Ambiguous Values

I don’t believe that the thing Winthrop quoting city upon a hill holds the same meaning for Winthrop as it does for us today. Because language changes, and there are different interpretations based on times and place. Although some values are still carried they can be interpreting in different light. For example, Winthrop’s A model of Christian Charity (1630) his targeted audience is the people from Britain who are Puritans/ Separatist which included an all-white group race. This means that the rules that were in placed to the people as Winthrop recite it in the ship before getting to the New World was meant for only people like them as he states, “wee must entertain each other in brotherly affection” (Winthrop 46-47). His use of the words “brotherly affection” relates back to this idea of family. In a family, almost everyone has at least one similarity in the characteristic of their family member; this includes the ethnicity of the people he was targeting, this matters because they will only take care of those that are only the same. This can be further explored, as Winthrop keeps using the words that relate to brotherhood or a family bond but still creates a division saying that there are enemies by trying to “purify” the Church that God would take care of them “when ten od us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies” which leaves space for an ideal that there will be others that are different from themselves to oppose those established values (47). Ultimately, the ambiguity of the words that relate to family, create a confusion between the values and context of where the biblical “a city upon a hill” are referred in politically.

Winthrop’s historical text, began the historical context in creating what the ideals that are placed in America today; these ambiguous ideals are still reference by recent presidents such as John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. As we are told Barack Obama rework it as a form to protest Donald Trump. Therefore, in the context of political stands, whether liberal or conservative Barack Obamas reference to “City upon a Hill” which is was meant to be a form union of believes is conflicted with the overwhelming diverse population that we have today in America. A liberal may have interpreted his speech as a way to say that as a collected group, to attack the ideals of conservatives, without knowing where they come from a different perspective. Conservative’s may have interpreted an attack on Trump, yet it may not be an attack on Trumps, but the values that were spoken in Winthrop’s A Model of Christian Charity and a reminder of “brotherly affection” that we have to show to each other. The way I took Obama’s reference was that no matter who takes office in the white house it is up to the people to put aside their differences in order to progress as a nation for everyone to live the live they pursuit. Religion also plays a role in the interpretation of the diverse American population.

Enrique Ramos


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