Note: Can I Say This at Church is produced for audio listening. If able, I strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which has inflection, emotion, sarcasm where applicable, and emphasis for points that may not come across well in written word. This transcript is generated using a combination of my ears and software, and may contain errors. Please check the episode for clarity before quoting in print.
Everyone, welcome back to another episode of the Can I Say This At Church podcast, got a great guest lined up for you today. A guest that he's gonna say some things that are going to push you. And he's gonna say some things that you have probably never heard and never been taught. They are important and they are controversial, because they're true. They are challenging. And I can't think of a better topic to discuss than what we're going to talk about today.
That topic is the Doctrine of Discovery, we'll go over what that is, we will go over why it matters. And that will scale all the way up to 2018, to the world that we live in now.
My guest today is Mark Charles. He is dynamic. He's thought provoking as a public speaker. He's passionate and you can hear that when he speaks. When he talks about the Doctrine of Discovery, you will hear insights that you've never heard. You'll hear complexities of American history, and how it interweaves with race and culture, then you will hear for conciliation, not reconciliation of our country and the church and its role in that. And so here we go.
We are joined today on the Can I Say This At Church podcast by Mark Charles, who is many things, many, many things. So Mark, I'm sure there's going to be many that that are listening that are unfamiliar with you that I would recommend that they get familiar with you. I love the work that you're doing. Can you give us just a little bit about yourself? Just a brief intro?
Yeah. Thank you. Seth is great to speak with you and be on your podcast with you today. Let me start by introducing myself in Navajo.
Ya’ at ’eeh. Mark Charles yinishyé. Tsin bikee dine’é nishłį́. Dóó tó'aheedlíinii bá scíshchíín. Tsin bikee’ dashicheii. Dóó tódích’ íi’ nii dashinálí.
So in the Navajo culture when you introduce yourself you always give your four clans. We’re a matrilineal people and our identities come from our mother's mother. So my mother's mother is American of Dutch heritage and so I say tsin bikee dine’, which translated means “I'm from the wooden shoe people”. My father's mother, my second clan, is Tó' aheedlíinii, which is “the waters that flowed together. My third clan, my mother's father, is also mothers clan needed. And then my fourth clan, my father's father, Todích'íí'nii, and that's the bitter water clan. It's one of the original clans of our Navajo people.
I have been working on issues of justice regarding Native peoples for probably about 10 or 15 years. I grew up in the Southwest in a border town to the Navajo reservation called Gallup, New Mexico. I attended a school that was in the process of transitioning from being a boarding school to a day school. And so I had many friends who were there as boarding school students, and I was there as a day school student.
But a lot of my work on the social justice part of it came both out of pastoring a church in Denver called the Christian Indian Center. And then as a result of that work moving back to the Navajo reservation and living for a total of 11 years, but for three years we were in a very remote section of our reservation living on a sheep camp in a one room Hogan; 25 foot diameter, log walls, dirt floor, no running water, no electricity, living with a family that willed rugs and herded sheep for a living.
And that experience of being in that community, and feeling and understanding and experiencing firsthand the intense marginalization and ongoing oppression of native peoples forever changed me. And it really, my blog in fact, it's called Reflections from the Hogan. That's when I started blogging, and just began thinking about the situation of my people on our reservation and then all the world that's happening right outside of our borders in the very country we're living in. But the two worlds are so completely different that to this day, I'm still processing through some of the differences in what to the differences mean.
Yeah, what does Hogan mean?
The Hogan is the traditional dwelling of our Navajo peoples. Excited In the tradition, there's a female and a male Hogan, used within our different ceremonies. So but the Hogan is really the center of the life for the Navajo people. It's, it's where we do our ceremonies, it's very meaningful, there's a lot of tradition around it. So yeah, it's a very sacred place for us as Navajo people.
You're in DC now, correct?
Yes, about three years ago.
So what do you do now?
I am a speaker and a writer. I do some preaching. I'm working on a book right now. My co-author Soong Chan Rah, and I are putting the finishing touches on our manuscript for our book, hopefully will be out later. 2018 late fall lecture, the title of book is Truth be Told, and it's going to be published through IV Press.
They've got a lot of good books. And I like Soong Chan Rah quite a bit. I like the stuff that he has to say. And I like the stuff that you've been saying as well. So your book, truth be told, what truth are you telling?
Well, a lot of my work for the past, probably seven or eight years has centered around the Doctrine of Discovery. And it's for those who don't know what the doctrine discovery is, it's a series of Papal Bulls written in the 1400s, the 15th century. So 1452 Pope Nicholas the fifth wrote,
invade, search out capture vanquishing subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, convert them to his and their use in profit.
These are statements from this papal bull called dumb diversity, which was the first in a series of papal bulls written between 1452 and 1493, that are collectively called the Doctrine of Discovery. Essentially it’s the church in Europe, saying to the nations of Europe, wherever you go, whatever lands you find not ruled by white, European, Christian rulers, those people are less than human and their land is yours for the taking. So that's quite simply the doctrine that allowed European nations to colonize Africa and enslave the African people that they didn't believe in to be human. The same doctrine that let Columbus, who's lost at sea land in this new world inhabited by millions, and claim to have discovered it.
Yeah, no, I am. I had that talk with my son. Not too long ago. He's in. He's in third grade. And he brought home his Columbus study guide, and I'm reading it with some of the stuff that I've learned over the past few years. I was like, This is not even. Why is this on the standard of learning test that he has to grade? Like, this is not even truthful?
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I'm just very simple just you can't discover lands already inhabited.
Thats just stealing. The fact that to this day, we refer to what Columbus did in our history books, in our holidays, in our, in our statues and memorials, we refer to him as the “discoverer” of America, that reveals the implicit bias of the nation, which is people of color, indigenous peoples aren't fully human.
Right. And so to take that to in essence of time, how has today's church then used, I guess, that Catholic, that Catholic doctrine, or creed or rules or whatever you want that manifest to, to bring us the history of our country now that we live in?
Yeah, so so much of this, of the book that I'm writing with Soong Chan is about the dysfunctional theological assumptions of the church. And in the book, I actually in my writings on my blog, I actually take the dysfunction and the schism, all the way back to the first, second and third centuries. If you if you listen to the teachings of Jesus, if you look at the early church, there's no teaching there about Christian Empire. And Jesus is very adamant he his kingdom was somewhere else. He wasn't here to create a new Imperial order here on earth. And yet, when Constantine, for century becomes emperor of Rome, he converts to Christianity and creates Christendom, and in complete contrast to what Jesus told taught. He creates a Christian Empire. And that fundamentally changes what it means to be the church.
The church prior to that was was persecuted, it was oppressed, it was prophetic. It spoke against the Empire, you became a member of the church through your baptism, your confession, your discipleship in your community. Now, after Constantine and the creation of Christian Empire, now your membership in the church is dependent upon your citizenship in the Empire. And so this, this realignment has huge consequences for the church. We see it even in the next century, when the theologians of the day, primarily Augustine, they begin wrestling with the problem, because now that you have a Christian Empire, now you have Christian citizens, who are out fighting the wars, killing in the name of the Empire, a plain text reading of Jesus teaching doesn't allow that. So that's where we begin to see the theological gymnastics of Augustine and other theologians, creating a just war theory and really trying to find a way to justify their colluding with Empire to find a way for the Christian citizen to still fight the battles of the Empire without feeling a without, without having any conflict morally with the church and with the theologies of the church.
And so I actually published an article last summer. It's on my blog, it's called where Augustine goes off the rails. And I spent a lot of time looking, you know, I've been talking about Augustine for probably three or four years. And I was looking for, where does he go wrong?
The fact that he's advocating for a just war theory is, I would say, proof that he's outside of the thinking of Jesus. But I was looking for where did he go off the rails? At what point did he you know, whenever, Jesus confronted with people who try to combine his teachings with the world, he reacts very strongly.
And to define just war for those that are unfamiliar. That is what it's okay for me to kill you because Jesus says it's okay, or is that an overgeneralization?
Just war theory really had two purposes. A: because now it's just war, because you have a Christian Empire. And so one of the one of the components of just war is, how do you fight wars more justly? And the second component is, how do you justify Christian citizens' fighting the Wars of the Empire. And so there's really two components and in his writings when he talks about the two kingdoms. In his writing St. Augustine, he's very clear that the kingdom of heaven is not Christendom.
But he also doesn't, he kind of says, but it seems to be better than being persecuted. So let's try and make this work.
It's the lesser of two evils.
Yeah. And so he's wrestling with what I would say is a very real theological problem, which is you have a Christian Empire, which doesn't exist in the Scripture. So how do you deal with it? And unfortunately, instead of speaking prophetically to the church and saying, we have to get out of bed with the Empire, Augustine decides, how do we make this theologically work, which is how we get to the just war theory.
Now if you look, I spent probably two years looking through his writings on the two kingdoms to see where did he go off the rails? And it wasn't until this last summer when I was reading some books towards the end of his life on he writes about the Donatists, one of his books called On Correction of the Donatists. Now the Donatists are a schism group. They're teaching heresy, they've kind of been a thorn in the church aside and Augustine side most of his life, and he's wrestling with what do we do with them? And in this chapter, he's, he's debating what is the role of the Christian King in a Christian Empire. And he concludes that the role of the Christian King in the Christian Empire, and let me actually read this to you, becauseit's kind of shocking. It says,
How then are the kings to serve the Lord with fear, except by preventing and chastising with religious severity, all those acts which are done in opposition to the commandments of the Lord. For a man serves God in one way, in that he is a man and another in that he is also King. In that he is man, he serves God by living faithfully, but in that he is king. He serves God by enforcing with suitable rigor, such laws as your gain with his righteous and punish what is the reverse.
So he's arguing here that the role of a Christian King in the Christian Empire is to use the resources of the state, to enforce the commands of the church, or the command of God or the theologies of the church.
That's in chapter five, in chapter six. He goes on and says,
It's indeed better that men should be led to worship God by teaching than they should be driven to it by fear of punishment or pain. But that does not follow that because the former course produces the better man therefore those who do not yield to it should be neglected, for many have found advantage in first being compelled by fear or pain that they might afterwards be influenced by teaching, or follow out and acting in the way they had already learned in word.
So now he's saying the role of a Christian King and a Christian Empire is to use fear, punishment, and pain to compel people to obey the commands of God. This is where he's completely outside the teachings of Jesus. Jesus never advocated for this, um, you know, and so, I'm convinced that Jesus would have, if he would have spoken these words to Jesus, Jesus would have turned to him and said, Get behind me Satan. You're on the side of men, not of God. I mean, clearly he is off the rails outside of the of the boundaries of Jesus here.
And that doctrine of fear sounds a lot like, I just finished reading, a book by Brian Zahnd Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, which is an about face of Jonathan Edwards sinners in the hands of an angry God. And what you just said, sounds a lot like that, that he's so mad at you that he's got to punish somebody and you better hope to God, it's not you, or you're gonna wish that it wasn’t.
Yeah, I was at a conference, a consultation with Brian just about maybe a year ago. And he heard me teach on this and he was actually really kind of grateful for it. Because it filled in, I think, a few it aligned very well with some of what he teaches and what he advocates for. Yeah. In regards to the teachings of Jesus, but yeah, this.
So finding that point where I mean, this is what, over the years, so now that we have the Christian King enforcing the theologies of the church, this is what leads into the Crusades. And then it's actually several centuries later, where we have another theologian of the day, Thomas Aquinas. And he is basically going a step further and he, in his writings on heretics, he basically says, Well, if the state has the right to kill man, because they break man's commands how much more does the church have the right to kill people who break God's commands? Thomas Aquinas takes it a step further, and basically says, well, the church has every right to kill people who are disobeying the commands of God. And so this is really, this is in what the 1600s I believe, when Thomas Aquinas is writing a, um, No it's not that late. It's a it's the 11th and 12th centuries when he's writing.
So this is then what is forming the church and it's thinking in the centuries after that the church begins to identify this new category of “other” that it calls the infidel.
Moore's, the Muslims, later indigenous peoples in who doesn't have anyone who's not crushed it the thought of the white, European Christian. And so then it's out of that in the in the 15th century that Pope Nicholas fifth writes his papal bull, Dum Diversas, where he says,
invade, search out capture vanquish and so do all Saracens and pagans whatsoever.
So the Doctrine of Discovery comes out of this, this really conscious choice by the church, back in the first few centuries of the church. When Constantine creates a Christian Empire, the church doesn't speak prophetically against that it begins colluding with it through the teachings of Augustine. And that eventually results in what we call the Doctrine of Discovery in the 15th century.
Now the challenge is that doctrine gets embedded into the foundations of the nation. So, you know, we have the Declaration of Independence, which begins with these words, all men are created equal 30 lines later, it refers to natives as merciless Indian savages. Making it very clear the only reason our founding fathers use this inclusive term “all men”, is because they have a very narrow definition of who's actually human.
Our constitution very similarly starts with the words in the preamble, We the people of the United States. Article one section two, the section that defines who is and who is not a part of this union who is not, and who is protected by this constitution. Article One, Section two, it never mentioned women is specifically excludes natives, and it counts Africans as 3/5’s of a person.
Yeah. What pushback do you get? So I hear that and being born in Texas and white men don't attack my Declaration of Independence by God. That's as God ordained that might as well be scripture. So what pushback do you get from people when you say that, because I will say, I've heard you say that once before, and I had to pause it, and pull it up and read it. I was like, man, how I mean, they don't teach that.
Understandably, because I'm in the position of power. So why would I give up that power? Why would I impose a term limit for lack of a better metaphor? So what, what pushback do you get from people when when you bring that up?
Well, one of the things I'm very intentional about is I don't quote experts. I don't quote historians or theologians. I quote the source text. So when you read the Declaration…you know, so the history of the declaration is, in 1763, King George draws a line down the Appalachian Mountains. And he basically says to the colonies, that they no longer have the right of discovery of the empty Indian lands West of Appalachia. This upsets the colonies, they want access to those lands. So a few years later, they write their letter protest. In their letter, they give several reasons of why they are declaring their independence. One of their reasons is that he has raised the conditions of new appropriations of land. That's one of the conditions and then the last condition they give is that he has he has brought upon our borders, the merciless Indian savages.
And you know, so very clearly, this is one of their justifications for why they're declaring the bandits. They're upset that they lost the right of discovery to empty Indian lands. Again, when you read the Constitution, everyone knows the preamble, but when you read down through it, so if you read the constitution cover to cover, I actually did this last summer, just as an exercise, you will see that beginning with the preamble going through the final amendment, there are 51 gender specific male pronouns. Who can run for office, who can hold office, even who's protected by the Constitution, he, him and his there's not a single female pronoun in the entire entire constitution.
We've never abolished slavery. The 13th amendment states that
neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, And whereas the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States.
Slavery is coming completely legal, according to the Constitution. It's just under the jurisdiction of our criminal justice system.
So arrest them first, and then do whatever you want with them.
Yeah, so the United States of America, incarcerate people at the highest rate of any country in the world? For every 100,000 citizens we incarcerate 693. And when we break it down by people of color, it's even worse. The problem is people don't read our documents. So people think I'm an expert on these things merely because I've read them. So but then it gets even worse. So in 1823, we have a Supreme Court case, this is Johnson vs. Macintosh, it's two men of European descent, litigating over a single piece of land. One of them gets the land from a native tribe, the other one gets it from the government, they want to know who owns it. The case goes all the way to the Supreme Court.
I want to re-say that so one of them bought the land from a tribe and the other one bought the land from Uncle Sam. And so they're arguing over who had ownership.
It was the exact same land. So they wanted to know who owned it and it went all the way to the Supreme Court. So the court has to decide on the principle for land titles. Now, this is the Marshall court, John Marshall's court 1823. And they ruled that the principle was that discovery gave title to the government, by whose subjects are by whose authority was made against all other European governments. And that title might be consummated by possession, then they go on, and they reference the Doctrine of Discovery. And they create a difference between Aboriginal title which is what they say natives have, which is the right of occupancy to land, like a fish would occupy water or bird would air. And then they define the title, which comes from the right of discovery, which is what Europeans have, and therefore the court rules that Europeans are the true title holders.
Now, this precedent, this case, along with a few others during that era, the legal precedent for land titles. Now, this precedent and the Doctrine of Discovery, get referenced as a legal document by the court in 1954, in 1985, and most recently in 2005.
So you can't claim it's ancient history…
No. 2005, the city of Sherrill versus the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. And I’m the footnote of that case, they referenced the Doctrine of Discovery.
I read somewhere and this is slightly off topic, but I read somewhere during and it's been in the last few years, it was before the pipeline issues going through up in the it's the Dakotas, I think, right? The pipeline, yes. And they had a Native American come on and, and say, he's like, You don't seem to understand, I can't own a house because I have to ask my Representative in Congress, who isn't really even my Representative. So I have to ask my representative to ask the actual congressman representative to ask the government to give me permission to build a foundation so that I can build a house on the land that I kind of own.
Yeah, so what most people don't understand, you'll hear the term Indian reservations and tribal sovereignty thrown around a lot. I tell people that as native tribes, we are sovereign over our land, like your teenage child is sovereign over their bedroom.
They have a bedroom, they can put a sign on the door. But whose house is the bedroom in?
I'm not keeping out. It's my house.
Yeah. And so what people don't know is that our tribes don't own our reservation lands. Those lands are held in trust for us by the federal government.
That's sweet of them.
And so, on the reservation, one of the reasons why economic development is so challenging is because you don't own any of the land.
So you can't get lending on it or build on it or anything.
So what's the the sense or the point of invent me know, for most Americans, their largest investment is their house. Because again, they can appreciate in value, it can hold your wealth for a long time and so on so forth. Most native peoples our biggest investment is our cars. Because we can't if we live on the reservation, we can't owner I mean, we can build a house on our land but we can never sell it. We can never there's no there's no return on investment there. And so because of that most of the houses on the reservations are either built by government entities, either tribe, or state or federal governments, or they're just kind of put together shacks, again, because it's not an investment for people. But you're never going to get your money back by investing in your house.
Bringing it back to church. What are some of the ways and I guess the last 50 years last 75 years, the church has been complicit in the ongoing abuse of this, of this Doctrine of Discovery.
Yeah, so, there's so many ways if you go back in the 1630s. So in 1630, initially, the Protestant church pushed back against the Doctrine of Discovery. This was a Catholic doctrine. 1630, John Winthrop is in the Boston Harbor with a group of colonists, they're actually going to plant the Boston colony. So it's not the Boston Harbor yet, but that's where they are. And he preaches a sermon called a Model of Christian Charity.
Now, in his sermon, he refers to the colonists that he's with as a “city on a hill”. He's borrowing from the language of Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, where he tells his disciples to be a lamp on a stand, a city on a hill, shining the good deeds into this dark world.
John then goes on in his sermon, and he exhorts the people and all meekness, gentleness, patience and morality, that they should rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, he's giving them a basic Protestant Christian church sermon. To listen to his words, he quotes from Deuteronomy chapter 30. Now, Deuteronomy 30, is the passage in the Old Testament, where the people of Israel are standing at the banks of the Jordan River ready to cross over and take possession of their Promised Land. And God is reiterating the threats and promises of his land covenant with them. If you obey me, I'll do these things for you. If you disobey me, I'll do these things to you. The end of that passage and Deuteronomy 38 says,
but if our hearts will turn away so that we will not obey and worship other gods, we shall surely perish either good land whether we pass over this river to possess it.
Now, Jonathan Winthrop quotes this passage in his sermon, but he changes the word river, whether we pass over this river to possess it, he changes that to vast sea. Now, why would he do that? Well, because they didn't cross the river they crossed an ocean. So what's he implying? Based on Jesus exhortations to be a city on a hill, based on God's land covenant with the people of Israel? They are standing up the banks of their Promised Land, ready to cross over and take possession of them?
And then George (King George) says, No, you can't go past the mountain chain.
Well, for anyone who reads the book of Joshua, how do the Israelites take possession of their promised land?
Well, they slaughter everybody, everywhere they go.
God literally command them, leave no animal, no woman, no child left alive. So promised lands for the people of Israel is literally God ordained genocide for the indigenous peoples, the peoples of those lands.
So I call that sermon, the birth of American exceptionalism. So this idea percolates for about 100 years, this is the 1630s, mid 1700s, the nation begins expanding westward, we go past the Appalachian Mountains, past the Mississippi River, we make our Declaration of Independence. And in the 1700s there's the Second Great Awakening begins taking place. There's this growth in churches or renewal and denominations. There's this religious fervor as our nation is moving further and further west. And then early 1800 the term Manifest Destiny is coined. This belief that this nation has the God given right to rule these lands from sea to shining sea.
If you look at the 19th century, the 1800s most people aren't aware of this. But between 1839 and 1898, the United States of America gives away 425 Medals of Honor, the highest medal a US soldier can receive for their participation in the Indian War. This includes 18 Medals of Honor for the massacre at Wounded Knee specifically. Now at the massacre at Wounded Knee, one of the things that happened, this is where 350 Dakota men, women and child are slaughtered in a single day by the US Army. One of the weapons that they use in that massacre was called the Hotchkiss Rifle. It's 37 millimeter rifle that shoots like 16 rounds per minute, maybe seven rounds per minute, accurate up to 2000 yards.
So the machine gun of its time.
Yes. So when when the peace talks breakdown, and gunfire starts up the army is is is shooting these Hotchkiss rifles down on the people. And several of the Dakota people, many of them run into a nearby ravine to seek shelter from that gunfire. Now if you go on to the Army's website and look up their Medals of Honor, you will find the section where they list the Medal of Honor for those who fought in the Indian Wars, and if you scroll down, you can find those awarded at Wounded Knee. And let me read I'll just read these for your listeners. So here are three medals that they awarded and because the reason why,
1: While the Indians were concealed in a ravine, assisted men in the skirmish line, directing their fire, etc. And using every effort to dislodge the enemy
2. Voluntarily lead a party into a ravine to this large Sioux Indians concealed therein, he was wounded during this action.
3. While engage with Indians concealed in a ravine, he assisted the men on the skirmish line, directing their fire, encourage them by example, and use every effort to dislodge the enemy.
So as these men, women and children were were seeking shelter from the gunfight intervene, we awarded three Medals of Honor to our soldiers, the US soldiers who specifically ran those people out of the ravine. Hmm.
Yeah, they don't. They don't teach that in school.
Yeah. So when you look at our at our history, during the 19th century, this was quite literally a history of ethnic cleansing and genocide. A century of ethnic cleansing and genocide. 425 Congressional Medal of Honor, during this period, the the population of the US exploded from about 5 million to I think, over 70 million. During that same period, the the number of native peoples shrinks from 600,000 to 250,000.
When you take that history, literally from the 19th century, and you lay it over this claiming of a manifest destiny, and we are a city on a hill, and claiming this land covenant with the God of Israel, and the land covenant is what gives you the right to commit genocide. This is how the church is complicit. The church rather than speaking prophetically to the nation and saying, “This is not how we treat people”. The church provided the theological cover, gave the theological cover to commit these heinous acts by ordaining this as a god bless the god chosen a nation with a manifest destiny.
When you say it that way that doesn't really sound any different from ISIS, or the Taliban, or anything else, when you frame it that way.
Absolutely no difference and in fact, let me tell you how deep this this mythology runs. A couple years ago, when Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel was here in the US he was actually, this is during Obama's final year in office, he's lobbying against the Iran nuclear deal. And he is invited by I think it's the republican lead Congress to give a speech to a joint session of Congress. Now, he's talking to a very divided a very, very partisan Congress. And he has to find a way to get everyone on the same page behind him. So early in his speech, he says to our Congress:
because America and Israel, we share a commonality destiny, the destiny of promised land
So he's posturing for his reason to be able to continue to arm himself and kill other people.
So I tell people, the United States of America and the current nation state of Israel have a very dysfunctional, codependent, relationship. So the United States of America needs Israel's Old Testament legacy of a land covenant with the God of Abraham, to justify our treatment of native peoples and black people. And the modern nation state of Israel needs our current flourishing as a nation with a manifest destiny to justify their oppression of the Bedouins and the Palestinians.
So how then as…I have so many more questions, and we're running out of time, how God when he part one and part two, how as a pastor, or in my case, a father, or a deacon, or school teacher? How do you involve yourself in a conversation that a: you don't come off as flippant or arrogant, b: you don't come off as I often do l, as ignorant? I just wasn't taught this stuff, which is not fair to anybody. But more importantly, how do you come off without posturing yourself as offensive or defensive in this dialogue?
So one of the things that I work very hard to do is I'm very clear that racism, white supremacy, all of our history of oppression is not a partisan issue. This is something that both the Democrats and the Republicans excel it and embrace. So if you just look at the this last election, we had President Trump who won the election, and he won on a promise to do what? Make America great again.
build the wall street.
Yes. So this was his whole theme of his election. Now, how did Hillary Clinton respond to that? Well, she responded to his Make America Great Again, statement by saying “America has always been great”.
So they actually agree.
Our past, our history, everything that we've just been talking about, they both agree that stuff is great. What they disagree on, is, are we great right now? Hillary said yes, Donald said no. At the Democratic National Convention, President Obama jumps into the fray and says, well, “America is great already”. Cory Booker, an African American Senator, is on the main stage of the DNC, and he's endorsing Hillary Clinton. And in his speech, he acknowledges the word savages in the Declaration of Independence. He acknowledges that natives and women are excluded from the Constitution. And he acknowledges the 3/5’s Compromise.
Now, most natural politicians don't acknowledge any of those things. And he acknowledges all of them publicly, on this very main stage. But then he ends that section of that of his speech by saying,
And I was like, really?
I would disagree with that.
I would say our systemic racism, and sexism, and white supremacy absolutely affect our nation's greatness. And so this is the problem this history. This is the question of people of color is a bipartisan one, show you how deep this goes. I just published an article last week. It's called The Abhorrent Lie of White Supremacy.
So if your listeners will recall, this was when discussing immigration reform in the meeting with with immigrants, President Trump was it was reported that he used the term “shithole nations” in regards to immigrants from Haiti and Africa. And when I heard this comment, and the the backlash from it, and all the stuff that came out. I went back and I had my children read a speech by another president who use white supremacist language frequently.
I did this because I wanted my kids to understand the pervasiveness of white supremacy, and just how deeply it's rooted in American history. So let me read this quote to you.
While I was at the hotel today, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negros and white people.
this is the transcript of a speech.
While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on the subject, yet, as the question was asked me, I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say this: I will say then, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about, in any way, the social and political equality of white people and black races.
and this is to applause
That I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people. And I will say, in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will forever forbid the two living in terms of social and political equality. And in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of making the superior position assigned to the white race.
So there has to be dualism, and we are always superior.
This is Abraham Lincoln who said these words, in a debate in 1858.
In his Inauguration in 1861, he made the statement and said, let me read this to you,
Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the southern states, that by the ascension of a Republican administration, their property and their peace and personal security or to be in danger. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension, indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary, has all the while existed, and has been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the public speeches of Him who now addresses you, I do but quote from one of these speeches, when I declare that I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so. And I have no inclination to do so.
And so how does that then relate to Trump with his words on those countries?
Because this is the permi...So Trump's words were rooted in the lie of white supremacy, okay. And I was showing my kids that white supremacy was a deeply held belief, even by Abraham Lincoln,
what was their feedback? How did they respond to that?
They, my son actually wasn't surprised. Again, so my kids have grown up hearing me speak and they they know what I talked about. And they have no illusions of what this nation-the mythologies of this nation, but I still want them to understand this, because I'm like, I want you to under how pervasive this lie of white supremacy is. That even this hero that our nation holds up, Abraham Lincoln, is actually, from and I, in my article actually demonstrate his white supremacy. Because most people say over his political life, he softened and he changed and he came more to believe in the equality of blacks. But I actually demonstrated in this article know, his white supremacy was was clear, beginning with his speech in 1858, and even ending with the Gettysburg Address.
And for those listening, I'll find that article and it will be in the show notes there for people to read..
So my blog is called Reflections from the Hogan. My website is wirelesshogan.com. And the name of this article is the abhorrent lie of white supremacy.
Yeah, and that's going to be published in February. Or it was published in February (2018)?
That I published it. Yeah, it's on my blog now.
So then, I want to end our with hope with with Jesus with, I have so many more questions, Mark, I could probably talk for another two hours, but I don't think either your schedule or mine will allow it, but maybe a different time.
How then, do we find hope? Knowing that, at least for the next few years, we're going to continue to be extremely dogmatic in how we approach humanity unless you have the right skin color. But then how do we as a church, push that forward into some form of hope, whatever that looks like?
Well, I'm convinced that the church has to get out of bed with the Empire. And I make this point in my article, which is the Church has largely been either a lobbyist or a protester, of either party. The Church isn't called to lobby or protests, anyone, the Church is meant to be prophetic. The Church has been one God, one Lord, which is Jesus. We don't pledge our allegiance to anything or anyone else. And so the Church needs to get out of Well, I'm right leaning. And so I I'm lobbying Trump now or I'm left leaning, so I'm protesting Trump, I lobbied Obama. No, we need to get out of this, the nation will never be Christian. There's no such thing as a Christian nation that doesn't exist theologically, from the teachings of Jesus are from the New Testament writers.
And so we need to, we need to stop lobbying and protesting and begin speaking prophetically, which means to both parties. Now, to get there, to get out of bed with the Empire, we need to acknowledge our complicity with the Empire. And the way that we do this was through understanding these types of teachings. But then what I really call the church to right now is into a space of lament. And this is how Soong Chan and I got connected. He published the book about two years ago called The Prophetic Lament. And in his book, he describes many aspects of lament. And one of the characteristics of lament is he says, It's like being at a funeral dirge. So there's a dead body in the casket. And it's not coming back to life. You're at the funeral for but one purpose, which is to weep. That's why you go, you go to mourn the loss of the life of the person who died. That is a beautiful picture of a lament.
There are hundreds of years and millions of dead bodies and caskets because of the church's complicity with the Empire. Before we can even think about fixing that, before we can even think about seeking forgiveness or repenting from that, we have to learn how to lament that.
And so I call the church not into a service lament, not into a song a lament, not into a period lament
I'm calling into a season of lament. The challenge with the church and lament is it's almost impossible to lament, when you believe in your own exceptionalism. That doesn't give you space to lament.
And so I'm calling the church to give up our sense of exceptionalism, to lament our complicity in this history, and to stay in that season long enough; the beautiful thing about lament is when you see in the Old Testament and the New Testament, when you see the people of God lamenting, he always, always, always shows up. He doesn't come quickly, but He always shows up. The challenge, because we never stay in lament for more than 30 minutes, is we never meet God there, he never shows up. Because we don't stay there long enough for him to show up.
So I'm calling the church into the season of lament and saying, we have to stay here until God arrives. I know He's going to come. I don't know how quickly, I know it's going to be long enough to make us very uncomfortable. But that is really my hope, and my prayer, and my call for the church is we have to lament our history. And we have to wait there long enough for God to show up. And I know he will.
Amen. Amen. Well, let's end it there. You did it a minute ago, but let's do it again. So you're extremely active on social media, from all forms it seems in your blog as well. And for those that haven't heard your work or read your read your work you’re easily accessible on YouTube, and I highly recommend people search you out on YouTube, but your sermons especially your most recent one on Luke, I greatly enjoyed. So where would you point people to engage in this conversation and to possibly engage with you or to use those vehicles as a way to engage their communities?
Yeah, so my website is the best place to find all of my information is WIRELESSHOGAN.com. I post my articles there, I post my speaking schedule there that has links to my social media. I'm most active on Facebook and Twitter. I'm usually on those things, at least once or twice a day, if not more. I began to do more things with Faceboo live, probably going on my YouTube channel and my username on all social media is wirelesshogon. That's my Facebook. That's my Twitter. That's my Instagram. That's my YouTube. That's my blogspot. That's my website. Anywhere you look online for wireless Hogan, and you find it.
Thank you again, Mark,
Very much as my pleasure. Thank you for having me. And I look forward to engaging with you more on some of this. I'd love to have a follow up to this conversation at some point.
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