Primetime Politics has a round-up of commentary from many sources. One of my e-mailers, Bill B. writes:
Hi Hugh!In all the controversy surrounding Sen. Obama’s Philadelphia Speech (city of brotherly love…calculated, but ironic) I have not heard any discussion about the statement:“The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.” (emphasis mine)[# More #]As you are a constitutional scholar and an interested and informed religious layman, what do you think of this comment, the US Constitution is stained by sin? He does say that freedom for all is in there, but there are some real questions it leaves for me.1. The use of theological language to describe a political problem. This is not Dr. Wright “being prophetic” or even “controversial,” it is a presidential candidate describing why he is running. What if Mitt called the Constitution “divinely inspired” or Huckabee said the Constitution was “touched by the divine.” Think there would not have been MSM eyebrows raised? Not even a flicker by anyone, anywhere. There is certainly historic civil religion rhetoric that sees it as “the most inspired document made by man,”and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address in regard to slavery, but what about a man who wants to be president who thinks our founding document is “stained by our nation’s original sin.” Has this rhetoric been so entrenched in the nation’s psyche that no one notices? And while I can see that could be taken to mean “the first great American tragedy,” the phrase “Original Sin” carries with it the connotation of a sin that is passed from generation to generation that cannot be removed except by a Savior.2. Why is slavery this nation’s original sin? Could he not as well as said, Discrimination – against Blacks, Jews, Native Americans, Irish, Muslims, etc? Or why not Avarice, as the original motivation for the settling of the New World was economic? Or how about Hubris – Manifest destiny and all. But he has the Constitution stained by the sin of slavery. Does that not tell you where he is coming from in regard to views on race? Does it not give Dr. Wright’s words and thoughts more traction in his mind, to see America’s founding in terms of sin?3. If it is America’s original sin, and original sin is unique in that it is passed from generation to generation, and he wants to be president, does he consider himself an original sinner? or as the Savior of the people who can absolve this sin?What do you the Mark Reynolds or Al Mohler thinks? I’d be interested to know.Frankly, I think this is one of the most beautifully delivered, terrifying speeches on race I have ever heard or read. Racism is endemic to America, we must accept those with distorted yet justifiable views, the blood of slaves and slave-owners is an inheritance to be passed on, the Reagan revolution – abetted by talk radio – is the new home of racism, and all of us are racist to one degree or another, except for him who will bring us together in healing,as we all go our separate but equal ways together, under a socialized medical and economic system.