Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Original papal sin against America

 This essay is to respond to the Advocate’s sentence, "Any view of the Confederacy must acknowledge its central reality — that it was a political system devoted to the perpetuation of twin moral evils, slavery and white supremacy," in Our Views: "Discussions about Confederate monuments allow us to peer into the past, and find out about ourselves," June 30, 2015.[1]

          I think it is good to separate the issues: 1) slavery and 2) competition for supremacy. It's good to cite perpetuation as the problem. However, it seems wrong in 2015 to focus on skin color and narrow history. Innuendo like “moral evils” perpetuate the problem: be specific. Maybe The Advocate is writing about willful ignorance, religious evil, or racial evil, any of which opposes civic morality: justice in involuntary public connections with persons. By that I mean, we live in the same city, state, and country and to have domestic justice, we must contribute to domestic goodwill; otherwise we perpetuate domestic alienation. Regardless, let me illustrate the kind of leadership The Advocate could offer inhabitants if it wanted to. My premise is that humankind's dysfunction, at least Western dysfunction or "original sin" is the people's toleration of Chapter XI Machiavellianism: the people accepting the partnership of state and church.

          I request the reader to accept that my premise, stated in the sentence above, is not about slavery or racism. It is about each person's urgent need to separate his/her duty (to self) respecting civic morality from his/her duty to self respecting religion. Civic morality addresses what it takes to enjoy both no-harm personal liberty and domestic goodwill instead of domestic alienation. Religious morality is a personal pursuit of personal comfort in the face of personal concerns and is not the public's business; for example, some people want a good afterdeath and are concerned, but I am not concerned about my afterdeath. Separation of church and state by a civic people would unlock dysfunctional governance and empower no-harm religious institutions to flourish in the USA. Neither the church nor the state will effect this separation:  Therefore, a civic people must effect separation of state from church.

          Respecting The Advocate's narrow subjects, I understand African slavery originated as a black on black practice millennia ago, and Africa is the cradle of slavery to this day. In this country, it started when African captors sold African prisoners to Portuguese slave traders. Referring to a pigmentation map, the Portuguese were also dark-skins rather than white-skins[2]. The Atlantic Slave trade came after the invention of guns and was initiated by a papal bull [3] Instructing the king of Portugal to "invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all . . . pagans whatsoever …[and] to reduce their persons to perpetual        slavery."  Thus, religion, at least the Catholic Church, is indicted in civic immorality. Every time one man's opinion causes as much harm as that papal bull, The Advocate and the rest of humankind ought to pay attention and never need a reminder: it was evil in action. Tear down commemoration of Gen. Robert E. Lee? Tear down commemoration of Christopher Columbus? No. Stop publicly commemorating popes: keep institutional religion a private affair. Report religious events on the religion page only: Religious events are not of civic interest, except when they perpetrate harm.

          A 1455 papal bull authorized the enslavement of natives and in perpetuity assigned to Portugal monopoly in trade with Africa. Subsequently, four other European countries joined the Atlantic Slave Trade. They populated only their colonies with the slaves[4] rather than their own land too. The African slave trade was a papal evil, which was mimicked by some European kings. England became the leading trader. England's government is a formal partnership with Canterbury, and was the example of Chapter XI Machiavellianism the 1787 U.S. Constitution intended to end. However, the First Congress re-instituted Protestantism-political regime partnership by hiring legislative ministers. 

          During the slave population of the American colonies, many 17th century American thinkers wrote against slavery and for abolition. Thomas Paine, in 1775 wrote to the American colonists:

          By such wicked and inhuman ways the English are said to enslave towards one hundred
          thousand yearly; of which thirty thousand are supposed to die by barbarous treatment in
          the first year; besides all that are slain in the unnatural ways excited to take them. So
          much innocent blood have the managers and supporters of this inhuman trade to answer
          for to the common Lord of all![5]

Paine and Benjamin Franklin formed the Philadelphia Abolition society, and Franklin, signer of both the Declaration of Independence, 1776, and the preamble to the 1787 Constitution for the USA (with the articles attached to the preamble), petitioned the King and urged abolition by the independent states.

          The Bible, held by many to be the words of the gods cited therein, seems to justify the master-servant civic relationship; the bible’s gods seems to support slavery! Bible gods may be held morally responsible for the defeat of a civic people of colonial times, and perhaps they are the source of Abraham Lincoln’s civic confusion. How does one man, who sees that north god is justifiably vying against south god, convince people who are thumping the same Bible to think for themselves and ponder physics-based ethics. Physics-based ethics does not allow a person to think let alone proclaim: "I would be as satisfied as slave rather than master." Thomas Paine's letter could have been to Lincoln like mtDNA's influence on my opinion: everyone alive is kin. Frederick Douglass praised Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, but stated that Lincoln "was preeminently the white man’s President, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men."[6] It seems self-evident that the Bible cannot be used in negotiation of civic morality. This is not bad news for believers; it means they can join the civic debate about how to live together regardless of their believers' debate about how to save their souls. And believers debate it is: Christian factions constantly war against each other but appeal to non-believers to pay the expenses.

          In his July 4, 2015 column, "Same-sex marriage is only the beginning," Cal Thomas states, " . . . challenged by gay activists and secularists whose goal is to drive religious people, and especially Christians, out of the public square." There are a couple offenses in Thomas's statement. Foremost, recent developments invite Christians to join A Civic People of the United States by candidly debating civic needs, keeping personal needs, such as salvation of soul, private. Second, is use of the word "secular," which implies anti-religion, anti-faith, anti-doubt or areligious. There are many inhabitants, who are civic rather than secular: they are for both no-harm personal liberty and domestic goodwill, which does not preclude religion. They are neither areligious nor religious but neutral. Like so many professional writers, Thomas is part of the problem.
          There is no incentive beyond egocentricity for believers to try to impose their religious morals on people who have considered those morals and decided they do not want them. And there are other kinds of non-believers. It is perfectly natural--representative of human excellence--for a person to want to take responsible action respecting their death. One option is to work for achievement according to personal preference---make some friends, help some people, build a building, rear children informed and intent to live a full life, express appreciation. 

           I am perhaps unusual regarding how much time and effort I spent anticipating death before I decided to focus on my life. However, I would no more want to impose my conclusions on even one person than I would want to commit suicide. There's too much joy in admitting that I don't know: each no-harm person's way could be correct. I see the possibility that whatever controls the unfolding of the future can handle each no-harm person's opinions about her or his self. However, by the same token, I do not want to be asked to reconsider what I have put aside: religion for me, specifically Christianity. But I am anxious to express to people that taking care of their civic governance is necessary in order to preserve their freedom to pursue the no-harm personal liberty they want. Just as earning your money is necessary for personal liberty, tending your civic governance is necessary for personal liberty. Lately, I realize that "governance" is misleading; it's really about mutual self-control. Adam Smith's advice, to let someone else determine civic morality seemed OK two hundred-fifty years ago in a land of 100% sectarian Protestants and love of English common law. However, America in 2015 is wonderfully diverse:  Civic morality may be negotiated only beyond Christianity's factious community.

          Which brings me to the point of my post. Excepting outside the Western world or for sexual purposes, slavery has ended. In some other places, especially in Africa, slavery continues. [7] However, supremacy-war based on skin color rages in American Christianity. Some African Americans hold that because white churches did not stop slavery in America, white churches are in fact Satan. A black Christian god resides in black churches.[8] Non-Christian Americans are held hostage by these skin-color church wars. The Christian wars falsely influence the world. The Advocate should be aware of this and address it candidly. The Advocate could motivate people in Baton Rouge to emerge a shinning example to the USA and beyond, by changing from competitive Bible interpretation to candid negotiation by a civic people using physics-based ethics to decide civic morality, leaving spiritual morality to believers. For readers who don't want to understand physics-based ethics, call it actual reality or the-objective-truth, but don't imagine that I refer to dominant opinion beyond the shared desire for mutual, comprehensive safety and security so that each individual may responsibly pursue the happiness they personally perceive rather than the future someone else has in mind for him or her.

          We heard the black-church message in President Obama’s eulogy in South Carolina.[9] He said the killer took action he “presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.” Mr. Obama left it to the listener to understand the sin being referred to. Was it the sin of being in this colonial country during the Atlantic Slave Trade? Was it the sin of fighting for and winning independence from England? Was it the sin of forming a nation, ending the slave trade in twenty years, but leaving abolition to future generations who would respond to physics-based ethics? Was it the prior sin of the Pope’s 1455 authorization to the Portuguese to conduct the African slave trade? Was it the earlier sin of Africans trading Africans? Is the original sin constructing gods that might overthrow physics-based ethics? Should the sin fall on Gen. Robert E. Lee and others? What was Mr. Obama saying, and to whom was his message directed? Perhaps Pope Francis will tell us when he visits the Congress on September 24 (2015). A civic people worldwide are waiting to hear. Nothing: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/transcript-pope-franciss-speech-to-congress/2015/09/24/6d7d7ac8-62bf-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_stor.

          For his meaning, we may turn to President Obama’s March 8, 2008 speech on race and Rev. Wright.[10] There he implies that the founding in 1787, with its preamble to the Constitution of the USA, “was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery.” So, my guess is that in Charleston Mr. Obama referenced slavery: If so, it is a false claim. “We the People of the United States,” applies to every inhabitant who uses its principles; for example, make certain that her/his pursuit of general prosperity does not prevent domestic justice. There's a tacit "who" in the statement. "We the People of the United States" who want to achieve the goals stated herein discipline this constitution for the USA. President Obama either does not understand or does not embrace the preamble’s principles. But he is not alone. All three branches of the federal government are out of control--have no regard for the people's respect let alone appreciation--and the people don't know what to do. I suggest joining We the People of the U.S.

          It seems to me President Obama is a believer in African-American Christianity. How did I earn an opinion? I attended Rev. Wright’s speech in Baton Rouge on February 19, 2015. I thought his infamous 2003 sermon, in its vernacular for the occasion for his church, 25 days after the invasion of Iraq, was patriotic.[11] [Fault me all you want, but patriot-Wright’s-expression is my opinion about that sermon. But first Google with quotes and consider my essay: “Not hung up on Rev Wright’s flag burning”. When I told Wright about my essay, he warmly said, "But I did not burn my flag." I responded, "I know. It's a metaphor so I can avoid talk of swearing." I do not like swearing, because it indicates to me that the speaker does not trust his own statements. I feel that way about Thomas Jefferson's famous " I have sworn upon the altar of god . . ." (www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/sworn-upon-altar-god-quotation). My study to understand Wright’s speech in Baton Rouge led me to black liberation theology, mentioned above, and President Obama, as he said in 2008, is inextricably connected to Rev. Wright. People such as presidents often invite woe by letting their hearts scheme to rebuke physics-based ethics based on what they believe.

          However, Wright’s Baton Rouge message and Obama’s Charleston message is wrong. It’s true you cannot count on governments of the past. However, you cannot count on a black Christian god to defeat a white Christian god, even though black church contributed to the civic successes of the 1960s. It's like saying: Since in 1781 America's natural god defeated England's Protestant god, and since the North's god defeated the South's god, we know the black god will prevail. But wait: protect your flanks and back for red gods. We still do not know the outcome of the rebuke of the red god by the above mentioned papal bulls. If this country will establish no-harm personal liberty and domestic goodwill, it will come not from god wars but from A Civic People of the United States.[12] Therein is proposed collaboration of by and for a civic people to establish no-harm personal liberty with domestic goodwill. [This is a theory of governance emerging from discussions at EBRP libraries, so far involving ideas from over sixty people since Ratification day, 2014. Find the next planned discussion under the folder "Discussion" after googling the blog with A Civic People of the United States.]

          What’s needed first for civic morality is separation of church from state. A civic people cannot depend on government to separate church and state. A civic people cannot depend on church to separate state and church. A civic people will establish itself (hopefully in this city, state, and country) when most individuals decide that civic discipline is a duty they must take time for; that personal civic discipline is required for each individual to enjoy no-harm personal liberty to pursue their preferences, whether a god is involved or not. In other words, it is not necessary for persons to understand each other's gods or none; they merely need to accommodate each other’s necessary public connections. And that can happen with collaboration, not cooperation or biased subjugation. Civic morality has nothing to do with gods. This idea will be shocking to some, but it is the premise on which America’s future depends, and it is the premise of this country's founding sentence, the preamble to the constitution for the USA. Civic morality has nothing to do with gods, repeated for emphasis. In other words, your god is none of a civic people’s business. President Obama’s god is not interesting to a civic people. What matters is his adherence to the needs of a civic people of the United States. What matters is his work to meet the goals stated in the preamble, the founding sentence for a civic people. President Obama seems unfortunately focused on black liberation theology, a strange Marxism that promises young blacks, "Sacrifice your opportunity to be of a civic people for the cause." On this propaganda many young blacks are challenging police in order to practice "civil rights" swagger. It does not work.

          It has long been known that Christianity cannot be employed to establish civic morality. Above, we reviewed how papal bulls of the fifteenth century promoted invasion of native lands such as this country, occupied by natives who thought the land belonged to the Great Mystery[15] and whose religion was tied to the land they occupied. Also, those Catholic documents--papal bulls--and mimicking Protestant charters authorized the Atlantic Slave trade, with its Western rules for appropriating property from unsuspecting natives who felt they were land caretakers. The unexpected overall  consequence was colonial countrymen becoming enemies of their countries of origin, especially English colonials against not only the king but the people of England. White colonials declared war against their white countrymen "back home."

          Pontifical proclamations can influence people for millennia, with disastrous consequences, as referenced above. Popes can wait forever for their opinions to be disproved. However, persons who cherish their lifetime need to resolve the civic problems they face for benefits while they are alive. Let me repeat that: I want civic problems solved during my lifetime--not far off in some papal vision. While it is controversial, the earth seems to be in a time of unusual weather--droughts, tornadoes, few hurricanes in these parts, cold winters, etc. The Pope says humankind's contributions are the cause and suggests change. However, controlling the earth's atmosphere with extant global governance is not economically feasible. One civic change that makes sense is legislative action to reduce the pain and misery being delivered to children by their parents and other care-takers--not for population control, but to reduce adult infliction of misery onto children. However, population control is also a practical way to reduce human exposure to atmospheric change. Regardless, I do not want a papal address to a joint session of Congress unless the purpose is apology: a civic people of America has had enough of federal officials teaming with church officials to abuse the people, especially children. On the other hand, the Pope is a man, and if he decides to become civil, for example apologizing and making an act of restitution for the Chapter XI Machiavellianism, particularly the doctrine of discovery, he would be contributing to the reform. Also, Senator John Boehner and other government officials would exhibit reform to not invite church officials into affairs of state. A Civic People of the United States do not elect personal gods or deities to influence the people: they elect persons to fulfill duties of state offices--duties that are specified and disciplined by the people. So far, the people are indolent.

          Niccolo Machiavelli warned about government officials and Catholic officials partnering against believers, writing in The Prince, Chapter XI, 1513.[13] I paraphrase Chapter XI Machiavellianism as follows: government officials and Catholic officials partner and do anything they want and Catholics will neither rebel nor leave the country. James Madison expressed Chapter XI Machiavellianism in 1787,[14] and Madison's tyranny seems like what became the American tradition--governance under legislative gods. In 1765, when red coats were ordered to fire on English colonials, the English soldiers could have thought, “Hey, wait. Firing on English colonials opposes civic morality,” but they were blinded by the King’s god. The Declaration of Independence tacitly claims "our natural god will defeat your Christian god." It worked, thanks to the fact that Yorktown was to the French a battle in their war against England. But the south's god against the north's god in the Civil War was a disaster, with domestic casualties in proportion to 8 million Americans at today's population. Anytime a people rebuke physics-based ethics, they beg woe.

          It is not a problem that Christianity has civic errors in its literature as long as believers enjoy no-harm hopes and comforts respecting the great unknowns: Was I born in sin? Do I need salvation? How do I obtain the salvation? These questions are precious to believers and are privately considered by most civic people, some of whom decide the fear is fabricated. Believers' responses to these questions should be honored for them. However, some persons opine that they were born in monogamous love so the rest of the debate is impertinent. Regardless, within a civic people, the personal responses to such questions cannot be imposed on others, and the civic errors in both the literature and messages from church officials cannot be used to motivate civic harm, such as the slave-master relationship, or treating aggressively the family members and other people who have differing opinions about the literature. It is quite natural for native Americans, who still think their native land belongs to the Great Mystery, to reject the source of the Doctrine of Discovery: Christianity, specifically, Catholicism.[15] Vine Deloria asserts that the world’s history does not start and stop with Christianity. I agree.

          In fact, the Bible, canonized perhaps in the 4th century does not accept the advice of Plato in "Symposium," Agathon's witness, 385 BCE. Interpreting "eros" as appreciation, I paraphrase:

Appreciation is first an intellectual activity. Not every person participates, for where there is inflexibility or egocentrism appreciation departs. Appreciation’s greatest glory is that it can neither impose nor tolerate wrong to or from any person. Appreciation shuns force, for individuals experience appreciation in personal free will. Where there is mutual appreciation, there is justice. Where persons are treated as objects there is harm.

Thus, some ancient Greeks recommended rejecting force in civic relationships, and a civic people of the United States can join that path, still allowing religions to flourish. All it takes is candid negotiation of civic issues, keeping religious issues private. (Civic issues have to do with stopping at red lights and not lying to people rather than pursuing spirits.)

          A more urgent change is needed to help establish a civic people: The opening of minds toward evolution. Many people close their minds to evolution because church officials insist that the theory of evolution clashes with church literature. For the first time, I see a possible explanation for biology major Governor Bobby Jindal's incredible support for teaching creationism in biology class: Chapter XI Machiavellianism. Each person who believes Jindal's bad influence accepts a form of voluntary enslavement. Most people take for granted that DNA identifies criminals, without understanding that DNA applications are a product of understanding evolution. From the same studies, but specifically for mitochondrial DNA, we are informed that race is a myth.[16] see, for example, http://newsreel.org/transcripts/race1.htm . Everyone alive is kin[17], and can learn their mtDNA genealogy--their ancestral path to their present habitat. Those of us who carry on the myth of race do so in either unawareness or evil. This understanding, mtDNA, has existed for nearly five decades. I think there is no excuse for President Obama’s recent assertion that racism is “part of our DNA.”[18] He could have spoken about mtDNA and its evidence that we are kin. But President Obama may be a fervent believer and thus blind to evolution. He knows his motivations.

          Based on the above review, I think this country’s 400 year participation in Chapter XI Machiavellianism, rather than slavery, constructed America’s “original sin” after Africa's original sin of trading slaves and papal participation, hence the title of this essay. It is an error that was imposed on the people by elite, Catholic Europeans, mimicking Protestant Europeans, and Africans. Now it is a civic immorality every American suffers, and American reform is needed, especially civic settlement with native Americans, or whatever designation they prefer. We are connected by the fact that we live within civic borders. We should enjoy both no-harm personal freedom and domestic goodwill during our lifetimes. Instead of competing with each other respecting religion's possible success sometime out there in infinity, we can use physics-based ethics to settle civic morality. Reform is available by the majority of We the People of the United States, perhaps 2/3 of inhabitants, deciding to be A Civic People of the United States.           

The needed revolution to collaboration of by and for a civic people can happen. Our generation can establish A Civic People of the United States.
Copyright©2015 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included. Revised July 19, 2018. Formerly titled "America's early original sin"

[2] Online at: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_pigmentation_in_Europe.png .

[3]Online at ldhi.library.cofc.edu/exhibits/show/african_laborers_for_a_new_emp/pope_nicolas_v_and_the_portugu .
[4] Online at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade .
[5] Online at: www.constitution.org/tp/afri.htm .
[6] Online at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln_and_slavery#Views_on_African_Americans .
[7] Online at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_contemporary_Africa .
[8] Online at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_liberation_theology .
[11] I think the text is at www.sluggy.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=315691&sid=4b3e97ace4ee8cee02bd6850e52f50b7%29.#p315648 but can’t be certain.
[12] Google A Civic People of the United States and click on the first URL. Go to the folder called “Discussion” and read the entries. Or use the URL promothepreamble.blogspot.com .
[13] Online at: www.constitution.org/mac/prince11.htm .
[14] In Memorial & Remonstrance, June 20, 1785, Madison wrote, ““Before any man can be considerd as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe.” Someone should have rebuked Madison on the spot for this blatant Chapter XI Maciavellianism.
[15] Vine Deloria, Jr.s “God is Red,” 1973, 30th ed., thanks to Fred Bear.
[16] Online at: newsreel.org/transcripts/race1.htm
[17] Online at: http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=2003825&gsk&code=SR90002&keyword=national+geographic+genealogy+dna&OVMTC=Broad&site=&creative=64211880257&OVKEY=national+geographic+genealogy+dna&url_id=189080471&device=c&gclid=CjwKEAjw_MisBRCTuNPfoMqU4ngSJACrJv1Vb1V_z8BEsSneGmGVJo_pNYrwCsqsTR_DBJ0cnHjWCxoCNF7w_wcB
[18] Online at: www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/us/obama-racism-marc-maron-podcast.html?_r=0 .