As someone who has a strong belief in the power of Christ to change lives and bring peace to ALL people in our broken world (through a belief in Him and His truth), it was with no small disappointment that I read about the Southern Baptist Convention’s recent statements regarding U.S. Veterans Monuments, parks, landmarks and symbols. Caving to Leftism, cultural Marxism and establishment views of history, these Christian brothers and sisters are sadly attacking fellow believers who fought for their homes and families. Were our forefathers perfect? No, of course not. But these Americans stood to fight against some of the worst forms of political and religious persecution and acts of tyranny waged against our communities by Abraham Lincoln ‘s government in Washington D.C. And today, they are considered by many as some of the noblest of our U.S. Veterans.
At SBC President, CBF pastors join in call to remove Confederate statue, Steve Gaines, David Breckenridge, Stephen H. Cook, Richard Hipps and Sean Michael Lucas (all pastors) somehow believe that these monuments dedicated to the memory of husbands, brothers and sons killed in defense of their communities are all about racial division and stand contrary to the message of the gospel. IF that were true, sure. Maybe then we talk about what to do with these symbols. But as a Christian, historian and someone who cares about truth for ALL people in our nation today, I can say with complete confidence that the large majority of these monuments, parks and symbols are NOT about slavery or silly attempts to claim racial superiority. Elsewhere, Bill Leonard on Baptist News Global (in an Opinion piece) criticizes and disparages those who seek to honor our U.S. Veterans in a write-up entitled Lost Cause religion: A zombie mindset. And then Brent Aucoin, a Southern Baptist Seminary professor (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary), believes that Civil War monuments (again dedicated to U.S. veterans) should be taken down here.
As stated elsewhere in this blog, and re-emphasized here, these people – which included men and women of all races (including African American, Native American and Hispanics) sought justice in the face of martial law imposed by the federal government (such as here in Missouri), the free press smashed, voter rights stripped, people’s homes burned, pastors persecuted for preaching anything other than submission to the State, political leaders forced out of office for not signing oaths of loyalty, husbands and sons hung in the front yards of homes and people scalped and beheaded for resisting those supposedly angelic boys in blue. Don’t believe me? Start reading some of the numerous first-hand accounts of people throughout Missouri, or other civilian communities being invaded, bombed and starved into submission.
Fact: These Confederate Monuments are monuments to U.S. Veterans erected by grieving family members who lost husbands, brothers and sons in this tragic war. They wanted to remember the sacrifice they paid in defense of their community. And it’s a shameful act for Americans in the supposed “land of the free” to remove or destroy them today!
But let me be clear. This is not a call for Christian to throw up their hands and abandon the Southern Baptist Church – or any Christian church that adheres to the Bible and the Apostles Creed – simply because they might be doing some things we may not agree with, or have a second grade understanding of history. None of us are perfect, and this is a pretty complex and difficult era in which we live (just like it was back in the days of the War Between the States). However, this is an opportunity for us to try to help educate as to history and the proper remembering of the Christians who fought and died in the face of persecution for the communities we have today.
Please be sure to leave any questions or comments you might have!
Valuable Educational Resources:
Dr. Brion McClanahan is a noted historian who has written and spoken extensively on the subject of founding principals, as well as an accurate understanding of the complexities surrounding the unCivil War.
The Abbeville Institute was formed by scholars in history, literature, philosophy and religion to discuss what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition. It has grown over the years to over 170 scholars and associates.
The Great Civil War Debate featuring Rev. Peter Marshall and Rev. Steve Wilkins is an excellent resource that discusses the issues of this terrible and bloody war from a Christian perspective!