Aug 152017
 

I say no, but let’s look at an overview of the issue before I say more.

First, let’s be really clear that the main cause of the Civil War was slavery.

Despite claims that it was about states rights, cotton exports, or anything else, one need only read the Confederate states articles of secession to determine why we engaged in the slaughter of 600,000 of our own.

For example, the statement from Mississippi: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.”

The secession of the South was about the right to own another human being and force him to labor for the benefit of the owner.

To be clear, not only was the Confederate split about slavery, it was treason against the Union.

I say all that to make clear that I understand why any symbols of the Confederacy are odious to many.

(I would be remiss if I were not to note that many Americans from the South interpret these symbols differently than the rest of the country does.)

So… why should we note this event with monuments to those who participated in the war for slavery?

Because it’s part of our history and without a true knowledge of where and what we have been, we have no compass to the future.

The Bible doesn’t sanitize the history of the people of God and sometimes we wish it would.

We are presented with sins, flaws and foibles, of everyone from Adam to Peter including the murderous lust of that man after Gods own heart, David.

We have constant reminders in the Scripture of how we can act and what we are capable of.

God understands the power of history.

Further, if we take down the monuments to the South on the basis of bigotry and racism, why stop there?

Many of the founding fathers were slave owners, including Washington and Jefferson.

Lincoln freed the slaves with the possibility to then send them back to Africa…

We’ll have lots of open park space if we take them all down.

The Civil War is a critical point in our history for reasons too numerous to enumerate here.

It is imperative to our survival as one nation to learn from it all the lessons we possibly can.

We can debate what those lessons are and what that history means, but we dare not remove this war from our vision and consciousness.

Pretending it didn’t happen or that those people were radically different from us would be a huge mistake, perhaps even a fatal one.

The monuments remind us of where we’ve been.

They also remind us that the Confederacy lost and we have made strides to be better.

They remind us in other ways that we have a long way to go.

We need all these reminders.

They are, after all, part of our history.

  98 Responses to “Should We Take Down All Confederate Monuments?”

  1. Monuments to the Confederacy in Museums, okay.
    Statues to fallen soldiers of the Confederacy, okay.
    Statues of surrendering Confederates, okay.

    Triumphant portrayals of defeated Confederate Generals, erected during Jim Crow to send a message to blacks, NO.

    Statues of prominent Confederates placed in cities where they never fought or lived, WHY?

  2. In Russia, when the USSR fell, the statues of Lenin and Stalin were torn down.
    In Iraq, the statues of Saddam Husein were torn down.
    In Germany, the statues of Hitler were torn down. (And all Nazi regalia is banned.)

    These were part of the history of those countries, yet the statues went down. It does not mean that these people didn’t live, it means they are no longer objects of veneration.

    Robert E. Lee fought a war to keep an entire race of people enslaved. He does not deserve to be venerated.

    My white relatives in the South are upset that “their” history is being denied them. What about the black people? They’ve been living alongside my white fore bearers for 300 years. it’s their history, too. Their country, too.

    Take the statues down.

  3. I clicked on Xenia’s link for the news conference. So the video showing the statues being torn down – should we demand that these characters go to jail for destruction of public property?

    What’s next, the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard?

  4. This is a hard one for me. I love history. My family is from the South. I had numerous relatives fight for the South in the Civil War (true to form, one first fought for the South and then fought for the North). A number of relative were killed or died in northern prison camps.

    Then, in doing genealogy work I found my ancestors owned slaves. There was the slave schedule in front of me… with their names and purchase prices. It wasn’t me owning slaves, but I was ashamed. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. More slave schedules appeared. I found myself looking at African-Americans in parking lots and wondering about their history. Did they have an ancestor enslaved, or bought, or sold by my ancestor? How do they feel about statues glorifying men who fought to keep them enslaved, mostly erected during the Jim Crow era to remind them of their place?

    It’s a hard call, but it might be time for the statues to come down.

  5. “We need all these reminders.
    They are, after all, part of our history.”

    Film and the record of history suffice.
    I’m happy with them being destroyed, just as the Swastika is later blown up – the actual explosion and flying debris…

    https://www.ushmm.org/online/film/display/detail.php?file_num=2049

  6. Which link, MLD?

  7. MLD
    not sure about dukes of hazard reruns not being shown, but some cartoons and other shows are gone.
    (when was the last time you saw “song of the south” ?

  8. Sorry Xenia – not a link, I just clicked on MSNBC web site to see what you were referencing.

  9. I go back and forth on this due to many of the reasons given in the article and the comments. One day I lean one way and the next day the other.

    What is sad, is just like so many other issues in this culture, people become fanatical about the side they take and then demean the other side and ascribe to them the worst of motives. And then we get things like Charlottesville.

  10. All schools named after Lee need a name change, too.

    If you were Jewish, would you like to go to Adolf Hitler High School?

  11. How about schools named after Thomas Jefferson – he was a slave owner.

  12. Yeah, I figured you you’d say that.

  13. Washington and Jefferson were Virginians who did own slaves but this is not what they are being celebrated for. The only thing Lee is famous for is leading an army of people who wanted to continue to enslave people.

  14. MLD,

    Do you do anything lately other than troll articles that you don’t like?

    I really give you more credit than what you have been exhibiting lately.

  15. I figured you would figure I would say that. 🙂

    We could scour the records and make sure that there is no honor or recognition for anyone who enslaved people. Why not? It wouldn’t be hard to do.

  16. I don’t think Xenia goes far enough; because of the amount of time since the Civil War, we have no one living from those days in the South to shame. It is our Christian duty to shame their descendants. Using backhoes to remove the bones of the Confederate dead from their graves and depositing the bones in landfills would be a good second step after the statues and memorials are torn down.

    Any biography of Southern Civil War veterans, along with any text that shows empathy or sympathy should be burned, publicly. Since Jefferson was a slave owner, U. VA could be turned into a giant homeless shelter–since the architecture was inspired by Jefferson, better to bulldoze it and replace it with Quonset huts, perhaps.

    Washington and Lee University, well, the same. What a great jobs program, better than the New Deal, instead of building infrastructure, heck, we tear down any infrastructure associated with the ‘Old South’.

    This will be a thousand year (at least) commitment–molasses, cotton and rum–a lot of northerners benefited from slavery as well. It will be trickier to shame them, but, heck, with the Internet, we ought to be able to get pretty efficient at it.

    I want reparations; my great-grandfather fought with the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteers–he was wounded, and suffered life-long debilitating illness that started during the war. His unit fought in several major battles against Lee’s army, including Gettysburg. Oh, how I love being on the righteous side!

    When do we start?

  17. Jean,
    Being dismissive is just a low for of social interaction. It does not look good on you. Remember the 8th commandment.

    I thought I was very pro church on the Monday article. Is pro church trolling?

    For this article I just want to see how far we let the anarchy go. I live in a state that has no CW monuments, so perhaps we should leave the conversation to those who do.

  18. Seems to me many commenters are confusing remembrance with honoring. Few are saying to erase them from history. Many are saying they don’t deserve to be honored. I say put the statues in museums – rewrite the plaques to state the truth. But let’s not honor those that fought to keep slavery. It was wrong. The south lost. Get over it.

  19. Should Russia keep its statues of Stalin? Lenin?

    Should Germany keep statues of Hitler?

    History doesn’t change. People’s perceptions of what happened does change, thank God.

  20. Richard, I am not confused–I just wonder when enough is enough. When are we as a society going to emphasize building together–I have been around 60+ years, including Nixon and LBJ and the accompanying societal turbulence. I think we are in a more dangerous place now, than ever.

    How is reconciliation demonstrated by the Church in times like this? How do we leaven deescalation into the matrix of hatred that seems to be consuming us? How do we act as peacemakers? I see the cultural church taking sides and lusting for triumph? It just does not look like Jesus to me. What would peacemaking look like–where is our Mandela, our MLK, on the human scale?

    I do not have answers, other than desperate prayer and longing…

  21. According to a Washington Times article, most confederate monuments were erected in the early 1900’s.

    Here

  22. Xenia, I have such respect for you, for your comments on so many issues; 20 strikes me simply as straw-man questions that are meant to belittle. I am fatigued with the constant emphasis on tearing down–I want to know how to build, and perhaps as a church, to stand between these warring factions and minister peace rather than participating in the violence, physical, emotional and spiritual, that is prevalent on all sides.

  23. I spent 6 weeks in Atlanta for a job training back in 1984. Being a California beach kid, I knew about attitudes in the south, but had never really experienced them. What an eye-opener to hear the natives talk about the north! Really surprised me…and saddened me.

  24. Rick, thank you for the kind words.

    I think one way to “stand between warring factions” would be to listen to people- and entire race of people- who are deeply offended by these statues and other confederate regalia and try to understand why this is so hurtful. Taking these things down does not destroy history, it is just a great kindness.

  25. Xenia, thank you for the grace you just demonstrated to me; you could have gone after my initial comment, and rightly so. I think that kind of grace makes a difference.

  26. Aw, thanks Rick!

  27. Xenia, Russia has kept its statues to Lenin. Ukraine and the former Communist countries of Central Europe have removed them and some have banned certain symbols, as German has done with Nazi symbols. And by the way, the case of Communist memorials is a great case study when it comes to the one of Confederate monuments.

    What you memorialize speaks of what you celebrate and value. Auschwitz, for example, is a memorial to the Holocaust, which serves to preserve something terrible in order that it never be forgotten, and never repeated. These Confederate statues were not erected for that reason however. They were erected to memorialize treason that was done for the sake of preserving a way of life that was degrading to certain human beings based on the color of their skin.

    In Hungary and Czech Republic, for example, many of the Communist statues have been removed and placed in a memorial park which is for the purpose of reminding people of a part of their history. This way they are not erasing history, but no longer celebrating them with memorials in public places.

    One of the most telling factors for me about these Confederate memorials is that many of them were raised during 2 periods: Jim Crow (1920’s) and Civil Rights Movement (1960’s). Basically, these statues were raised to make a stick it to those who were against segregation. They are offensive, they memorialize and celebrate an act of treason, and they should be removed, in my opinion.

  28. Nick,

    Your #28 is spot on. Thanks.

  29. Nick, there’s actually quite a bit of nostalgia for the old USSR in Russia today. I think they are still trying to figure out what to do with Lenin’s mummified corpse.

    As Putin famously *might* have said, those who miss the old USSR have no heart. Those who want it back have no brain.

  30. Forgot to add, great post, Nick.

  31. I wonder when the emphasis on grievance will transition to an emphasis on healing and reconciliation. May it be soon!

  32. well, i wasn’t there, but i think we’re selling Robert E Lee short… there is no comparison to Hitler or Stalin etc…

    the man was against the breakup of the Union, hated war and his loyalty was to his home, Virginia, when the war broke out; he was actually someone i’d be proud to call a relative…

    still i did go thru school with a boy who claimed to be a direct descendent – that boy was a jerk! LOL

  33. over 600,000 of our men died in the Civil War… i think the price for slavery in the United States has been amply paid…

  34. “over 600,000 of our men died in the Civil War… i think the price for slavery in the United States has been amply paid…”

    Tell that to the Klan and groups which share their values.

    Tell that to the voting district gerrymanderers.

    Tell that to the voting repressers.

    Tell that to the education funders.

    Because the African American descendants of the slaves are still being made to pay.

  35. rick
    to answer your comment at 4:26, (i don’t have the numbers on my phone), you ask what should be the christian response ? i thought of 1corinthians 8 where paul said he would give up eating meat rather than offend a brother. in the same way, perhaps we should agree to give up honoring those that are only or mostly known for accomplishments that are not honorable. Lee and Davis made choices – but they were the wrong choices. As you said, when is enough, enough ? 7 x 70 comes to mind. and even though our president brought up washington and jefferson in his talk today, i believe that they are mostly known for many other good things that they did, even though they owned slaves.

  36. And next they will be calling to take Washington off the dollar bill because he owned slaves. And then FDR’s statues gotta be removed because he signed to have Japanese interned in camps. And Eisenhower because he kicked out some “immigrants”. Make no mistake the end goal of these Leftists is the destruction of the United States Constitution because they deem it a racist document installed by old racist white men. If you don’t believe that’s the end goal wake up.

  37. Richard, I appreciate your thoughts. Interestingly, I learned more about reconciliation in the military than in the cultural church. What I have learned in the cultural church is to take sides and punch hard–the priority is winning, and if half the people are alienated from us, no worries, just win.

    In the military, I was taught to communicate, deescalate; and apply violence as a last resort (Cold War Era). I was in a few fights, fortunately, none that involved firearms, but some that involved improvised weapons. Communication and deescalation don’t always work, but they must be attempted. I think the first two, communication and deescalation, are applicable to the church–the third, never. I was challenged today by a student’s question–as abhorrent as white nationalism is, is the church called to love those individuals? How do you demonstrate love to those who hold to an abhorrent belief system. I am at a loss, but I am not observing that punching them in the face is working very well.

  38. Jean’s #36 i don’t agree with connecting his list of injustices with slavery:
    “,,,the Klan and groups which share their values.
    “… the voting district gerrymanderers.
    “…the voting repressers.
    “…the education funders.
    “Because the African American descendants of the slaves are still being made to pay.”

    yes, the descendants of slaves are the targets of injustice today… but these injustices don’t hold a candle to those deaths (i believe that total is both sides BTW)…

    far worse than slavery was what the blacks went thru AFTER the Civil War – if not worse, equally bad, but i think worse…

    today, we are dealing with a mere remnant of that period of horror and, if one can’t see what has happened in the years following Martin Luther King, can’t see the miracle of a rare turn of history, of what this nation has accomplished, then i have to wonder if one simply enjoys a fight…

    is there more to be done? yes – will there ever be equal rights for all? i doubt it, but i am watching decades of progress on the brink of destruction …
    what about reason and perseverance? – do we want to burn the house down to kill the spiders?

  39. The Ghost of Belle Starr…great screen name!

  40. I have to give props to my little North Idaho community. Once a hotbed of racist, supremacist activity in the 1980’s, things have changed sooooo much. I haven’t seen anything of their kind in years. And our community is slowly growing in diversity. We aren’t perfect but the climate is much more peaceful and gracious.

  41. Rick, I agree that communication and descaltion should be attempted. Many times it doesn’t work. As far as your student’s question, I thought of Jesus – first He healed the guy’s ear when Peter tried violence, and then a short time later He said “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing”. All easier said than done as emotions can take over easily.
    As far as fights go, (even in the army, 69-71), I have avoided many fights with my feet – I run as fast as I can.😀

  42. “I was challenged today by a student’s question–as abhorrent as white nationalism is, is the church called to love those individuals?”

    Maybe one way to have compassion towards them is to realize that the hatred they have is eating them alive. How miserable it must be for them to only be motivated by hate. The kid who ran into the crowd needs to know he is as loved and forgiven by Jesus if he would only receive the gift. I know it’s easy to say as an outsider who is not personally affected by this tragedy.

  43. Mitch Landrieu’s speech on the occasion of removing the statues in New Orleans is one for the history books.

    YouTube: https://youtu.be/t0jQTHis3f4

    Full Transcript: http://pulsegulfcoast.com/2017/05/transcript-of-new-orleans-mayor-landrieus-address-on-confederate-monuments.

    Here is the most salient part, where the mayor tells the truth about the Confederacy.

    So, let’s start with the facts.

    The historic record is clear: the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.

    First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy.

    It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.

    These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

    After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city.

    Should you have further doubt about the true goals of the Confederacy, in the very weeks before the war broke out, the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, made it clear that the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy.

    He said in his now famous ‘Cornerstone speech’ that the Confederacy’s “cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

    Now, with these shocking words still ringing in your ears, I want to try to gently peel from your hands the grip on a false narrative of our history that I think weakens us and make straight a wrong turn we made many years ago so we can more closely connect with integrity to the founding principles of our nation and forge a clearer and straighter path toward a better city and more perfect union.

    Last year, President Barack Obama echoed these sentiments about the need to contextualize and remember all of our history. He recalled a piece of stone, a slave auction block engraved with a marker commemorating a single moment in 1830 when Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay stood and spoke from it.

    President Obama said, “Consider what this artifact tells us about history … on a stone where day after day for years, men and women … bound and bought and sold and bid like cattle on a stone worn down by the tragedy of over a thousand bare feet. For a long time the only thing we considered important, the singular thing we once chose to commemorate as history with a plaque were the unmemorable speeches of two powerful men.”

    A piece of stone – one stone. Both stories were history. One story told. One story forgotten or maybe even purposefully ignored.

  44. While my citation of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s brilliant speech hangs out in moderation, I’ll add this. On my part. YES. Take them down. Yes yes yes.

  45. Interesting story of a black man befriending members of the KKK.

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_585c250de4b0de3a08f495fc

  46. For years, I’ve maintained that the primary reason for the Civil War was not slavery, but the economic repression of the Northern states. While it is true that the Northern states did collude to prevent the south from developing the industries that they were dependent on the north for, the fundamental issue was slavery. I must repent of my years of supporting a warped view of this time of history.

    The two things which most influenced my views on this were Lincoln’s first and second inaugural addresses. I highly recommend you read them:
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25818
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=25819

    It is hard to recommend that monuments and markers commemorating the death of brave men be removed. Yet, they were undoubtedly in the wrong. I think at the very least, those edifices that remain should state something along the lines of, this was the price paid for the eradication of the institution of slavery.

    Remember, as the Church, people are not the enemy. God help us to love people and to oppose the Devil, his schemes and influence in the world.

  47. #45
    Well said.

  48. “Because the African American descendants of the slaves are still being made to pay.”

    How and where is that really happening in 2017? Please be specific.

    I don’t believe real specifically race-based discrimination against minorities occurs in any significant way in the U.S. in 2017. If anything, the only race-based discrimination I see in the U.S. in 2017 is against whites. This happened this past year to my son when attempting to get into public university.

  49. #49, @bob1

    Thank you. I remember back in May hearing that Landrieu had delivered an amazing speech. A little while later, when I watched it on YouTube, I was simply agog in jaw-drop amazement that a southern white politician would speak such bare, unsparing truth.

    This speech stands up there with some of the best speeches of this nation.

    I quoted quite an excerpt. But there’s more. Landrieu spoke of the impact of what it means to walk past statues of people. who wished to own you, subjugate you, rape you to breed more of you, to own, to punish and brutalize, and perhaps to kill with impunity.

    Anyway, the matter of what to do now with these statues, a perpetual question made all the more urgent two years ago in response to a white terrorist getting radicalized online by whatever KKK dogma he encountered… then going into a church, participating in a Bible study, and, warring between his experience of the true loving kindness of the members of that congregation and his evil intention… he went forward with his plan to slaughter them all.

    Immediately afterward, the brave patriot Bree Newsome shinnied up the flagpole, and captured that flag. Took down the banner of death and degradation. And the conversation of what to do about flags and statues has been at the forefront of conversation for these last two years.

    The City of New Orleans spent time and due process grappling with what it means, deliberated, made their decision, and took action. I have profound respect for what they did, and the way they did it.

    It doesn’t happen like that every time. Yesterday’s Durham downing wasn’t like New Orleans due process.

    But then again, Jesus didn’t flip over table and roust people from the temple after careful deliberation with the powers that be, and respectfully negotiate private property rights for those tables and well-established business interests.

  50. I’m sorry your son had to experience that Ron. How frustrating. That kind of thing only exacerbates the problem.

  51. There is no symbol that embodies the evil ideals of the world, the flesh, and the devil more than that of the cross. Yet we know our victory came by it by way of Christ’s atonement on it – the most xenophobic, clean cut form of hatred ever created. Multi cultural, multi racial, and gender nonspecific, we take our cares to it, cast our crowns at its feet, cling to it, and will not remove it from our hearts should even our children be threatened with death.

    Wouldn’t things be easier if we just removed that bit of history from our world, from our lives? The very symbol of the Overcomer just cast aside. You may be made to.

    How much more then has slavery been overcome for the black person relative to the symbols which stand? An outlying minority raises a ruckus and succeds in removing vital historical information ( which is what it boils down to) – and Christians are behind this? Seriously?

    A person holding to the cross may want to think twice about forcibly removing the history and ideals of others, even the evil ideals. By those statues people have expressed an opinion, a set of values, and a way of life, get it? Nefarious as the intent may have been to raise them. The spirit of our constitution (the first Amendment) is being removed before our eyes by a paltry pushy few and the omen of these historical erasures applies as much to Christians as it does to black people, as it does to atheists, as it does to racists.

  52. #48, Anchored:

    For years, I’ve maintained that the primary reason for the Civil War was not slavery, but the economic repression of the Northern states.

    Lincoln, who was attempting to keep the Union together, was not as explicit on this point as the secession documents, and the Cornerstone speech. They are very explicit. Slavery is why we’re leaving the union.

    Slavery, slavery, slavery.

    The Declaration of Causes of Seceding States

    Mississippi (emphasis mine):

    Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.

    …[the United States’s hostility to the institution of slavery is something we take issue with]

    It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.

    Fugutive slave law: We want to own negroes. We consider them to be property. Private property. If said property escapes, and runs away, then we want to call upon all people in all states to catch them and bring them back to us. Are you a free state? Okay fine, but please catch our runaway escaped enslaved people. Whom we own. Bring them back to us. You got problems with that? Sorry. Those dark-skinned organisms are our property.

    There’s more. Georgia. Texas. South Carolina. Go read it yourself. The word “slave” or “slavery” occurs 83 times on the page containing the original causes for secession. These people wanted to continue to own other people and extract economic benefit from them. The Union wasn’t making it possible. So they said, Buh-bye, we’re outta here.

    And then there is the Cornerstone speech. Mitch Landrieu quoted it earlier in the excerpt I included above. Here is the whole thing.

    From the Cornerstone Speech

    The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization.

    The speech says that yes, Jefferson said that there’d be problems with this.

    Our new government (ie the Confederate States of America) is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

    Here’s the contrast with the trend happening in the North, in the Union, in the United States of America that these secessionists have left.

    Hang on to your stomachs, if you believe in the equality of people.

    (again, emphasis is mine)

    Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. … They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man.

    We are leaving the Union because we do not believe that the negro is equal to whites.

    If your entire economy is founded upon the labor of enslaved black people, well, then, yes, I guess you’d call ridiculous, insane fanatical ideas like equality a form of “economic repression,” to use the words as Anchored did, above.

  53. Recently, I stumbled upon this podcast series, Seeing White. I’ve found it very helpful to understand the origins of troublesome parts of America, How did slavery originate in the Colonies of what would later become the United States of America? What happened to make the transition from indentured servitude (serve for a time, and then you’re free to seek your fortune) to chattel slavery (you’re a slave, and your descendants. So, whee! breeding and sex and “discipline” and OMG all that labor.) Yay white men. Sorry, everybody else. Sucks to be you.

    And then this: How did “white” come to be a thing, as defined through law?

    Made in America (Seeing White, Part 3). I’ve listened to it a few times, and have been pondering how the fates of a Mr. John Punch, Indentured servant in 1640 is the beginning of the permanent subjugation of African people.

    Elizabeth Key and the Colonial Court law case… she may have won, but after her, they changed the law to benefit themselves. 1630. 1655.

    First legal instance of the word WHITE was in 1683.

    And oh, the census. You think you count? White man, cool beans. You’re in. Woman? Indiginous person? African American? bzzzzzt!!!!! Think again.

    Link to other episodes in the series

    Oh, and episode 5 packs a wallop, too. Those indigenous people who were here before us. We don’t have to keep our commitments, do we? Naaaaah……….

  54. Its amazing the revisionism that is going on here. Lets look into our history books before the alt left burns those. Because it was the democractic party north 20 years before the civil war that was working with the democratic party of the south to keep the system of slavery. It was the republican party who was anti slavery. But by listening to the news today you would think it was the opposite.

  55. If we start pulling down these monuments. because i have no connection with the south personally. Then lets be to fair to all the groups, and start pulling down martin luther kings monuments. Because he was adamantly opposed to homosexuality and gay marriage.

  56. one thing to ponder is an irrefutable fact… if it weren’t for slavery, we wouldn’t have our wonderful black contingent that has woven so many threads into the tapestry that is the history of our nation – for that matter many of our white contingent have ancestors that came to this country as indentured servants (yes, i know there’s a difference between indenture and slavery, but for a time that indentured person is a slave)

    we’re a nation proving that good can overcome evil, i think… and i think that good in our land is a result, a part, of the nation’s Christian heritage (yes, i know church-goers and even Christians “owned” slaves)

    not all the south was evil, not all their soldiers were fighting to keep slaves – but that section of the nation was riddled with slavery non the less – and it is an evil part of their heritage that is (pardon the pun) black and white… the rest of the nation’s evils aren’t so easy to label

  57. Writing as a descendant of both Texans (stretching back to the 1860’s), and Mississippians (stretching back to well before the Civil War), I say: take them down.

    Take them down, responsibly, civilly, and through the proper legal system.

    If they are torn down through mob-mentality, then those actions will only serve to stoke the fires of hatred. There will be gut-reactions of both outright-racism, as well as anger from those who see only a tie to long-dead family members. Lessons need to be learned, but they aren’t learned by angry people.

    Instead, let our democratic republic work. Let the voices in communities be heard, so that it is clearly known that the majority of people do not want lionizing tributes to a slave-promoting cause. Let it be demonstrated through democratic means that white-supremacy is a tiny (though vocal) sliver of our common society.

    Yes, please, tear them down. But do it in a way that brings our country together, rather than foment further division.

  58. Tim,

    Well said.

  59. I’m going to save this thread for the next time some yahoo claims that everyone here agrees with me… 🙂

  60. Outside T. Fold

    I cannot help but boil your point down to:

    I was on the Internet, and this person said this one thing, so it’s true

    :-/

  61. #59 – “Lessons need to be learned, but they aren’t learned by angry people.” a thot worth hanging on to taken from a very good comment… IMHO

  62. I think arguing about this on the Internet is becoming increasingly futile, other than heading the voices that encourage us to love our neighbor. The African American Baptist church across the street from my house…. we’ve been neighbors for 40 years and I’ve never been inside, not because I am not black but because I am not a Baptist. But this Sunday, I am going to be a good neighbor and worship with them this Sunday. I’ll return to my own parish the next Sunday. It seems like the right thing to do.

    (I am ashamed that I have not visited before although I did have a fun convo with their pastor on the occasion of my car rolling down the hill, unattended, and crashing into their building….)

  63. #64 – Bravo, Xenia! 🙂 may your tribe increase

  64. Tim

    I just wonder time it is.
    These things are being torn down in a spirit of divisiveness and deception.

    1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

          2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
                A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

          3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
                A time to tear down and a time to build up.

          4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
                A time to mourn and a time to dance.

          5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
                A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

          6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
                A time to keep and a time to throw away.

          7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
                A time to be silent and a time to speak.

          8 A time to love and a time to hate;
                A time for war and a time for peace.

          9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

          11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. 

  65. #61-
    “The Civil War is a critical point in our history for reasons too numerous to enumerate here.

    It is imperative to our survival as one nation to learn from it all the lessons we possibly can.

    We can debate what those lessons are and what that history means, but we dare not remove this war from our vision and consciousness.

    Pretending it didn’t happen or that those people were radically different from us would be a huge mistake, perhaps even a fatal one.

    The monuments remind us of where we’ve been.

    They also remind us that the Confederacy lost and we have made strides to be better.

    They remind us in other ways that we have a long way to go.”

    well … i agree with that 🙂

  66. Michael and Tim

    Great discussion.

    Tim I disagree for the reason that it isn’t about learning – it’s about an unwillingness to learn, pasting our morals over the zeitgeist of that era.

    One of the more thought provoking posts, Michael, and I agree with you 100% today.

  67. On that note

    Michael, thanks for being kind when I didn’t deserve it. I sincerely apologize for my previous behavior here.

    “Tension breaker, had to be done!”

  68. Descended,

    No problem…hadn’t even crossed my mind in months.

  69. #62, Descended:

    I was on the Internet, and this person said this one thing, so it’s true

    Sick burn, bro. You keep doing you.

    #64, Xenia, brava! You go. You bring your good and loving intentions with you; I have no doubt that your visit with the Baptists will be enriching and rewarding.

    Decades ago, I attended a black church for a year. (twas well after my misspent youth at CCCM; it roughly coincided with the time I began attending the Episcopal Church, where I’ve spent a coupla decades… As my name attests, I’m no longer there.) At the time, I saw it as a cross-cultural experience before an overseas sojourn. I sometimes wonder what it’d be like to go back to that or a similar church after I’ve spent the last few years making a deeper examination of how, because of my whiteness, I have received undue advantages; in my unchurched time I’ve attempted to suss out how I may do justice, love mercy and walk humbly in the world.

    Michael, thank you for this discussion. I am glad for the opportunity to cite current and past historical documents that I have learned from and found tremendously helpful. I’ve been a lurker on your site for a long time. But here, where I’ve done some study on this topic, I de-lurked. (And now, I’m out again. The interstate highway and the eclipse beckons.)

    . . . . . .

    proclaim good news to the poor… freedom for the prisoners…recovery of sight for the blind. Set the oppressed free.

  70. Actually had the time to read through a whole post today!

    Tim stated what was stirring in my thoughts…yes, the statues need to be dealt with and taken down, but they need to be done so in a spirit that brings peace. Tearing them down will only affirm the “injustice” the radical right groups are wearing as a badge of honor.

    we have to find a way to bring about a change of heart, and that simply will only happen by the grace of God. Allowing destruction of these monuments, or encouraging it, is not helpful. Staunchly demanding the monuments remain does nothing for conversation and reconciliation. The divide is very real and very palpable around here.

    I want to chime in, I have been wanting to write something on my own blog…but the reality is I don’t have much to add to the already verbose and volatile discussion. Still, there is this need to connect through words…

    We pray. The reality that God could move in the midst of this and genuinely change hearts…is challenging for me to believe. Because I know my own heart is so stubborn.

    The reality that the church is called to bear Good News in the midst of this…is uncomfortable. Because I wonder if that is enough.

    I’ve typed and erased about four paragraphs. There is much on my heart as I sit and look out my Southern window. We are broken, wounded people and our sin keeps getting exposed. Our defensiveness…our heroes…our values…our hopes. On all the sides, we keep being told there are holes in these things we treasure and cling to. Immigrants are told to give up all their identity and conform to “American ways”. Southerners are told to give up their heritage and acknowledge the depth of depravity that underlies so much around us. Blacks are told to get over their injustices and move on.

    Maybe in this moment there is room for the Spirit to sweep through and remind us that all of it is nothing and what we need is the true Good News. And it really is enough to change the reality of our lives. And prayer really can change things.

    we need the history to be told so we can learn. We don’t need the statues to brag. Maybe we need some statues of broken people to remind us we are all of us broken and we need grace for one another. That every heritage, every line we come from, has stories we need to regret and be embarrassed of…but every line also has moments of grace and of mercy and miracles. We so desperately need to hear those stories as well.

    Obviously I don’t have anything clear to say 🙂 I have a whole mix of emotions, mix of thoughts, and little time to sort them these days.

  71. Back in comment 17, my best attempt at satire, I mentioned that perhaps (satirically) we should dig up the graves and deposit bones in landfills. Today on the news, a group symbolically dug up a section of grass over Nathan Bedford Forrest’s grave and stated that if the city does not remove his remains they will be back with a backhoe and do it themselves.

    Fascinating; there will never be enough that can be done–tear every symbol down, dig up the graves, blow up the Stone Mountain Monument, blow Jefferson and Washington’s faces off of Mt. Rushmore. It cannot make up for the evil done by the systematic enslaving of a people based on race. That is why I said what I said–no amount of tearing down can remove that sin-stain from our country’s identity.

    Xenia, I disagree with you on this point–any good done by Jefferson and Washington can never make up for the evil done by their owning slaves. If we are going to go after Lee and others, Jefferson, Washington and the other founders that allowed this practice must be dealt with in the same way. If there is no grace for some, there can be no grace for all.

    At some point I hope that someone justifiably aggrieved can step forward and renounce the power of grievance and engage the power of forgiveness.

  72. Perhaps a Joseph will arise…and forgive his brothers.

  73. And now Rahm Emmanuel has been asked by a black pastor to remove a statue of Washington in the park of the same namesake in Chicago, and to rename the park. I also saw that the Interior Department said that they will not be removing statues of Confederate officers from Gettysburg (I was wondering when this one would come up). Now grave-robbing? Where will this end?

  74. As a librarian, my question is when will people just take and destroy books because they don’t like them? Not that they don’t now, but when they just brazingly walk in as a group with weapons and take them and destroy them in the parking lot?

    You see, I hate to be the guy that goes to the extreme, but being an undergrad in history and a Christian, like many of you, I know where humans can go. Remember, sin will take you where you never thought you could go. And before you say it is different. It really isn’t. Because you see once it starts, there is no end to where this all goes. In a non-HOA home, should I not be allowed to fly the Confederate flag alongside a Nazi flag? What about a statue in my front yard of Josef Mengele?

    Now, if tax dollars are being used for these things, there is an argument to be made about spending that money. But there is still a civil way in dealing with these things.
    My problem with much of this isn’t even the violence, although that is a very big problem. My biggest issue is that all these people are not even offended, they just want to stir the pot and get some face time.

    Anyway, while I do not agree with this, I guess it is because I have never really suffered. I am just another old fat white dude who is privileged and doesn’t get it. Oh well, I do agree with Descended, just wait until you can’t wear, show, or talk about the cross in this country. Then the reality might finally sink in.

    I may not like or even agree with what you have to say, including all these whack-job snowflakes running around this country claiming to be offended if I give them even a stink-eye, let alone a statue, but I will defend to the death your right to it.

  75. An hour ago on FB from member of antifa: “So there’s like, five alt-wingnuts in Fremont tearing down the Lenin statue in response to leftists tearing down CSA statues. No opposition, and they’re yelling through a bullhorn at nobody.

    Lemme tell you why else that’s hilarious. Statues aren’t important to us. Lenin is not the “father of Antifa” that these dipshits think. Anarchists throw red paint on it all the time anyway. Their display is ineffective to us. We don’t get butthurt over stupid shit the way they do.

    The statue is also privately owned and for sale. If they want it gone, they can buy it and throw it in the dump for all we care. A statue isn’t the same as an idea. We recognize and understand this fact better than them.

    For the African and Native Americans of this country, their history was stripped from them centuries ago by the very people they’re toppling today. That is infinitely more significant and personal to them as a people respectfully.

    So yeah, let em take it down. No one cares. Their little action is ineffective against who they’re aiming it towards and they’re only embarrassing themselves.

    The memes are gonna be dank af though.”

  76. OC Dan – speaking of book burnings, looks like this one in your neighborhood got cancelled. The fellow, Baked Alaska, mentioned in article sure get around. He’s a real regular on the hate circuit up here in the PNW.
    http://www.ocweekly.com/news/ocs-alt-right-book-burning-event-canned-after-leftist-backlash-8342954

  77. Hi Anne

    page on “dank”, I’m still cracking up! x-D
    https://www.google.com/amp/www.urbandictionary.com/define.php%3fterm=Dank&amp=true

    At any rate, your friend’s fb post is frightening in that it pastes the social mores of our era over those of the past. I think freedom of expression applies to the living as well as the dead.

    Those statues represent the ugliness and horror of a nation divided. It should always be before us, and our children should be reminded of how people subjugated others to the point of slavery. Striving to cleanse or purge our nation of horrible ideals by mob mentality is/was the method of communists (even though Antifa may be able to dodge that one particular political label). There are many such groups in existence in the US who have been tolerated for the sake of political correctness. I think they are at a critical mass now and will succeed by sheer momentum at destroying some idealized “oppression”. Only what will be left will be useless when they are finished. It is like handing a priceless heirloom from a grandparent to a four year old to cherish and maintain. When they finish compartmentalizing it, it is broken and worthless, and Mom and Dad don’t possess the wherewithal to fix it.

    There is a smiley emoticon nature to this post. I do realize we can hold wildly different social perspectives and still be mates!

  78. #79… you’ve spotlighted the real danger now, i think… it is bad enough to align with a hate group or to allow them public space to air their views, whether it’s KKK types or “pigs in a blanket fried like bacon” types…
    but the answer is not in counter-demonstrating with “equal force” producing bloodshed…
    Saint or sinner, we cannot wrestle with the devil – there is a war going on… in fact there seem to be several… it troubles me to see the Church not recognize that our weapons of war are not carnal
    2 Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” KJV

  79. I posted this on Facebook…

    Taking down the statues without the legal input and consent of the communities that house them is nothing more than anarchy that will harden hearts against those who do so. There is nothing noble or humane about mob rule…the forcible imposition of values is only effective when you are willing to continually escalate the force…

  80. #81 – exactly, Michael …
    i think you’ve noted before here, we truly are in danger as everyone seems to feel obligated to align themselves with a protest group … mob rule is disasterous

  81. 79 – D, when referring to memes, dank has a whole different connotation:
    Dank memes
    “Dank Memes” is an ironic expression used to mock online viral media and in-jokes that have exhausted their comedic value to the point of being trite or cliché. In this context, the word “dank,” originally coined as a term for high quality marijuana, is satirically used as a synonym for “cool.” Urban Dictionary

  82. Anne

    Well, shoot
    I stand corrected on that. 🙂

  83. Descended – I stand corrected almost everyday trying to figure out what my urban, younger neighbors are talking about, even in my own building LOL

  84. How did I miss this thread?

    Well, I was traveling and was offline for most of the last 10 days.

    Here is my Mississippi southern boy, lover of all things Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and Rebel flag waving opinion. I personally want the iconography of the south to remain inviolate for nuanced reasons that are now lost on many.

    However, I was just about to post his on Facebook:

    I was struggling over the stripping away of southern identity with confederate memorials. Then I began to consider that African slaves were stripped of identity, tribe, kindred, tongue, choice, vocation, dignity and freedom. Somehow my sentimental notions lost their moral force. The defrauded generations of black Americans have a stronger claim against those memorials than a southern white man has for them. I relent.

    I also am curious because I have not seen this notion posted anywhere here but I did not read every word. If the LGBTQ agenda has gained hegemony based on its claims to be equivalent to race then how long will it be before every symbol that has opposed that agenda must be removed based on the 5000 year offense of that group.

    Put the memorials on Civil War battlegrounds where they belong but keep your eyes open for the precedent thinking mob to rise.

  85. Babylons Dread

    Symbols are important concepts of information and history in any society. Once we start sanitizing our nation of offenses from freedoms of expression it will trend toward the path of least resistance, that is to remove objective standards which have any offense to any hearer which means the history books, the Constitution (written by slave owners) and the crosses around our necks may be quite close to being forcibly removed. I know it is a slippery slope argument, but is being borne out already as the leftist spirit is already calling for Washington and Jefferson monuments to be removed.

  86. Descended,

    The evidence seems to show that those symbols were mostly placed during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras of the 20th century. In other words the majority culture was expressing sentiments laden with a desire to maintain hegemony.

    Public symbols are putative claims on territory. Those claims cannot be validated with integrity or factual certitude.

  87. Then I began to consider that African slaves were stripped of identity, tribe, kindred, tongue, choice, vocation, dignity and freedom. Somehow my sentimental notions lost their moral force. <<<

    Dread, that is probably the most insightful thing I have heard anyone say about all this.

  88. Be that as it may, the purging of ideals based solely on offenses taken leaves you as a Christian in a dire situation.

    On another note, should we remove MLK Jr statues because he was a womanizer? That would be foolish. In the same light, Robert E Lee should be viewed as someone who did much to preserve the union after defeat, rather than the easy idea that he stood only for racist ideals.

    This is may actually be about two things:
    Argument over relative truths among outlying sectors of the population who hold no standard of truth (Alt Right and Antifa, et al associated with them)

    The common thread shared between both sectors that they both hate jews, the Remnant of the church, and the truth that is God.

    Caroline Glick wrote an insightful article this week on carolineglick.com Trump and the Jews

  89. Descended

    For me it is about love and following Jesus

    I do not reject your perspective out of hand but the one who emptied himself and became a servant makes me unwilling to force my will on such a matter.

  90. I would agree with Michael, that if it’s going to be done do it legally. This day and age it should not really be a problem. This tribalistic mob mentality is dangerous.

  91. He also said “I send you out as sheep among wolves. Be gentle as doves and wise as serpents” “Don’t go throwing your pearls in pig feed, else they will turn and tear you to pieces”

    or something like that

    Maybe he would say Don’t chop off your nose to spite your face

  92. Pastor Dread, your words here this evening are wise ones… all of them
    yes, reposition those statues in places where only the memory of the era is commemorated – the cemeteries perhaps…
    because it evidently is a fact that
    “The evidence seems to show that those symbols were mostly placed during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras of the 20th century. In other words the majority culture was expressing sentiments laden with a desire to maintain hegemony.”

    and those years were ugly… only a few owned slaves, but after the emancipation the majority showed what evil lurks in the hearts of men… it is still there, this evil is color-blind today and we need to see hatred for what it is, for what Martin Luther King tried to show it to be… he was the man of the hour and we need another one today… so soon… sigh

  93. poorly worded – the evil is not “color blind”
    it is in the hearts of all men regardless of color and we need to call it out and face it now before we destroy the fabric of what built our nation… those persistent, forgiving black folk, the slaves and their descendants are a major part of that fabric… black or white or grey (like me 🙂 ) we need to face the evil of pride and hate and denounce it

  94. BD
    Your comments are still bugging me }:(
    You said “Public symbols are putative claims on territory. Those claims cannot be validated with integrity or factual certitude.”

    Maybe this would be more fair for everyone involved:
    Putative claims to the country from outlying sectors with actual substance, since white, black, conservative and liberal claims to it can’t be made with any integrity, morally speaking, when you really drill down. They must be shaking their heads.
    http://www.oneofmanyfeathers.com/american_indian_reservations_map_us.html

  95. And it’s only cause I’m up late fixing the dishwasher

    Also }:-(

  96. Ok

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