Relevance

Posted by John Lindsay on 26th December 2017 in Christian Articles, News, Op Ed

Graffiti, defacement or outright vandalism are common tactics used when someone wants to communicate their opinion without an opposing argument. Like depantsing or other juvenile types of humiliation, the purveyors strike when the likelihood of resistance is low, or when their mob reaches a size which insures the individual’s anonymity – not unlike the cowardice of a terrorist. What is most disturbing in civilized society is the defacement or destruction of monuments erected to those long deceased who cannot defend themselves.

A pastor of sorts was recently interviewed in regard to his support of the destruction of Confederate monuments. He remained articulate and poised and did not come off as smug or overtly emotional as most on the far left do. My overall objection with his position was it lacked perspective. It is easy to look at the Civil War South as enemies and traitors, albeit no more rebellious than their forefathers had been toward the English Empire a century before. The easiest thing to forget in times like these is the fact the person you call enemy, traitor and slave owner, is also a fellow American and sometimes literally your brother.

Most families who live in the northern United States have close relatives who live in the south today and vice versa. Northerners are not threatened today if they travel south any more than southerners embarking north. So why the sudden upheaval of concern for hundred and fifty year-old monuments? Furthermore, if these monuments were so offensive to our nation, why are people only now addressing the issue? Might I suggest the answer is because never before have the descendants of those who may have been truly persecuted, as well as their sympathizers, hungered so greatly for relevance.

There was little difference between the Union and Confederates. Both groups were comprised of God-fearing, hard-working Americans devoted to their land and family. The problem today is we look at history through a scratched and clouded lens. The Civil War may have been influenced by the mistreatment of human beings but the ultimate motivating factor was not racial but economic.

Few Caucasians could survive working long hours out doors in the south at that time. African Americans were therefore indispensable for the South’s labor force prior to the nation’s industrialization and technical advancement. Were all slaves treated badly? Of course not. Most slaves received room, board, healthcare and the freedom to worship, which is more than most jobs offer employees today. The harsh truth is to give up slaves would put organizations in a position where it would be impossible to compete. Since technology was no where near being a viable alternative to man power, the most logical business decision was to do whatever it would take to keep the status quo.

The Chinese were indentured servants, which is a version of slavery with a healthy dose of oppression during our nation’s formidable years, yet Chinese Americans see no need to lock arms and ask the nation to recognize their value today. I would wager union organizers in the 1930’s were treated with harsher severity than even the most troublesome slave. The plight of these so-called agitators was the theme of many a John Steinbeck novel, yet never once have I heard of a town or city pay homage to even one of these heroes by erecting a statue to commemorate their story in spite of the success and influence of unions today.

The oppression of the Jews was fully documented from without and within and far surpasses any comparable atrocity by scale and severity and are still vehemently persecuted worldwide today. The American Indians, who, like it or not, were defeated and, like most Muslims around the world, unwilling to assimilate into their host culture. Yet none of these groups felt it necessary or appropriate to protest for the sake of their relevance.

Perhaps the most inconvenient truth in the African American community today is no one is a slave. No one knows anyone who is a slave. No one’s parents or grandparents were slaves. So why do so many long freed black Americans continue to cover themselves with the shroud of victimhood? It is the left which influence the misguided each time they play the race card the second their talking points are exhausted which perpetuates the victim mentality which is directly related to stagnancy, poverty and dependence on government programs.

The most often-used contemporary argument against slavery was it was wrong. However, owning slaves was not a moral distinction but a legal one. Today, food manufacturers can claim their product is 100% natural when the actual percentage may be as low as 10%. Though it may be reprehensible and misleading, it is not illegal. It is naive to believe business practices may be effectively managed through a moral code since the only immediate somewhat reliable system of enforcement is a legal one.

The Black Lives Matter movement, which continues to receive only moderate support, possibly due to all of its martyrs being killed while skirting the law and resisting those charged to enforce it, continues to rear its disgruntled countenance, albeit without well thought-out planning. As far as the destruction of Civil War memorabilia, one has to wonder, how will these protesters parlay toppling monuments once they run out of statues of Robert E. Lee?

The use of high-profile sports figures to kneel during the National Anthem has also backfired, incontrovertibly due to the act of kneeling. What these protesters failed to understand is kneeling is done to reverence God – not their cause. Furthermore, the reason mature, faithful Christians and Jews prostrate themselves is to remind themselves how little they know and how much they need divine instruction and revelation – not to imply they know better and to insult and undermine those God has placed in authority.

It would appear there is no platform from which to alter the actual value of a group – certainly not through the use of force and destruction. If a person is not working diligently at something constructive, they can rest assured their lives will not matter – regardless of their history, education, color or creed.

Rewriting history by erasing noteworthy individuals will do nothing but create a generation eager to edit their own story, and, by doing so, make truth even more elusive than it already is. Those who attempt to silence the voice of the past run the risk of having their voice silenced by their successors.

The movie, Hidden Figures, gives an account of three African-American women who substantially assisted NASA in the 60’s when racial tensions were at their boiling point. Where would America be today if instead of challenging the existing norm, we locked arms and took knees or blamed some antiquated social issue after Russia put the first man in space? We are a powerful nation in no small part do to three African-American patriots who did not merely stand on their faith but used it to further educate and inspire themselves to go beyond what was expected of them in the face of undeniable oppression. More importantly, they did not strive to succeed in order to dishonor existing authority but to glorify it, and by doing so, gave honor to their family and glory to God.

The underlying cause of any social malady, no matter how heinous, is never racism or hatred, but fear; the fear of something one desires being taken away or having something undesirable being forced upon them. But fear, like hatred, racism and greed is also a symptom caused by placing faith where it does not belong. What comes from placing trust in uncompromised biblical instruction is the discernment required to allow something to be given or withheld for your own good, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.

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