Jon Meachum: The Constitution is a Calvinist Ducument. The Declaration was an Englightenment one

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me to this point so I I do think it’s
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a it’s a good bright line to draw John
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Jefferson knew that part and this is in
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your book all these codes about
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partisanship I mean he was pretty
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dedicated to engagement and political
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issues but what would he think of the
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type of partisanship we have now at this
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moment I think he would recognize it
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honestly he once said divisions of
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opinion have convulsed human societies
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since Greece and Rome divisions of
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opinion were the oxygen of a free
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government I’m a skeptic of the a
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prevailing scholarly view that the
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founders had this vision of a one-party
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one-party state and we would all be on
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Olympus with powdered wigs and
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solving problems they may have had that
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vision we all had that vision and but
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they understood reality oh if you if you
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worry if you’re worried about or if you
doubt me about whether they understood
reality read the Constitution which is
entirely about reality constitute if
Jefferson was an Enlightenment document
the Constitution is a Calvinist document
as looms we are all Despres sinful and
driven by appetite and ambition and
we’ve done everything we can
since then to prove them right so I
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think you know this is a the Hemings the
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story about Sally Hemings was first
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publicized in 1802 and we with all love
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and respect to a net we don’t know that
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much more than that first piece doing it
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wasn’t seen as a historical or cultural
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document it was a partisan attack yeah
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you know right and and continued during
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that you know during his presidency and
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in a few times afterwards there’s been a
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big debate recently coming out of the
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New York Times 16:19 project how much do
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we need to revise our concept of the
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founding of this nation do you think
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that makes sense or has it gone a bit
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too far the pendulum is historians have
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been writing about this down for quite
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some time but what we haven’t done as
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much as to think about what that means
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for us today
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that the legacy of slavery is still with
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us there’s a tendency there has been a
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tendency on the part of many people to
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say oh well we knew that but that’s over
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I think that’s the that’s the
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contribution of the magazine of 1619 is
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not to tell us something many things we
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didn’t know but to say there is a
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connection to this that is continuing
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you don’t get rid of hundreds of years
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of slavery in a century or so and we
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really don’t get going as legally full
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citizens until 1965 the passage of the
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vote
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that’s not in the history you know
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that’s a blink of an eye so they even in
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total blink of an eye in history and
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thinking that this stuff is all in the
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past has been the problem and that’s I
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think that’s what the project was trying
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to do is to say no this isn’t over John
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I was struck I believe it was the
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remarks at the signing of the Civil
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Rights Act and in July July 2nd 1964
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Lyndon Johnson grounds his remark at the
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bill signing not on Philadelphia but on
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Jamestown it which which I was struck by
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talk about a complicated figure well you
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know were the Democratic nominee for
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president is a 77 year old white man who
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was the vice president of the first
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african-american president incredibly
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loyal and eulogized Thurmond and
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Eastland you know so well if you’re
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looking for simplicity if you’re looking
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for straightforward figures good luck
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I don’t know who they would be I think
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what an it just said is absolutely
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essential I have a theory
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aboard Walter with this I think
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privately actually that we’re only a 60
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year old nation right the country we
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have right now the polity we have which
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is soon going to be majority diversity
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whatever phrase it is was really created
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in 1964-65 not only with the Civil
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Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act but
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with the Immigration Act yeah which
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totally changed the nature of the
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country and so no wonder this is so hard
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no wonder we’re having such a ferocious
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white reaction this is kind of the 1830s
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in a way and so it’s not to excuse it
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but I do think it explains it a little
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bit and this idea of Prague
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and I know it sounds tinny to people and
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look if you look like me you can talk
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about progress right I’m the boring Lee
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heterosexual white southern Episcopalian
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right I mean things tend to work out for
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me in America so I stipulate that but
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but it’s simply the lesson of history
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that we are in fact a better country
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than we were yesterday doesn’t mean
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we’re perfect doesn’t mean we stop up
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but our are enough of us devoted to
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doing all we can as citizens and as
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leaders to try to create a country that
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more of us can be proud of and if we are
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then let’s get to it yeah and and I
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would throw in women the changing role
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of women from the 1960s and this is
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that’s a good point I wouldn’t I agree
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with 60 years again a short time in
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history where everything everybody’s
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sort of in place it’s like Ken Burns
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said that he found it difficult to call
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talk about the Golden Age of baseball
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and there were no black players in the
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major league how do you how do you do
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that and this is a similar situation
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where you have blacks legally allowed to
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vote and those rights are protected I
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mean there’s issues with voter
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suppression but sort of on paper
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equality is there and it’s hard is
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wrenching for people who have had you
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know power who are used to a certain
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hierarchy a certain way things are were
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or they think about their grandparents
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or good old days it’s hard to get used
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to all of that and so you’re right
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there’s no wonder that there’s a people
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Annette gordon-reed Jon Meacham thank
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you for joining us to be here
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[Music]
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[Music]
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you

What’s So Good About Original Sin?

I would like to entertain the notion that a secularized conception of original sin is plausible, and that believing it might have good effects.

.. In trying to make the world an excellent place for human beings to live by developing and applying ingenious technologies, for example, we may wind up rendering it uninhabitable. Or in trying to keep ourselves safe and secure by stockpiling defensive weaponry, we may annihilate life on earth. There’s really no need for God’s punishment when you’re making your own hellfire.

.. As Paul told the Romans .. , “I do not know what it is that I accomplish” and “what I wish, this I do not do; instead, what I hate, this I do.”

.. There is some level of self-scrutiny too merciless for most of us, some inner corridor too dark. We are mystified, or purport to be, by mass shooters, for example. What could possibly motivate a person to want to kill — everyone? What could turn them so against their own species? I suggest that to answer a question like that we must look within ourselves — at our own violent fantasies, the ways we hate or negate the world, our moments of imagined annihilation of people we fancy to be our enemies, our feeling at times that we are being arbitrarily persecuted or misunderstood.

.. This insight is not the exclusive province of Christian theology. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “I have within me the capacity for every crime.”

.. We may regard a shooter — or a racist, a sexual predator, an addict or someone who commits suicide (as de Cleyre herself tried to do at least once) — as alien. This reinforces, to ourselves and others, our sense of our own sanity and goodness;

.. The doctrine of original sin — in religious or secular versions — is an expression of humility, an expression of a resolution to face our own imperfections.

.. There is much to affirm in our damaged selves and in our damaged lives, even a sort of dignity and beauty we share in our imperfect awareness of our own imperfection, and our halting attempts to face it, and ourselves.

Richard Rohr: We Were Made by Love to Love

God said, “Let us make humans in our image, according to our likeness.” —Genesis 1:26

My dear people, we are already children of God; what we will be in the future has not yet been fully revealed, and all I do know is that we shall be like God.—1 John 3:2

.. We have heard the phrase so often that we don’t get the existential shock of what “created in the image and likeness of God” is saying about us. If this is true—and I believe it is—our family of origin is divine. We were created by a loving God to be love in the world. Our core is original blessing, not original sin. Our starting point is “very good” (Genesis 1:31) and surely not “total depravity” or “sinners in the hands of an angry god.” All the good theology in the world cannot make up for a basically negative anthropology.

Richard Rohr Meditation: Divine DNA

 I am not saying that I am the exact same as God, but I am saying God’s Spirit objectively resides in me and in you! The divine DNA is in everyone and everything God has created “from the beginning” (read Ephesians 1:3-6 as if for the first time). As humans, we are graced with the capacity to realize this, fully enjoy it, and draw mightily from it. You might say this is what characterizes an authentic Christian.

If we continue to focus on our unworthiness and original sin as our foundation, we will continue to act accordingly. If Christians emphasize retribution and judgment, we will only contribute to more violence and division. We become what we believe ourselves to be.

Yes, I know I am weak and objectively unworthy of God’s mercy. But I simultaneously know that I am totally worthy—and my worthiness has nothing to do with me! When looking at me, the Creator sees God’s beloved child. God cannot not see Christ in me . . . as the unique incarnation called “me.”

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Note that it does not just say “Jesus,” but “flesh.” Let’s make it quite specific and practical: When you get up in the morning, ask yourself, “What aspect of God, what aspect of Love, am I being called to incarnate in the world today? How can I be Jesus today?”

Richard Rohr: Original Blessing

Looking at Creation in progress, “God saw that it was good” five times and “found it very good” after the sixth day (Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). We all need to know that this wonderful thing called life is going somewhere and somewhere good. It is going someplace good because it came from goodness—a beginning of “original blessing” instead of “original sin.” Matthew Fox illustrated this rather well in his groundbreaking book, Original Blessing. [1]

For some reason, most Christian theology seems to start with Genesis 3—which features Adam and Eve—what Augustine would centuries later call “original sin.” When you start with the negative or with a problem, it’s not surprising that you end with Armageddon and Apocalypse. When you start with a punitive, critical, exclusionary God, it’s not surprising that you see the crucifixion as “substitutionary atonement” where Jesus takes the punishment that this angry God intended for us.

.. Why did Jesus come? Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity. It didn’t need changing. God has organically, inherently loved what God created from the moment God created it. Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.