superior awareness, I find that all this time, I have been working for the DNC without realizing it. I guess you’re in a better position than I to make these judgments, since you have not lived my life, don’t know me, apparently live a few thousand miles away, and can base your judgements on your frequently defective reading of blogs. O tempora, O mores.

        PS: Chuck Hagel is someone else. But I value his service to the country, in uniform and out.

      • Citizen Tom says:

        Arguendo. Never heard that one before, but I like it.

        And you are right about Hagel.

  4. Rob Barkman says:

    I really appreciate this posting Tom. Very well explained.

    Just once, I would love to see a congressman stand up and say that, before they take a vote, they should stop and pray for the Lord’s leadership.

    Sadly, I do not see that attitude in ANY conservative or liberal politician currently serving in office.

    Many talk a big talk about being Christians and standing for what Christians believe, but not once have they taken the time to publicly ask their colleagues to seek God’s will before a vote.

    Sad state of affairs, that is for sure. It just shows how far our nation has fallen from the days of our founders.

    Lord bless you Tom.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Thank you for the compliment. I really appreciate it.

      I am a afraid you right about our modern crop of leaders. Why are they like that? Unfortunately, too few people are doing what you do, instructing people in the Word of God. Thus, when we encounter any opposition to living our Christian values, we have three problems.
      1. We know too little about the Bible to have confidence in it.
      2. We don’t know what living as a Christian means.
      3. We too much fear the trials that must come our way. We don’t even know enough to ask our Lord for wisdom to endure what we will suffer if we live as Christians.

      Thus, I hope the Lord will bless your ministry and help it to grow.

  5. “Does an American have to believe that America is a Christian nation? No”

    It depends on how you define Christian nation. If it means a majority of the people from its founding through today were and are professing Christians, there is no issue of belief. It is an empirical fact. Likewise, if you wish to trace the lineage of ideas, by using the written words of documents, from the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and legal codes – until the 1920s in some cases and 1960s in some others, or judicial opinions until the 1930s, you can lay out, and prove empirically, the Christian ideas embedded in the American documents. No has to believe that they are facts. If someone choses to be willfully ignorant by believing something else, then they are free to believe whatever folly they like.

    The crowning achievement of our Founding Fathers was to put the structure of government for the Rule of Law in a written constitution. The next greatest thing was their insistence on moving the Sovereign of the Nation from Parliament to We, The People. Their English ancestors fought and won to make the Rule of Law through the Parliament greater than any king in the long, bloody 1600s. Thank the Lord for our Mother Country.

  6. scout says:

    Tom re your comment at 2059 hours: Is it hogwash that StromThurmond was a Dixiecrat and became a Republican? I don’t think Keith would dispute that. You might want to pull out an almanac on that. Take a look at 1948, if it helps you to narrow it down a bit. As for Senator Byrd (I assume you mean robert of WVA, not Harry of VA, but both would be of roughly the same stripe in some relevant respects), I have not repudiated his presence in the Republican Party because he was a Democrat. You can look that up, too.

    My response to your question was at least as direct as yours to mine. You were the one who led this off by saying that being aware of the contributions of Bible-believing Christians made it “easier” to be a “conservative” who loves America. My curiosity as to whether you believed other folks who love America might also benefit from an appreciation of the contributions the early patriots seems a normal outgrowth of that statement. You might have saved some e-ink if you could have summoned up a simple “yes” answer to that question.

    I suppose, if you want to force the issue, that it was possible for slaveholders to consider themselves “Christians” in the 19th Century. Many did. There is no direct condemnation or prohibition of chattel slavery in the Bible, although the New Testament makes clear that the Good News, which is not of this World, cuts across all class and ethnic lines. Slavery seems to have been an accepted state of affairs in references in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. MId-19th Century American literature on the subject of slavery is rife with examples of professing Christians being on both sides of that issue, each side armed with arguments and citations to Scripture. However, I do not think there are many (perhaps not any) professing Christians today, of any secular political persuasion, who regard slavery as compatible with the inherent liberating message of the Gospels.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      The Democratic Party has gone from one extreme to another. Racism in favor of minorities is just as wrong as racism against minorities. And the odd thing is with Democrats in power minorities never seem to get anywhere. Under slavery Democrats condemned blacks by reason of their skin color to forced labor. Under affirmative action and the welfare state, Democrats have made minorities government dependents.

      Anyway, according to these references you have your history wrong. Supposedly, most Dixiecrats returned to the Democratic Party.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixiecrat

      http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1751.html

      Are the references right? I don’t know. I do know Strom Thurmond insisted he wasn’t a racist. Whether Thurmond was a racist or not, two wrongs don’t make a right. When Congress started interfering with private businesses to force integration, it exceeded its Constitutional authority. We have a Constitutional right, even if we are stupid about it, to choose our own company.

      As to your curiosity. I hope others besides Conservative Republicans benefit from this post, but that issue has almost nothing to do with your questions. Here is how you originally phrased your questions.

      Would it also be easier to be a liberal Democrat who loves America if one understood the contributions that Bible-believing Christians made to America?

      A somewhat related question that I’ve asked before here, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard an answer, is whether, in your view, it is possible for a liberal Democrat simultaneously to be a Christian.

      The first question I thought nonsense. Liberal Democrats generally deny the Christian origins of our nation. Liberal Democrats by definition favor big government. When a Conservative argues for limited government, Liberal Democrats experience a knee-jerk reaction. “Conservatives hate government.” Therefore, any Liberal Democrat who agreed with my post would have to experience a change of heart. He would no longer be a Liberal Democrat.

      The second question I answered by saying I don’t know. The Bible says deciding such a thing is God’s job.

      Consider your own answer. You didn’t. You equivocated. Consider the ending of your comment above.

      However, I do not think there are many (perhaps not any) professing Christians today, of any secular political persuasion, who regard slavery as compatible with the inherent liberating message of the Gospels.

      We live in a nation where political correctness is now in vogue. Our free speech laws cover pornography, but when someone admits supporting segregation in a private conversation we persecute the man. Therefore, people only admit politically correct racism. Affirmative action is politically correct, but slavery is not. Thus, I believe we still have Christians and others who don’t have a problem with slavery, but they will not speak out about their views.

  7. Pingback: HOW CHRISTIANITY MADE AMERICA WHAT IT WAS | Citizen Tom | Christians Following Jesus

  8. scout says:

    Slavery existed in this country long before the Democratic Party did, Tom. (in fact, it existed in this country long before this country was this country). It’s a bit embarrassing to see someone try to make slavery a product of one or the other of the modern political parties. We Republicans have clean hands because our Party post-dated slavery and was, in significant part, founded by elements that wished either to abolish it or, at least in the short term, contain it geographically. Obviously, slaveholders voted overwhelmingly D in the 1860 election, and the Ds were the Party of Jim Crow up until the mid to late 1960s. That’s not what we’re arguing about here. Political attitudes toward slavery were as much shaped by regional differences as by party affiliation. Elements of the Democratic Party through most of the Twentieth Century were quite aggressive on Civil Rights issues (Truman’s integration of the Armed Forces was a fomenting cause of the break-off of the States Rights (Dixiecrat) Party. By the 1970s, our Party had become willingly infested with a lot of people who had been sympathetic with the Dixiecrats, who had taken anti-Civil Rights legislation positions, and one rarely saw or heard anyone within the Party try to shoo those people out. Trent Lott’s laudatory remarks re Strom Thurmond’s failed run for President are a clear example of the extent of inroads of the Dixiecrats into the thought processes of a considerable portion of the Republican Party. (BTW, I’m sure that Strom’s stating that he did not consider himself a racist was a not uncommonly held public view of many racists). I heard a lot of “i’m not a racist, but . . . .” statements in the 1960s. Often the “. . . .” part was pretty blatantly racist.

    I know a lot of liberal Democrats who are more than happy to acknowledge that Christianity was the predominant religion in the early days of the country. I don’t think they would have to change their views to agree with an emendation of your post to read “if one understands the importance of contributions of Bible-believing Christians to America, it is easier to be citizen who loves America.” The substitution of the word “citizen” leaves the thrust of your premise intact, without the implication that only your brand of “conservative” benefits from that awareness.

    I have real problems with affirmative action. I believe, as apparently you do, that most AA programs are flawed in that they are premised on race as an arbitrary de-equalizer in selection processes. However, unlike you, I don’t equate AA with slavery and I don’t think people who support AA to be advocates of chattel slavery. I find that position extreme and one that makes its holders seem silly. It trivializes the evils of both slavery and endemic racism in the society. The problems attempted to be addressed by affirmative action are very real, are the result of centuries of evil, and must be addressed if America is to fulfill the promise of its founding principles. The difficulty is that Affirmative Action, at least as frequently practiced in the past several decades, is a crude, flawed, and ultimately not particularly effective remedy to the cascade effects of legalized slavery, institutional racism (segregation and Jim Crow) and pervasive and residual personal racism. As Chief Justice Roberts has said very simply and effectively, (I paraphrase): The way to stop discrimination based on race is to stop discriminating based on race. Affirmative Action is an easy, cosmetic, politically attractive (in some quarters) fix to something that is far more deeply rooted in our society that entrance quotas and arbitrary race or ethnic preferences can solve.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Did anyone argue the Democratic Party invented slavery? No. Nonetheless, the Democratic Party has supported slavery for a long time, and even today that party practices racism. Their policies are raced based. In fact, not satisfied with being mere racists, the Democratic Party seems to create as many protected classes as it can manage.

      Did anyone argue the Republican Party is filled with saints? It is filled with very fallible people and lead by undependable politicians. However, the Republican Party tends to promote limited government more often than the Democratic Party. Hence, the Republican Party is a more reliable protector of liberty. Hence, since you claim to be both a Conservative and a Republican, it is odd you spend more time attacking Republicans than Democrats.

      Did anyone equate slavery with affirmative action? No. Even Cliven Bundy did not do that. The point is both slavery and affirmative action and threats to liberty. To make affirmative action work requires our government to assume powers the Constitution does not grant. Unless we protect our constitutional republic, we risk tyranny. The resumption of full-blown tyranny would lead to a return of slavery.

      As you said, slavery is an old institution, and racism is probably almost as old as sin. Because men always want to sin, they always want an excuse to sin. Racism is just one of many old excuses.

      Anyway, given all the peculiar assertions it started with, your comment ended on a surprisingly agreeable note. I just wish we could depend upon Roberts to vote as a Conservative. We could decades (assuming we ever manage to undo it) getting rid Obamacare.

      • scout says:

        I try to balance out some of the more over-the-top utterances that wander around with all too little pushback in the Republican Party today because it is my Party and I find some of the rhetoric to be harmful to the Party, an embarrassment to the utterers, and worry a bit that outsiders who hear this kind of thing might think it typical or representative of the Republican Party. The reason I don’t spend much time with the Democrats is that I don’t expect much from them and don’t feel I, as an outsider, have much to contribute to their internal issues. It is important that the Republican Party have an ethos that makes it clear that this is the Party of Lincoln and TR, and that loose thinking, Chicken Little exaggeration, neo-Calhounists, and latter day throwbacks to the worst features pre-1970s South have absolutely no place in the Party.

        The Dems have to deal with their own problems. It’s all I can do to offer some balance in a few R spaces.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          When your “balance” clearly suggests I said something I did not, that’s not honest. Are you so determined to a provide balance to loose thinking, Chicken Little exaggeration, neo-Calhounists, and latter day throwbacks to the worst features pre-1970s South that you have to pretend I am guilty of such things? If that’s the case, when Keith says you are lying, how can you disagree? More pretending?

          Frankly, I think you need to take a break until you get your head screwed back on.

    • Perhaps I owe you some thanks, scout. Your ridiculous statements annoyed me enough to drag me out of the funk I was in when my wife suddenly died of a heart attack just one month ago. Annoyance at your antics got me involved again, as it did here to help me recover from a recent health crisis that had me in the hospital a couple of hours from death last week. Your positions and pretenses have animated me.

      As is your standard practice, you “respond” to issues no one raised, to distract from the issues under discussion which you don’t want to touch.

      Slavery existed in this country long before the Democratic Party did, Tom.

      No one suggested that it did not, nor did anyone suggest that Democrats invented slavery. You knew that.

      … (in fact, it existed in this country long before this country was this country).

      Of course. Though the United States only got about 5% of the slaves out of Africa, and was an early leader in pushing for the abolition of slavery (inspiring the UK, which actually completed the process before we did), slavery existed before the US of course. And it remained legal in Brazil for many years after it was abolished in the US, and is still practiced elsewhere in the world today, mostly the Middle East and Africa. (More on that later.) But you’ve only brought this up to keep from admitting the real issue:

      It’s a bit embarrassing to see someone try to make slavery a product of one or the other of the modern political parties.

      Of course it’s embarrassing for you, as you’ve assigned yourself the task of defending progressives and Democrats as you are doing here. But the reality is that the Democrat Party vehemently defended slavery for decades, since its inception, both in the North and the South, and it became their major cause and ultimately resulted in the near-destruction (and the accomplished division) of the United States. Democrats did not invent slavery, but the Democrat party could almost be said to have been invented by slavery from before Andrew Jackson’s time.

      We Republicans have clean hands because our Party post-dated slavery

      Here you’re just simply lying. You’re usually more careful about your lies, clothing them in fuzzier language to mislead without being so obvious about it. Post-dated slavery? The party that came about to put an end to it? You would take credit away from the Republicans at the same time you downplay the utter evil of Democrat actions. The other interpretation of your “clean hands” nonsense, that the Republican Party began after slavery was established, won’t fly — because you had just used that exact point regarding the Democrats. Would you give the Democrat party “clean hands” regarding slavery after their decades of defense and preservation of this inhuman practice? Nonsense.

      … and was, in significant part, founded by elements that wished either to abolish it or, at least in the short term, contain it geographically.

      The geographic containment was long established by Whigs and others prior to the creation of the Republican Party in 1854. Major compromises go back to 1820, not even counting the three-fifths business that kept the South from being represented based on 100% of their head-count (including slaves) as they had demanded. But, specifically, the geographic containment you mentioned was in the bills that made up the Missouri Compromise of 1820. This was undone, later, by Democrat Stephen Douglas in 1854 (later debate opponent of Lincoln, and elected pro-slavery Senator of the Northern state of Illinois. The the Dred Scott decision later declared the Missouri Compromise “unconstitutional.”

      Republicans wanted slavery gone. Democrats just wanted slavery.

      Obviously, slaveholders voted overwhelmingly D in the 1860 election,

      Because they were Democrats, and had been Democrats all their lives. You continue to dance around this. The Democrats created the KKK to hunt down and intimidate or kill Republicans in the South, blacks and whites. And to go after Catholics, whom they also hated.

      and the Ds were the Party of Jim Crow up until the mid to late 1960s. That’s not what we’re arguing about here.

      It is what you are arguing about, bringing up points as if they had been disputed such as challenging Citizen Tom’s assertion that the Democrats created slavery — an assertion he never made nor implied nor even obliquely hinted at.

      Political attitudes toward slavery were as much shaped by regional differences as by party affiliation.

      Right. Democrats in the South supported slavery. Democrats in the North supported slavery in the South, though there were relatively few of them to do so. Republicans in the North and in the South opposed slavery. This is your notion of regional differences.

      By 1854, Democrats North and South controlled two branches of government, which meant that the slavery faction controlled those branches. Hence the Illinois Douglas-triggered events of 1854, the reaction of which led to the immediate creation of the Republican party you now pretend to “support.” Perhaps you did what you said in younger days (I can see your history getting more leftward in 2000), but your statements now are very clear as to your current thinking.

      Elements of the Democratic Party through most of the Twentieth Century were quite aggressive on Civil Rights issues

      Indeed they were, opposing them fiercely until quite recently, when the political capital of purchased dependency became evident. Hence our Democrat president saying in the 1960s, “I’ll have those niggers voting Democrat for for the next two hundred years.” This quote corresponds well with Johnson’s frequent demonstrations of mastery though name-calling over his black servants. Blacks sensed that Johnson was not honestly on their side — and they launched city-wide riots across the country, to which Johnson responded with tanks and troops.

      (Truman’s integration of the Armed Forces was a fomenting cause of the break-off of the States Rights (Dixiecrat) Party.

      His Executive Order did not do this, though it eventually led to integration — finally undoing the damage done by the segregation of Democrat Woodrow Wilson. But Truman was forced into this because of civil disobedience, and he in essence continued a process started by FDR seven years earlier — and in both cases, these presidents were comforted somewhat by the notion that the rights of blacks had become a socialist cause. The prime mover, Randolph, who pushed both of these executive orders, was a nationally famous black socialist.

      By the 1970s, our Party had become willingly infested with a lot of people who had been sympathetic with the Dixiecrats,

      But in many cases no longer were. You focused on Strom Thurmond, but fail to mention that he was a major figure in ending the practice of lynching, and probably did more for the education of blacks in the South than any other political figure but Lincoln himself. Thurmond’s opposition to government intrusion in 1948 is called simply racism, but he was already acting to help blacks by that time, and history has re-written him as evil simply because he became a Republican and the media and other leftists could get away with it.

      who had taken anti-Civil Rights legislation positions, and one rarely saw or heard anyone within the Party try to shoo those people out. Trent Lott’s laudatory remarks re Strom Thurmond’s failed run for President are a clear example of the extent of inroads of the Dixiecrats into the thought processes of a considerable portion of the Republican Party.

      Which demonstrates your asinine interpretation only. This birthday party honoring the old man included many laudatory comments, for Thurmond’s lifetime of excellent work and service to his country — just as his presidential candidacy involved much more than the so-oft-quoted speech snippet against the federal government’s forced integration. Most of his speeches focused on the vital need to preserve the Constitution, and the threat to it by the implementation of Federal powers over the states. He was correct in this.

      (BTW, I’m sure that Strom’s stating that he did not consider himself a racist was a not uncommonly held public view of many racists).

      Thurmond was NOT a racist. You might not be aware that the year before his 1948 speech, he had received awards from both the NAACP and the ACLU for his championing the cause of black advancement and rights in the South, and both groups publicly lauded Strom Thurmond as a “progressive” Southern politician. You’ve simply been programmed by the media to think otherwise.

      I heard a lot of “i’m not a racist, but . . . .” statements in the 1960s. Often the “. . . .” part was pretty blatantly racist.

      Thurmond’s lifelong record demonstrates the truth of his statement. Democrats these days rarely even pretend; even though Democrat Sterling did use the “I’m not a racist” line, most of them — the Sharptons and Jacksons and Obamas and so on, simply spew racial hate and make no apology for it. They mix it in with class hatred, which is very much politically correct these days.

      Thurmond left the Democrats and racists behind. Byrd, mentioned by Citizen Tom, was the KKK member who was still talking on national television about “niggers” in the 21st century (forgiven, of course, because he was a Democrat). You would “shoo out” Thurmond from the Republican party because you have been trained by a Democrat-favoring media to hate him. Let me remind you of the reality of the time, from this article about South Carolina’s last lynching. Why was Willie Earle’s barbarous death the last lynching in that state? Because of one man, its governor, Strom Thurmond:

      News of Earle’s death brought a key South Carolina political figure into the story.

      Shannon said Strom Thurmond’s effort to enforce the law against white men accused of murdering a black man was unfounded among governors in the Southern states. [Thurmond] immediately issued a statement against lynching and ordered state law enforcement to Greenville.

      Federal interest in the case soon followed, with FBI agents investigating.

      Thirty-one suspects were arrested in connection with Earle’s death. The trial drew reporters throughout the United States, as well as family and friends of the suspects and Greenville’s black community. Events surrounding the trial made Earle’s possible guilt in the Brown trial a moot point to law enforcers, Shannon said.
      * * *
      Despite contemporary incidents reflecting past crimes, Shannon said the Earle trial marked progress in the south. Thurmond’s call for action had an effect on the South Carolina criminal landscape, according to Shannon, who said the 1947 murder was the last recorded lynching in South Carolina history.

      Thurmond was already a Republican at heart in many respects, even then, though it took him a long time to join that party. He had been disgusted with Republicans (like you claim to be) joining the Democrats (as you clearly are doing) in eating away at individual and state rights in favor of an all-powerful federal government.

      But all of this leaves you with the Democrat party you defend having supported, sustained, and literally fought a war to maintain the practice of slavery. Not just “Jim Crow laws,” not just segregation, but slavery itself. You’ve ducked saying this, in various “clever” ways, while choosing to tar Republicans with slights that arise from leftist hatred.

      You’ve also continually represented that Citizen Tom’s references to modern bondage are complaints about affirmative action. That is not what he has said at all. Certainly affirmative action is wrong (though you’re right in there with the leftist “we must atone for centuries of evil” nonsense), but this is not what his “voting for” comments were about.

      Nor were they a mistaken idea that 1860s style Democrat-enforced slavery still exists in the US, as you’ve suggested (minus the Democrat reference, of course). Certainly such slavery does still exist, but not to any extent in the US. National Geographic stated:

      There are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The modern commerce in humans rivals illegal drug trafficking in its global reach—and in the destruction of lives.

      They estimated 27 million slaves in 2003.

      But nearly as bad as this, tragic in its own way, and Citizen Tom’s focus, is the practice of convincing people to trade away their freedom for a life of dependency, even to the point of getting them to vote for this result. It was this effect, the emasculation of millions of blacks in the US (and other populations now as well) that he pointed to, as did I.

      You continue to pretend to misunderstand this, which makes you look terribly stupid. But I have come to know your recent work at some length, and I am prepared to bet that your duplicity is larger than your stupidity. And you’ve coupled your “misunderstanding” with defenses of “redistribution of wealth,” the Marxist phrase for warring upon free enterprise and making dependents with the spoils.

      Taxation to support Constitutionally supported acts is good and proper. Taxation to merely take from one and give to another to buy votes is not only unconstitutional, it is an odious practice that arose more than a century after our founding, and was and is supported by progressive leftists … and you, of course.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      • Citizen Tom says:

        What a comment!

        Given Strom Thurmond’s background, is it not odd that Trent Lott, the Senator Minority Leader, could not withstand the uproar in the corporate news media following his praise of Thurmond. It seemed as if Lott was afraid oppose the news media. Nevertheless, the facts were on his side.

      • scout says:

        Keith – Sorry to hear about your recent loss and health problems. I trust your health improves and that you find the strength to cope with the loss of your wife.

        I read your long comment and find little material factual statement with which I would disagree. I take your point that my sentence about the Republican Party “post-dating” slavery was poorly worded and ambiguous. I was trying to convey (and I think the context was clear) that the Party came into existence after the institution was well-established, and its identifying principle (although not its only purpose) was to contain and ultimately abolish slavery (although there were tactical differences among its prime movers as to how that should be accomplished – I know a fair amount about this because some of my relatives were active in the Free Soil movement, one of the elements around which the Party congealed). I was trying to say that, while, for all I know, there may have been the odd Republican that owned a slave, the Party gets a pass on America’s history with slavery because it was, as part of its central formative purpose, and anti-slavery Political Party. Hence the dramatic reaction in the South to Lincoln’s election in 1860.

        (BTW, I find your tendency to deem people “liars” when they say something with which you disagree, or when they phrase something inartfully, an unfortunate trait. It must make your world a very uncomfortable place. If I became a liar every time I write a sentence that I could write more clearly, my reputation would have gone to hell quite a long time ago, and I would not have had the success I have had in my profession. I grew up at a time when “liar” and “to lie” had an altogether different meaning. I think people of my generation understood the word much better than you).

        I guess my over-arching disagreement with Tom and with you is that I think it a bit silly at this remove to harp on the historic association of the Democratic Party with chattel slavery and Jim Crow. It’s an historical fact, I don’t dispute it, but, in my opinion, it bears very little relevance to today’s issues. The Humphrey-ites of the Party won the day post-WWII and the Dixiecrats lost their purchase on the Party. The history is the history. Perhaps I minimize its importance because it is so well known to me and you emphasize it because you feel that our contemporaries don’t know it well enough. But neither of the major Parties is very much like what they were in 1860, and the current reality is bad enough to deal with without trying to imply that Democrats are the way they are today because many Democrats were slaveholders in 1860.

        The other over-arching point on which I disagree with you and Tom is that I am less likely than either of you to view modern policy choices as some brand of “slavery”. (I think Tom is more inclined to employ this verbiage than you). But I believe the archives will show that the term has been used here both with regard to Affirmative Action and Public education. This, to me is completely hyperbolic and tends to minimize the real, historic impact of institutionalized human slavery.

        • Citizen Tom says:

          scout – Given they are coming from someone who supports a loose interpretation of the Constitution, why should anyone take your complaints that equating “modern policy choices” with slavery seriously? Want to replace that nebulous expression, “modern policy choices”, with some concrete examples? They are old, but it would not take much effort to update them. Try reading 1 Samuel 8.

          We live in an America where it is now entirely clear we have elites, and those elites control the major news media. So we have to gather and digest our news judiciously, but most people don’t. Moreover, most Americans possess a naive notion of change. Change means tomorrow will be like to today or even better. Few alive today have ever experienced a major national calamity. Few have ever experience the horror a national disaster.

          We now have an unfolding disaster of our own making. That why the threat of slavery is actually quite real. We have a political party running things that never believes either taxes or spending are high enough. Think about the absurdity of a 90 percent tax bracket. Don’t we have a major political party that has already implemented such a thing once?

          http://news.yahoo.com/eisenhower-obama-wealthiest-americans-pay-taxes-193734550–abc-news.html

          What’s the problem with owning slaves? If you own a slave, that means you have to feed, cloth and shelter your “property”. In addition, you have to force the slave to work. Government provides alternative solutions that eliminates such inefficiencies. With grants of monopoly, politicians can create “wage slaves”. With high tax rates,politicians can take most of the earnings of the most successful wage earners, thereby suppressing potential competitors with the established elites. And illegal immigrants? Politicians can either silence their complaints by threatening deportation or buy their votes (no photo lD) with handouts.

          All-in-all, such imaginative innovations have provided substantial improvements in slave management for the master class.

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