Thank you for this topic Steven because it touches upon the core issue that Euro-American colonists used to justify conquest, namely, their use of the Old Testament of the Bible as their "moral authority" for conquest. This usage reveals their failure - their disobedience (in New Testament terms) - to adhere to the teachings of Christ, which NEVER justified the aggressive actions of conquest or colonialism. Indeed, the New Testament tells Christians to "preach the gospel" ONLY. In other words, their Christian assignment was to, like Christian missionaries today, to visit non-Christians, teach them about Jesus, and then GO HOME! Nowhere does the New Testament allow Christians to move in, take over, and remake the people they mission to. But this is not what the Pilgrims and the other colonists did - rather, they had their sights on the land and resources - which is a DIRECT VIOLATION of what Jesus Christ tells Christians to do. In other words, the permanent settling of Euro-Americans who claimed to be Christians, was in direct disobedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and therefore, as practicing Christians, their disobedience removed from them any Christian moral authority. Unfortunately, this core moral issue has been left out of subsequent religious and legal discussions since the founding of the U.S. until today. In the 1823 Johnston v. McIntosh decision, which decided that the U.S. had power of American Indians, in which Chief Justice Marshall stated ... "[h]owever extravagant the pretension of converting the discovery of an inhabited country into conquest may appear, if the principle has been asserted in the first instance ... if a country has been acquired and held under it; ... it becomes the law of the land, and cannot be questioned." To me his "admission" of the pretense of legal justification for conquest, was an invitation to challenge it - unfortunately, Indian Country has never truly taken up the challenge to address this core issue. Unfortunately, Indian Country still acts as if Johnson v. McIntosh is above reproach - it ISN'T.
Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 01:48