© Kenneth Cauthen 2005
Addendum: May 9, 2009
While I think there is truth in the original version that follows, I
have concluded that sometimes people vote their values, iand
in recent decades many Southern Whites find the Replublican Party
closer to their social and cultural values and therefore vote
that way. This may occur esepcially when their
economic status is relatively satisfactory or they don't
believe government will do much about it anyway.
The original version follows:
Many years ago Lilliam Smith in
Killers of the Dream (1949)
outlined an imaginary bargain made between
rich white Southerners and poor whites. It had painful truth in it. I
offer an updated version for 2004.
Bargain, according to Lillian Smith: Rich whites say we will
make the money and run things; you poor whites can feel superior to
blacks. You will be poor but not as poor as blacks, and we will keep
them out of schools, churches, and garden clubs, and we will go easy on
the lynching thing. Deal?
according to Ken Cauthen: Republicans say we will
make the money and run things. For you working people we will support
prayer in schools, keep Ten Commandments in court houses, oppose
sodomy, abortion, and gay rights, and maybe(if business interests do
not compel us otherwise) keep the Confederate flag flying
on state capitols. We won’t raise your wages, see that you have health
care and child care when both parents have to work, but you can join
the volunteer army and get the rewards of being patriotic
while the children of the rich stay home and get MBA’s. But you
have to fight wars oversees to kill Muslims (check with Jerry Falwell
and Lt. Gen. William Boykin on that), protect our business
and destroy countries so we can give fat contracts to rebuild them to
Halliburton and Bechtel who will give us lots of money so we can stay
in office and fight for your old-fashioned values. Deal?
The tragedy is that poor and working-class whites fell for both deals.
The explanation is complex but lies not primarily in the lack of
capacity to discern self-interest. However, rationality operates
within a culturally relative perspective. So we have to find a clue, at
least in part, in the demonic
power of racism and other factors related to their long cultural past
so powerful that they were tragically unable to act effectively to
secure their own best interests or to discern and act on the
deeper implications of their own religious faith.
I invite comments, criticisms, and suggestions.
is one of many essays on theology and ethics on this site. The best
place to begin is:
the essays that were originally on
this site have
subsequently published. Since the copyright is now held by the
publishers, I have deleted the whole article and replaced it with a
brief summary. Information is provided in each instance regarding the
published location of the complete article.
I invite comments, criticisms, refutations,
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If you want to take a break for some fun
before you get to
serious stuff, the links below will take you to some short videos
humorous nature that I made. They poke good-natured fun
some funny aspects of religion, churches, theology, right-wing
Protestant religion, and the mixture of right-wing religion and
politics. They are designed purely for entertainment and laughter. I
hope you enjoy them. For a
list of my movies that play
on Windows Media Player, see: Essays
Presently, the following essays on
theological and ethical topics
are available: The best place to start is my Home Page at:
About the Author
A List of my Books
Interpreting the Bible Today
The Authority of the Bible
Using the Bible with Integrity
Theology as Religious Belief
What I Believe
Natural Law and Moral Relativism
What is Truth -- and Does it Matter?
A Doctrine of God (Short Version)
A Doctrine of God (Long Version)
Trinity: God, Christ, Spirit
God as Masculine and Feminine
Theodicy: the Problem of Evil
Theodicy: A Heterodox Alternative
The Many Faces of Evil
A Contemporary Christology
Christ and Christians
A Critique of Niebuhr's Christ and
The Incompatibility of Christianity and
Process Christian Ethics
The Ethics of Belief
Relativism, Morality, Belief
Religion and Politics:
Relating Jesus to Jefferson
Liberation Themes in Country Music
Liberation Themes in White Southerners
Physician Assisted Suicide
Drugs and the Little Red Hen
Theology and Ecology
Religion and Politics
Science and Theology
Church and State
A Short Biographical Sketch
For an updated version of Mother Goose for the modern age, visit
Mother Goose Goes Electronic
Having a Web site is becoming a family enterprise. First to have a Page
was my son.
The latest entry is that of my son-in-law and daughter.
Ric Brown and
These sites are very different, but both are creative, imaginative
productions. They would welcome a visit.
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