tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 6, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EST
cushing's speech. bringing the federal government actually into the regulatory position that we see today. obama's gesture to this benevolence and closing to god's blessing i think we see the second to the reckoned awakening today. this is the rise of the wildcat oilmen we are familiar with here in texas, of course. wildcat imperative was a response to, defense to what herald ices and the american government was doing partnering major oil companies with washington to open up foreign fields. it was defensive in the sense that independent oil producers here in the southwest especially felt that their vision of america, their vision of their industry was being challenged. a number of prophets kind of stepped up at this moment to
champion the rule of capture of the wildcatter. a very evangelical etiology, if you will. one of them was robert kerr, a more hopeful optimistic positive kind of wildcatter if you will as oklahoma's governor and senator in the 1940s and '50s, he labored to meet independent oil's needs and carried the mantdle for the dispo sesed, although a wealthy dispo sesed. giving small producers the protection they deserved. what's interesting here, too, is how kerr very prominent southern baptist was able to fold his kind of politics and his interests in the protection of independent oilmen with his faith in the ability of individuals to approach scripture and christ on their own terms much as the same way they approached subsurface minerals. there was also a harder edge to this wild cattle christianity that emerged in the '70s.
connecting the fear of peek oil, the fear that america was losing its ability to control its most valued resource, losing that to the middle east, to saudi arabia. that took the dispensationalism here prophets like john walter combined the fears of peak oil to end times thinking, that the end was nye, and america had lost its ability to prepare for the end times in the right manner. why? because the federal government and major oil companies of course had stolen their authority and power. that brings us to the fourth crude awakening. this is the one we're dealing with today. a carbon-free gospel if you will. despite his sweeping promises at cushing, obama failed to convince the leaders to the awakening.
it makes no sense at all speaking of obama's referencing of improving the environment and renewable energy sources. drilling everywhere you can and then putting up a solar panel is like drinking six martinis and then topping them off with a vitamin water. you're still drunk, you just have your day's allotment of c and d. the testiest of obama's naysayers are leading this fourth crude awakening whose faith and reform was bolstered by obama's stirring speech during the '08 democratic national convention. but whose trust has been battered since. several voices stand out but no one is more earnest than bill mcquiben and author of some of the most articles against global warming. mckiben became an author activist, and then just activist in 2011 just as the keystone
crisis was emerging. and since then, of course, as we know, has led marches through washington through new york city just a month ago. with each step forward as an activist, mckiben has been more deliberate in reaching back into the depositoryies of scripture. in a way his view of oil as the ultimate moral test for humanity mirrors that of his muckraking predecessor with whom he shares his methodism and theological eclecticism with the awe of nature's mysteries and transcendent view of terrestrial things. through his writings, through his activism, he has managed to stir up a new constituency of activists. i think a very interesting one. young evangelicals aligned with sojourners. many coming from the oil patch itself, particularly from texas. the youth have journeyed to washington to stand with mckiben, with nuns mennonites
and quakers in opposition to the keystone. in other isolated moments they have traveled to nebraska and texas to chain themselves to bulldozers, pray on pipe. and in all of this they see this as a great revival brewing of the kind witnessed in the 19th century led by charles finney. mckiben would disagree with the way in which zealous evangelical young people are still looking for the next revival. in his estimation, the fires of revival are already burning bright. so barack obama you might say also senses the heat of these four revivals, these four awakenings. unlike mckiben living with the crude awakenings on multiple sides, his is a tough task that demands a careful sorting out. which is why his all of the above energy policy is a path of
some convenience. that's a misleading conclusion as well, because change is surely coming. keystone's final decisions are impending, its destiny and consequences for people on the plains to be decided soon. all the more it seems now that pipeline supporting republicans have taken control of the senate. according to several washington insiders, and pundits the keystone was seen as the big winner on tuesday and one of the most heralded victories in gop circles. of course, republican leaders have already promised to make the pipeline a priority with the goal of sending the president a bill to authorize its completion, and daring him to veto it. whether lost or won, the keystone is only the tip of mountain warfare between multiple parties. all of which hold deep convictions about the proper place of oil and energy in our new millennium. mckiben's campaign may lose the keystone fight. his movement for reform is
forcing many north americans to a place of reckoning where carbon emissions, global warming and earth care are concerned. the reckoning has produced surprising results in new directions. even as the koch brothers and the lobby for the pipeline friendly initiatives have raised the ire of american liberals in alberta, its green salvationist billionaires who seem threatening to the order. among the salvationist billionaires of whom the angry canadians speak are the rockefellers and the pughs, who are leading a campaign. in the case of the former, divesting their oil holdings following the lead of mckiben's organization. rockefeller's abandoning petroleum, such are the striking signs of revolution that would
surprise tarbell and worry beyond measure the likes of john wahlberg. historians shouldn't be surprised, change is what we write about and the fleetingness of the categories. a quick glance at the four turns in the life of 20th and 21st century oil should remind us of that. here in the first place we're privy to a host of characters and dynamics that don't necessarily line up with our conventions of religious and political history. the spiritual calamity of oil in these moments created flashes of insurgents that really shattered familiar binaries evangelical, non-evangelical, and bound on common faith partners along with the non-religious together behind shared ethics of custodianship over earth's most valued treasure. the degree to which the insurgencies disrupt the narratives and produce major religious realignments going forward is a question yet to be answered. what is striking finally is the
way in which those locking arms over pipelines in protest have kind of created a transcendent ambition and worry for many americans over the issue of oil. we short-change our history of modern america when we don't calculate the deep structures meaning those living in oil-rich zones, and measure the length to which they will go politically to protect their rights to these encounters. we fall short by not allowing for the dense complexities in the relationship. big oil versus the people, oil shows a divergence. notions of work and family, patterns of time and the nation's proper engagement with the world, it is in the contestation within oil culture we can identify the prompts for
some of america's most profound political and religious terms. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you for being here. in the 2012 presidential election, both candidates avoided mr. romney's religion. banked and cooled by both campaigns, religion spilled out hot everywhere. the obama campaign fumed when romney told sean hannity in february of 2012 that mr. obama wanted to make america, quote a less christian nation. asked about the statement romney said he wasn't familiar with what he said, but said, i stand by what i said, whatever it was. tellingly, even with such nonstatements about faith in the
air, neither could quite take mormonism head-on. the official silences stood in tension with a wave of media obsession that conjured a mormon moment, that filled periodicals and news programs with profiles of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints and others. there are the media discoveries of mormonism and the political silences surrounding it. this morning i contend that the specific forum that american engagement with mormonism has long taken that of the expose. encourages reflection within the study of religion and politics about the meanings of religious secrecy. what can we say about the repeated keeping and disclosing of mormon secrets. or put more crassly, what does it mean that americans have long demanded that mr. romney account for his underwear.
journalists in 2012 were thrust into the basic paradox of this history. is mormonism an exotic creation with strange rituals, or is it the quintessentially american religion patriotic, extolling large families, and capitalist achievement? in part, it is mormonism's limitality that has marked it for political controversy. it's seen as both christian and not quite christian, both as a religion or somehow more, or is it less than one. today i offer secrecy as a key fulcrum for that limitality. mormonism's secrets have thus helped constituted as a problem for americans and scholars alike, but at the same time mormon's secrets have helped make a distinctive mormon people possible. seen in this light, the
consequential effects of secrecyditional details to round out a religion's historical portrait rather they provide us the gritty mechanics of power itself. how it is constituted, and contested. and since mormonism's stubborn concealment impulses run right into the teeth of our scholarly and democratic projects, they beg important questions of both american politics and those of us who study them. many religious traditions acknowledge some kind of hidden new jersey just as sa kret space can enclose secrets and mark membership in mecca, so it has been with the mormon temple's spatial restrictions. but social and political strain religious secrets can signal danger. this was true of earliest christianity. where the arcani kept the faith
mysteries from the nonbelievers and initiates alike. in the american context, similar dangers were perceived in the 19th century mormons with roman catholics. in the 20th century with the black sects the morris science temple, and church of scientology after world war ii, and with muslims after september 11th 2001. mormonism may seem to be an especially secretive faith but it did not emerge that way. the historical, almost accidental presence of secrecy in early mormonism blossomed as the tradition entered a jen ra tiff second stage in the early 1940s, when they put the secrecy at the administrative and sacramental core. the political strategies polygamist marriages. by 1850, mormonism teamed with secrets. through this robust but hidden
substratum mormons redefined christianity, family sexuality, time and human bodies themselves, indeed where mormon conceptions in space and time earlier worked on the access of a holy city, the 1840s innovations set the project on a new footing. it functioned as the axis mundi for the millennial city. but now the saint's own bodies formed the holy of holies within the sa kret spaces. appropriately, mormons both donned ceremonyial clothing for rites, and special underclothing thereafter. they could scarcely jettison their secret things without pull the foundations without substantial ritual and theological structures. it is not surprising then that ex-mormons have long known exactly how to leave. or exactly where to strike.
the secrets were just waiting to be exposed. secrecy is thus functioning as a lever for mormon identity, marking passageways into and out of the religion's beating heart. mormons prize their pioneer temples for the rough-hewn beauty, and sun-baked powers of will that called them up from the desert floor. given the history i'm narrating here, their similarities of form speak an altogether different sermon. as citadels of the secrets, they call it defiance enrichment. they understood their relationship to outsiders as one of colonization and the temples seem to mark a line in the great basin sand. modern mormon moments followed a basic recipe with stunning regularity. what you merges from the cycle
of secret keeping and expose is a cultural script, an american political ritual, that has continued unabated to our time. time permits consideration of some of the most memorable iterations, but only in brief. 1890. as the 1880s' anti-polygamy crusade, they made gradual accommodations to put off the seemingly inevitable. with 1,300 mormons imprisoned and church property in federal hands, still they hoped for a workable middle way. only when back channel communications warned that the temples, too, would be subject to federal seizure did the great accommodation come. the u.s. secretary of interior sent word in august of 1890 that he would not abide the earlier gentleman's agreement sparing the lds temples. the church president ended the
practice, came just days, not weeks, later. even polygamy which mormons had sworn could not be given up without wrecking everything, turned out to be expendable. when compared with the maintenance of the sa kret places. 1904, some lds leaders sustained a secret polygamy, some 300 secret marriages at least. an expectation of christ's vindicating return. but quiet resistance went hand in hand with public integration strategies at the same time. including utah's election of a church apostle reads moot to the u.s. senate. the hearings over his election offered the concealment expose drama on a grand stage. before the senate committee came a disillusioned former professor to the temple's notorious vengeance oath. for the gathered senators to judge.
had senator smoot compromised his national loyalty because of his mormon temple vows. church president joseph edsmith took the stand for the church. when the senator pressed, quote, suppose you should receive a divine revelation commanding your people to do something forbidden by the law of the land, which would be their duty to obey the politically savvy church president fired back, quote, they would be at liberty to obey which they please. there is absolutely no compulsion. both sides have learned the script, and knew their lines. 1919, the national reform association had helped lead the anti-polygamy crusade though its main goal as stated by the association was a constitutional amendment declaring the nation of explicitly a christian one. even after the polygamy concession, though nra leaders charged that mormonism still
threatened the nation. for several years nra crossed swords with the mormons' bright young thing, apostle james e. talmadge, one of the first mormons to receive an ph.d. and had become the face of the gentleman theologian. he published the house of the lord which offered the most complete descriptions of mormon temple worship to date. the book he had been prompted by a scandal. and they threatened to publish photos of the temple interior. talmadge suggested preemptive publication of temple images. and was tasked with writing the accompanying text. if you live in a place where a new mormon temple is built there are now tours for nonmormons to go through. that's a direct result of this kind of dawning sense of kind of a proactive public affairs kind
of sensitivity about temples. the resulting back-and-forth from the text came to a head in 1919. when talmadge showed up at the third nra world conference in pittsburgh. he was eventually allowed to speak to the association for five minutes amidst a hail of hiss. the speaker following suggested he be stripped to reveal his temple undergarments, bearing the marks of his, quote, treasonous oaths. 1982. since world war ii mormon members swelled such that the protestant evangelicals had noticed. the church announced the new-found growth and conference in dramatic fashion. with the 1974 dedication of the temple north of the nation's capital. situated conspicuously on the beltway, it had a shiny modern
and some said gaudy update. many saw it as an unmistakable assertion of power and presence. surging lds political conservativism did mormonism no favors, though with protestant evangelicals, who responded to mormon growth with invigorated counter-cult movement. energetic ex-mormons produced a book and movie combo in this particular moment, the god makers. which became a touch stone for evangelical opposition. the film complete with spooky music and wompgy animated segments wos condemned by the national council of christians and jews, but its effects were substantial. the film builds predictably to reenactments of the lds temple rights. over the eerie audio, a voice introduces viewers to the secrets. quote, what you are seeing is an authentic firsthand ever on film
reenactment of the secret mormon temple ceremonies. 2009. basking in the gloew of the so-called olympics, the 2008 election cycle, and lds church's involvement in the california marriage equality initiative cured that. several outlets agreed that hbo's decision to portray the lds temple ceremony in a 2009 big love episode had something to do with the church's california political activism. the episode actually provided some nuance for the rite with jean triplehorn's part that many mormons associate with the temple ceremonies. but it formed a conspicuous poke in the eye indeed for mormons as they ran to the mormons' ritual nerves. 2012. during this most recent mormon
moment the political ritual played out in new media, and on platforms seemingly grander than ever. but it remained a recognizable performance still. in one of the more memorable enactments of the routine a reporter after showing clips of ex-mormons reenacting the by then discontinued penalty oaths asked for an explanation from an lds apostle after reminded of the discontinuiousousdiscontinuous, the interview pressed. that sounds masonic sir, it sounds masonic. not long thereafter, and right on cue and in this recent moment's appropriate media format, just days before the election progressive blogger andrew sullivan posted footage of the entire lds temple ceremony secretly filmed by an ex-mormon. the film's subtitle brings us full circle to the worst kept
secret of the 1840s, quote never before seen videos of secret mormon temple rituals. so in conclusion secrets sacred ritual, expose. i offer these words as a story line for minority faith in america. a generation ago, narratives of u.s. religion were crafted as tales of pluralism, and a rowdy but lovable marketplace of individual making spiritual choices. the history recounted here adds to a generational course of dissent from those depictions. on the one hand, this is a story of the americanization of mormonism. of the ways modern political and social worlds have chipped away at its secrets. on the other hand, it's a reminder that the keeping and telling of secrets pushes scholars onto unstable ground. how should one study or narrate what partisans either want to keep hidden as an article of faith or expose as an act of
democratic righteousness. scholars of religion, journalists and political commentators it seems to me might profitably seek that space between taboo and fetish with regard to the secrets. ideally, we steer clear of both the zealotry of the secret keeping and the zealous compulsion to expose. at very least, we must position ourselves as to better explain what is at stake in the keeping and the exposing across time, and in the present. thank you. [ applause ] >> i want to continue with the theme of outsider religious candidates religious candidates outside the white protestant mainstream, and merge that line of inquiry with another kind of more theoretical term in
religious history recently for the last several decades scholars and american religious history had a crisis of defining religion religion. if religion itself is a slippery analytical category, it seems to look different in the united states than it does in india or turkey. now, what about those categories that are defined in relation to religion. what about secularism. is that not also culturally conditioned, by time and place. i'm taking these two story lines, one about minority religious candidates and one about variations in secularism, and want to talk about protestant secularism, which i think is the american iteration that matters to me. i was empowered to question the
idea that the secularism was in fact universal, fully separate from christianity. i accept as my starting point today the idea that what appears universal in the united states context, is actually, and this is jacobsen, is specifically a protestant form of secularism. many scholars recently have offered genealogies of this. a literary historian talks about the protestant secularism. politicians and others interested in commerce or political stability have tended to distinguish between good and bad religion. by how effectively the practitioners within a given tradition honor the boundaries
between internal boundaries. in 2007, it was emphasized that the distinctive work of religion happened in the individual walls of the psyche. it doesn't have to be religion per se, it can be a philosophy, a way of life. there are many different ways people choose to have a guiding set of values within their life. and for many it is organized religion. for many it is not. i will suggest this to you respectfully that no matter what religion or philosophy organized or otherwise people adopt they almost all have a golden rule within them. if you're a legitimately practicing any of them and you're practicing them well, you will tend to be a pretty good citizen and pretty good person. adherence to good traditions may have dog mas in their own in this model, but they translate into reasonable argument when engaging those outside of the
tradition. adherence of bad religion in contrast do not register a key change as a switch between these internal and external demands. good religion is good in the measure that it tends toward invisibility, or unobtrusiveness, protecting a neutral space, to do the work of commerce and governance. the irony here is outsider candidates in the united states history have enthusiastically supported what is essentially a protestant system. catholics, mormons black protestants, have reiterated the same boundaries of protestant seculars that don't always serve their religious interests per se. i want to take some of the lessons of others to apply them to the most foundational central actors in their national life. presidential candidates. these other books that i've been talking about, scholars, thend to write about other deep
careful readings of literary texts, or tends to work through hugely abstract analyses of new machinery, and new print culture. i'm saying the story they're telling about protestant secularism is clear and revealed in the most highly studied actors in the nation's history. presidential candidates. all i'm taking this narrative and applying it to a different kind of context. from thomas jefferson to the remarkable of cluster of outside presidential candidates, they've done a disproportionate amount to secularism. they fought against any form of religious incursion have announced a quality of opportunity for people of all
faiths under a deceptive protestant shell and maintained a remarkably consistent witness, that good religion belongs in the individual conscience. thomas jefferson shared more in common with his evangelical citizens. jefferson is the towering figure in nearly every account of church, state relations in the united states since he penned some of the more important documents. it's not simply semantics to say that jefferson was also a principal architect of protestant secularism. the riddle in jefferson's case is someone who did not self-identify could nonetheless give words in legal form to the core conventions for generations protestants embraced as their own. he was unremitting of his roman
catholic breath craft, as he called it. he was certainly no orthodox christian, he was nonetheless common-sense philosophy and anticipated 19th century evangelicals. this is meaningful against the work happening in the 18th century, instead of 30, 40 years earlier. jefferson did trace a similar route to a modern evangelical secularism several decades earlier without the stimuli of the bewildering world of new machines. jefferson accepted the idea of a moral sense. as much a part of a man as a leg or an arm he says. similarly, on matters of religion distinguished from morality about natural philosophy jefferson divinely said the tool that anyone could
evaluate the theological propositions. his confidence in his fellow citizens' abilities to unseat false gods and this is key, i think, to enshrine true religion, to the relationship of the religious and secular as con constituted in the united states. he advocated what we now conceive of as secularism. like baird and the voluntary principle, not to destroy christianity, but protect the liberty of the individual to exercise his or her reason to discover his own god. there was an explosive debate of the meaning of jefferson's wall of the metaphor. it explained the subtle distinction between protecting free thought for its own sake and the sake of facilitating the spread of true or good religion. jefferson believed that by erecting a wall between church and state, he could protect free quirly. by doing so aid the process by
which it purified christianity housed in reason rather than faith. for neem, the operative sense actually follows the famous wall image. when jefferson offered the hope that, quote adhering this to expression of the supreme will of the nation i shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tends to restore to man all his natural rights. convinced he has no natural right in opposition to the social duties. here jefferson verbalized the american version of secularism that truly free minds will discover only such religious sentiments to render them more useful as citizens. as a political candidate, sitting president jefferson left plenty of evidence of his response to christianity that conforms to reason and to good citizenship.
it was argued that the candidate was dangerously indifferent to the maintenance of pros stant christianity. he had used strong language to make his point, that the legitimate powers of government extends to such acts injurious to others. almost taunting supporters of state-sponsored religious establishments that it does no injury that are 20 gods or no gods. jefferson was smarting from the criticism and eager to find common ground so this is not only the context from the danbury letter, but the context in which he set about for himself in private to answer how far reason to take him toward a christianity by pros stant divines. he confessed his cover letter to be a christian in the only sense jesus wished anyone to be. sincerely attached to the doctrines in preference to all
those ascribing himself every human excellence and never a claim to any other. he made the philosophy of jesus a little known predecessor to the jefferson bible. jefferson was invested in approaching religion that would not lead to sectarian conflict in government. the essential insight here is that jefferson personally endorsed and lent his pen to support a version of secularism that was anything but neutral. instead he protected space for and made potential particular types of protestant religious activity, with texts and emphasis on voluntary association with the communities of faithful. he strove to make a gauge of good or permissible religion and struck out violently against any attempts to contain one's conscience. he laid out the proposition list clearly. pledging to use all of his power
if elected president to fight attempts to enlist a religious establishment. when subsequent candidates found themselves in jefferson's shoes as members or representatives of minority religious traditions in an overwhelmingly protestant country, they advocated for space at the table, in a way that actually entrenches protestant interests. john kerry, mitt romney and barack obama three recent candidates from this century operating outside of protestant stra traditions they viewed the bully pulpit, or at least their relatively privileged spots on the campaign trail, to define good religion in jeffersonian terms, for internal transformation voluntary association, consistent with reason and not presumed to enforce any distinctive moral code. under fire or suspicion from
white protestant voters they delivered at least one landmark religion speech, delivered as such and analyzed as such. in which they ascribe using rather precise terms, religion is a private exchange which translates into politics primarily by expanding the believer sense of the public good. they have offered nearly identical definitions of religions. kerry address eded his religious commitments on october 24th, 2004, at a time when he and george w. bush were deadlocked in the polls. the democratic nominee walked a delicate tight rope, quoting
scripture repeatedly, but his religious experience was only internal and more profound impulses to the common good were the only external marker of his faith. he prayed and wrestled with catholicism during the vietnam war, he said resulting in a sense of hope and belief in a higher purpose. at the center of his address kerry quoted from the book of james, saying, it is not enough, my brother, to say you have faith when there are no deeds. kerry used this verse as the great pivot from private experience to public action. for me he went on, that means having and holding to a vision of a society of the common good where individual rights and freedoms are connected to our responsibility to others, understanding the authentic role of leadership is the good that can come to all of us as we work together as one united community. kennedy had largely dispelled concerns about catholic in politics kerry felt compelled
to revisit the issue. roman catholics were obliged to live moral lives, but not enact on others the policy positions. reminding his auditors of the controversy over the summer, this is when bishops debated whether they should bar romney from communion. local bishops would part from it. some bishops suggested as a public official i must take public positions on a woman's right to choose or stem cell research. but then try to adhere to the boundaries of good religion by refusing to restrain another's conscience. i love my church. i respect the bishops but i respectfully disagreed. my task as i see it is not to write every doctrine into law. it is not possible in a pluralistic society.
republicans, too nominated a candidate from outside the traditional brought stapt fold when they put mitt romney up for the highest office in 2012. he's not completely silent but he had made a signature statement earlier during the republican primary four years previous. facing a primary field that included mike huckabee romney rested concerns about the jesus christ of latter-day saints. he said not by defending mormonism per se indeed, he did. he refused to -- he reaffirmed the model and placed the latter-day saints in the category of good religious. romney used anecdotes, and echoed closely all the lines of the broward county speech. romney led off the discussion by
assuring the american people that he would never allow religious authority to dictate the political issues. no authorities of my church or of any other church for that matter will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. their authority is theirs within the province of church affairs, and ends with the affairs of the nation beginning. romney vowed he would guard against any legislation rooted too closely in the dock rinse of any one tradition. i will put no doctrine of any church in the sovereignty of the law. every religion has its own unique doctrines in history. it's a test of our tolerance. he returned verbatim to kerry's script at this point almost verbatim proclaiming primary purpose of faith was enlargeing believers' all the traditions willing to forbear from the
particularities to the ballot box. before cataloging what you thought were the most winson features in catholicism, evangelicalism, and islam. it is important to recognize while differences in theology exist between the churches in america, we share a common creed of moral convictions. and they were the affairs of the nation are concerned, it's usually a sound rule to focus on the latter on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. the intention of this brief conversation today is not to theorize new ways of understanding church/state relations, but how faithfully presidential candidates, at the very center of our national life, the actors in our shared experiences, have inscribed the boundaries of protestant sec larism. and those outside protestant traditions have done so energetically. [ applause ]
>> at this time i would like to open up the floor for a couple people to ask questions. i also just want to remind you that all of our speakers will be here for the entirety of the day. i'm volunteering them but i'm certain that they are willing to talk with you during the breaks, before and after if you have questions that you don't get a chance to ask during this formal time. and also just a quick note if you would like to ask a question, we have a couple of guys here who have microphones. please allow the microphone to come to you and ask your question into the microphone, so we can all hear you and that the recording can also pick you up. does anyone have a question? one over here. >> hi. a question for kate. that was a fascinating paper.
you touched on some of the things that you people you looked at left out of their view of history. unless i missed it in the talk, they left out the first amendment, and the religious freedom clause which makes a lot of sense, because it's a tricky thing today to deal with. they also left out the great awakening, which would seem to fit in with their feeling of history quite neatly. a quick follow-up do these people looking at the founding era, and into the colonial era, do they grapple with the problem of theocracy? it's something that's very prevalent in the political thought of -- from the reformation from the 17th to 18th centuries. >> thank you. those are great questions. for the first great awakening, that got left on the cutting room floor. that's the central moment for these thinkers.
especially george whitfield. if the goal is to find particular men who exemplify the process, george whitfield can play that role as the great evangelist. there is public conversation where some conservative pundits have argued, so george whitfield is america's spiritual founding father, to use the title of a recent book, and he should be elevated to a particularly high level, attributing to george whitfield constituting the new birth. some evangelical historians have come out and pushed back on that. the great awakening and whitfield are seen as absolutely essential events. questions of theocracy and the first amendment, those are not discussed in any significant depth. if liberty is the principle of the founding era, it is embodied in the first amendment. it's right and we apply it to
subsequent moments. the complexities that might come out of what the first amendment the process of creating the first ate,mendment, the readings of the first amendment the culture wars context is usually a little bit off to the side of is this discussion. it's so admittedly political. no it's not central lyly politicized. >> hi. i have two questions. one for kate and one for spencer. my first question to kate is, the link between -- i'm very interested in this link between moses, or the ancient israelites and the mayflower compact. i would like you to speak a little bit more about how they linked them. i would be curious just to hear a little bit more -- i don't know how much you read into it
but how exactly they justified that link. a little more specifically. i would be curious. and then for spencer, you talked about the colonization of mormons. and it makes a lot of sense, given their oppressed status -- their history of oppression. do they still -- i'm curious as to how that -- has that dialogue changed as they're attempting to become the american religion, and how they talk about the oppression in the past and then somehow becoming more of this, like all-american sort of part of the mainstream, trying to be included sort of in that protestant mainstream? can you speak to that a little bit? >> on the issue of moses and the mayflower compact, the immediate political context of this for those who might not know is that the texas state board of education standards for 2010, which are now leading to textbooks, which mark will be
talking about later this afternoon, address the connecting of moses as sort of an original thinker for the creation of the united states. so this is something that the united states and so this is something that texas teachers are grappling with right now, of how to put moses into a process that by any reading he was very distant from. the connecting happens in part through the mayflower compact. and it happens in two ways, if moses is seen as a law giver and the mayflower compact is seen as an original union. so the process is through that and not actually through any of the specific content of any of those documents, the mayflower compact doesn't hold up to that kind of scrutiny if you look at it's actual text. so it has to be a description of
the document rather than a interpretation of the document. the other thing that happens is that -- and that's that the same documents appear over and over and over. . and if you dig into the footnote footnotesfootnote footnotes they refer back to each other and never to an outside academic discoverryy of the mayflower compact. so for people who are steeped in this reeding of the american founding, and it's roweiterated in american sermons there's a self-evident compact. and the difference moments of their creation really isn't relevant. it's just through repetition is the primary way. >> very briefly it could be a long response, but a kind of brief one is that it's a tension
filled modern identity for mormons given their history. in part this history, this kind of persecution in the past, is tightly woven into mod everyone identity, kind of which they expect to be misrepresented or misunderstood in public. it's just an eye roll of here we go again, snappier tunes but it's the same old lyrics, expect mockery, and it fits with the representation of the past. and it might be in a kind of risomatic, it becomes kind of western in a way too though. distant federal power heavy handed for us here, our own ways, you know, that's kind of their -- but they have to be very careful with that, because
too long into that story and it's about polygamy. and, you know that, doesn't work very well. because it ends up stoundounding a bit like defense of polygamy. they have been running from polygamy for over 100 years, so they're good at that kind of flight as well. complicated, the end. >> i want to keep us on time for the rest of the day, so again i encourage you, as we take a short break here between our panels, feel free to get a little more to eat or drink or find the restrooms that are out the door and to the left. we'll convene in just a few minutes for our second panel. thank you.
today was the first day of the 114th congress, and you can watch all of the day's proceedings on the cspan networks. today on cspan 2, today's house session. in this new congress john conniers is the dpeen of the house. the youngest member is 30-year-old elise stephonic the average age of highways members is 57. we recently spoke to congressman conyers about his duties as dean of the house. here's part of the interview. >> joining us from detroit is the incoming dean of the house, representative john conyers from michigan, good morning. >> tell our folks a little bit
about the position you're about to assume, can you tell the folks how one becomes a company of the house? >> the well the first requirement is longevity the dean of the house is the longest serving member in the house of representatives and he has the distinct honor on opening day on january 6, to swear in the incoming speaker of the house. which is a constitutional and so even though the present speaker of the house is going to be the same one he will still have to be sworn in again, and that's where i come in. and so you'll do that job today
tell us a little bit about the longevity aspect of it. tell us a little bit about taking over for him, and the fact that he's a fellow michigander as well. >> not only a fellow michigander. his father and my father were good friends. he and i are good friends he was once a congressman and i have been talking with him about this job. and the important duty of course on opening day, where we swear in the incoming speaker of the house for the next session of congress, we're looking forward to it. >> so you u eve been talking to him about the job what kind of advice has been given to you about it? >> well he's given me some good
advice stay calm get your swearing in statement together so 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. >> representative, you become the first african-american to assume this position, what does that mean to you? >> well i think it's a high honor, under any circumstances, but i think it's even more significant and of all the members in the congress, i am now the longest everybodying and the first african-american to hold that rank, i am value -- with your new platform as company, even when you do the experimental aspects of it.
do you talk about race issues? do you use your platform to talk about other issues near and deer to you? >> absolutely. the dean of the house has a special recognition, and it gives a little more added authority to the positions that u i take and so i will be very carefully assessing what i say and what positions i had voe indicate. as the new dean of the house and i follow a very distinguished member of congressa was the dean for a long time himself. and he's stepping down, and of course, you know, his wife is replacing him, debbie dingle, we're looking forward to working her, and the entire michigan delegation.
so representative, as you become dean now do you get any privileges? do you get better office space? do you get your choice of committees? how does that work? >> we have been looking to see if there are any perks laying around and guess what? we haven't found a one. >> but you are the longest serving member now, and especially with this freshman class coming in and because you hold the title of dean what advice would you give the freshman class being the congressest serving member? >> i would advise them to be very careful and thoughtful about the votes that they cast. and that they want to realize that every vote they cast becomes a part of our constitutional congressional history. and we don't want them to get
into a mood or into a group that they will be saying later on that they were sorry that they were running in a direction that they really didn't support. >> 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 time. it's a pleasure being with you. have a good new year. with live coverage of the u.s. house on cspan and the senate on c spangspan 3, and then on weekends cspan 3 is the home to american history tv with programs that tell our naegs's story. including six unique series the civil war's 150th anniversary. visiting battlefields and key events, american art facts
touring my seems and historic sites, discovering what it reveals about america's past. the presidency, looking at the policies and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. legacies in history with top college professors delving into america's past. c spachb 3, created by the cable tv industry and fund bid your local cable or satellite provider. the newly elected 114th congress was sworn in today. the house is made up of 214 republicans, 188 democrats and one vacancy. in the senate there are 54 republicans 44 democrats and two independents. as part of his duties today house speaker john boehner held a swearing in ceremony and