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Is it self evident that "all men are created equal" ?

 
 
fresco
 
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 02:01 am
A concurrent thread has touched on the the role of religion in the US Civil Rights movement, and its place in the US constitution. Is the "equality" issue "religious wish fulfilment" which flies in the face of biological and sociological "fact" ?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 3,489 • Replies: 30

 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 02:27 am
@fresco,
It's interesting that you seem to see the role of religion as being beneficial to the US civil rights movement and supporting the belief that 'all men are created equal.'

I see traditional religious attitudes, especially at the time the US constitution was written, during the civil rights struggle, and in many churches right up to the present day, as being a stumbling block to the acceptance of the concept that 'all men are created equal' and something to be overcome before that credo can be manifested and enacted in our society.

The fact that Martin Luther King was a religious man was helpful to his image and made him slightly more palatable to white Americans, many of whom frankly, were threatened by and viewed the idea of integration, one man/one vote and the abolishment of Jim Crow and the ideals behind separate but equal with abject fear and distaste. I think it's because it was easier to accept someone with a shared 'Christian' emphasis as a leader of ANYTHING, even though he was a black man, for him to help black people access civil rights than it would have been had he represented something entirely foreign - say like Malcolm X- who was fighting for the same rights from a different stance. You can still see it in the reservations the religious right have about accepting leadership from Barack Obama.

I think 'all men are created equal' is a convenient stance religions and governments have got to give the impression they support to be taken at all seriously - but I don't think most people act and live as if they believe that. In fact I think most of the behavior of individuals - whether they're leading governments or attending churches or just going about their daily lives- evidence the fact that equality of their fellow man is a fairly foreign concept- and it flies in the face of universally ingrained tribalism and individualism and self interest and preservation which is the biological and sociological fact that I most often see manifested- around the world, in fact.
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 02:47 am
@fresco,
Is it self evident that "all men are created equal" ?

NO.
That 's conspicuous nonsense.
Absolutely no one in America is equal to anyone else.
Not even allegedly identical twins are equal.

Many differences will be found between any 2 men
who are subjected to scrutiny.





David
Diest TKO
 
  3  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 04:27 am
@OmSigDAVID,
I think you are answering if two men are the "same" and not necessarily if they are equal in rights or should be.

T
K
O
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 04:34 am
@Diest TKO,
Diest TKO wrote:

I think you are answering if two men are the "same" and not necessarily if they are equal in rights or should be.

T
K
O
Your statement is off topic.
He did not ask about rights.
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 04:42 am
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

Diest TKO wrote:

I think you are answering if two men are the "same" and not necessarily if they are equal in rights or should be.

T
K
O
Your statement is off topic.
He did not ask about rights.

actually he did.

fresco wrote:

A concurrent thread has touched on the the role of religion in the US Civil Rights movement, and its place in the US constitution. Is the "equality" issue "religious wish fulfilment" which flies in the face of biological and sociological "fact" ?

Equality, in this context is specifically related to rights. The statement that all men are created equal is the proposition to the idea that being created equal means that we have the same rights.

T
K
O
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 05:02 am
The phrase in the Declaration of Independence was intended only to mean that everyone deserves to be treated the same by society until he does something to forfeit the right. It wasn't every intended as a statement about what one would find if one did a comparison of traits between two people.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 05:28 am
@Diest TKO,
Diest TKO wrote:

OmSigDAVID wrote:

Diest TKO wrote:

I think you are answering if two men are the "same" and not necessarily if they are equal in rights or should be.

T
K
O
Your statement is off topic.
He did not ask about rights.

actually he did.

fresco wrote:

A concurrent thread has touched on the the role of religion in the US Civil Rights movement, and its place in the US constitution. Is the "equality" issue "religious wish fulfilment" which flies in the face of biological and sociological "fact" ?

Equality, in this context is specifically related to rights. The statement that all men are created equal is the proposition to the idea that being created equal means that we have the same rights.

T
K
O
That is a STATEMENT of alleged fact about a different thread.

The QUESTION, concerning THIS THREAD
comes after that.

That question is:
Is the "equality" issue "religious wish fulfilment"
which flies in the face of biological and sociological "fact" ?

It does not ask about rights, engineer; that 's the OTHER thread.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 05:54 am
@fresco,
No, it was a political statement. Of course, even then, it was a disingenuous political statement. All men were held to be created equal, politically, so long as they were "white."
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 07:35 am
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

It does not ask about rights, engineer; that 's the OTHER thread.

Are you addressing that to me? Shocked
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 08:54 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

OmSigDAVID wrote:

It does not ask about rights, engineer; that 's the OTHER thread.

Are you addressing that to me? Shocked
No.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 08:54 am
@aidan,
Aidan,

No I actually argued on the other thread against the relevance of religion. IMO the Civil Rights movement would have succeeded due to pressure from the outside world.

I agree with most of your post.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 09:01 am
@fresco,
Quote:
IMO the Civil Rights movement would have succeeded due to pressure from the outside world.


In that case, i assume that you are appallingly ignorant of the history of the civil rights movement in the United States. The only plausible basis for such a claim would come if you stipulated that it would have taken much, much longer, involved much more violence and pain, and have been eventually played out in Federal courts.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 09:15 am
@Setanta,
I admit to such ignorance. My opinion is based on the apparently inevitable movement towards "equality" in Europe following de-colonization post WW2. How long it might have taken in the US is hard to say, but judging by the speed with which say, communism collapsed, I would argue that all opinions on the matter of speed of social change would be speculative.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 09:34 am
Speculation can be based on reliable evidence, however. The landmark case in civil rights in the United States--one might refer to it as the watershed of civil rights--was Brown versus Board of Education. This case was decided in 1954 (and therefore, obviously, decided years after the original suit was made). The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were passed and signed in 1965. That's a gap of more than a decade, and in that decade not a single significant civil rights case was brought before a Federal court. What sparked the civil rights legislation was the agenda of John Kennedy--but his brother Robert Kennedy, then the Attorney General, antagonized officials of Southern states (and truth to tell, of other states, too) to such an extent that the effect was to paralyze efforts by white men and women to forward civil rights.

The distinguishing historical factors were black ministers and black churches. The Southern Christian Leadership Council and local black churches organized the boycotts (almost uniformly successful) and marches and demonstrations which kept the civil rights issue on the front page and at the lead of television news programs. These men and women created the climate which brought droves of men and women, black and white, to the "old South" to participate in the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the most obvious but by no means the only example of black ministers who lead their own congregations, and the members of other congregations across the South into the streets when necessary, to achieve their goals. The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee was a direct emulation of the SCLC, and although it foundered on what its members saw as its own ineffectiveness, it provided the majority of young black leaders who would carry the movement forward into the 70s and 80s.

In 1967, Loving versus the Commonwealth of Virginia was decided by the Supreme Court, and ended miscegenation laws in the United States. That was more than a dozen years after Brown. Left to the glacial pace of Federal litigation, if one were to reasonably speculate, one would speculate that civil rights equality would not likely have been achieved much before the end of the century. Black ministers and black churches were the crucial factor which forced the pace and achieved the goals of the civil rights movement.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 10:02 am
@Setanta,
The only problem with your analysis is that you completely ignore possible external pressures. Global communications have now given the "civilized world" eyes. It seems unlikely that the US could ever revert to an isolationist position with respect to its internal politics and maintain international credibility on the world stage.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 10:05 am
@fresco,
I consider this an incredibly naïve remark on your part.

Quote:
It seems unlikely that the US could ever revert to an isolationist position with respect to its internal politics and maintain international credibility on the world stage.


This is the very essence of the majority world view of Americans. Most Americans don't give a rat's ass about world opinion. It is also a good description of the source of the grudge which so many people in the world seem to cherish against the United States. Rest assured that world opinion would never have motivated members of the Congress nor the President to promulgate and pass the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act without the stimulus of the essentially non-violent and religiously inspired and lead civil rights movement of blacks at the grass roots in the Old South.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 11:41 am
@fresco,
Quote:
Global communications have now given the "civilized world" eyes. It seems unlikely that the US could ever revert to an isolationist position with respect to its internal politics and maintain international credibility on the world stage.

This is undoubtedly true -when it comes to civil rights.

And I'm one American who doesn't ascribe or isolate the motivation of blacks to be granted equal status as human beings and access to civil rights to religion.
Yes - black churches and ministers were instrumental in providing meeting places and leadership in terms of strategizing the struggle- but was 'RELIGION' in and of itself the catalyst for their action and movement in this regard? I don't think so.

Many black people in the south happened to be church goers. They still are. Reading the Bible isn't what convinced them they deserved to be treated as everyone else. Hell - they'd still be turning the other cheek and practicing 'meekness' if that were the case.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 11:58 am
@Setanta,
From Wikipedia article on Civil Rights

Quote:
There was an international context for the actions of the U.S. Federal government during these years. It had stature to maintain in Europe and a need to appeal to the people in the Third World.[61] In Cold War Civil Rights:Race and the Image of American Democracy, historian Mary L. Dudziak showed how, in the ideological battle of the Cold War, Communist critics could easily point out the hypocrisy of the United States's portrayal of itself as the "leader of the free world" when so many of its citizens were the object of racial discrimination. She argued that this was a major factor in pushing the government to support civil rights legislation.


It would seem that historians differ. Smile
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 12:32 pm
She may argue what she wishes. She ignores, as you ignore, that the members of Congress and the President are elected by citizens of a country that cares little to nothing for foreign opinions. Despite your insistence on minimalizing the influence of religious leaders and institutions in the South--which i suspect is conditioned by your prejudices--anyone familiar with the era, and especially those who lived through that era, knows that religious leaders and institutions were crucial to mobilizing the people who actively worked for civil rights.
0 Replies
 
 

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