8.20.2017

Tearing Down The High Places: Confederate Monuments, Why They Should Go

Since Charlottesville it has been hard to think about anything else except politics. So, rather than fight it - I'm just going to roll with it.

Sunday morning I came across this blog post by Mark Buzard, "Who Told You to Be Offended?' It was about the current push to have Confederate monuments removed from public places. Mark doesn't seem like a bad guy - but I believe that he, along with many other Evangelical Christian are on the wrong side of this.  You can read his post (here).  Here is my response.

To Mark.

I don't think about Confederate Monuments on a daily basis. 
I grew up in the North. I am a white male. 
Nobody in my family has been a slave, or suffered discrimination under Jim Crow. 

So you may wonder, why should I care about Civil War monuments? 
Why Should I side with people who want to take them down? 

If you care to listen - I'll tell you (though the fact that you call people like me weenies means me skeptical that you wish to communicate to anyone who doesn't already agree with you. If that's true - fine, you have your reward). If not, read on.

First some groundwork.

Like you - I am a professing Christian. I believe that all people are created in the image of God. For this reason I also believe that the sin we commit against others, we commit against God - in effigy. 

Furthermore, as God's image bearing representatives, I believe that every sin we commit against another human being is also a slander against the one we represent - in other words, a form of blasphemy. We were created to represent God to one another, not to misrepresent him.

Now if these things are true - I ask, how can we ignore the pain that the historic monuments of racism cause to our black brothers and sisters?

Why should we side with those who wish to continue honoring people who engaged in treason against this country at a time when it was beginning to shed its racist heritage though abolition? 

You are think you are defending people who are being picked on by a liberal system run amok - but you are simply following the crowd. Your arguments are not new - and have all been answered. 

You say , the Founding Fathers were slave owners, so where does it end?
Consider this, men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are honored for other things - chiefest of which is writing a document that says "all men are created equal" which became the guiding principal of emancipation and civil-rights in this country. They were not honored for defending slavery. So it ends with the monuments to men like General Lee (a man who resigned from his post in the U.S. Military to fight against this own country in defense of a tradition of subjugating men and women whom God loves to brutal servitude.

You think the ubiquity of slavery makes this a slippery slope. And claim to have heard of people who want to tear down a monument to Teddy Roosevelt, because he owned slaves too. But you don't say where you heard this. My search has only turned up Tucker Carlson's similar musings "where will it end?" If these people actually existed - I'm sure someone would be making a bigger deal of it.

You say the south has as much right to their Civil War monuments as we do. But simply is not true - according to the usually practices of war. It is quite remarkable, and a testimony (perhaps an indictment,) of the tolerance of this country that we allow the South to display a flag and build monuments to their rebellion. That pride is a refusal to acknowledge the outcome of the war, a celebration of their racist heritage, and a big middle finger to their brothers and sisters in the north. 
 There are no monuments to Hitler in Germany. There is no current Emperor in Japan. 

Personally, I do not cringe in fear, or want to cry when I look at these monuments. I don't have a physical response, because I have never come into direct contact with it. It would be TOO EASY as a white man to just dismiss this whole thing. But that is exactly something I cannot do as a white man. As a follower of Jesus- who loves my black brothers and sisters, I make this my interest in order to bear his image and share in the suffering of my brothers and sisters.  As a Christian, I consider these monuments to be an affront to God.

You say you don't think tearing down the monuments to racism will make a difference. I think God would disagree. In the historic books of the Old Testament (Kings and Chronicles,) time and again, leaders who fought against idolatry and tore down the high places prospered, those who did not failed. 

What we knew in every other war, but not when we fought against our own countrymen - is that when you allow the high places to remain, it allows the enemy maintain pride in a separate identiy, and to regather strength. By refusing to tear down the high places, these early rulers of Israel were sowing the seeds of their own destruction. And it happened again and again.

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