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TEAR THEM DOWN OR LEAVE THEM UP? – PART THREE

The first two parts of this series were very much emotionally driven by yours truly. Part 3 will conclude the series, and offer facts in support of my position that Confederate monuments and memorials should remain in place.

According to an article on townhall.com, written by Jack Kerwick, on May 24, 2017, many of his readers, including conservatives, called for the taking down of Confederate monuments. Their reasons boiled down to the following:

  1. The Confederates fought in defense of slavery.
  2. Slavery is immoral.
  3. Therefore, Confederates were immoral.
  4. Immoral behavior should never be publicly honored.
  5. Thus, by way of 3 and 4 above, Confederates should not be publicly honored.

According to Kerwick, while slavery was a major factor in the fighting of the War between the States, number 1 above is incorrect. Most Confederate soldiers, as well as prominent generals, including, most notably, Robert E. Lee, did not own slaves by the time that the war was raging. Kerwick also writes that both the laity and scholars realized that the complexity of the American Civil War defied all attempts to reduce it to such simple-minded, one-dimensional caricatures of the sort advanced by those who would attribute to Confederates, a single, nefarious motive: the love for slavery. Or the desire to do evil as I pointed out in Part 2.

Next, in his article, Kerwick gets rather analytical. The second premise that slavery is immoral is irrelevant. Without premise 1 above, you cannot reach premise 3. Thus, the immorality of the Confederates cannot be established through 1 and 2, 3 cannot be concluded, and thus, 4 and 5 cannot be adhered to.

For those folks who will have none of the above, those folks whose hatred has so overwhelmed them to the point that anyone who lived in the south at the time of the Civil War is, to an extreme, anti-American, immoral, and anti-people of color, are not going to listen to reason and will continue their barrage of hate. In fact, in some instances, I have read between the lines and have detected a hatred for the south and those of us who have lived in the south all our lives. While I can’t look into a person’s heart and interpret what’s in it, I can read their words and many of their words can be interpreted as overwhelming hate.

Kerwick asks us to assume the above, that every single Southern man and woman who took up the cause of secession was committed to perpetuating the institution of slavery, and that the Confederate symbols are monuments to “White Supremacy.”

If Confederate symbols deserve to be purged from the public, then so do virtually all the symbols of Western civilization.

The roots of what today is recognized as Western civilization are to be found in ancient Greece. Though they weren’t the first of the West’s philosophers, Plato and Aristotle enjoy the distinction of being among the greatest. Western philosophy, and even Christian theology would be inconceivable without these two. Yet even Plato’s ideal Republic included slaves, and Aristotle articulated a defense of “natural slavery,” the enslavement of those who by nature were suited to be slaves.

Since slavery is immoral, then the reasoning of the anti-Confederates demands that Plato and Aristotle be given the same treatment as Generals Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and every other prominent Confederates. Also, all public commemorations of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, James Madison, and many other Founding Fathers involved with slavery are immoral as well.

Thus, in addition to monuments and statues commemorating prominent Confederates, states, cities, schools, streets, and parks named after this nation’s Founding Fathers should also be removed or renamed.

Kerwick cites many other examples, and if those examples were followed, the United States of America would be transformed into something unrecognizable. The left, though, would probably like that because they hate this country and anyone living in this country who does not agree with them on the issues.

According to Kendall Will Sterling, in an article dated July 27, 2015, on richmond.com, the story these symbols tell is more nuanced than what we typically hear. It is said that the South seceded to perpetuate slavery, and yet six slave states sent men to die for the North, and the Southern states rejected an offer from Lincoln that would have made slavery permanent in exchange for their return to the Union. While many Northern states had ended slavery by 1860, many had also passed, “black laws,” a forerunner of Jim Crow, which placed tight restrictions on blacks and often forbade them from even living in the state. Furthermore, West Virginia was admitted to the Union as a slave state in 1863, and slaves in that and other Northern states had to wait until 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, for their freedom.

Sterling concludes that slavery was more than just a Southern problem; it was an American problem.

Instead of removing all vestiges of the Confederacy, Sterling suggests that we use these statues and memorials to start a new conversation, one that acknowledges the roles of everyone involved and offers hope for our nation and its people, both black and white.

Fat chance that any liberals are going to agree to implementing any such conversations. The left is not interested in solving problems, they just want to destroy the United States of America and all those people within it who don’t toe their line.

Most of us recognize Nathan Bedford Forest as a slave owner and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. But are we aware that Forrest’s 45 slaves rode and fought alongside him as equals, and that their loyalty was such that they remained with him even after he gave them their freedom papers. Do people also know that the Klan’s original purpose was to serve as a volunteer police force against rampant crime in the occupied South. Also, in 1870, when the Klan morphed into a terrorist organization, Forrest resigned and ordered the group disbanded. Softened by an encounter with his God, Forrest spent his final years advocating for political and social advancement for black Americans. When he died in 1877, more than 3,000 blacks lined up to pay their respects as part of his funeral procession.

Sterling further suggests that we let the statue of Robert E. Lee, and the schools that bear his name, remind us all of a Sunday in 1865 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where Lee worshiped when in Richmond. That Sunday, with the wounds of the war still raw, a black man walked down the aisle of St. Paul’s and knelt to receive Communion. The whites in attendance weren’t certain if they could, or should, take Communion. For a moment, no one knew what to do. Then came a rustle, the scrape of boots on the floorboards, and the congregation looked up to see Lee walking down the aisle to kneel beside that black man, by his own example teaching those around him the way of respect.

The plight of men such as Nathan Bedford Forrest reminds me of the Apostle Paul. Paul, formerly called Saul, was a persecutor of Christians. On a journey from Jerusalem to Damascus, Saul was stuck down and blinded by God because God was calling him to do his work, the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world as it was known at that time. Saul became the Apostle Paul, revered and studied by Christians all over the world.

I’m against the taking down and/or the demolition of monuments and/or memorials erected to honor prominent Confederates. While I do acknowledge that there are two distinct sides, I don’t want this section of our history to be diminished.

The Civil War should be taught in schools and should be remembered, lest we ever again make the mistake of splitting up the great Unites States of America.

Will anyone on the left plus those conservatives who believe that these memorials should come down, read my three articles and attempt to examine both sides? Of course not. And if any liberals do take a chance and decide to read what I have written, will they acknowledge and respect my writings and my opinions? Of course not, once again. I will be subjected to the continued ridicule and hate that liberals have shown me in the past.

Why do I continue, you may ask? Because I like doing this. Simple, but true.

Note: Here are links to articles where the information outlined above was obtained.

In Defense of Honoring the Confederacy: A Response to the Cultural Cleansers.

Pro and Con, Should Confederate Monuments be Removed.

 

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