My response to a Facebook dialog in which one commenter stated that Confederate war hero statues were a form of free speech held by those that honored the era.
They can honor their beliefs. They can offer to cart off the statues and install them in a place where the memory will be respected. The majority of citizens in these cities find the statues to be offensive in the extreme – they honor an era in which their rights were denied through violence by those that hated them. The statues were installed as a form of hate speech. Those that now control those public spaces are the descendents of those targeted, and deserve the right to attain closure by freeing themselves from that speech.
Perhaps, the best memorials to a time which one is fact and cannot be erased and two, has more migration toward positive change in the south should go to figures such as Richard Furman or John Bailey Adger, born in the south, educated in the North. While there was no emphasis at that time that slavery was inherently wrong, which yes, should have been strongly approached, there was a great movement by such leaders in the church to pursue and preach to slave owners the emphasis on greater moral treatment and moral responsibility in taking care of and educating the slave workforce in each community. In the 1820s, First Baptist Church of Charlestons membership was 400 White and 1600 African Americans. Even though the civil law would not recognize these changes, many things such as slave marriages, families being formed within the slave community, slaves learning to read and write took place under the direction and offering of leaders in the local churches-presbyterian, lutheran, baptist to name a few. Unfortunately, this is the south that both the commoner of the USA and even the ignorant hate filled leaders of hate groups in the US do not learn or recognize. Why? Simply because it does not fit their 20th century agendas. In trying to high jack religion as support for their hate agendas, the Americans who oppose such agendas can do themselves and communities justice if they learn historical significance and evidence of how things really have changed through the years. These facts do not support white supremacy ideals. These facts support constant change in the south which bring about stronger diverse communities for the future. Want to know more, Listen to Walter Edgers Journal, The Ideology and public policy of slavery in South Carolina and Slavery in South Carolina, conversations with Dr. Larry Watson and Dr. Lacy Ford.
Thanks for taking the time to articulate these thoughts. I was not aware the white supremacy movement had coopted religion. It is clear to me that their rationale (violent resistance to a society that seeks to destroy their culture) is very similar to that of Islamic jihadists. Celebrating constructive collaboration as you do is probably the best way to undermine that rationale.