tv Washington This Week CSPAN January 4, 2015 11:30am-1:31pm EST
conversation about race? thanks for using the hash tag. with a white liberal friend with a black friend -- do you want to clarify that? [inaudible] >> so they think that gives them license to be ignorant. like a racism insurance card. because they lean back on that friend as an exscuse? they think they know everything because they have one person in their lives. is that it? ok. >> tell them a never to say that. and b that it's just not true. i mean i don't know your particular friend. >> and it ain't you. an amazing costume.
>> like white whose are like i already know about all this. i took ethnic studies. i read all the articles. we don't need to talk about this. so there's no conversation. >> the thing that is pop into my head immediately and based on no study. shift the category. would this person say that about north carolina versus south carolina? would they say this about scandinavia versus norway? would they say this about baseball versus hockey like there's -- you can know one thing and somehow make it present to them that that doesn't mean they know everything. buzz that rule apply? i had a hot dog. i know how a hot dog taste. i've eaton at chili's so i know how mexican tastes. that doesn't follow. but there are other areas where that is self-evidently true.
and this is truth times a thousand of that because they're talking about human beings. you know one person. so i think there's probably people in their lives whether it's a gender line. if they know one homosexual person, if they know one gay person. do they know all women? there's an opportunity to not make it about race for this purpose of reminding them that there's uniqueness and diversity and there's a spectrum everywhere. you can't know one thing and think that makes you know everything. >> so peter a. holden. i love your tweet. instead of diverse, how about? >> proposal. >> i like it. >> amall gm magical. that is awesome. >> it's a mouthful but it has i see sparkles. i see a rain bow with sparkles.
sounds like a cereal. >> a promised land. >> thank you so much for that. >> is there a question there? >> no just giving some love. >> we will use for the balance of the evening we'll use that in lieu of diversity. >> so this is a question of us about you all. is the race gender and age diversity or lack thereof in this audience what you would expect concerning or in the way of real progress? so what do we think of you people? and when i say you people -- >> i'm really impress bid those people. because i was expecting it to be a little bit more like, ok, like girls on h.b.o. >> she was dissing brooklyn pretty hard. >> no. >> expectations of brooklyn.
>> i was having a conversation with raquel a couple weeks ago about brooklyn. i got tired of brooklyn. i had to leave it was getting too white. when did you leave? 1997. >> it was actually 1996. >> sorry. >> but i'm in brooklyn heights. i was expecting like older, just white, not cool not hip. i'm seeing older white faces but with a lot of hip outfits. so please stay. and a little less apal gom magical than what i'm seeing because of where brooklyn has gone. >> if you are -- if you identify as male raise your hand. all right. hands down. if you identify as female, raise your hands. ladies night apparently. you got a discount.
right? it was tuesday night at brooklyn historical society. if you identify as neither male or female and you want to raise your hand. all right. so much more i don't know like three fifths female by my fake math. and then i don't know i didn't have expectations to directly answer this. i remember looking around the corner from the illustrious green room over there closet and we -- i just thought wow. like there's a range of hair styles. really. >> i will just say this. it is better than giving a talk about race in vermont. which i've done. and there's a distinct phenomenon, at least when i do these sorts of things. this is much better than being a white guy standing at a podium explaining how racism
works. when i've done solo events i've got a good mixed audience and i can make some black people laugh and some white where it's ok to laugh. but it's a majority white people and the black aren't feeling it. then none of the white people will have permission to enjoy themselves at all. and everyone sits there like -- it's horrible. it's like i've never died as a stand up comedian but i imagine that's what it feels like. >> i don't know why you're looking at me when you say that. i've read about this not doing well as a comic. wikipedia the first time yesterday. that must suck. a painful tragic experience. >> i give this audience a thumbs up. >> i give you two. i feel like we're not talking about intersection oppression. all right, church. i feel like somebody busted out
some on that. preach. so it's a two-part question but let's focus on that part. intersectional oppression. why have we failed? to overlay these issues. >> do you want to define intersectional oppression for people who don't know, including me. >> again, fake science coming at you. the intuitive definition. race gender, sexual orientation these things are inseparable. class. and play out different ways depending on where you are. so you can't have a solo conversation about race if you don't also take gender into account or class into account as examples. how does the intersection of these things play out. >> i think we do talk about black male, brown male bodies. >> ok. >> also only been doing this for like an hour. >> and talk about privilege and
being unwhite. i'm assuming if you're born you're either a woman, a male, or somewhere in between. so i think that we did but not maybe. mare we're guilty of not going in depth. i don't know. >> i also feel like this is -- it's very difficult to have these conversations because you can never please -- this is such a broad topic. there are so many -- >> we did say it's about race. >> and there are so many intersections of this subgroup or that that you can never please everyone. and part of -- i think part of the reason people shy away is because people -- i wrote a 2,000 word article about a subject and i got braugeed of tweets. like you didn't talk about. it was 2 thourk words. like i picked one thing i was going to talk about and i didn't talk about the other 90 things because i only had 2,000 words to talk about that one thing. so hang along enough and we'll
have a few beers and get to that. >> this is a two-page comment. someone actually wrote page one. >> i'm glad we got that on a card. >> so then they scratched out all of page 2. it seems to me that white people, unless they're surrounded predominantly by people of color, do not realize how much whiteness is talked about when they're not around. that being said i wonder how important it is to make the signatureication of whiteness more public, more of a deliberate practice. let's not be afraid to talk about whiteness in mixed company. i hope that makes sense. thanks. >> the tone just jumped off the page. i hope you don't mind my interpretive license. so i guess you spoke out raquel very clearly about feeling invisible in this black-white
conversation. but there's also another line that's drawn between the people of color conversation and whatever white people do and like what is that? and do -- i guess instead of asking questions i'll throw out my own thoughts on this. i think we need to talk about whiteness as part of the thing. i know you don't talk about privilege. but it allows this escape hatch to walk through the world as if color doesn't matter. and on my show we had a person who did the whiteness project, this project up in buffalo, new york, they sat a butch of white people down in front of cameras and just let them think out loud. and there were some thalkts there. there was some definite thoughts. a lot of resentment. why are we doing these things for the black people. the resentment comes out clearly on this film intersecting with class heavily in a city like buffalo. so i would love to in some ways pass not pass the baton but
share the baton a little more on what a race conversation is. that's part of why you're here is because you did some of this work solo for yourself. >> what i've found is the power of white -- i think white premsists understand whiteness the least. because they're just these -- >> and gram mar. >> and very bad with gram ar and history and math. >> autonomy. culture. >> dancing. but white supremacists are these rubse who bought into the promise of whiteness that there is this pure white race that's been endowed with all the superiority of the other races which is all nonsense. but they bank everything on the purity of the white race and keeping the white race pure from all contamination. i don't think that's actually where the power of whiteness comes from. the power of whiteness comes from the fact that it can mean anything. and i think tom blogged once
whiteness is very probeion in nature. if you look at the definition of whiteness from what the country was found it's completely changed. and that's why i think what i do about the year 20 42. and beige being the new white. whiteness will be whatever it needs to be to stay right where it is. and that is the enduring underlying power of that idea. it is a horrible idea it's a pernicious idea. but let's acknowledge why it's so powerful. communition is dying naziism is gone. but white supremacy marches on. why? because it's so infinitely flexible it can be anything. in the french revolution you had 40 families who had all the money and you said that's the air stalksy. so let's kill them. we killed them all and we have a new regime. white people is the ruling class. who is white people? it's whoever we say it is.
ok. how are you going to behead that air stalksy? it just mute tates one year to the rest. now it's includes catholics and now jews. and if we need to kick out some white trash to say you don't belong any more go to idaho. whiteness will do that. >> i apologize to the people of idaho who have been watching. go ahead. >> i'm going to come at it from a gray space and transnational space. i visit the dominican republic often where whiteness and blackness if you look at the whole island is defined really differently than what we even think it's defined as. if you listen to skip gates he's leading you down the wrong path. it's not the way he looks at race. the way we look at it has to do with economics. so for example i ran into a doctor dentist who typically looks like let's say a shorter version of michael jordan. and one of my mentors there said you know that guy? yeah he's considered white
here. it's almost like in brazil if you look at pelle the soccer player. the more money he got he bought his way in. he became white. and people stopped referring to him as being black. and it's that way. in the dominican republic there's areas and also in haiti where the ruling class there is considered white. and that ruling class is very close to the ruling class of the dome kk republic. so they look at basically power, race. race typically looks has nothing to do with it. it's how much power and money you have. i look at the caribbean and where america started. when i want to kind of gauge where we're going here in north america. so maybe it's another way of saying what you were saying. whiteness, blackness is fluid. >> and i don't know if i wonder or i simply hope for it
instead. the perseverence of whiteness i still feel like that's temporary. i want it to be temporary for sure. i'm also looking at people who are so bored with the program they have to leave now. have a great night. i'm just kidding. i know you have to go. you know, you talk about transnational and someone mentioned india and china. and like china in particular like there are things that are going to change in such dramatic ways that i think are happening outside of even the bubble of this conversation. and what is the power of culture as we see american culture riding on black culture for so long still yet within a white power structure but jazz, hip hop. all these things are like black faces and movement are sold as american all around the world. but what happens when the internet is mostly in mandarin and what happens culturally
when the world power keeps shifting away from traditional? >> and china is huge and going to challenge us. a friend of mine is a linguist and the interesting thing about english and whiteness and english rose up in the world contemporary yussly. and the interesting thing about english as pointed out, english sort of took over the world at a very prepishes and advantageous moment in technology. where longtime french was the language of the court of the world and different. english came along with the typewriter, with the internet, with the computer and all these forms of technology. and english has the advantage of being infinitely flexible. the french are very rigid in their language. the english language like whiteness can absorb. >> they put o.m.g. in the dictionary. >> english is a language that can expand infinitely to be whatever it needs to be whereas
mannedry and chinese very inaccessible, very difficult. and they're trying to change that. trying to make mandarin easier so it can be an international language. and to that extent is whiteness going to be like english where it will continue to mute tate and expand and adapt? >> like a virus. >> i don't know, but and that's not to advocate for whiteness but i'm just trying to predict what whiteness is going to do. >> talking about american english or -- >> that's just my point exactly. is that there's british american, international. it can mute tate and spread. it's not lidgedly defined. >> you can spell honor in three different ways. >> there's more in the pile. we don't have a plan exactly. but it is 8:00 and we want to save room.
let's do the mike thing. let's hear some of your voices. thank you so much. why don't you start where you are and this brother with the hat and the scarf ch are you cold? let it go. let it go. >> hi. >> hi. >> this is great. yeah. so i just want to maybe expand on why wouldn't you think that intersection nalt would be like -- i asked that question and the second question about privilege. which i won't go into. but if we could maybe talk about why you wouldn't think it's important to maybe have this be a really like intersectional conversation only because going back to what you had mentioned about how like race is a social construct. why not like include all other social constructs that equally affect our perception and our
projection of what is race. so if you could just expand on that. >> i will give you a quick answer. ferguson was in the news and -- yeah. that's just -- we picked that. >> it wasn't -- >> it wasn't an -- >> it wasn't a conscious effort. i think in some ways probably for most of us if not all of us this concept of intersection nalt is baked in and it's not like we're going to have a conversation about race. it's kind of open sourced it up. and to give you a quick background of even why this is happening, which we never did so -- >> we have an introduction now. >> words were said and printed in books and so i wrote this book how to be black. i met tanner because of that book through a mutual friend. he wrote some of my best friends were black. i was asked to blurb it. what would a dube named tanner know about race. and it turns out a few things that i thought were worth sharing. raquel and i -- we wrote these
books and we did a live event to kind of like -- we thought about going on tour together and we couldn't do that because it takes a lot of work. but we did do one live event almost exactly a year ago in manhattan. you're a much better audience than they were. and we called it a national conversation about the conversation about race. me and tanner and sold dad and we were experimenting with this format like can we talk to each other and to a group? raquel and i had met on cnn many years ago with one of her favorite people done lemon to talk about obama and race stuff and we wanted to continue this conversation and expand it so it actually isn't just black and white. so we reached out to raquel and we had a lot of lunches and e-mails. and we're honing in on this event. so this came out of an attempt to expand the conversations we were each having or expand out of the pigeon holing that we have been put into.
like represent your people. right? talk about what latinos think about immigration. and then hear about something else. this is like the second iteration of that live event one year later. but there was no conscious effort like avoid intersectionality but i think we're accepting that it is necessarily a part of the context of the discussion. but we all have race in the titles of our work and have been called upon and chosen to some degree to explore race as like a primary variable in an identity. >> we wanted to talk about? >> yeah. we're trying to do a podcast and maybe this could be like a testing do we fight all the time and no one wants to hear that. >> we're going to actually bark at each other the entire time. >> glasses, jacket shirt with the hat. >> i wrote the first question about the anxiety.
the reason why i put that question together is i'm just thinking that it seems like we talked about obama and the election. what brought me to that was we came together, we elected but in the process that we took to elect president obama as far as little donations. it seemed like the whole community got together. and as soon as he came into the white house, citizens united, the supreme court just took that power away from the regular american. to make the smaller richer, foreign donors, all that type of stuff come into politics and really just really rewrite the direction where america is going. so i just want you to -- because we're talking about race. but i think there's a lot going on that is really taking away our entire definition of what being american actually is.
>> here here. i think it got ratched up after president obama's election. i think that rewrite has been ongoing from the glorious statements in the founding documents which were never intended for most of the people in this room to benefit from. so that american democracy has always been kind of a sham. really good marketing and it lured a lot of people and investors and resource extractors. like yow i can get mine and keep it? that sounds good. and let's talk about equality a little bit. so the promise has never been matched by the reality. we've tried to get closer. i think the whole -- the hyper reaction to the president i undereast mated that i'll admit. i got caught up. i was knocking on doors in texas, virginia, pennsylvania. yes, open source democracy. we're writing this campaign. we're going to write the rules. and just got slammed in the face with the reality that it
doesn't -- the sport doesn't get played down here. and there's -- the donors were always there, the lobbyists >> always there. the fear of people who have had power and the very concerted and collaborative decision to make sure that whatever this president said was never going to happen. like it was just never going to happen. so much so that we heard them say that out loud. right? they're like we're going to stymie a everything we're for we're not for if you put the word obama in front of it. that's the whole political party did about heritage foundation originated health care plan and mitt romney successfully implemented. about start nuclear proliferation treaties. no we don't believe in that any more. until our guy's at the top. and then the way the system works here, like the dissituation of voting, the impatience or lack of persistance for the mid terms, the follow-through is not there. so we showed up for the big game and not the scrimmages and the training in between which
determine how your team really does. and i don't know that i would say we really came together to elect obama. the beauty of obama's campaign as far as getting himself elected and it was all hope and change. and yes we can. so obama ran -- >> and also not bush. >> and also not bush. >> please not again. >> didn't vote for if iraq war. and not palin. but barack obama presented himself as hope and change. and every single people could fill that vessel with whatever they aspired to. and that was part of my inspiration writing the book. all right, there are a lot of white people supporting obama, a lot of black people supporting obama, a lot of hispanic people supporting obama but we're all doing it in different zip codes and possibly for different reasons. and you saw that. he as galvanizing figure and we all saw what we wanted to through him. and ink that was very deliberate. his campaign was marketing branding brilliance from day one. and that's not say he's not a man of substance because i
think he is. but that campaign was genius from start to finish as a phenomenon. and so he's almost an anomaly in the system. there's a study that america is no longer a functional democracy. we are an olgarky where the interests of the middle class as defined by polling and voting and everything else are not followed most of the time in the interest of top 5% are followed all the time. and when your interests coin side with the top 5% and you're like democracy is being responsive when actually it's not you just happen to agree with the top 5% on that issue and they're getting what they want and but we're no longer in that sense of functioning democracy until you get the money out of politics and everything else. >> hooray. >> quickly i was very cautiously optimistic about it from the beginning. you know he was making a lot of lofty promises about immigration that i just knew he was not going to follow through on. and the loftier they got the
more i was like not really believing. i stopped kind of believing even though i voted for him because i could not live in a country where palin and mccain were running it. so i voted for him. but i think i kind of, i don't know, i wish -- i think hillary clinton could have been a great president as well. one thing that she had that she has that she has shown that she has that he hasn't to my lament is balls. or as palin would say cohonees. and i feel like all the other -- bush, everybody else, they went against what -- bush went against what the democrats wanted and he was like whatever i'll just take the hit. i don't dare what happens, i'm going to stand for mine. whatever. obama hasn't done that. he's been kind of like. >> the question is has he not done it or not enough? >> he shouldn't be making lofty freaking promises especially
things like immigration and then i can't do anything without congress. you knew you were like going to be fighting an uphill battle the whole time. >> kt actually, i think he was shocked. look this is purple america. right? this is 2004 there's no red america, no blue america we're all purple like the guy on pbs with the kids and what not. and he believed it. he came to the office and said how can i work with you? and they were like go tuck yourself. you know? and he's like whoa i'm the president and they yelled at him during his state of the union calling him a liar. like there's a level of like anger disrespect, and like totally unprecedented. even bill clintnd who was accused of murdering his friend didn't deal with some of the things that president obama has i think he got the extra dirt because he's the first and they're going to test him and remind him that there's only soff you can go without us.
-- so far you can go without us. where's the mic? good. >> thank you for this panel. so as a millenial i like like for me what's important about the conversation about race is justice. because race is one of the biggest markers for how justice is delivered. whether it's in the criminal justice system or education or health across the board. i like that you touched upon the 1% and how 9 .1% of the % is white. and among the 5%, 88% of that is white. and a fifth of us are not even visible in this conversation of the black-white binary, which includes huge numbers of different kinds of asian-americans, who are running many of the tech companies that determine the futures of black and brown people and the role of white supremacy on their
community and now latinos. all of america was mexico. how do we complex ofify the conversation with race itself and the story of race. thinking about solutions and moving forward. that is what my generation cares about. we are tired of being beaten down, and told we cannot do anything about it and there is something wrong with us. >> thank you. [applause] that was great. >> there are two things going on here. there is an incredibly complex multiracial reality, and race and white supremacy affects all of these groups and the discussion needs to be had but when affirmative-action first started,, for a long time, that
was seen as programs for blacks but the minorities got access . we talked about diversity and it was no longer about justice for the people who had been victimized by slavery and jim crow. it was about promoting diversity, because diversity was good for companies. and part of the selling point to the old black establishment was white people are tired of hearing your complaints so we will take black concerns and make them a trojan horse, with gay rights and women and all these other ethnic groups, we will slip black people in there with them and everyone will get to go in together and we will make this big pitch about how diversity is good for companies. all the old black institutions that have been victimized said that is great for all of our asian and brown brothers around the world but this is about us
because we were the ones who were victimized by slavery and segregation. you just got here and chose to come here, you are an immigrant, get in line behind the native americans and the blacks because this is our conversation. that conversation got hijacked and turned into diversity and as a result of that, many challenges other communities face, asians are doing ok, indians are moving up, this and blacks continue to fall further behind because this promise that diversity was going to help everyone including the adjudicated victims of slavery has not come true. diversity programs have helped. they skimmed the top of the asians and indians and other communities, and low income blacks just fall further and further behind. companies say look at all of our diversity. and blacks who suffer the degradations of jim crow
continue to fall further and further behind. we do need to have this multipolar conversation. there is a black-white conversation that needs to be had. we need to have both of them. [applause] >> all the conversations about the conversations about race. we have to wrap this because we are getting tired. i can tell because i am getting tired. and people like you are. we're going to move to wherever the book signing thing is happening. is that here? >> i think it is here. >> we are not going to move at all but you'll be able to move soon. i am wrapping this, as the half-moderator, i want to thank you two for being here, thank you all for showing up. [applause] i learned a lot. we learned a lot. it is an incomplete thing.
to be continued. >> we will let you all know. >> we will do this again and hopefully we will be coming to a podcast near your earbuds in the near future. as opposed to your butt buds. i don't know where else they would show up. thanks for that note. [applause] >> yesterday, we learned of the passing of warmer massachusetts senator edward brooke, the first african american elected to the senate. he served two terms. in 2009, he was awarded the congressional gold medal, the
highest civilian honor awarded by congress. his legacy is being remembered by several members of congress. on twitter, south carolina senator tim scott said -- massachusetts congressman joe kennedy tweeted. michigan congressman john conyers said -- representative conyers will be part of the new congress that begins this week. as the longest member of the house, you will become dean of the house on tuesday. "washington journal" met with him to discuss his new role. guest: joining us is the
incoming dean of the house, john conyers of michigan. good morning. tell us about the position you are about to assume. tell us how one becomes the dean of the house. guest: the first requirement is longevity. the dean of the house is the longest serving member in the house of representatives. he has the honor of opening day to square in the incoming speaker of the house, which is a constitutional office. even though the present speaker of the house is going to be the same one, he will still have to be sworn in again.
that is where i come in. host: you will do that job today, to swear the speaker in. tell us about the longevity aspect of it. you come to this position taking over from representative dingell. tell us a little bit about taking over for him and the fact that he's a fellow michigander as well. guest: not only a fellow michiganander, but his father and my father would conference -- were good friends. and he and i are good friends. he was once my my my -- he was once my congressman and i have been talking with him about this job in the important duty of opening day where we swear in the incoming speaker of the house for the next session of congress. i looking forward to it. am host: you have been talking to him about the job? what kind of advice has been
given to you about it? guest: well, he's given me me -- he has given me some good advice. stay calm. get your swearing-in statement together so that you can have the incoming speaker raise his right hand with you and say that he'll support the constitution of the united states and some other things. and we'll be all set. host: representative, you become the first african-american to assume this position. what does that mean to you? guest: well, i think it's a high honor under any circumstances but i think it's even more significant that of all the members in the congress i am now the longest serving and the first african-american to hold that rank. i value it, and i'm very, very proud of it.
host: with your new platform as dean after you do the ceremonial aspects of it, do you use your platform to talk about race issues? do you use your platform to talk about other issues issues -- other issues near and dear to you? guest: absolutely. the dean of the house has a special recognition. it gives a little more added authority to the positions that i take, so i will be very carefully assessing what i say and what positions i advocate as the new dean of the house. i follow a very distinguished member of congress, who was the dean for a long time himself and he's stepping down and of course his wife is replacing him, debbie dingell, we are
looking forward to working with her and the entire michigan delegation. host: representative, as you become dean now, do you get any privileges with that? do you get better office space? do you get your choice of committees? how does that work? guest: we have been looking to see if there are any perks laying around. and guess what? we haven't found a one. host: you are the longest serving member now now, -- now an especially with this freshman class coming in and , because you hold the title of dean, what advice would you give the freshmen class being the -- being the longest-serving member? guest: well, i would advise them to be very careful and thoughtful about the votes -- about the votes that they cast. and that they will want to realize that every vote they cast becomes a part of our
congressional history. and we don't want them to get into a mood or into a group in which they will be saying later on that they were sorry that they were running in a direction that they really didn't support. host: joining us, the longest serving member of congress, the dean of the house of representatives, representative john conyers from michigan. thank you, representative, appreciate your -- appreciate your time. guest: a pleasure being with you. have a good new year. >> the 114th congress gavels in on tuesday at noon. we will see the swearing in of members and the election for house speaker. two republicans have announced they will be challenging
representative john boehner in his effort to be reelected as speaker. they are the texas congressman and the florida representative. california congresswoman nancy pelosi who has been democratic leader in the house since 2003 will be running for the position of minority leader again in the new congress. you can watch the house live on c-span and the senate on c-span2. >> the c-span cities tour takes book tv and american history tv on the road traveling to u.s. cities to learn about their history and literary life. this weekend, we partnered with time warner cable for a visit to austin, texas. >> we are in the private suite of linden and lady bird johnson. this was private quarters for the president and first lady. when i say private, i do mean that. this is not part of the two are offered to the public. this has never been open to the public. you are seeing it because of c-span's special access.
v.i.p.'s can into the space just as they did in lyndon johnson stay but it is not open to visitors on a daily basis. the remarkable thing about the space is it is a living, breathing artifact. it has not changed at all since president johnson died in january of 1973. there is a document in the corner of this room signed by among others the then archivist of the united states and lady bird johnson telling why predecessors, myself and my successors, that nothing in this room can change. >> we are in the 100 block of congress avenue in austin. to my left down the block is the colorado river. this is an important historic site because this is where waterloo was. it consisted as a cluster of cabins occupied by four or five families including the family of j carroll.
i'm standing at about the spot where the cabin was paid this is where lamarr was staying when he and the rest of the men got wind of this big buffalo herd in the vicinity. lamarr and the other men jumped on their horses. congress avenue in those days was just a muddy ravine that led north to the lower the capital now sits. the men galloped on their horses. they rode into the midst of this herd of buffalo firing and shouting. lamar at what became eighth and congress shot this enormous buffalo. he went to the top of the lower the capital is and told everybody this should be the seat of the future empire. >> watch all of our events from austin today at 2:00 eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> now a group of scholars looks at the connection between religion, politics, and social issues.
topics include the influence christianity has had in politics, the history of muslims in america and how religion is a factor in the debate over immigration policy. the center on religion and politics partnered with southern methodist university for this event. it is an hour and a half. >> good morning. it is a great pleasure to be here from st. louis. i met the danforth center on religion and politics at washington university. my job is to briefly introduce our panelists for this session. i'm keeping the introductions brief. i've cut out the nobel prizes and other things they have done to make sure we get to their talks quickly. here we go. edward j. bloom is a professor of history at san diego state
university. he is the co-author of the color of christ, the son of god, and the saga of race in america 2012. and the author of w.e. dubois, american prophet. bloome has been awarded the award in the humanities by the council of graduate schools for the best first book by historian published between 2002 and 2009. the peter seaburg award for the best book in civil war studies in 2006, and the dissertation prize. his writings have been featured on cnn.com, the atlantic , newsweek, and the new york times. his presentation this morning is entitled "in the bowels of a free and christian country." our next presenter will be rebekah guest, associate professor of history at new york
university. she received her phd and 2006 from harvard university. a historian of early north america, she specializes in the history of race and slavery. she has broad interests in the history of the atlantic world, and in comparative colonialism in north america and the caribbean. she teaches in the graduate and undergraduate level on aspects of american history. her first book, the baptism of early virginia, how christianity created gracerace was published in 2012. she is a crazy cat lady and despite living in new york city remains a rabid red sox fan. her talk today is "iraq hussein obama, the first muslim president." our second presenter is an associate professor of church history and latina church studies. her first book latina pentecostal identity and
event a local faith, self, and society won the hispanic theological initiative book award in 2005. she is authored more than a dozen articles and chapters on the subject of latino and latina pentecostalism and has served as media expert for outlets such as the new york times, the wall street journal. she also served as an expert on latina history for the pbs series "religion in america." sanchez walsh's current projects include a project on the cost of -- and to costal is him -- pentecostalism in america. she will be talking about immigrant sanctuary and divine borders today. finally kevin schultz from the university of illinois at chicago. he is an associate professor of history, catholic studies, and religious studies and a chair of the department of history. a native of los angeles, he teaches 20th century american
history with special interest in religion, as no-racial -- the racial history, and american intellectual and cultural life. his first monograph, how postwar catholics and jews held america to its protestant promise, charted the decline of the idea that the united states was a christian nation, and the subsequent rise of the notion the country was premised on something called judeo christianity. his current work examines the fascinating intertwined lives of william buckley junior and norman mailer as a way to better understand the pivotal decade of the 1960's. he has had essays appear in several flagship journals including the journal of american history, the journal of the american academy of religion and labor history, as well as
other distinguished outlets. his talk is entitled the blessing of american pluralism. >> good day. is the the -- is the united states a christian country? was it one in the past? will it be in the future? if we look high and low in near and far, we can observe americans asking, answering, and debating these questions. they are disputed online. plastered on billboards. mentioned during news programs. and addressed by leading politicians. the questions and answers rattle with disagreement and tension. barack obama, for instance answered them one way before he
was president and differently after. in 2008, he told a group in washington, d.c., we are no longer just a christian nation. we are also a jewish nation, a muslim nation, a buddhist nation, a hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. three years later, speaking as president obama, and to a very different audience in turkey, obama explained we do not consider ourselves a christian nation or a jewish nation, or a muslim nation. his embrace of pluralism had been reconfigured into neither nor repudiation of particulars. most political and christian conservatives share their disapproval of obama. but they are anything but united on the matter of united don't --
nationalism. it is not hate speech, cried glenn beck, to defend the united states as a christian nation in 2010. in the 2000 book "faith and politics," senator john danforth maintained that some people have asked if america is a christian country. the answer must be, no. to call this a christian country is to say that non-christians are a lesser order, not full-fledged citizens of one nation. these recent debates and disagreements are not new. the problem of what it means to be, or not to be, a christian nation has been a touchstone of conversations about religion and politics for two centuries. i want to take us back to the age of revolution and turn our attention to a cast of forgotten founders. a group of men who harnessed the language of christian
nationalism in poignant and meaningful ways. the small and overlooked cohort of bostonians a offer a new way of us to consider what is at stake when we address, when we speak, the vexed political problem of the nation's religion. the year was 1777. the month was january. a petition on behalf of a great number of blacks was resented to the newly formed massachusetts a state legislature. it was signed by 8 men and declared: we are detained in a state of slavery in the bowels of a free and christian country. the bondsmanen borrowed freely from the language of the declaration of independence was itself only six months old.
they have in common with all other men a natural and unalienable right to the freedom which the universe has bestowed on all men equally. they like others had been unjustly dragged to this land. they had been brought here to be sold like beasts of burden. this all happened among a people professing the mild religion of jesus. what these men experienced, they called worse than nonexistence. we could engage religion and politics in their petition from a variety of angles. their description of the religion of jesus as mild could lead us to consider the potent lies of methodism and its musical inventions of songs like "gentle jesus meek and mild". or what it means have a mild faith in a time of war.
the invocation of natural rights leads us to wonder about the theological tensions between the ism -- deism and christianity that animated so much of the revolutionary time. i would like to zero in on 2 words. bowels, and beasts. the men of boston discussed politics and religion not as abstract ideas or beliefs, that -- but also as concepts of flesh and bone. these were human activities that took place with, within, and through bodies. the rhetorical emphasis on bodies encompassed the private and public, the allegorical and literal, the biblical and civil. let's begin in the bowels.
a homer destination of medieval and enlightenment discourse. dante structured his point as a journey that began in the mouth, flowed into the stomach, and culminated in excremental expulsion. martin luther describes the pope repeatedly as a farting rear end. he did not use the word "rare andear end." around the same time john locke was putting together his second treatise on government, he was also penning a chapter on the importance of going to stool regularly for some thoughts concerning education. when slaves situated themselves rhetorically in the bowels of the country they presented the nation as a body. there were christian backdrops for this kind of corporal mapping. apostle paul told believers it
is by one spirit we were all baptized in one body. whether we are jews are gentiles, whether bond or free. the body of hands and feet, of eyes and ears it is not one member, but many. bodies are main of many parts, the pieces are equally valued and valuable within the one body of faith family. bodies were crucial civil metaphors as well. in the age of monarchy, european kings were thought to have two bodies. the physical body could decay, but the body politic, that they symbolized, was understood to be timeless, immutable, and composite. the visual front is peace. leviathan presented the top half of the sovereign facing the viewer. but the top half of the sovereign was actually hundreds of small individualized bodies.
while viewers looked upon the face and chest of the crown sovereign, they witnessed only the backsides of the smaller depicted bodies. which we saw from the rear. members of society faced into the sovereign, they constituted the body politic, they were absorbed into the sovereign, and put into motion by the sovereign. it is a case of bodies within a body. the apostle paul never mentioned the bowels in his list of body parts. hobbes did. when discussing the things that we can do commonwealth he lashed out at the number of corporations. he meant towns, which are many lesser commonwealths in the bowels of a greater. they're like worms in the entrails of a natural man.
bowels were a terrible place to be, but they were also a danger to the rest of the body. in colonial massachusetts, and elsewhere, slaves were often feared for poisoning their masters in ways that upset their bowels. crippling and killing women and men slowly, through what was put into their mouths that then came out of other locations. what took place in and through the bowels could upset the entire body. while the referenced to bowels took us within bodies the , mention of being sold like beasts of burden makes us think about what is done with bodies. dehumanization and an amortization -- animalization were crucial aspects of making a slave culture. linguistic and physical activities often rendered that enslaved as equal to domesticated animals.
generation after generation of african americans damped their treatments to that of animals, claiming the ultimate goal of enslavement was to transform humans into beasts. beasts of burden were particular entities in british husbandry. it differentiated the individuals who traveled with one beast of burden or more. it was a way to construct a hierarchy of poverty, who should get help. beasts of burden were recognized as able to do two things. sometimes at the same time. they could carry things on their back and they could haul cargo. the massachusetts petitioners were not the only using the ones language of the beast of burden to speak about human relationships. scottish minister and historian william robertson when he wrote about the discovery of america , he denounced native american
men for treating their wives as no better than a beast of her -- beast of burden. while the men loiter, the women are condemned to incessant toil. the king james bible was replete with references of beasts and burden. in the book of isaiah too heavy a burden was placed on cattle when they were asked to carry idols. later in the book of daniel there are four terrifying , beasts. by the book of revelation the , beast was a leading figure. the beast was well known to colonial and revolutionary ministers. for earlier massachusetts church leader cotton mather, the humanity of slaves, and not there peacefully -- beastliness was an embattled point.
he broke that christianizing slaves will make them better service. it will render them afraid of speaking or doing anything that may justly displease you. he is writing to masters. masters will have more work done for them, and better done, then an those inhumane masters who have used their negroes worst se than their horses. the question of whether negroes have rational souls mather exploded, let that brutish insinuation never be whispered again. they are men and not beasts. beastlyness, inhumanity, brutish ness, these were characteristics of slaveholders behaving badly not essences of the enslaved themselves. for the petitioners, animalization was general and particular. they are not just beasts, but
beasts of burden that kerry emotional and physical weight metaphorical and literal weight. it weighed heavily on the consciences of some whites like cotton mather. it is a weight petitioners hoped they could leverage with the legislature. i'm close to out of time. i want to suggest that taking the insights of these petitioners into our present may provide new bridges for us to cross the religious and political divides the fracture the contemporary united states. what if we began where the petitioners did? in bodies connected to other bodies, and then moved to our ideas about whether the nation is or is not christian or religious? from this vantage point, starting with bodies, i would like to suggest that glenn beck,
senator john danforth, and barack obama stand together. they respect bodies. in faith and politics, senator danforth expressed profound frustration with the use of teri schiavo, the florida woman who remained hospitalized in a vegetative state for 15 years to make political hay. his concern was for the sanctity of her body and the well-being of the bodies around her, family members, friends, doctors. danforth was not interested in this case with the body politic that was the republican party. glenn beck cherishes the founding fathers like george washington in part because he sees george washington as a defender of jewish americans and their right to their religious freedom, and that defending their religion is also about
defending their bodies to practice that religion. finally, it's clear that bodies loom large in barack obama's political, religious and , personal imagination. his father's absent body, the bodies of dead children, of abortion protesters, the bodies of religious communities, they animate the audacity of hope and other key obama writings and speeches. obama, danforth and beck disagree profoundly on the abstract notion of whether the nation is religious or christian or what that even means. but where they agree, we where we could begin and what we may take from the petitions of the 1770's, it's not just that everybody has a body to invoke martin luther king jr., but that everybody is part of an d connected to other bodies.
when we think of body second and abstracted ideologies first, we run the risk of putting intangibles before tangibles nonexistent before existent. that was a problem these massachusetts petitioners, their families and their friends -- they knew all too well. it may be a struggle to see bodies before ballots, to see bodies before budgets, to see bodies before beliefs. what these forgotten founders of the 1770's -- they called their struggle a glorious struggle. it was one that valued and needed every body. thank you for the time. thank you for your time listening to this body and my connections to lots of bodies
here and elsewhere. thank you. [applause] >> good morning. until recently, i lived in houston, texas. this is my first trip act in -- back in over a year. it's good to be back home. there are approximately 3 million muslims in the united states, a somewhat controversial and unofficial estimate, since the u.s. census does not count the population by religious affiliation. american muslims, like every other religious group in the country, are a diverse group. they follow a variety of islamic traditions. they are sunni, shia, or they follow homegrown american islams such as a nation of
islam. american muslims are racially and ethnically diverse. they are african-american, asian, south east, arab and west african descent and an increasing number of the sums -- of american muslims identify as latino or white. until september 11, 2001 american muslims lived in relative obscurity. largely escaping notice from historians, sociologists, and policymakers. the advent of the war on terror catapulted american muslims into the public eye. the election of barack obama in 2008 further spurred interest in and notoriety of american muslims. obama's middle name, hussein his kenyan father, and his childhood spent in indonesia fueled speculation that obama himself was a secret muslim. despite the long history of islam in the united states and despite the enormous diversity of islamic beliefs and practices in this country, both 9/11 and
obama's election have proved to be focal points for often vicious critiques of islam. islam and christianity arrived on the north american continent at the same time. christopher columbus' crew included conversos. muslims and jews who had been coerced into converting to christianity. early in the 16th century, and -- enslaved muslims accompanied can keys to doors. as his captors might not have thought of him as muslim and likely forced him to convert to christianity after his capture when he would have acquired his new name. stephen in english. between 1527 and 1536, he and three other spanish survivors of the expedition walked from present-day texas to the pacific coast of mexico.
estebanico was no stranger to cultural fluidity. his remarkable linguistic abilities helped pilot the survivors of the expedition across north america. in 1539, he accompanied another entrada into the american southwest using his knowledge of native cultures and languages and customs to guide conquistadors. he was killed near sonora in 1540. did he identify as muslim? it is a question impossible to answer. but spanish officials were suspicious of muslim converts to christianity, forced or otherwise. technically the new world was off-limits to conversos. they were barred from making the journey. yet estebanico's presence in the americas suggested this was a rule honored in the breach. the spanish continue to use enslaved african muslims as key parts of their colonization schemes. the settlement at saint augustine contained many
enslaved muslims in the late 16th century. in other words there were , enslaved muslims in north america long before permanent english settlement began at jamestown in 1607. most muslims who came to the americas before 1850 arrived as estebanico did, as enslaved people mostly from west and central africa, but occasionally from north africa. most historians have not attempted to come up with a demographic analysis. one thought reasonably of the 12 .5 million enslaved people brought to the americas from west africa, at least several hundred thousand were likely muslim. many enslaved people arriving in north america would have been familiar with islam even if they did not identify as muslims themselves. michael gomez has noted that around 50% of enslaved people coming to mainland north america came from those areas of west africa where islam was either state-sponsored or associated with a culturally significant
minority, reflecting the cosmopolitan religious lives of west africans who combined christianity, islam, and traditional west african practice in novel ways. the general problem is that enslaved muslims were an even more invisible minority within the invisible institution of slave religion. as edward curtis has noted " when whites observe african-american muslim rituals, they often did not understand what was taking place right in front of their eyes." nevertheless, duke has pressed historians to recognize enslaved muslims were everywhere, and "islam was indeed a dais boric -- daisisporic religion." scholars know a great deal about a few specific individuals. in 1788, soldiers from another ethnic group captured
[indiscernible] and sold him to european slave traders. he lived as an enslaved man in new orleans for decades, marrying an african-american baptist woman named isabella before writing a letter in arabic in 1826 asking for his freedom. he toured the united states, raising money to buy freedom for himself and his children. newspapers around the country chronicled his travels and his life story. colonization enthusiasts who wanted to emancipate black people and repatriate them to west africa hoped that he, who was celebrated as a quote, moorish prince, would aid them in establishing diplomatic ties between the colony of free people in liberia and thereby african kingdoms as well as helping convert west africans to christianity. in 1829 he journeyed to liberia with his wife. though he was unable to fulfill the hopes of his captors and sponsors in the united states,
he died shortly after his arrival there. we know about him in part because he was literate and was able to advocate for himself and his family using american ideas about islam and muslims to get what he wanted. most enslaved muslims were not so lucky. similarly, an educated west african who was enslaved in 1752 gained his freedom after 45 years as a slave to a maryland family. he moved to washington, d.c. where he owned property until his death in 1823. there is an archaeological investigation going on at that property now. they had compelling biographies that often stand in for the stories of enslaved muslims. the fact remains that most enslaved muslims were not literate or did not otherwise have the means to make their stories known. most enslaved muslims worked to keep their faith intact even in
the face of persecution, passing on their names, rituals, and prayers to their descendents. retaining islam as an enslaved people in a new world was a form of resistance and self-preservation. while the biographies of individuals suggest how enslaved muslims lived, the devotion of most of these people went unrecognized and unremembered by the americans who owned them. the number of enslaved muslims in the united states probably rose in the last decade before the close of the transatlantic slave trade. jihad has swept across africa. it caught many african muslims in its net who were enslaved on ships to the united states which had drastically increased importations of enslaved people in anticipation of the closing of the trade in 1808. sometimes these muslims were apparent to otherwise blind
white americans. the presbyterian clergyman noted that the mohammed in africans remaining in the old stock of importations had been known to accommodate christianity to muhamedism. god, they say, is allah, and jesus christ is mohammed. the religion is the same, but different countries have different names. his observations signal discomfort with african-american spirituality. despite the visibility of african muslims, most enslaved muslims remained invisible to their captors. this was the beginning of an erasure, the presence of enslaved muslims was okayed -- opague to their captors and remains largely opaque to historians.
refusal to recognize contributes to an ideology in which islam is foreign to the united states. if americans did not learn about islam from their enslaved property, they did learn about it through other means. ottoman muslims came into extended contact in the context of warfare, violence, piracy and travel. the english adventurer francis drake carried enslaved turks away with him after his siege of [indiscernible] in 1586. turk was an all-purpose english description of any muslim person from north africa or the ottoman east. it was a very broad descriptor and doesn't necessarily mean someone from present-day turkey. one of these men converted to christianity before the english sent him back to constantinople, where they hoped he would facilitate a number of conversions from islam to christianity. their hopes were unfounded. englishmen saw islam as a threat
and competitor for one simple reason. english sailors, merchants mercenaries and travelers in the mediterranean were under constant risk of being captured, enslaved, and converted to islam. an estimated one million europeans were enslaved in north africa and the ottoman empire. some of these people converted to islam in order to gain their freedom. others hoped relatives would ransom them. they wrote letters to family and charitable organizations in england, often at the insistence of their owners in hopes of redemption. north african piracy threatened american shores as well. in 1690, a man was reported unhappily taken by the turks and carried to algier. for seven years he had not been heard of and was esteemed dead. this allowed his widow to probate his estate and remarried. john smith fought the ottomans
in eastern europe in the early 17th century and was taken as prisoner of war and enslaved in 1602. smith reported that his master ordered other slaves to strip him naked and shave his head and beard. a ring of iron was riveted around his neck. smith famously wrote in the third person. eventually smith escaped after he beat out his master's brains. despite this experience, smith had little to say about islam or muslims. after his escape, smith traveled extensively as a free man throughout the north african state, observing the wealth and power of these princely estates and noting that the countries of fez and morocco are the best part of all barbary. abounding with people, they eat well and have all good necessities for man's use. another virginia colonist drew upon his experience as a clerk
for the company in constantinople to draw comparisons between ottoman muslims and native north americans. some of his observations were relatively neutral. he noted, quote, the indian drink is, as the turks clearwater. the indians spread a mat as the turks do a carpet for them to sit upon. his comparisons were less sanguine when discussing indians' marital habits. he wrote that while the chief of virginia followed a polygamous practice but did not keep all of his wives as the turks in one house. he also theorized that these sensual helps weaken the indian's body politics. he used other comparisons as well describing a game young indian boys played. islam was merely more than
another point of reference for him. it was as an idiom for comprehending the strangeness and foreignness of native people as well as a way of expressing disdain for native customs that the english new primarily from muslim countries, such as polygamy. islam operated in english discourses about the new world generally as a point of negative comparison. between the 17th and 19th centuries, the islamic world occupied a key place in anglo-american [indiscernible] i -- against political tyranny. timothy marr has called this rhetorical practice islamicism. orientalism that describes the difference of islam while simultaneously upholding anglo-american identity. the identification of political violence and tyranny was muslim -- with muslim practice and muslim peoples generally in
particular is thus centuries-long tradition. to call a political opponent turkish was to intimate both tyranny and senseless violence. american ideas about islam became important the emergence with the latter day saints, who for some decades allowed polygamist marriages. americans opposed to mormonism likened the latter day saints church to islam and joseph smith to mohammed. these commenters link division -- a vision of politically radical islam to an emergent idea of islam but was also tyrannical in the home especially to women. one commentator wrote turkey is in our midst. modern mohammed inhabits mecca at salt lake, where the prophet speaks of his wives as cows. clearly the koran was joseph smith's model. there are many, many other
commentators writing similar things linking the emerging religion of the latter day saints with what americans thought islam to be. the idea that islam and by extension mormonism devalued women reverberates even into contemporary discourses about the islamic world and the place of women in it. the conservative christian evangelist franklin graham and liberal political commentator bill marr have used american notions about the status of women in majority muslim countries to fuel islam a phobic rhetoric. i can talk more about this in the q&a. this is the part i had to cut to stay close to the 15-minute mark. american islamist schism was a complicated interplay of human experiences of the muslim other accompanied by rumor stereotypes, and the ever present threat of violence. while americans had difficulty seeing enslaved muslims in their midst, they had and continue to have no such trouble understanding islam as
inherently tyrannical and misogynistic. titling this talk barack hussein obama, america's first muslim president, plays in a satirical way on the ways in which americans doubt the president's religious affiliation and use his supposed muslim-ness to demonstrate his un-americanness. barack obama became, however unwittingly, if focal point of islam a phobic commentary in the united states. this denies the complex histories of american muslims, but engages long-standing islamicist discourses that originated in the 15th and 16th centuries. this kind of rhetoric has a long history and has also had the effect of marginalizing and othering american muslims. thank you. [applause]
>> good morning. judging by the election a few days ago, this is quite a good topic. how can an administration that began with such promise with regard to the sheer amount of support it received from latinos end so badly. how could one of the latinos' key issues promised as a first-term agenda item be tucked away until the second term? what made president obama think he could pass any legislation this time? luckily, we do not have to weigh in on that question of political strategy that relegated
immigration reform to the second term. perhaps a more intriguing question is why would they support president obama at all. some wondered why after failed battles over legislation and the continued support for deportations, that average 400,000 a year since to have fun and eight -- since 2008. with the continued militarization of the border and in 2011 more than $18 billion dollars, why do latinos continue to vote for obama? why do representatives of key religious groups support obama's immigration efforts and at the same time not support him? there is a disjuncture between obama's actions and reliance on latinos as a significant part of his reelection coalition. the question here is to the extent that any religious organization can influence the way latinos vote, which is questionable. the three religious organizations i want to examine here, roman catholic church, latino protestants, and the
latter day saints, all lobbied in one way or another for immigration reform. the lds church did so on a regional level in utah. the methodists and latino evangelicals lobbied on behalf of the repeal of the obama law h b-56. they focused on local and national levels to me going there was to moving the needle to get their white brethren to support reform. before examining these cases just brief history. the problem with immigration reform -- one of them is when you try to move the debate away from the rule of law narrative which immigration reform almost never wins. to focus on compassion and mercy , you might want to offer historical context. this is how latinos find themselves in this place. i'm going to argue it is the intractable mythic narrative of immigration fused together with another mythic narratives about
the infallibility of the rule of law. that is what eventually wins out, despite religious organizations best efforts. latino catholics, protestants, evangelicals and latter day saints had vested interests in passing immigration reform. they were incapable of overcoming this narrative that has comprised the history of latino immigration for centuries. tropes about the rule of law and civil religion over compassionate to the stranger won out. his interpretations of latino immigration by stressing virtuous, hard-working narratives of immigrants past, the sanctity of the family, and how immigration itself acts as a monolith for how this country has been built all were
interweaved by these activists into impassioned pleas to treat latino immigrants humanely and with dignity. these groups did not take into consideration, or did not fully reconcile the rate at which the dominant culture and its political surrogate has in securing their own mythic narrative. the gop today is essentially a party anchored by older whites. grassroots voters, not their leaders, these religious leaders are viewed as elites and activists, out of touch with the common people. grassroots voters are the ones who vote. the struggle for the mythic immigrant narrative and the rule of law begins on the atlantic seaboard and the founding documents of this nation. it ignores the latin american roots of this nation which have been around longer than jamestown. this mythology, rooted firmly in christian nationalism, what some view as civil religion, is used rather effectively to preserve a sense of american difference and diminishes the historic role of
latino immigrants to build this country. latinos have never been viewed as sufficiently american enough. to fill that vacuum narratives , of illegality, criminality __ also lead to the erosion of the rule of law in this alternative immigration narrative. it is this fear that the american way of life is being abandoned. the rule of law trope is a signifying order. it orders fairness and justice. and it leads to the idea that, to be american, means to be law_abiding. since many undocumented persons are technically breaking the law, it is questionable whether latinos can ever be good americans. briefly, the history of mexican immigration to the united states after 1840 becomes much more complicated, when crossing the border becomes an illegal
act in 1929. for most of the 20th century, the history is one of nasty deportations and attention. usually occurring when economic pressures dictated the precious resources go to support american. the deportation starts in a 1930's when nearly half are sent back to mexico. the next deportation occurs in 1950's, called operation what back. not my word. today's deportation, nearly 400,000 every year since 2008. it begins in earnest with economic downturns. so, these narratives interwoven with the idea of banality, have fueled an ugly specter that something that just happened recently in california and
elsewhere, where anti_immigrant protesters have carried signs alleging that the women and the children in those buses were carrying diseases and that they were secretly harboring gang members. these narratives and others challenge the dominant culture's ability to determine the misrepresentation of an era __ somewhere in a distant past __ that was free of criminal trespassers. sensing a loss of the misuse of the law were what tea party activists used to counter. who, for their own reasons, decided it was start to push once again for immigration reform, right in the middle of another seemingly endless cycle of xenophobia. probably no other internal
debate displaces crashes more prevalently than in the mormon church. over a specific tenant called article 12. one article that i found, which was interesting in the ironically named center for immigrant rights __ a group with very little interest for immigrant rights, but __ ronald mortenson took the task we influence and passing what he viewed as an amnesty bill in 2011 in utah. he quotes church doctrines, which presents that they will be obeying and honoring and sustaining the law. as he notes, the ldstradition holds that america is a divine nation. he laments the loss. " they openly talks that the founding fathers were guided by the hand of god, and that the u.s. constitution was divinely
inspired. and that the u.s. was a chosen land for christ true church." particularly problematic for him and others was that the church was allowing illegal aliens to be baptized and to serve an important church positions. mortensen place blame on the church, who refuse to acknowledge that they even had a reform immigration policy. there left to try and decide what this change means to the gospel as they know it, he laments. his case study, as it were, with the bill was recognized __ mostly drivers license issues __ and how the hierarchy worked behind the scenes to secure the passage of that bill. mortensen then goes on to identify how the lds has called
for compassion has shifted his own churches narrative towards a social justice agenda. the loss of the rule of law shows how far the lds has moved from its roots. the agenda seems to be patronizing lds's large latino contingency. lds officials increasingly focused the churches missionary activity on illegal immigrant community. latino protestants, both mainline and evangelicals, tried to uup and the law. i think what happened with them was the same thing that happened with catholics, in that they failed to see this grand narrative taking place.
both narratives __ both organizations badly misjudged the extent to which the tea party controls much of the agenda of the republican party. and they did not contextualize their cause that is stated in the literature that they failed to convince these alabama pastors __ that this was an issue that should bring them together, in terms of lobbying efforts, writing letters, that kind of grassroots work. they failed miserably to contextualize what immigration actually means. and if they had done that, they might have known that the compassionate efforts were admirable, but only when they support this imagined america. latinos, historically and today, cannot fill that narrative. and callstto the pupils better nature has not been fulfilled __ without some hints that those who support the reform
are going to pay. that certainly didn't work. moving on to the catholics. what catholics and lds and latino protestants of all stripes understand is they can count. and they can count how many latinos are in the churches. and they can count and understand of this trope of demography of destiny iis actually coming to pass. this is why the catholic church has come historically, been very supportive of immigration reform. so what i did was i took a quick perusal through the national catholic reporter over the last few years to find the grassroots to the bishops who are involved in immigration debates for years. there are lots of stories about
transitions, and how some of those would well. the loss of the old european immigrant now making smooth transition to latino parishes. there were a few of those stories where there was successfuland they did not lament the loss of their america. and there were others were comments of the pending their parish over, they just left. what can you say? what seems to be this really interesting article that made mention of the fact that this was happening mostly out of the midwest __ they suggested that people are kind of getting worn down by the issue. that they are just tired of immigration reform and immigrant, in particular. they resign themselves to the fact that immigrants are here and they are not leaving. because you are going to see a bit more moving of that needle towards reform for driver's licenses, work was, things of those natures.
and these reports suggest that, when working at a grassroots level, the catholic church will work to indoctrinate their own readings. the catholic media promoted the idea that churches are a welcoming an opening place for immigrants. okay? so in this local setting, the catholic church looks compassionate. it gives a very personal level to the idea that you're helping a stranger __ an alien __ and the religious instabilities can be most felt on a personal level. so they and other organizations are uniform for immigration reform, and lobbied extensively for it, but it still failed. there may be one of many reasons that it failed, in that speaker boehner and paul ryan, hhave done little to further the interest in immigration
reform. we conclude. journalist jacob __ had a piece of why they were incapable of moving the house gop to action because immigration reform for white evangelicals is not a salient issue. they are likely at walled off __ were white evangelicals find themselves in the churches in the suburbs, and not in the neighborhoods populated by immigrants. they do not view immigration reform as important, as any one of a number of other culture war issues. what are people listening to? there listening to people like this tea party activist, diana west __ which, according to
west __ 65,000 of the unaccompanied minors __ she repeats the claim that these children are getting bangers and drug runners. that their crashing our borders. she continues __ this explains why the bureaucracy asked to smash the culture of a cow town and rural communities by dropping blocks of unassailable, hhostile aliens in the mists. she asks her readers to look at our blog run by and cochran, who tries to settle refugees through dozens of organizations. she uses this grand conspiracy to bring in " drug is" and
"jihadists". the recontextualize approach that many did once, but did not get, is really talked about in these churches. they may have done well to lead their congregations into action, like the catholic bishops who, the spring, offered mass across the border. and crossing the border themselves to listen to their stories. thank you. [applause] >> first, i would like to thank all of my fellow panelists up here. i have lightbulbs going off in my head, all these great ideas going in. my name is kevin schultz, i'm a
teacher at the university of illinois at chicago. when, on august 6, 2009, the u.s. senate voted to confirm sonia soto mayor's nomination to fill the seat on the floor, hardly anyone thought it was worthwhile to mention her faith. they talked about how she was the first ever latino nominated to the court. or that she was all that was left of what was the american dream __ raising herself up from the projects. even those who opposed to nomination, for example 31 of the then 40 republicans in the senate, didn't bother to mention her faith at all. instead, they criticized her for being an activist judge. but hardly anyone pointed out that would use one in two days later, she would become the
sixth catholic then sitting on the bench. natalie giving catholics a super majority on the country's highest court, but also __ and this is what i find most raking __ taking the spot of the last remaining protestant. once she was sworn in, all the non_catholics on the beds were jews. but nothing was really sad about this. it wasn't a big joke, evidently. of the super majority of catholics of the court, for instance the bombastic bill donohue said, barely a peep was made. and the fact that for the first time in american history, no single protestantset among their constituents of one of the three branches of american government. hardly anyone seemed to notice that all. in making today is this __ among the many transformations that happened in the age of obama, and despite the rhetoric
coming from the right, tthis team has come to be one of the most casual ways in which the country has come to accept it. this is great. it will be combat time. evidence for this is __ is everywhere. religious discrimination down in the united states, even though it has r sharply in other parts of the worl __ risen sharply in other parts of the world. in addition and of equal importance, i think, a large percentage of the claims are found to lack merit. would suggest that there is more fear than there is abuse. and perhaps the most compelling piece of evidence for the lack of interface in our days comes from the fact that the loudest
claims of religious discrimination these days have come from some of the largest, most powerful religious groups in the country. including evangelical protestants and, of course, the group with that majority in the court, the catholics. what have they been complaining about? not that they have been prevented from worshiping as they see fit. but in america honoring minorities face, from imposing its belief on others. no catholic, for instance, was forced to practice contraception under president obama's affordable care act, but some catholic employers were asked to contribute to the contraceptive efforts of some employees who might. historically speaking, compared to past use of the
discrimination __ including the burning of churches, denial of employment __ this is an era marked not by heavy brutality based on discrimination. at least, religious discrimination. as our surprise, this general acceptance of america's religious pluralism is more ideological than demographic. it is the ideas that matter, and that the numbers. when one actually looks at the numbers, it is clear that the united states __ demographically speaking __ is still a profoundly christian nation. it is somewhere in the range of 76% to 70% of americans our claim to be protestants were catholics. it is about 50% of americans who claim to be protestant, and 25% claim to be catholics.
more or less. so among the nations of the world, the united states is thought that religiously diverse. a pew study from 2012, rakes the united states as the 26 most religiously diverse country in the world. more than iraq or afghanistan, but far from new zealand, for instance. some might say __ our celebration of religious diversity __ lies matter how you make against numbers, but instead of the vast diversity we have among the nine christians. on the one hand, there is some truth to that. in our country, you can find almost any faith if you go looking for it. but on the other hand, the sort of acceptance must be viewed with great caution. consider, for example, that the
vast majority of america's non_christian population __ sort of 25% __ the vast majority of those claimed to have no religion at all. a group that is rapidly approaching 20% of all americans. and we're going to hear about this later. when you put them all together, the total just 5.3% of the population. so almost every faith in the world can be found somewhere in the united states. america can still make a little claim of being among the most religiously diverse nations in the world. so instead, what has changed during the first years of the 21st century is that americans have become far more accepting of religious traditions that are not their own, including __ and i find profoundly __
ttowards people who do not proclaim a religion at all. so, as historians, we care about this idea and where they come from. there were some iterations of it in the early instances of american history, all the way back to the toleration act of 1649 two thomas jefferson's statute of religious freedom and 1777, to 1785, two, of course, the first amendment of the constitution. but throughout the 19th century, the united states was largely controlled by what is called a moral establishment. that made protestantism that legally religion of the land. people could be cited for blasphemy, even if the states had no blasphemy laws. the more codes of protestantism
__ even though they were constitutional protectionsagainst establishing a religion as the law of the land, he argues quite convincingly that the protestant majority could affect his will through the courts into the culture. now, the first instances of these ideas of american pluralism take place in the first decade of the 20th century, wwhen large ways of european immigration take a distinctively catholic and jewish path. protestants fashioned what came to be called the ssocial gospel movement, which was to meet the needs of the people at the time. to their surprise, they found on the street, catholic and jewish groups doing much of the same work. so they decided that it made sense to work together.
so the first instances of working together take place in civic welfare __ feeding hungry or filling sandbags during the flood. there is no need to overlap there, let's work together. and these initial interfaith activities bled into some of the first conversations of religious could well. many began to actually ponder, write down these thoughts, the idea that maybe america couldn't just consider itself a protestant nation any longer. after world war ii, these conversations picked up. and i would like to say it is because everybody, you know, had a feel_good movement. but instead, it was in the rise to the open nativism in the immediate post_world war i years. were anti_semitic and racist ideas continue to take hold in american life. this was, of course, when the ku klux klan had its biggest
revival. and, of course, the ultimate achievement of the nativists in the 1928's era was the spearheading drive to and widespread immigration. which culminates in the acts of 1924, and the even worse ones of 1929. so in response to this nativism, several movements rise up to push back. among the most successful, and i think the most successful of these movements, was what was called the goodwill movement for religious tolerance in america. a number of organization start popping up in the 9020's. the most successful of the bunch was the national conference of christians and jews. their whole goal is to reimagine what the united states was. to pull it away from a vision of americatthat is centered on white, protestant nativism and
focus it more on pluralism, and especially religious pluralism. america could, they argue, under the time_tested ideas of equality and liberty, no matter which faith you got there by. these organizations did some really crazy, foolish things. they sent a rabbi, a priest, and a minister into small towns across the country where they had never seen a rabbi or priest. and there was sort of doing on stage stick to the spell the myths. they did newspaper editorials all the time, and they even went on to found the religious new service, which is still active today. but the biggest victory comes during world war ii. the national conference of christians and jewsdoes not have to resort to the second to make his points.
for instance, __ and in making these arguments that we no longer can be seen as a protestant nation, the nccj and these other organizations were wildly successful during the second world war. they actively aided the chaplaincy corps. in my favorite instance, they provided little sort of business card sized prayer cards that they would give to each soldier, in case her, and happen to be dying and he was of a different faith. so on one side was a protestant, and other backside was catholic or jewish prayers. after the work, catholics and jews now having a taste of the table, they didn't want to let go. and so they didn't. in schools and city halls and colleges and nearly all aspects of american life, throughout
the 9050'sgroups of protestants, catholics, and jewels fought for and accepted america's pluralist. crests can no longer appear on city hall at christmas time and listen to the modification was made. we should either get rid of them or invite office to celebrate on city hall. with 2 better court cases that outlawed source prayers and bible readings in public schools. the overriding story of these cases is the court's declaration that the united states government should not prioritize one faith over any other. and it should allow them free reign to practice as they see fit. there is open contest station of those words, but pluralism had arrived. now, that in this open
declaration of america's pluralism happens before 1965. it is incredibly important because in 1965, it is president johnson who ushered in immigration reform. which, to nearly everyone surprise who voted for the bill, actually allowed large numbers of people from africa, asia, and latin america to come the united states. bringing with them their faith, of course. in came large numbers of muslims, hindus, confucius, and more. hardly any of them, when they came, were persecuted for their faith. this is the kind of acceptance celebrated by "the new religious america". the country, she argued, had gone to a protestants nation to a tri_faith nation to a wildly diverse nation by the end of the 20th century. although she warned of potential confrontation, the book is mostly a celebration. american diversity had come.
except, of course, as i told you earlier, it hadn't. the numbers just don't hold up to this argument. less than 6% of all americans are of a faith that is not protestant, catholic, or nothing. but what has one is this idea of america's religious pluralism. now, although he has operated in a subordinate role to greater social trends, president obama has played a role in this almost casual acceptance of america's pluralism. in his inaugural address from 2009, of course, which is literally minutes into his tenure as president, obama becomes the first president to acknowledge a wide swath of faiths, including even the none __ people of no faith __ in a part of the american project. before going on to honor the
idea of our religious pluralism. we are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth, and because we have tasted the bitter taste of civil war and emerge from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds will someday pass, that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself. in addition to the stirring rhetoric __ he has what i call the martin luther king problem, which is when you start quoting him, it is very hard to know when to stop __ but in addition to the soaring rhetoric, obama immediately __ within a week of becoming president __ re_crafted president george w. bush is office of faith_based initiative. which bush had designed to funnel money to religious services providing to the hungry and poor, but quickly came under attack for a way to
president bush to fund our money to his friend to the religious rights. when obama came into office, one of his very first askwas to broaden the number of recipients, as well as establish an expensive advisory council to ensure that there is no favoritism at play. income hindus, income other groups to survive on this counsel. a few months after he was inaugurated, obamasought to reconcile relations with a few middle eastern countries, especially turkey. at a joint press conference, president obama reflected on some of the similarities between the two nations. specifically citing a tradition of religious pluralism. you have heard this