A group blog to promote discussion, debate and insight into the history, particularly religious, of America's founding. Any observations, questions, or comments relating to the blog's theme are welcomed.
Thanks, Brad. I was really, really nervous, and can't believe I came across as looking almost relaxed.
.When we think of or hear some one speak of "all the SERRRRmons" as does Barton in this clip, the expression is given that sermons during the Founding Era were what people got at church in much the same manner as sermons are given today..Not!.Students of history with serious communications studies involvement know that the pulpit was, pretty much, the center for all local communications in those days. Newspapers often carried the full text of sermons..The idea of the "bully pulpit" comes out of that situation in which the church was the most common of all meeting places in the community--aside from some taverns where men might meet to discuss their special interests. (Like the one held on November 10, 1775, at Tuns Tavern which was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.) That has changed over the years so that now we see how the dominate media has changed from the church to our national press. So, the press,today, is the pulpit where most people get their messages..It would have been quite common for sermons to have been given on almost any subject of interest to the local community. Plus, it was common for preachers to give sermons to other groups assembled on behalf of local community interests. Sermons were given to the electors on election day from what I understand...
Bully pulpit._________________As Gordon Wood says, it was a very religious age, one we cannot quite comprehend these days.What I would say is that that although I often argue that rights and liberty had their origins in "Christian thought" [not the Bible necessarily, mind you], the sermons and the Bible references were not so much to argue that God commanded revolution, but that He [and the Bible] would be OK with it.It's here that Romans 13 comes into play. Most of these people were religious, and had to clear that Biblical hurdle.Most of the talk, including the language added by Congress to Jefferson's draft of the D of I, reflects this humility, in my view:We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States. . . . And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.They do not claim God is on their side, exactly.
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