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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 14, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm EDT

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>> [inaudible conversations] >> we would like to from you. tweet us your feedback, >> marilynne roach presents a history of the salem witch trials that occurred from february 1692 and a 1693 in salem, massachusetts. the author profiles six of the over 200 people who were accused of witchcraft, which resulted in execution of 20 people. this hour-long program is next on booktv.
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>> i'm short so i will use the box. and thank you, thank you very much. give been great supporters all along. but my new book, "six women of salem" focus on -- focus on six individual whose collective expresses a cross-section of what happened to people generally during the witch trials of 1692. of the six, five were accused, three were a cute, want to see. of the 61 was a religious woman and sam and the other, and another owned nothing, not even as though. so the six, rebecca nurse, bridget bishop, mary english, ann putnam, sr., tituba, mary warren. the six women i just came from different backgrounds, approached them from different
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vantage points and experience different states. they also had different opinions about what was going on. rebecca nurse, the oldest, was married to a hard-working farmer. unlike the usual elderly suspect, a widow with few or no children to help her, rebecca not only had an extended and supportive family working tirelessly on her behalf, but also dozens of neighbors who petitioned the court to insist on her good reputation. far from being an outsider she was a full member of the salem church. but even so she would be put to death. bridget bishop was a character who does not seem to have many if any supporters. none of the surviving paperwork indicates that her husband, her third, did anything for her. she had been suspected and even arrested for alleged witchcraft before, at which time she survived that charge. in 1692, she was not as lucky as she would be the first to be tried, to be found guilty and the first to hang.
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mary english would be remembered locally as rather a grand lady. two grand some thought given to her mother had operated the blue tavern. jihad as a single woman owned property, now her husband in effect owned and controlled that property. he was a successful merchant in his own right, literally in salem's top 1%. summer you think about the tax rolls. he was also french-speaking from the isle of jersey in the jersey was one of great britain's channel islands, still is, and he was a piscopo, he grew wary of the french among them one if they might come if they might side with the catholic french canadian forces who are continually threatened to invade new england. ann putnam, sr., mother of engine you could be one of the most active of the afflicted girls was not accused, unlike the other fight. she herself some suspected rebecca nurse is trying to be with her and her family.
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she suspected another defend as well as she feared for her husband's livelihood, for herself, for her children. she was haunted by the ghost of her dead babies that perished in infancy. most recently before the start of happen. in 1692, she was about to have her eighth child. the first to be accused was a slave in a more precarious situation than any of the others. she protested the accusation and denied the charge but became herself consciously or unconsciously perhaps the events against the impossible situation. the acceptance of an imminent third world was a given in most cultures. tituba is always revert to by an indian and presumably came from the caribbean, an outsider. mary warren was white but like
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all prospect. although her father and a younger now deaf sister were apparently still alive, do not seem to have spoken on her behalf. when she was first afflicted and accused and then the most vehement accuser. every choice she made led to a new disaster. just what were they accused of? which is in common delays and in the eyes of the law were ordinary people lowered into a life of spiritual crime. siding with the forces of darkness. even at the expense of her own soul. that's what people did find witchcraft and. and what to many people thought was happening when misfortunes bounded and became too much. there was plenty to be nervous about, smallpox, frontier innovation, people being
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kidnapped and taken into canada or the barbary coast. the economy ruined by the above, and the invisible world. evil spirits, the devil was out to make as much trouble as possible. it became painfully obvious to most people, though not to all of them that the condemned have not been in the league with the devil. there was a great deal of folk magic going on. although it was against puritan doctrine to meddle with magic, some people who consider themselves good christians did. somewhere to common to the english culture, things everybody get perpetuated to the generation on the ideas that my mother did and my grandmother did it, of course it was all right to do. they had to be hanged. it included charms to ward away someone else's evil magic. that's what mary had in mind when she invited tituba to make the witch cake that was intended to reveal the culprit raise them to be harming the minister's
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daughter and niece, anti-magic an antidote to evil that was given only inflame the rise in panic. makes had the idea that magic was so new to car and a fact of nature or the work of goods. charms and spells intended to ward off evil, help heal wounds, find lost or sold articles. or to discern the future in uncertain times. some people were known of these skills. exasperate ministers had to remind members of the congregation more than once that the good spirit, the angels, would not interfere in such a way but if the charms and spells seem to work, even to do good, it was the work of troublesome evil spirit, devils. humans lack the ability to do these things. angel's would not given, so who is left but the devil, they argued. and devils had a way of luring
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potential victims with a little magic efforts. seemingly harmless tricks that incented the person tighter and tighter until they found themselves involved in truly serious wrongs. their own weaknesses with the trap that got them. that was the general belief that most people assumed it wouldn't happen to them. they would know enough. the magistrates and judges certainly thought they knew what they were doing and they could interpret what was happening but was before their eyes. they thought. ordinarily suspicions fester that outraged the court. some folks had harbored suspicions about rebecca nurse his mother, suspicions that extended in 1692 to rebecca's generation. ordinarily, people making an official accusation had to put up money as a bond to prosecute to show the assistance of the charge. this was overlooked many times in 92. ordinarily ministers recommended caution and an examination of
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one's own soul, or then magistrates dismissed it and take the accusers themselves open to defamation from the accused. mary in which his mother had successfully sued a neighbor, but little about 92 was ordinary. not all early records have survived but between 1638 and 1691 more than 120 individuals, 88 women including come after two men were accused of witchcraft in new england as a whole. the evidence, the argument was a long suspected never followed by crop failure, livestock illness or death from the indus or even death of family members including children. there were actually more pre-1692 new cases but a number of those suspects turned out to be on the quakers. in 1692, however, some of the accusers were quakers. the families both believed
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bridget bishop had possessed some of their children some of the accused were in court more than once. involving 85 women and 36 men, and of these 121 cases, 38 were slanderous it's brought by the suspects, 27 women and 11, against their accusers and most of them one. the 83 actual witch trials and the records are still spotty, resulted in an 11 execution, one or two of them are men. plus three guilty verdicts reversed. but little about the 16 panic was ordinary but most especially the presence of supposed victims like mary warren convulsing in public and the courtroom and so. it matter to be a public emergency at first anyway rather than the usual excuse. appeared to too many to be a plot by the devil and his forces
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to take over in england, even if the french came to accomplish this in real life. unlike other such outburst, the 1692 panic spread to 22 of the communities. people from maine to new york where some of the wealthier defendants escaped and dragged on from the winter to summer into fall with more suspects surfacing after every arrest. from late 1691 to 1693, at least 191 people, including five of our six, were suspected of witchcraft in massachusetts, and of these 27 were only named in passing and 16 164 here in legal papers. in addition some 70 people and putting the three of our six were considered to be afflicted by witches and about seven of the afflicted actually died.
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in contrast over 250 people signed petitions in favor and more made statements on behalf. didn't always do any good but they stuck their necks out. cortright 52 defendants, found 30 guilty of the charge of witchcraft, and hanged 19 including rebecca nurse and bridget bishop. the majority of the trials occurred in the first few months, the majority of the trials that occurred in the first few months of 1693 when the panic had already subsided and evidence was no longer accepted by the court. most of the trials of van were held in salem, the county seat. capital crimes have been tried in boston where the governor's council acted as a higher court. in 1692, the restructuring of the government and ethically number of accused packed into the jails of three counties. the governor first ordered a temporary court which contained
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incident. partly because it was less trouble to send the judges and clerks to salem and to bring so many suspects and witnesses to boston. i used end of the legislature established superior court consisting of mostly the same judges. this court convened in 1693 at salem and only three were found guilty and none of them were hanged. in charlestown from middlesex county of boston, nobody was some guilty in either of those places. the most unusual part of the panic perhaps was the fact that the authorities eventually admitted their terrible mistakes. only the third time in history of western witchcraft had this happen. the tragedy, however, is too often remembered as a spooky cliché or as symbolic of all the other witchcraft cases when those more damaging episodes are forgotten. a stereotype to human folly regarded as an example of how other people in other areas could go wrong, not like us
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shining examples of human progress that we are. but that's just a statistic. the point of six women of salem is to personalize the tragedy, to show by focusing of its few specific individuals how the events actually affected the people involved, real living individuals, people with allies before 6092, before the time when everything seemed to go wrong and in some cases to show what their lives are like after the crisis passed, if they survived it. despite the intervening centuries and different lives i countecut it in their minds ande through their eyes. what did yo it feel like to be there and endure that part of our history? what was it like to be convinced invisible evil was attacking you, attacking your family, be convinced that someday become a person you would never liked the consulate rubbed you the wrong way, deliberately aiming their malice at you and even killing your own children by stealth or
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by telling her own mother with magic, what was that like? but was -- what was it like to be accused of something you knew that was not true? what was it like to be accused of a crime and wonder if you had done something wrong, had somehow been lowered i your own failings deeper into a greater wrongdoing? it was so easy to do the devil's work. what was it like to find your mother or wife or brother or sister accused of a horrible crime, hanging offense and realize other people believe the accusation? what was it like to hope to rescue them have hoped snatched away, to lose a chance by not recognizing it until it was gone? and attempting to see through the eyes and minds of the different characters rings of the question, how would i or how would any of us react in a horrible situation? how indeed. so that's the talk. and i'd like to leave -- i would like to read a section from the book, if i may.
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it's factual, and i back up everything i can with indie notes that you can look at an end and see if you agree with what i concluded. that i preface, i surrounded the chapters with fictionalized part. fictionalize where i try to think what it must've been like for the different characters. so there's different viewpoints, and button thinks differently than rebecca nurse. but i would like to read the part about june 10, 1692. bridget bishop had passed the days after her trial in a fog of fear. in the official word arrived, tomorrow they told. tomorrow she would hang. the ordered had arrived from boston, and everything was ready. is she wished to settle her cell, this was the time to do it. she does not sleep that night before during the long hours
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that yet as more swiftly than she realizes. just hearing the forum and the verdict of guilty had made her dizzy, as though the courtroom suddenly became unreal. none of this had anything to do with her, yet she understood the words and knew what they meant and what they would mean soon enough. all those neighbors and their stupid fears, so-called witnesses coming out of the woodwork, remembering old slights, magnifying their own unfounded suppositions. brigid knows she is no which, but she is helpless to prove it. some of the other prisoners tried to console her. others act afraid to be near her, as if bad luck would run off. the door opens and the guards come far. brigid strains up, takes a last look at the wretched room and the other prisoners, all eyes on it once again, and walks toward the door. in the prison yard out in the fresh air and a breeze from the sea, they unlock and remove her shackles. the unaccustomed lightness feels
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wonderful, even if it means a step closer to the gallows. and then grasp her elbows and lift her up into a cart facing a backward. the sheriff, too young for the job she thinks, is mounted. lesser officers on foot carried a black staffs of office. they try to look formal and official but none of them has done this before and some of them look nervous. i am going to die, inc.'s brigid, and they look nervous. hands tied, she braces herself against the side of the card, standing so the crowd can see her, can be sure she is gotten rid of. the gate swings open and their people already swarming the street for a look at her, a glimpse of the which they fear, staring. course starts forward and the card creaks into motion as the little procession moves from the prison yard into the street. a man with a staff walks ahead to clear the way. doesn't anyone work, have anything better to do than lloyd about to watch her misery? the walking guards, the sheriff on horseback, the onlookers
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falling into make a growing tale of congress. brigid scans the crowd for a friendly face, a sympathetic face, that she cannot find any. her associates have been arrested also, but where is that husband of first? she does not want a child to see her like this, but she longs to one last look at her daughter, her granddaughter. with their kinship be held against him? what sort of future that's a child face now, in the eyes of the neighbors as a which is a brat? the line of march turned into the main street and proceed slowly the length of the town, southwest down the peninsula, past the meetinghouse still under repair but no crashing beams this time, past the town pump, past the homes of her judges, both men and bossa nova with the legislature. facing backward she sees the town received away from her. a familiar couple stand next to their house in showing the following crowd. they look satisfied, pleased at what they at least consider justice done.
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another family with a dead child they blame honor. what of her own dead children? if they think they were the only family to suffer such a loss? she thinks of her granddaughter begin and hopes child will not see any of what is happening, what is about to happen. now and then sharper shrieks here's the jostle in burma of the ground. the afflicted girls are nearby. naturally they would not miss the chance to see their handiwork. the card purchase right. brigid's left, and begins to head downhill. how far are they taking a? she wonders. all the staring eyes, jerry mouse. she wishes it would end yet knows that her life will end first. assault and sulfur reek of low tide grow stronger as they head toward the costly over the din in the north river where a stream flowing down a steep hill before them cu cuts extension of fresh water into the retreating salt tide and becomes lost in the river and the harbor and the sea beyond. the causeway crosses the marshy
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swampy ground commit stream, then the cart rumbles over a plank bridge and the road rises again. they had taken her this way before putting in the village but this time with officers shouting orders and the card forces training, the procession turns out the path into the common past year onto a low ledge above the title in the. the hangman awaits their under a tree with his robes. them into her down from the cart and up onto the rungs of the ladder leaning against the tree. she struggles not to trip on her petticoats. from of those few steps he looks over the sea of faces, the shifting mass of the curious, the excited, fearful, the vengeful. beyond them, below the level of the ledger they stand on, the sun glares on the falling tide, sparkles off the restless, scavenging crabs scattering the mud flats, reflects from the white wings of eagles diving for those crabs, highlights the rest of the town beyond and blazes down from the midday midsummer sky. someone studies are on the
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ladder while one of the other men ties a cord around her legs. modesty, she thinks. no-show here for the lecherous, but no kicking either. the sheriff is speaking, reading the death warrant that makes what he is about to order legal. the crowd quiets for the. whereas bridget bishop, wife of edward bishop of salem at a special court before was in stone, esquire and his associate judges -- justice of the said court was indicted and arraigned upon five several indictments are using, practicing and exercising certain ex-of witchcraft in and upon the bodies of abigail williams, and putnam junior, mercy lewis, mary walcott and elizabeth hubbard of salem village, single women, whereby their bodies were hurt, afflicted, consumed, wasted and tormented. what utter nonsense, bridge thanks. in the name of the magistrate,
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now king and queen over england the sheriff continues, reading through the order for him to proceed on this day, between the hours of eight and 12 to say the conduct -- to the place of execution and their causes to be hanged by the neck until she is dead. then somebody else is talking. the ministers to her look like girls, a lot of them. a few of the other onlookers seemed disgusted by the official parade. she recognizes the troublemaking quicker the blamed her for his district he smirks and rolls his eyes at the ministers prayer. two young women who is old enough to know better come as brigid turns to see, what is on the ground rolling in the dust.
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jacob, she hears a girl yell, it's all jacobs clothing her with one of his walking stick. the devil, the other afflicted explain its present to support old jacob. will they never quit their nonsense? she wonders. and then something rough drugs over her head. the hangman is on a ladder beside her. he pulls the rope and sit secure sit idly by tonight. she feels the cold sweat is more than the slight seabreeze as she tends down the rising panic. she will not give her persecutors the satisfaction. she will not plead or crime or act the fool. she looks out over the crowd towards the sea and here's the goals cry as the people hushed in anticipation to see the flash of white wings of the distance birds. and then the bag comes down over her face. brought out the world be on. starting to breath.
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slide claims of daylight come through the stack. a man's voice barks an order and before she can figure out what he said, her feature got from under and a terrible pressure slams into her throat and the base of her school. and then there was no support. nothing to hold onto or stand on. she strains against the courts that hold her hands. tries to keep her feet to find a perch but there's nothing. her head feels as if it will explode and also light of the saarc -- sack darkens. she is vaguely aware. choose when to sell but pain and desperation over met this embarrassment or shame. no, she thinks, no. her consciousness is one great shout of no, and then, and then. thank you. [applause]
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>> if you could point out who's talking because i can't really see who is out there. [inaudible] >> does anyone have a question? >> i have a question. what happens to the body? >> traditionally someone with both be left hanging as an example for a while. and then buried near the gallows somewhere. a number of people, people's families traditionally took the body home to give them a decent burial at home. we don't know exactly. they might still be somewhere whatever that was. if the frost and the roots and the grass haven't worn them
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away, or they may have been taken up by the families. she was taken to her property and george jacobs to his. but one thing, there were a lot of complaints from the families afterwards for reparations and how their ancestors were treated. and there were no complaints about how the bodies were disposed of. so i don't know. >> will you speak to how the legislature, i think it was in 1706, kind of began an effort to pardon them? >> well, after things cool down a bit and people would talk about it, some of the people who have been found guilty but not hanged because the panic ended, there would have been more hangings but in october -- october was the quiet month that year.
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[laughter] they drew back and they put everything on hold until they could get word from england what to do about it. but the jails were still full, so they proceeded. likely no one else was hanged. but the people who did survive this had a guilty verdict hanging over their heads and they didn't want something to start up again so they would petition begin in the early 18th century they petition the legislature namely to have their name cleared so they wouldn't get hauled off our there would be some shame associate with the family. in 1711, finally the government reversed the guilty verdict and cleared the names of people who have petitioned our had been petition for. some people were left out because they didn't petition. and shortly after that there was a committee to make monetary restitution to people who had suffered, namely reimbursing the
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jail bills, things like that. [inaudible] >> was there any punishment administered to them? it just amazes me that these people, they had to know that they were telling the truth. i think would have haunted their own conscious, if nothing else. >> i think the least through most of it, they convinced themselves what they were saying. it would be second. i mean, massachusetts as a whole in 1697 have a public fast day where people attended services and prayed to get, you know, as a public apology for whatever hahas gone wrong, and to apologe to god for doing it so wrong. witchcraft was one of the things they were apologizing for, they didn't really want to talk about
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it. .. went down several generations. >> i am interested in your accounting that you didn't say
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anything about her faith or her feelings about god. was that a deliberate decision on your part? maybe you could speak to what you know about the fate of the victim? >> well, i am not sure. i know that rebecca was a fool community member of the church and that she seemed to have kept her faith. she knew she was innocent. all of them, they wouldn't lie. maybe they know it wasn't true, but also because lying is that you are not supposed to do when you should not lie. you should die with a live to face the almighty. it is something that wasn't true. even though she was a full member of the church, which took experienced that she hadn't
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hide. but they refuse to lie, so that right there shows some fortitude but their faith. >> the trial somehow caught fire. you know, around the world people think that the witches were burned, but they were actually hanged and one individual was crushed to death. how did it take fire so fast and ended quite abruptly? what caused beyond so quickly? >> somebody put it that it was perfect storm of things going wrong at the same time. i think it was all the different pressures are not tied like a war with france. canada was invading. the government was in disarray.
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[laughter] they had lost, so they didn't have the legal government, said that adding a charter from england. they had to rewrite the laws to conform, which by the way i think it was neighborhood animosity and simmering suspicions with whatever the economic were any other outside came together. i can't say what caused it, but everything seems you -- seeing through their worst fears that snowballed. once one of those which suspect started to come fast, there were other witches out there. did people begin to wonder, now how do i know?
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people were scared into confessing and were also confused out of their mind. they remembered hearing the clerk talk about winning the beginning and they didn't know what happened after that. they knew somewhere in there they can last and they knew it had been brought. so they are scared about it. but once they come fast is that there's witches out there. people wanted to know what the rest of them were. the trial got so out of hand. the feelings -- the feminist of the accused for the most part, not all of them -- the other side started to be heard and they put everything on hold and only resumed in the following winter because the jails were so full they had to do something. at that time, somebody said they seized that was the spirit
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torturing me and another afflicted person said yeah, that is not evidence because the devil can make you think that sort of thing. they should've thought of that. >> i was wondering if you could talk about your reason for choosing the sixth event specifically, whether it was just further variety about x is a child that they kind of invited you to explore or whether you found certain individual specifically compelling while doing other research quiet >> well, conveniently there was back story to them. genealogical information and court records so you know what they were doing before the trial. the second case except for what she says during the trial and she set it alight during the
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trial. but you get a bad story, so the amount of information assigned to try and make them seem real. >> does anybody know what happened after they had area subsided? >> she's in jail for a year and a day according to the record. she's in boston for a while, too. single-payer is to own her didn't want her back. there are things more or less as the first two to confess, even though that was just a favor. he didn't want her back. the jail bills were notching up, so whoever can pay the jail
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bills gets to keep her peer somebody brought her. we don't know who, but presumably somebody in the general eastern massachusetts because an early chronicler mentioned she had made statements about being intimate one time. she said this after a trial. so we really don't know where she went, unfortunately. [inaudible] there's a lot of sources here. but there is disbelief out there that a lot of the accusations were due to financial gain being kind of in the background. i was kind of wondering your thoughts on not. >> well, the idea that if you accused someone and found them guilty you get to keep their landed not true. i don't think there is any immediate financial gain. they may have had quarrels over things before that.
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but the confiscation fake to hear about what you pay for court fees and jail bills into supposedly the possessions of a convicted felony to be kept in reserve and not scattered descendents so that the government can take their share of what is owed to them. but you didn't get the neighbor's farm. if you accuse someone of witchcraft come you're not going to get their farm. so don't do it. [laughter] espn >> you mentioned a special evidence is not in a traditional way are traditionally good at that and then get the court to order your benjamin and he said. how did they get away with? >> the fact is that the unusual thing about the landscape was convulsing witnesses who would
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presumably be tortured by invisible entities. or departing from her or his from the witches body and your soul steps out and >> someone in the arm and steps back in again. a fact that is deflected were cooperating each other with the spectrum of evidence that they finally figured out could not be trusted. from the very beginning, one of the accuse and the other point the bible there is the spirit that is raised that shouldn't be doing it of the prophet samuel and this wasn't a real one. this was a really samuel, therefore they can say even the shape of a good person, so you can't trust them. but they learned that even at the beginning.
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[inaudible] [laughter] >> of these six women, who is your favorite to write in their point of view click >> the hardest to sympathize with and putnam, the accuser. well, as i said to some of the other it, brigid a ship could be cranky and i could identify with that. [laughter] thank you. >> already. thank you so much, marilynne. >> thank you, all. [applause]
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>> maybe i should start by saying how did i get to write a biography of oppenheimer? why did it even occurred to me to do that? it began 12 years ago when i was asked by the observer news paper to review the collection of his correspondent. and up until that point, i knew oppenheim are only as everybody knows oppenheim infinity have a security clearance taken away from him, that he was director of the institute of prints in. that's really all i knew. i didn't know that he wrote poetry. i didn't know that he wrote short tories, that he was an expert in french literature, that he taught himself sanskrit, that he was deeply interested in hinduism and that he taught himself sanskrit in order to read the hindu classics in their original language. neither did i know about his political activities in any detail in the 1930s or his relations with his friends and students and family members.
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all of which i find absolutely fascinating. i said in the review there is a really interesting biography to be written of oppenheimer. after this was published, publishers got in touch and saying well, why don't you do it? so i did. it took me 11 years. it is an incredibly rich and absorbing and fascinating life. there was in a single in those 11 years when i lost interest in my sub sites. i continue to find out new things about him. he has i guess like most complicated, complex people come you never feel as if you've exhausted the subject. which brings me up to my subtitle, a life inside the center. the phrase comes about a number of things that come together in the life and analogy of jay
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robert oppenheimer. the most obvious of which i guess is that his work as a physicist, much of it was to do with understanding the force is that happening inside the center of an atomic nucleus and that is great importance historically and politically isn't directing the poetry that made use of those horses to construct an explosive that previously unimagined power. that's one reason. another thing that the phrase inside the center conjures up that has to do with oppenheimer is to do his background and his fancy grew up and i'll talk more about this in a moment, but he grew up in den houten. a member of his times as the elite, but also with the conscious awareness from a jewish family he wasn't quite except did by the establishment of america and much of what he
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did throughout his life i think was determined by his desire to get in at the center of american intellectual and political life. and also in science he wanted to be in the censure is not an site the center of a mishap mean about ages in his career. that too i think had a great influence on various decisions that he made throughout his life. he chose one thing rather than another because it would place them in epicenters so to speak. and then the final dot, the fraser at the center conjures up relevant to my efforts at writing the biography is that i wanted to so to speak inside oppenheimer's mind. i wanted to write abr graffiti that try to draw all the things i found in the course on it, the interesting literature come in the short story writing, the political environment. the challenge is to bring all of
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that together and describe it as there were what was motivating oppenheimer of the way he saw himself in the world. >> the c-span bus, which is part of the mall is just chu who assert that spoke called "does jesus really love me?: a gay christian's pilgrimage in search of god in america" mr. chu, if you would come the dark by giving us a little of your upbringing and religious history. >> guest: sure. i am the grandson of a baptist preacher. i am the nephew of two other baptist preachers in my son has always been devout evangelical. we didn't always go to baptist churches, but i grew up deep in evangelical culture. first in california and then when i went to high school at a christian school in miami, florida. >> host: what was your family's reaction when you came
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out as gay? >> guest: it is safe to say they weren't excited about it. my mother cried and cried and cried. it was the extremely difficult. in a relationship. i don't think all of my relatives know yet. it's a funny thing in a cheney seemed like the way is passed around. so you have these layers of culture. you have a chinese player, the christian layer in between the two there is sufficient shame that my parents haven't exactly broadcasted to everyone. >> host: mr. chu, you've written a book about whether or not jesus loves you. what is your christianity today? >> guest: i attended the reform america church in brooklyn, new york called old first and i am an elder there. i think my faith, like that as many people goes through peaks and valleys. their ups and downs, good days and bad days. i would be lying if i said fates for me was the consistent thing.
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it's a struggle, something you work on. you look for god wherever you can find evidence of god. you try to hang onto faith in those hard times and then you rejoice when you find high points and moments for me, which tend to be in nature to feel triumphant and feel like they pulled me closer to something divine. >> host: are you a christian today? >> guest: yeah, i would use the word christian. sometimes than troubled by the basics of the language. like when we see in the jellicle, what do we mean? with a conservative, what do we mean? it's hard, the christian is the right term. i follow jesus as best i can. >> host: on your travels, injures urge, what did you find across america when it comes to established religion -- establish christian religion and gay and whether or not that is acceptable. >> guest: if you look at american christianity today come
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you find reactions across the entire spectrum. you find open hospitality. you find great discomfort. you find embrace. it really depends where you look. something about all of this is most of these people are trying their best to do what they think is right. i think the motive does matter when they look at the situation. most people are trying to be loving, even if doesn't always feel like love for the click love to some of the rest of us. >> host: can you give an example? >> guest: the hardest example would be whisper about his church, which is the church in topeka, kansas. when i went there, it very much wanted to dislike church. they are so angry. it seems like they are so hateful. and yet they try to explain to me that what they are doing this out of love because they believe they've been instructed to love their neighbor. how can you love your neighbor more than to tell them that they are going to, but they have a
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chance to turn around. so they believe what we are doing is a loving being. now that it's really hard for the rest of us to accept. and i don't expect everybody to accept that without skepticism. but i think we have to at least take a moment to get it or where they say they are coming from. >> host: jeff chucommittee to interview members of the phelps family and were you out to them? >> guest: i spent four days in topeka having dinner with the phelps, talking to them, worshiping with them in church, going on protest with them because i wanted to understand what life was like in that congregation. they were very open with me and i was open with them as much as they wanted to know. it's pretty obvious on social media that i am gay. i didn't tell them straight out. they never asked. i assumed that they know, but it was never an issue. and never really came up.
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and i realized that it didn't matter because they believe everyone who's not a part of their church is going to anyways. >> host: jeff chu, what did you find in the mainstream christian religions? >> guest: i found a lot of diversity. much of mainline christianity in america hasn't been a more progressive direction and more clues that direction. but as you can see for the presbyterians bickering over what to do about their denomination and other denominations really struggling with this issue, there is no one set of opinions. i think general trend of coors, asset rotter society is that the church is moving in a more liberal direction. but that's not going to happen without fight. i spend families in the face and congregations, fisa than denomination. >> host: did you visit with the catholic church as well? >> guest: i did not spend a lot of time focusing on the catholic church and here's what
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happened. as a reporter, i can only write about the stories of people who are willing to talk to me. i spent a lot of time trying to find a gay priest who is willing to open up. the price of that because i was never able to find one with the catholics are actually underrepresented in my book. the really funny thing about this is my house and his catholic and i never thought to ask him for his story until after the book went to press. so that was kind of a sale on my part. >> host: jeff chu, there is a denomination called mcc or metropolitan community church, which is the so-called gay church. you visit with them? where did you find? >> guest: i visited to mcc, one of him as cisco and one in las vegas via the beautiful thing about the mcc is that it's a spiritual home for a lot of people who want still to hang onto church, but don't feel comfortable in regular churches.
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it was founded by a guy who grew up, became a preacher he needed some kind of environment like that himself. so it has been in gift for an immense number of christians. it wasn't really the community and i felt was for me. i personally don't want to kodaly church that is just gay people. i won a church that reflects my community and my church in brooklyn is old and young, gay chemistry, black, white, his panic. we are a cross-section of brooklyn in my neighborhood bookland specifically problem with innova represented population of journalists. but that's the kind of church home i was for. i found strong christians in the mcc, a really warm welcome. there's something beautiful in the way they serve communion, where they embrace the person to whom they are serving communion. so i really enjoyed it. others critical of some element of it, but i try to be honest as
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a reporter and his tears that could be with what i found. >> host: what is your day job? >> guest: i'm an editor of fast company magazine and also the religion writer for beacon, a new startup that seeks to try and do journalism, deakin >> host: so the answer to the question you ask him a cover of your book, "does jesus really love me?" what's the answer? >> guest: the answer is it depends on who you ask. everyone has a slightly different image of jesus coddle together from things you read as a kid, the newspaper, gut instinct and no person has the same view of jesus, sexuality, so it is just so diverse and so fun to explore, but also very difficult because the issue is so emotionally charged. >> host: what is your answer to the question yourself? >> guest: the answer most days is that i jesus does love me and
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my god's grace is big enough to handle the mistakes that i may make. >> host: and on the other days? >> guest: on the other days i look forward to the day after. >> host: right is the author of "does jesus really love me?: a gay christian's pilgrimage in search of god in america." does jesus really love is the website. mr. chu, thank you for being on the cease investment spending a little time at that.
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garrett epps race to the u.s. constitution and details what he considers ambiguities, omissions and integrated mark the text as well as dissects the constitution's language. >> please join me in welcoming that one to the national archives. [applause] >> thank you for that generous introduction and thank you to the archives for inviting me here to be so near the actual constitution. and thanks to everybody for taking their lunch hour to come out and listen to me talk. as doug noted, this is the 226th anniversary of the u.s. constitution and i am reminded of an occasion on the 200th anniversary of when the nation
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magazine asked the novelist el doctorow to read the constitution from start to finish and write up his reactions. dr. roe didn't enjoy the assigned and. it is 5000 words long, but reads like 50,000 he said. it? high rhetoric and shows not a trace of wit. it uses none of the tropes of literature to create empathetic states in the mind of the reader. those of you who have read the work know that he is one of our finest writers and understands american history very well. but on this occasion, i think he missed the story. for one thing, just a pen and he has to say he missed a third of the duchenne, which is 7500 words long. apparently quit when he got to the end of the original part. under the common american misconception that the deadline -- the amendment don't
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count. even reading the 1787 document, key i think missed some truly high rhetoric, some literary tropes and maybe not wit, but acer amount of irony. like i doctorow, americans loved the constitution. we know it is important and we enjoy arguing about it. but for a lot of us, actually reading it is boring. we know it's important, but we are sure that the importance really lies in what is written down on the page. there's a meaning somehow other than that. and that is an american intellectual treat because our country, which has given them a wonderful guest of the world has
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never produced a painting of the caliber of leonardo's last supper are. we have, however, produced the da vinci code. in a meaning there is that for americans, if the last supper is simply an immortal, deeply human work of art but the central moment of the story of jesus, boring. but if it has a secret message and get that message is about a relatively up scary dynasty of frankish kings have banished from the earth 1200 years ago, now you're talking. now we have something really interesting. never mind what the last supper is. a lot of americans are more interested in what it means. similarly, the meaning of the constitution often seems to trump the constitution it self.
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and that meaning we express in a term such as what the framers intended. that original intent is our national da vinci code. or to put it another way, i am trying on the 16 years i lived in the pacific northwest. original intent is to the constitution with sasquatch is to the cascade mountains. eagerly believed in, obsessively sought, relatively seldom actually seen. i teach constitutional law for a living. a lot of people ask me, they come to me with concerns about one cause or another and they ask what did the framers intend? they don't like my answer because my answer is they intended to write the words do not cause and have us interpret them. that just doesn't seem right. it doesn't sit well.
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to a lot of americans, the worst in the parchment seemed less important than what the framers were thing and when they wrote them. we knew those. our present-day constitutional difficulties would vanish. the best-selling novelists, william martin wrote a dan brown style thriller of sites called the last constitution. the last constitution is about a draft of the constitution in philadelphia that in a break, the "washington post" take five, the delegates are up and stretching and they start saying let's make notes on the comp to sharon. so the publishers says that this draft is annotated by the founding fathers. the drafts marginal notes allowed in shocking detail the founders unequivocal intentions. the unmistakable meaning of the bill of rights, paddled


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