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maule at LAW.VILLANOVA.EDU
Wed Dec 27 18:15:59 PST 2000
A question. Is it the Constitution as drafted (e.g., African slaves counted as 3/5 person, free Africans counted as one) the one whose validity and legitimacy you question or is it the one that exists after the amendments that have been enacted to date? If it is the former, you and I and many others are in sync. If it is the latter, then the next question is where does one go if one starts with a clean slate?
Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law
Villanova PA 19085
maule at law.villanova.edu
President, TaxJEM Inc (computer assisted tax law instruction) (www.taxjem.com)
Publisher, JEMBook Publishing Co. (www.jembook.com)
Maule Family Archivist & Genealogist (www.maulefamily.com)
>>> mnewsom at LAW.HOWARD.EDU 12/27/00 09:56AM >>>
James Maule wrote:
> Successful proselytization indeed destroys the religion of the converted. To the extent theological realism leads to the compromising of principle through the adoption of some aspect of the consumed theology, there is nonetheless a destruction... the old no longer exists. If you wish to distinguish instances in which the successful proselytizing denomination survives intact and without change and the religion of the converted disappears entirely from instances in which BOTH theologies are destroyed because they fuse into another, then I would point out that the proselytizing denomination that fuses is no more noble simply because it gave up of something of itself. In some ways, it can be seen as having "sold out" in its acquisition of new members. ("Become Christian and you can keep your Christmas tree, therefore we will re-define Christianity for you.") The fact that fusion religions (which I do not think are "part" of any of the proselytizing denominations) exist demonstra!
> s resilience rather than surrender to destruction. If anything was destroyed it was language, but that's for another list and another discussion.
I think that a critical distinction lies in the fact that the evangelical Protestant religion-destroyers were content to leave African slaves bereft of religion altogether. One cannot level this charge at Catholics. I think that this has a bearing on the meaning or the reality of "destruction" quite apart from the complexities presented by the reality of fusion.
> The thread began when I referred to my interpretation of the Founders as seeking an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance, which you rejected on the basis that African religions were destroyed, an event inconsistent with tolerance and acceptance. I don't equate the Founders with religion-destroying slaveowners. Many Founders were not religion-destroying slaveowners. Most religion-destroying slaveowners were not Founders. Aside from that question of identity, the fact that people act inconsistently with the First Amendment ideal ought not be an indictment of the ideal but an indictment of the violators of the ideal. Certainly non-evangelical Protestant groups, not in a position to restrain slaveowners, took steps to reduce the impact of the institution of slavery on the lives of slaves, by, for example, being deeply involved in the Underground Railway. Perhaps evangelical Protestants did so individually (and if they did, it would be as much in keeping with their exaltation o!
> the individual over the denominational institution). If silence in the observation of injustice is no less an accessory to the injustice as is active conspiracy, then the Founders were guilty of so many injustices that the logic leads to a questioning of the validity of the Constitution and not just the ideal underlying the First Amendment. For me, intolerant and destructive slaveowners and institutionally silent Protestants do not make for intolerant and oppressive First Amendment drafters.
Our points of disagreement are more sharply focused. I do question the validity and legitimacy of the Constitution. Ronald Thiemann wrote an interesting book called Religion in Public Life: A Dilemma for Democracy. One of the most interesting parts of the book deals with the failure of Madison and the founders generally, to address the inculcation and the content of the civic virtue necessary to sustain the new American Experiment. A "theological" answer, one that Thiemann misses, is that Madison et al. believed that God, acting through "individual" religion, would form and inculcate that virtue. A better answer, one towards which I incline, at least, is that Madison et al. surely had to be aware of the hypocrisy of their claims regarding rights and toleration, given the reality of the African experience in America. As a result of this awareness, they simply decided to ignore the point, recognizing that any theory of civic virtue would be incoherent, or would be irredee!
racist and sexist to such a degree that they could not bear to state it. The Constitution of course, reflects this amorality and immorality with its reference to Africans as 3/5ths of a person. To sum it up: intolerant and destructive slaveowners and institutionally silent evangelical Protestants DO make for intolerant and oppresssive First Amendment drafters -- and Founders more generally. Here is where we simply disagree. (Bear in mind, as far as the identity question is concerned, that Madison and Jefferson were intolerant and destructive slaveowners.)
> Caring is far more important. But in terms of explaining the rise and fall of nations, the question of unity answers more questions. Probably because much of the caring, if not most of it, has been about the wrong things. On this, I am sure we agree.
> I enjoy the discourse. I always appreciate being given the opportunity to learn and to think.
I enjoy it too!
> Jim Maule
> Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law
> Villanova PA 19085
> maule at law.villanova.edu
> President, TaxJEM Inc (computer assisted tax law instruction) (www.taxjem.com)
> Publisher, JEMBook Publishing Co. (www.jembook.com)
> Maule Family Archivist & Genealogist (www.maulefamily.com)
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