In a riveting speech by Reverend William Barber to Netroots Nation (listen to or read transcripts here), he gives a clear picture of the intended justice and moral goals of the 1868 American constitution. What was enlightening is how he described the “moral fusion movement” and the potential “third reconstruction” as it relates to what is happening in the 21st century American political environment today.
The “moral fusion movement” is about America’s moral principles (based on and borrowed from values in the Judeo-Christian biblical text) and the establishment of justice within the constitution. Rev. Barber says this movement, also called the first reconstruction, was done by multicultural American leaders back in 1868 with a vision of making the country better using their “deepest moral values.”
Rev Barber also highlighted aspects of the 1868 constitution that spoke of “voting rights, public education, labor, health care, equal protection, fair tax policy, good of the whole, and… [how] it reshaped the country… but it also brought a vicious backlash.”
According to Rev. Barber, another group arose, called the “redemption movement” and out of fear and hatred against fusion policies they attacked voting rights, public education, and so forth until they undermined all the goals of the first reconstruction leaders.
It sounds like the same thing going on in the political arena today with “redemption movement” type leaders undermining the goals of “moral fusion” type leaders who are trying to bring together a moral and just multicultural America.
Barber paints the picture by informing listeners that the “redemption movement” fought “moral fusion” out of fear, dislike for racial integration, and a conquer and divide agenda for years and before long the second reconstruction of America emerged with a segregated constitution and an established, institutionalized American system of discrimination that benefited the “partial” and not the “whole.”
Rev Barber sites the main goal of the “redemption movement” was to “resist and repeal any fusion political and moral alliances with…” multicultural Americans. Further, Rev Barber stated they also spewed dislike towards programs they described as “negative entitlements helping ‘those’ undeserving people.” Sound familiar?
Rev. Barber describes how people – like those of the 1868 “moral fusion movement” - had to fight – many lost their lives - to reestablish constitutional justice and morality through battles such as Brown vs Board of Education, Civil Rights movement, Affirmative action, equal employment, economic justice, Social security amendments, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Voting Rights act, and so forth. Barber called these constitutional measures “moral based fusion” politics
Rev. Barber also posits that we are seeing:
the attack on voting rights
the attack on fair tax policy
the attack on public education
the attack on labor rights
the attack on women
the attack on immigrants' rights... Just like in the 1800s.
Are these actions by extremist politicians, secret societies, political gangs, and people a collaborative effort to start a new “redemption movement” by breaking the constitution through resistance and repealing? Are they trying to reconstruct an America without a “moral alliance” with the multicultural majority or without establishing policy that is good for the “whole” of American citizens?
Followers of Christ, the 1868 constitution during the “moral fusion” was about letting God’s goodness prevail through equality, the good of the whole, free elections, abolishment of secret societies that hurt the liberties of free people, right to public education, and through benefits for the poor, unfortunate, and orphans. Is it a follower of Christ’s civil and Christian duty to see their values expressed through these type of constitutional goals that aim at helping others enjoy their liberties and freedoms?
So the question remains: Is President Obama breaking the constitution or is he trying to reconstruct and establish an America that brings a multicultural people together, using America’s “deepest moral values?”
Dr. Pensacola H. Jefferson
Keep rethinking your life - based on God’s truth - until you’re transformed by it.