Since 2009, we have been claiming that the Confederate battle flag is not some simple display of heritage, as many of its defenders would claim. Several states' secession papers acknowledge that the creation of the Confederate States of America centered on black enslavement and relegation under the law as lesser people.
Mississippi "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world."
Texas _"__The servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations."_
South Carolina "[The Union States] have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States."
Georgia "That reason was_ _[__the North's] fixed purpose to limit, restrain, and finally abolish slavery in the States where it exists. The South with great unanimity declared her purpose to resist the principle of prohibition to the last extremity."
These secessionists were responsible for killing our President, attacking the United States, and subjecting blacks to rapes, lynching, and enslavement.
We ran these blogs because despite the clear and plain facts, nothing changed. The hate mail we have received for these posts from Confederate sympathizers must be what companies like Amazon, Ebay, and Wal-Mart will be getting for their recent choices to bar the "stars and bars" from their businesses.
There is now a huge movement to remove the flag and Confederate monuments from public places. This bit of sanity gives us a glimmer of hope.
From little children in a Selma church being bombed to nine church members asking a terrorist, Dylann Storm, to come study the Bible with them as he carried out their executions, one thing is finally now becoming clear to the American population: "southern heritage" is really just hate, and nothing more. How much blood must be shed at Calvary's cross to bring America into the 21st century? Please tell us.
The following is a collection of our attempts to call things as they are:
Hate Is Hate
Posted here on July 8, 2009
With the celebration of our country's Independence Day just a few days ago, we thought we would bring light once more to a growing problem in America; hate and the effect that it has upon an individual's peace, freedom, liberty and independence from public persecution.
The Congress of the United States is proposing a Hate Crimes Bill which we support 100%. It is time to atone for the sins of the past and the sons of Hate must realize that just as the Nazi's used flags and hate speech to persecute Jews, Homosexuals and people with mental illness; it would be wrong for any state with a large German population to incorporate the Nazi flag into a state flag in this country. There are those who suggest that the stars and bars of the rebel confederate states are a symbol of American heritage; but there is no heritage seen by the sons and daughters of slaves who were rounded up, hung, worked and sexually used. We have come a long way to allow a black man to occupy the White House which blacks built. We believe that speech transcends refusing to allow a child of God, who by nature is gay, to not speak his truth as to his creation. We believe that right-wing radio is at times not much different than the propaganda radio of Nazi Germany or the lies spread about Southern Heritage.
This continuum of hate transcends to the pulpits who host the most segregated hour of air time on Sunday mornings pitting one religion against another, single parents against two-parented families and non-believers against believers. Such is the elitism of a church that frightens children into believing that they will be sent to Hell and burned forever if they refuse to accept the dogma found on our public airwaves. Hate speech as well as pornography belongs on cable, not on the people's FCC controlled airwaves. One cannot be sent to Hell without certification that Hell exists. A lie is a lie, and as the 19th Century writer Thomas Carlyle said, "Nature admits no lie."
Some time ago we proposed a similar course of action to stop all hate speech originating from such organizations as the Aryan Nation, KKK, and White Citizens Council etc
In September 2000, the Neo-Nazi Hate Group, Aryan Nation of Hayden Lake, ID was forced to pay damages of $6.3 million to a mother and young son who were attacked by members of the hate group. Lacking the liquidity, the Aryan Nation was forced to hand over all of its property, both physical and intellectual. This included many writings and publications. The plaintiffs gained exclusive rights to the group's hate literature and memorabilia, ending their publishing and sale.
The sons and daughters of slaves should collectively sue for ownership of the Confederate flag, thereby preventing the use or sale of its image without their explicit permission. Ownership of the flag is clear and it should be argued that, being the property of the Confederate States of America who sanctioned the systematic rape and lynching of thousands of black folk in the South and cost the United States more blood than any war in its history; ultimately assassinating the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Blacks should be able to take control of all the properties and "war relics" of the Confederacy and legislation such as the proposed hate crimes bill should be accepted with open arms to prevent such actions from ever happening again.
Hate is Hate: Reparation in America
Posted here on February 20, 2012
Three years ago, the Monastery addressed the important issue within the United States of personal heritage and the flag of the old Confederacy. In this month of February, we celebrated the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the champion of ending slavery and keeping our union together despite a bloody civil war, and we find it appropriate to reexamine this divisive issue.
In the past year, we have seen examples of groups fighting for the right to discriminate against others. Some religious organizations cried out that if they cannot deny women health services or keep gays from acquiring equal rights that their freedom of religion is being infringed upon. In a relevantly similar situation, we have seen many individuals, proud of their family heritage, fight to display the battle flag of the Confederate States of America (CSA) known as the "stars and bars." In one case, Annie Caddell of South Carolina lamented that she wished her black neighbors would just understand that the Confederate flag on her front porch was not meant "to slam anybody."
What makes these situations alike is an inability of some to view the world through the eyes of others, and give up their selfish outlooks. While it might be consolation that for some, flying the CSA flag is not meant as an insult, the greater harm lies in successfully insulting people, whether you mean to or not.
For many black Americans, the stars and bars represent a painful chapter in history. If it is fair for flag-bearers to ask that others view the display as a symbol of heritage, we can view the flag as commentary on American heritage in general, including that of people descended from slaves. After all, anyone can find personal resonance in being confronted with the flag, not just those whose ancestors fought with the rebels. Displaying it publicly can muster pride within an individual, but at regular and nearly unavoidable torment to several others, while not displaying it publicly causes no direct harm to either the individual or his neighbors. Flying the stars and bars then seems indefensible.
Several southern states have come to this realization within recent years. In November of 2011, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles voted to no longer allow license plates to bear the flag of the CSA. In another case, a black juror in Shreveport, Louisiana refused to hear a case in the Caddo Parish court house due to the fact it would be presented under the Confederate flag, not the U.S. flag. He argued that the court and citizens are held to U.S. law, so cases should be heard under the symbol of our nation, not one that represents a country no longer in existence.
Authorities agreed with his complaints and had the stars and bars removed, though a statue of rebel soldiers remains at the front and center of the building. Statues such as this are peppered throughout the southern states, and there are many Civil War relics treasured by groups such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy. These attempt to bring honor to the Confederate cause, but we don't believe this is a worthy pursuit. Many will be quick to point out that the war was fought over more than just the issue of slavery, though this was a central part. They will chronicle a history of southern pride, and the northern paternalistic attempts to legislate against values and commerce practiced in the south. There was also a major disagreement about how to handle the creation of new states and under whose conception of the justice they would be designed. It seems the more general issue was that of states' rights versus federal authority.
The reason this is not a worthy cause is the sheer hypocrisy of it. While southerners championed self-determination, they brutally stole it from their slaves. While they insisted northerners failed to empathize with their way of life, it didn't occur to them to empathize with people they saw as nothing more than property. They exacted greater abuse on captured Africans than the federal government exacted against the southern states.
Abraham Lincoln declared that all freed slaves after the war would receive forty acres and mule to work the land in payment for the tyranny they endured. After the failure of John Wilkes Booth and the Confederates to capture Lincoln, the north won the war. Booth then assassinated the President five days later, and his successor, Andrew Johnson, revoked the edict. Descendants of slaves have nothing to show for the atrocities committed against their families, and at this point, there is insufficient land to make good on the old reparation. We propose that all Confederate artifacts, including statues, flags, and battle relics be handed over to descendants of slaves. While this certainly doesn't erase the history, it would prevent ignorant people from evoking slavery and a bigoted perspective to those around them by proudly displaying these symbols of hate. We call on the great state of Mississippi to remove the stars and bars from their state flag. Even if you one does not purport to "slam anybody," as Annie Caddell phrases it, hate is hate, and our ordained ministers, and indeed our nation will not stand for it.
Hate is Still Hate
Posted here on February 25, 2015
Some time ago, we posted a blog that said, "hate is hate," wherein we looked at the similar feelings behind movements such as blaming and gassing Jews for Germany's problems and the rise of the Nazi party as well as the defense of slavery in the American south that compelled states to secede and form the Confederate States of America. These were both examples where the hatred (or at the very least, the indifference to the suffering) of a group of people drastically changed law and politics of the respective regions.
Having seen the Academy Awards, we are aware that the film Selma depicts a benchmark in our history when blacks fought back against the institutionalized racism of the old Confederate States at the time. We think the time is ripe again to revisit our artwork wherein we designate, regardless of whether it be segregationists, crazed fundamentalists, Klan members, or Islamic jihadists, hate is still hate. Flags of hate have no right to fly on the capitals of the new neo-Confederacy.
There are many that defend flying the Confederate battle flag as an expression of their heritage, but it is as evil as the ISIS flag. Slavery, murder, insurrection, and the assassination of President Lincoln; these actions of terror were born in the bottomless pit of Hell.
We can never allow these acts the dignity of the word "heritage". While for a white man the stars and bars may remind him of where he came from and his family history, it evokes for descendants of raped slaves a heritage of being treated as property. Notwithstanding, no Germans fondly fly the Nazi flag and defend it by saying that they aren't racist, they are just proud of their heritage.
These flags symbolize the racist views of their creators; claiming otherwise is to deny the horrific acts committed under these banners. We can't allow the violence to be whitewashed out of our history books your thoughts?
Comparing things to Hitler and the Nazis is nothing new on the internet. There's even a term for doing it: Godwin's Law. It happens so much that it isn't unreasonable to think that the severity of Nazi crimes is somewhat trivialized by how often they are equated to far lessor events. A survivor of the Holocaust would likely be shocked to hear, "the cop gave me a parking ticket even though the meter had only run out a minute ago, what a Nazi!"
The evil of Hitler and the Nazis is rare, but not totally unique and valid comparisons can be made. True, ISIS doesn't have the military capabilities that Germany had at the time and the Confederate States of America (CSA) preferred to beat, rape, and enslave their victims over killing them, but the same hate is there.
The key to understanding the similarities between Nazism, Confederate States of America racist expansionism, and Islamic State Neo-Caliphate ideology is in the motto on the latter's flag. The ISIS flag contains an Arabic statement, "B qiyah wa-Tatamaddad," which translates to "Remaining and Expanding." The state that ISIS has established claims sovereignty and plans to conquer other territories more than proven by the state's organized attacks and occupations of areas held by other sovereign nations.
The use of violence to not just promote an ideology, but to expand it to new places, is the very essence of fascism. The CSA sought to conquer or convert their surrounding areas to pro-slavery states ruled with institutionalized racism. The Third Reich under Adolf Hitler boiled over and scorched Europe with their anti-Semitic empire. The Islamic State aims to use beheadings and burning people alive to spread a hateful ideology.
Members of all three barbaric groups are instilled with the notion that dying for their sinful causes is a virtue. This forces the rest of us into a fight whether we want anything to do with it or not because the aggressors will only allow peace over their cold dead bodies. Their hatred has made them so rabid that debate and diplomacy are no longer viable options.
The film Selma shows us that even after the existence of the CSA itself, the repercussions of its ideology stained the region for decades. The same will be true with ISIS, should we even manage to eradicate it. The strong tensions between local groups will cause strife that will live on even after ISIS is dead and gone. That's the power of hatred; dressing it up under a different flag still allows us to see through it. Hate is hate. Do you agree?
These originals posts by
Br. Martin Freeman, Presiding Chaplain