Often one party receives more votes for congress or the legislature and ends up with fewer representatives. The reason is “gerrymandering”: shaping voting districts to favor one party or the other. Steven Niebler, Coordinator, Fair Districts, Adams County, a Sub-group of Fair Districts, Pennsylvania, argues that the key to this unbalance is that elected officials choose their own voters. “Fair Districts,” a non-partisan advocacy group, proposes an eleven-member commission, chosen partly at random and partly by serious vetting, to set impartial boundaries.
Dr. Nelson Strobert, Professor Emeritus of Christian Education, Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary, and author, Daniel Alexander Payne, distinguishes between a tourist and a traveler, and cites three travelers of color who journeyed to Paris to round out their education, and discovered “liberty, equality, and fraternity” as they had not in America.
Dr. Kenneth Mott, Professor of Political Science at Gettysburg College explains that beginning with the nomination of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964 and the passage of the Civil Rights Act shortly thereafter, the two parties have moved away from the “middle” and toward the “more purified” or ideological. The reasons are complex but are mainly due to regionalism and segregation, as well as social media and an emphasis on individualism.
Dr. Kenneth Mott, Professor of Political Science, Gettysburg College; author of “The Supreme Court and the Living Constitution” takes us on a tour of the U.S. Constitution. In addition to a structure and a process for an American government, the Constitution assumes a distinction between permanent principles and occasional demands, between the “permanent” will of the people and the “whim” of frequent change. Thus what is left unsaid is the key to the endurance of the Constitution. The role of the Supreme Court becomes critical in keeping this dialogue alive and well.
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Dr. Christianson asks Dr. Daryl Black, new President and Executive Director of the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, the question, “Why do we have museums and should they do more than just collect “keepsakes”? Dr. Black describes the change in museums over the past two decades from emphasizing a collection of items, e.g. rifles, to interpretation of these items in the wider context of the need for human beings to make meaning of the past. He illustrates this with the conflicting ways North and South used the Bible and even viewed God in the Civil War.
In this episode, a theologian, Dr. Largen, and a historian, Rev. Dr. Maria Erling, talk about the construction of Lutheran identity, and how it relates both to theological doctrines and also social, historical context. The issue of slavery is discussed as one example of such identity construction.
Dr. Largen speaks with The Rev. Dr. Martin Zimmann, Pastor, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mechanicsburg, PA, about the importance of talking about issues of race and culture in the church. Pastor Zimmann offers some helpful strategies for beginning the conversation.