Archive for December, 2008

In Moscow, It’s Raining Theology

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Back just a day from our Christmas journey to Western Washington, and I see that mounds of dubious theology are piling up everywhere I look.

We’ve got Wayne Fox on Moscow’s Vision 2020 discussion forum diagnosing Christian communion-takers as mentally ill, what with the belief that Christ is “in” the wafer and all, not to mention the “cannibalism” involved in “take, eat; this is my body.” My friend Chas Warren then opines that religious faith is something to be properly grown out of. Doug Wilson’s Blog and Mablog features another installment on Food And Why Your Concerns About It Are Immature, Silly, And Entirely Without Cause (I’m paraphrasing here, but fairly). I can’t imagine what feeds Wilson’s interest in a theology that involves equating the nutritional value of bacon and Twinkies with that of apples and whole-grain bread, but his ideas on food toxicity are nuttier than a Pay Day bar. He then lays aside his dietary expertise to fire off the opening salvo of what seems to be a series on Jesus as Military Strategist and Violent Conqueror, in which Wilson scoffs at the absurdity of some Christians, past and present, who believe that Christ was a pacifist and that Christians should be.

I’ve finally unpacked and hope to tackle communion, cannibalism, peanut butter and peanut allergies, and Christ as Rambo in the next day or two. Rest assured that no blanket of snowfall can silence in Moscow the cacophony of confusion and condemnation ringing out not only from outside the Church but, more distressingly, from within it. Grab a Twinkie, open a PBR, and hold on. It’s gonna be quite a ride.

Well, Someone Asked Me . . .

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

A correspondent asks me why I don’t consider the privileges I enjoy as a white, educated, reasonably affluent United States citizen a “blessing from a generous God.”
It’s a good question, really, and one I can answer with atypical succinctness:

My sustenance, security, gifts and talents, and necessary possessions come, as all good things do, from a loving, kind God. Any unfair advantage or privilege I take over others because of his graciousness is sin, and if I’m born into an unjust society, it’s evident that I’ll benefit from that injustice if its structure favors people like me. So I have to reduce, as a conscious choice, the benefit of those unjust privileges to me and work to extend them, with God’s grace and for righteousness’ sake, to those oppressed.

Living in a white-privileged society isn’t God’s gift to me; my gift to him is to use my position in it to work for racial, cultural, and social healing in his name.

And no, I don’t do it perfectly or even close to it. I’m drinking from the fountain of grace as needily as anyone else.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Nothing like a few snowflakes to change one’s travel plans . . .

We are scurrying about trying to get things in order to cross Snoqualmie pass before Sunday’s monstrous snowstorm, the one that’s supposed to dump 7-10 inches in Moscow and carry twice that, with 70-mph-hour winds, along with it. We drive a Prius. Good little snow car, good in a little snow. Not so much, maybe, in the true-blizzard state that’s coming. Of course I’d appreciate your prayers. However, we’re packed so tightly that I’m not sure any harm could come even if we did crash.

I hope that each and every one of you — those who know me from Moscow and those across the country who hope never to meet me, those of you who heartily applaud what I say and those of you who believe I need a trip to the ecclesiastical woodshed pronto — have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year. If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, accept my sincere wishes for joyful times with your families and friends. And if you just like snow and extra baked goods, with no religious significance at all, please know that I wish you all the best as well.

Emmanuel, God with us. It never ceases to astound me . . .

The Gospel of Christ Isn’t The Gospel of The Neo-Confederates

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

This will, at least for now, be my final post on Neo-Confederacy. This has taken quite a bit out of me, which confirms that it’s what I need to do. I’ve found, over a quarter-century of walking with Christ, that obedience to one’s calling isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s sometimes heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. But the Gospel is at stake when dealing with Christians whose ideology is demonstrably antithetical to the message of Christ, and if I say I love the Lord enough to suffer for him, then I don’t get to back down when called to do so.

That said, I’m aware, as I’ve written before, that the neo-Confederates in Moscow and in the South don’t care what I have to say, although one of them, Michael Tuggle of the League of the South, continues his gracious debate with me, for which I’m grateful. I don’t need to be reminded of the disdain in which our merry men of Anselm House hold me; I’m far more concerned about their disdain for the reconciliatory Gospel of Christ. Me? I’m just a voice, albeit a lonelier one on the Palouse than I’d like. I’m not expecting Christmas cookies from the Wilsons.

I believe that the neo-Confederate movement departs from that Gospel in two significant ways, and these departures strike at the very core of New Testament teaching in ways that obliterate any possibility of co-existence with true Christian theology and conduct. The racism, separatism, bigotry and divisiveness of the NC’s is only a part, a necessary part, of a theology that is contrary at its very core to the unity of believers and the believer’s citizenship in another Kingdom.

Where the Gospel proclaims the obliteration of all ethnic, social, cultural, racial and sexual boundaries between believers and their pursuit of fellowship with God in Christ, the neo-Confederates teach racial separation, promote a pseudo-ethnic/racial “culture” elevated to grotesque importance in society, and ignore the liberating work of the Savior and instead call for the maintaining and strengthening of shackles that cripple not only the society in which we live, but the Church of the One whose work on the cross set captives free. I have read not only the book by Sebesta, et al, but also NC websites and books, and for two or three years, not just since last week, I’ve digested the words of “Southern patriots.” Not once have I seen an assertion that believers of every race and culture share an identity in Christ that supersedes every possible social divisor. I don’t see the NC’s expending any effort to rejoice in the unity promised by Christ between Southern Black Christians and Southern white believers; not once have I read any evidence that one of the many horrors of slavery in the antebellum South was the continued hierarchical, not to mention exploitive and violent, relationship between Black Christian slaves and their putatively Christian masters. There is no call in any NC literature that I’ve read for the selfless laying aside of one’s “rights” for the betterment of others whose race, language, skin color or gender is different from the NC white, male, “Anglo-Celtic” heritage. That silence speaks volumes.

The Church that rejoices in the community of Spirit-led believers and gladly frees itself in Christ from the chains of bigotry, and seeks to reconcile with those who’ve suffered from that bigotry, is not the church of the neo-Confederates. Christ came to set the captives free and to reconcile captives with their captors. The Gospel of Christ has its genesis in the God who isn’t “male” or “female,” who seeks and speaks to all who search for him, and who gave us a Savior-God whose very conception struck down sinful ideas of social and ethnic division. The Christian faith does not “belong to” or require endorsement from the Dutch Reformers, the Pentecostal Church in Latin America, the men who populate the airwaves in Christ’s name, or the Godly abolitionists so hated by the neo-Confederates. That anyone can claim to be a follower of Christ while acting in a manner that belies his message is a simple, unfortunate truth for the ages. It doesn’t confer legitimacy simply by its proclamation. The Spirit knows who belongs to Christ. If the fruit demonstrated reeks of hate, it’s safe to presume, in all humility, that the Spirit isn’t known by the proclaimer. The only thing that can join the unknowing one to the Knower is acceptance of the gracious work of Christ. The brackish waters of bigotry and separatism can’t flow from the font of life.

A message that seeks to isolate any group of Christians from any other group, particularly based on the ugly sinfulness of racial/cultural “superiority,” is not a message whose origin is the Cross. NC’s believe that a “godly” society is, by design and necessity, one composed of superiors, equals, and lessers. Christ says otherwise. Assertions that Biblical Christianity is the religion of those who long for and defend a culture of race-based slaveholding, lynching, rape, familial destruction, violence, economic and political exploitation, and grotesque embracing of an ancient, white “warrior culture” as the basis for separating from those not so culturally blessed not only ring hollow, but produce a chorus of hatred for the Spirit of Christ Jesus. That that chorus hails from a church building and is sung with gusto by “Christian people” isn’t just ironic, odd, or sad. It’s blasphemous, as ugly as ugly gets. That chorus isn’t as loud in Moscow as it is in the South, perhaps, but only for lack of numbers. The “tolerant” liberals and the unconvinced, or unconcerned, Church on the Palouse have given our local NC’s a platform, largely unquestioned. The evangelical Church that should guard and defend Gospel truth has been silent, and ought not be surprised at the polluting cacophany that nonbelievers tragically mistake for hymns of Christian devotion to God.

Proclaiming, then, a gospel of racial/ethnic division and social isolation, the neo-Confederates long for a “Christian” Southern homeland, a separate state comprised of those “patriots” who represent a white Anglo-Celtic ancestry and culture, as well as those non-whites who willingly subsume their culture, race, language and ethnicity to that of the majority. The neo-Confederate obsession with not just a hallowed, separatist white culture, but the secession from the United States that would establish and enshrine it, is utterly at odds with the Christian understanding, from Scripture, of a distinct people of God, longing for a distinct, actual Kingdom not of this world. This “distinct people of God” has at its very core the joyful inclusion of all who call on the Lord Jesus Christ, and our God has enthusiastically called people from every nation, every race, every language, culture, ethnicity and station in life to join with one another in working for, and longing for, the believer’s true home. The Church varies in its interpretation of what and where Heaven is, just as it embraces differing understandings of the millennium and the exact nature of the Kingdom of God — but all Christians believe that it is their position in Christ that defines their existence as a people group, and the only “home” we have as sojourners on this Earth is the hope we have for the Kingdom. A sweet home in Alabama isn’t it.

Believers rejoice in family ties and national heritage; there’s no sin in rooting for Mexico in the World Cup, dancing in Italian Heritage festivals, organizing a Juneteenth party, or enthusiastically participating in Highland Games. There is great sin in believing one’s race to be superior and seeking a “homeland” that enshrines it as an example of “true, Biblical Christianity” — particularly when a primary feature of that homeland is racial violence and bigotry. But calls for “White Heritage” aren’t innocent expressions of ethnic pride. “White” here means “not-Black (or Asian, Hispanic, or anything else), and dressing it up as “European American” or “Anglo-Celtic” appreciation does nothing to negate or conceal the separatist, supremacist ideology behind it. My mother’s family is from Arkansas, and I doubt very much that my cousins are descended from a race of ancient Celts, particularly since my maternal ancestors were from Poland. If my aunts embrace their heritage as descendants of Sophie and Nicholas Lucasciewicz, I hope they invite me — but I’d rather have in common with them a devotion to Christ and standing as part of a people of believers, billions strong, from every nation on Earth. My citizenship, the Scriptures say, is in Heaven. Neo-Confederates who devote themselves to the establishment of a Southern homeland, and do so regardless of the offense to the Gospel their message requires, may indeed someday find themselves there. Whether or not they’ll find themselves in the ultimate Kingdom of God is another question.

The Scriptures teach that where our treasure is, our heart is; the home we long for is the home we’ll find. I pray that the neo-Confederates begin to lay aside whatever grievances they have, whatever rights and privileges they believe are theirs, and live instead in this world, demonstrating with joy the submission called for in Christ and embracing all that he requires of us. The “aliens and strangers” the Bible describes are not those who are culturally and racially different from me. We, the Church of Christ, are the aliens and strangers, and God asks of us only that we seek reconciliation with all people in his name so that the fullness of the Kingdom will be realized. That Kingdom is “already” and “not yet,” but it is our home. I am a citizen of the United States; I enjoy tremendous privilege and a great many rights because of it. But time on this Earth is short, and my work is to preach and to live the Gospel, and laying aside my rights and privileges — many of which are not, incidentally, God-given but Fall-driven, tragic evidence of a world gone wrong that favors white people for no reason other than birth into a world choking with bigotry. I have benefited from racism that I have not practiced; millions suffer from racism and prejudice that is no less real in its stench to our God.

Work for a white, Southern “Christian” homeland, separated from the world around it and marked with division and superiority, is the work of the enemies of the Cross. A continued embrace of the social, racial, sexual and linguistic differences obliterated by the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ is the fruit of the Fall. The neo-Confederates will very likely continue in their quest for both. An honest examination of both heart and Scripture — the kind of “morbid self-examination” Doug Wilson decries in believers — will reveal profound sin that not even the most elegantly draped Confederate flag can cover.

May God have mercy on us all, and may he use my words here to begin a Spirit-led change of heart. We are, in this world, aliens and strangers, yet one in the Spirit. I pray that those who proclaim his name would rejoice in the reconciliation and unity of all believers and seek a true home in peaceful, just, loving fellowship together.

When Theoology All Goes South

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

The neo-Confederate position, the belief system that undergirds everything its adherents hold to be true, is that race and ethnicity, together, are the defining factor in every human social, political, religious and civic interaction. This, they believe, is as God intends; He created various racial/ethnic groups, and, by design, they will not meld successfully, nor should they. It is the imperative, then, of racial/ethnic groups to carve out separate societies and lives that proclaim and protect a specific culture, and if other racial/ethnic groups are to live among the majority culture, they must subsume their identities to that of the majority. This dovetails nicely with the Calvinistic view that God’s covenant people, chosen before the beginning of creation, constitute a specific, closed, and identifiable “visible church.” The reprobation that Calvinism requires often leads those who believe themselves to be “chosen” to think and act in ways that cast doubt on their esteemed status. Indeed, Reformed and specifically Presbyterian churches are much more inclined to wander into neo-Confederacy than other strands of Christian theology, but NC is not a component of Reformed theology, regardless of the degree to which neo-Confederates have interwoven their beliefs into it.

Neo-Confederates, who believe that Southern whites are directly descended from ancient Anglo-Celtic peoples and cultures, call for the living out of a distinctly white, Christian nation, a haven of Southern thought, practice, religion, literature, history and culture. While insisting, to varying degrees, that they are not White supremacists, they nonetheless declare that the “Anglo-Celtic” culture (by definition, that of white Southerners) as lived out in the antebellum South was the most pure expression of Biblical Christianity the world, or at least the nation, has known. Race — not religion, not shared history, not affectional bonds — is the defining component of all individual and societal interaction. That interaction, League of the South co-founder Thomas Fleming says, is bound to be adversarial between different races, and that is by the design of a Holy God. “It is the war of families and kindreds and gene pools that dominates human existence,” he wrote in 1998 (p. 146). The primary identifier of every person is race; the expected outcome of all inter-racial interaction is competition and conflict through which a “natural, God-ordained” hierarchy exercises rule over “lessers.” Those lessers, NC’s assert, must never be the white Anglo-Celts of the South — no matter how “endangered” and “oppressed” they are currently by a viciously atheistic Federal government, the seed of anti-God abolitionists, Yankees, and Union soldiers.

The New Testament vision of a Church of brothers and sisters whose greatest commonality is salvation in Christ — a salvation that obliterates race, gender, and any other trait as obstacles to full participation in Christian fellowship — matters little to NCs. In his book The Unregenerate South, Mark Malvasi writes that “aristocracy and patriarchy, which placed some men in the service and under the protection of others, were critically necessary to maintain ‘social order.’” And League of the South President Michael Hill says that, based on the teaching of “Holy Scripture,” a free, natural society is one “composed of superiors, equals, and inferiors.” (p. 117). It’s hard not to conclude that to neo-Confederates, the “superiors” of “Anglo-Celtic” descent, are intended, by God and by the neo-Confederates, to exercise rule over society. Any confusion — or any hope of misunderstanding — is obliterated by a flood of NC writing, by Hill and others, asserting not only the superiority of “Anglo-Celtic” culture but the inferiority of other, particularly “dark-skinned,” “Third-World” cultures ill-equipped to lead.

One wonders why some NC’s even bother to remark that this isn’t racist; “malignant egalitarianism” seemingly would render racism not at all objectionable when identified. Fortunately, assurances that the NC ideology isn’t racist are so patently absurd that the true Southern bigot can continue his quest for racial/ethnic domination of “lessers” with nary an impediment of thought or conscience regarding the possible conflict between the racism that energizes him and the Spirit that convicts him.

But if NC’s appear gallant and chivalrous in extending tepid, wary, suspicious — or simply patronizing — “Christian charity” to the lessers under their eventual dominion, no such refinement is found in their assessment of government, civil rights, and the unholy alliance thereof. It is impossible to understand neo-Confederates without recognizing their intense hatred of Federal “interference” in Southern society. NC’s condemn government-imposed civil rights and decry miscegenation — mixed-race marriage — as well as immigration of “Third-World” people unable and unwilling to accept and honor “Southern values.” The establishment of the former makes the latter possible; the horrors of immigration and miscegenation lie at the feet of an American government bent on destroying both God’s will for human society and His preferred expression of it, white Southern culture.

The NC’s pretend their objection to legislated integration comes solely from a hatred of the improper hegemony of “Godless” Federal intervention in Southern society — resulting in what League co-founder and president Michael Hill calls a “sick and reprobate” society (p. 140) that honors Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., rather than paragons of “Christian manhood” like Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a society in which “young white males are endangered.” The anger isn’t that the Federal Government forced the South to do what it was already willing and prepared to do. The blatant racism of the 1860s survived the 1960s and flourishes amongst NC adherents today. It’s difficult to imagine any possible expression of racial diversity and harmony in Southern society without Federal interference, given the neo-Confederate insistence that “racial extinction” is the only possible outcome of integrated society.

The defeat of the South in the Civil War and the continued “interference” in Southern culture on the part of the Federal Government energize NC calls for secession — the establishment of a “Southern nation” of Anglo-Celtic white people and those non-whites willing to give up their cultural identities in order to honor that of the majority. The patriarchal imperative of God’s intended order for society requires, of course, that the leaders thereof be male. And given the dearth of Black people descended from Anglo-Celts — and, I suspect, the dearth of Southern white people descended from them as well — it’s safe to conclude that the hierarchy of a New, Old South would be white, for which NC’s offer no apology. If God is a God of distinct racial/ethnic groups that He intended never to mix, then an apology for white dominion over the South would be anathema on the lips of any Southron.

It goes without saying that the Anglo-Celtic warrior heritage NC’s identify in their genetic makeup, not to mention an interpretation of Scripture colored by patriarchy and its attendant prejudices, eliminates the possibility of acceptance of homosexuality among Southern patriots. “Anti-Sodomite” tirades pepper NC literature, but seemingly does not — cannot? — existent among Southern men. Women’s rights are an indication of the folly evidenced by the Feds since the War ended, and the women of the idealized South are vain, silly, emotional, capricious and wholly dependent for protection first on Papa and then on her betrothed. Feminism is a social ill, the cancer whose metastasizing indicts the weak, effeminized men who’ve abandoned Biblical responsibility for headship and unquestioned leadership and embraced instead the Godless pabulum of liberalism. There’s no guarantee that an independent Southern State would confer the right to vote on women, and every reason to expect that it wouldn’t.

As sickening as the racism of the NC is, there is, in the minds of Southrons, the possibility of happy, cooperative, humble Blacks co-existing — as subordinates, the “lessers” of Michael Hill’s theology — with the white cultural majority around them. True Southern ladies wouldn’t want anything but subjection; homosexuals would long even for that. But it’s the children of the neo-Confederacy who suffer most. Not because of any threat to the deprivation of life and liberty, but because NC survival requires that its children be either homeschooled, with curricula, often created before the Civil Rights Era and always contemptuous of it if not, or sent to small private schools — often “classical Christian” schools whose headquarters is right here in Moscow, and who avail themselves of the penetrating, exacting historical analyses by Wilson and Wilkins and their NC colleagues. A generation of young Southerners are being raised in a culture not simply at odds with that of the rest of the United States, but openly dedicated to seceding from it, shattering the nation 150 years after the Civil War in pursuit of their “right” to live as a separate people, unmolested by anyone unlike themselves.

In previous generations, this is a culture the Church would target for evangelization. This ideology would never gain a foothold in Spirit-transformed, Gospel-proclaiming churches, and “Christian pastors” who held to such bigotry would be rebuked publicly, immediately, and directly by their brothers and sisters. What has the Church’s impotent timidity wrought but a vicious, hateful tendril that seeks to embrace everything opposed by the Gospel while flourishing from the cowardice of those who claim to live by it.

May God have mercy.

Neo-Confederates in a Nutshell. A Really Big, Expansive, Context-Laden Nutshell.

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

I’m just about finished with the 300-page book by Ed Sebests, Euan Hague, and Heidi Beirich on Neo-Confederates, and so far it’s proved enormously unsettling. I do want to acknowledge the comment I received on the first post from Michael Tuggle of the League of the South; he graciously followed up with an email to me and I hope to continue an extended, and mutually edifying, conversation. Thank you, Mr. Tuggle, for the list of posts you’ve asked me to read. I intend to.

Over the last week, I’ve read, written, scribbled, wept, prayed, thundered, and sat awestruck. I’m interested in the NC’s own words, and I’ve pored over blogs, articles, and references apart from the book itself. I’m far more interested in what the NC’s say than about what Sebesta, et al, say about them, although I find their analysis of NC ideology compelling. And so, on the basis of my reading of the neo-Confederates’ own words as well as my understanding of Scripture, I have to conclude that the movement and ideology is utterly un-Biblical and shamelessly sinful from its very foundation. I can’t imagine any other conclusion that a Christian would take.

But why would I begin with “un-Biblical”? Isn’t that just a concern of those of us who are students of the Scriptures? Aren’t the neo-Confederates espousing racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic principles that are objectionable on their own and terrifically dangerous if ever realized? Isn’t adding “un-Biblical” kind of gilding a particularly odious lilly?

There’s no doubt in my mind that the bigotry and aggression, not to mention the race-based self-aggrandizing posture of the movement’s spokesmen — and they are virtually always men, by the way — is profoundly objectionable from a completely secular basis. But the bedrock bigotry of the League of the South, with which Doug Wilson is a sympathizer and supporter and which was co-founded by Wilson friend and collaborator Steve Wilkins, is an expression of what they and other NC’s believe is a truly Christian way of living. Neo-Confederacy is the ultimate realization of Gospel truth for Southern whites, they say, and from the “sacredness” of fighting the Civil War to the current mission of recovering God’s will for society and home, it’s inextricably linked to the NC view of God’s revelation and design as understood in Scripture. It’s impossible, therefore, to assess the ideology apart from its religious roots, no matter how obvious the bigotry is to believers and non-believers alike.

The irony of a self-educated, untitled feminist Christian woman conducting an assessment of a patriarchal, racist, divisive, academic, religious and yet heretical ideology is evident, and I realize that I’m not likely to change the minds of any neo-Confederates. My intention — I call it an obligation — is to illustrate my conviction that NC beliefs and practices are despicably in opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will convict those readers who embrace the mission of the NC’s, and I pray that my words would enable that. Disagreeing with this liberal white Christian woman is of no consequence, nor should it be. Representing in Christ’s name a worldview that depends on the unraveling and destruction of the Gospel message is.

But no one who currently attends a congregation lead by neo-Confederates, or who unthinkingly accepts the teaching of an NC view of history and theology in their children’s schools, or who blithely considers neo-Confederacy to be just another strand of orthodox Christianity, will ever be able to say, after reading this, that they didn’t get it. Yeah, I write with a strong degree of confidence, but my confidence is in the power and witness of the Word and in the gifting of the Spirit. How God works in the hearts of the bigots who presume to poison the Gospel isn’t something I’ll be privy to — although I imagine my email Inbox and comments section might give me an idea.

There will be several posts; it’s a big book, and the amount of primary-source NC information is formidable. And, of course, there are lots of other things for me to write about these days; I’m not completely consumed by neo-Confederacy. But I’ll try to tackle this in an orderly way that illumines, I hope, my contention that neo-Confederacy is utterly antithetical to a Christian worldview, and that those who claim the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior sin grievously by embracing it. For this post, I’ll simply lay out what is at the crux of neo-Confederate ideology. It isn’t the Gospel. In fact, as I’ll argue in future posts, it does violence to the very heart of the message and work of Jesus Christ, and does so with an arrogance and insouciance that’s utterly chilling. First, though, is neo-Confederacy in a nutshell:

Race is the primary factor of all human interaction. That interaction is destined to be negative; from the conflict will rise “superiors” who exercise rule over others. These “superiors,” always male in a patriarchal system, exist in the U.S. as Southern white people descended from ancient “Anglo-Celts,” from whom they derive certain specific characteristics. This hierarchical, patriarchal society is God-ordained; Federal “interference” in the establishment of civil rights reflects a “malignant egalitarianism” that is inherently sinful and immediately threatening to “Southrons,” the Anglo-Celtic people of the South. Secession from the Union is a necessary step in preserving “Southern culture,” and the white, slave-owning “culture” of the antebellum South was the purest embodiment of Biblical Christianity the nation, if not the world, has ever seen. Women, immigrants, homosexuals and non-Christians are recipients of illegitimate “rights” that have their origin in a secular, Federal attempt, rebelling against God, to obliterate the teaching of Scripture; those civil rights would not be part of a new Confederate Nation.

Moscow’s most powerful pastor says he is a paleo-Confederate; his school, Logos, relies on NC thought in teaching history and theology; his friend and collaborator in the published defense of Southern slavery, Steve Wilkins, is a co-founder of the NC League of the South; and Wilson’s Trinity Festival is populated by NC’s, both as attendees and program speakers. If neo-Confederacy isn’t offensive to you in the abstract, please consider that scores of little kids in Moscow are learning a view of history that refers to slavery as a benign, harmonious institution that was better for Blacks than the Civil Rights era, and a theology that affirms sure and eventual dominion of society by male Covenant heads of household. Tepid assurances that Wilson deplores racism ring a little hollow amid raucous choruses of “Sweet Home Alabama,” and I would love to hear how the miscegenation-hating Wilkins receives the rebuke of his dear friend Wilson, who insists that he’d have no problem performing a wedding between a Black person and an Anglo.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall . . .

My next post will explore in greater detail what NC’s stand for, and then I’ll demonstrate how very much at odds they are with the One they call Savior. For now, let me just say that reading the words of these genteel Southern bigots is a baptism in filth, and I’m grateful for the nurture and assurance of the Holy Spirit in processing it all.

Secession From The Union! How Could I Forget?

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

A most Southernly “Dear gracious! How silly of me!” for neglecting mention that neo-Confederates have a near-unanimous desire to see the South secede from the Union. Still. Now. THIS Union . . . our country. The idea of a free Southern Republic continues to tantalize the minds of our slavery-embracing, segregation-defending, homosexual-hating, female-subjugating, democracy-despising Southrons and Copperheads, and the beginning of a new millennium hasn’t lessened it a bit.

Gosh. Todd Palin wants Alaska to secede from the Union; a whole raft of Neo-Confederates want to secede as well. And here I am in Idaho, reminding me rather starkly of the old 70s song whose refrain was “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am — stuck in the middle with you!”

I’ll continue to share what I’ve learned from the book, and pray that truth, reason, and love prevail. It’s still OK to pray for love, isn’t it? The book doesn’t make it real clear . . .

Neo-Confederacy And Those Who Embrace It

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of days reading the brand-new book Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction, by Euan Hague, Heidi Beirich, and Edward H. Sebesta (University of Texas Press, 2008).

And why would that be? Don’t I have some pecan divinity to whip up for Christmas?

Ahhh, but the double burner remains untouched. See, I live in a town where the most prominent Christian minister is an avowed “paleo-confederate” (this is somehow distinguished by him from “neo-Confederates,” although he’s eager to embrace Dixie at every turn) whose close friend and collaborator is a founding member of the League of the South, a group of . . . ahem . . . “academics” who rabidly defend all that was true, good, and beautiful about the Old South.

This pastor and his brother-in-arms published a book a few years ago lauding slavery as a harmonious institution maligned by godless abolitionists then and feminist sodomite-loving liberals now, and their foray into academi-Dixia is embraced by neo-Confederates all over our country. In addition, some of these defenders of the Stars and Bars (the Confederate flag that displays the St. Andrews’ Cross) regularly speak at Christ Church’s Trinity Fest. In fact, our own Douglas Wilson and his Southern Slavery As It Was co-author, neo-Confederate Steve Wilkins, both merit mention in the book — Wilson, just a couple of references; Wilkins, many more.

I would chalk this interest in a very odd interpretation of history up to the harmless academic puttering of a few curmudgeons and quacks bent on re-creating Ol’ Dixie — if it weren’t so rife with absurdity no less sobering in its strangeness. A little pseudo-historical bluster, I can handle; a culture of bigotry in the name of “orthodox Christianity,” I can’t. I’m only about a third of the way through the book, and I’ve set up sort of a parlour game in my mind while reading it:

Are the neo-Confederates mostly dangerous? (Many of the GOP’s brightest stars have flirted with neo-Confederate organizations, either seeking their endorsements or lending them their support; former Mississippi Senator Trent Lott assured the Sons of Confederate Veterans that “the spirit of Jefferson Davis lives in the 1984 Republican platform.”) (p.38)

Are the neo-Confederates mostly evil? (Wilson and other pro-Confederates revere Presbyterian theologian R.L. Dabney, who argued that social equality in the South would “mix the blood of the heroes of Manassas with this vile stream from the fens of Africa.” League of the South President Michael Hill offers this interpretation of the 14th Amendment: “. . . wrong-headed liberal interpretations of the 14th Amendment have turned Abraham Lincoln’s malignant egalitarianism into rights-based social policy . . for women, racial and ethnic minorities, homosexuals, pedophiles, etc.” And “Southern Patriot writer William L. Cawthon opined in 1998 that “segregation is not evil or wrong. It is simply a policy to promote the integrity of a group.”)(p. 158,136)

Are the neo-Confederates wildly heretical? (Sons of Confederate Veterans Chaplain-in-Chief John Weaver said in 2001, “The Confederate flag represents biblical government,” and in 1994, Wilkins declares that “to many Southerners, the defense of the Southern Cause became equivalent to a defense of Christendom itself . . . ” But maybe he’s just representing their views, not his own. Uh, no. He continues, “The War of 1861 was a war of two different world views, one based upon the Bible, the other, upon the minds of men.”) (p.66, p. 63)

Or are they just simply nuts?

Consider: The neo-Cconfederates are heavily vested in a theory of culture and ethnicity that, while having almost nothing to do, actually, with culture or ethnicity, conjures an idealized — albeit utterly silly — myth of a “race” of Southerners, or “Southrons,” descended from the ancient Celts: “The original settlers of the South,” writes Michael W. Masters in “Southern Patriot” magazine in 1995, “migrated from Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland . . . and Ireland itself . . . we share not only a common bloodline, but a common culture, temperament, moral values, work ethic, folk ways, and a bond to the land and to our own people that distinguishes us from other people in other lands.” He adds: “These traits, distinctly Southern, have survived twenty centuries.”

These traits, of course, are only evidenced in white males, the neo-Confederates make abundantly, despicably, tragically and vigorously clear.

Strange stuff, indeed.

And they’re in your town, Moscow. Be sure you know what you’re being “tolerant” of, please.

And Now, A Reminder Of Why It’s Still An Issue . . .

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

“One need only read the op-ed pages of the New York Times to learn which Biblical doctrines our nation’s elite hate most . . . Chief among those hatreds for several decades now has been the Biblical doctrine of sexuality — that Adam was created first, and then Eve; that it wasn’t Adam who was deceived, but Eve; and that the Holy Spirit has decreed that these historic facts are given by God to teach us that woman is not to exercise authority over man. ‘If Christians want to be taken seriously,’ warn our cultural betters, ‘they’ll have to give up their Neanderthal ways with women.’

“The Bayly Blog: Out of Our Minds, Too,” October 20, 2008, David and Tim Bayly, linked from Doug Wilson’s “Blog and Mablog”

Society and Women

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

“Equal treatment for women (or, indeed, for any people made in God’s image) is not, as some would argue, an agenda borrowed from the secular world. The subordination of women, on the contrary, is an idea practiced (often in brutal ways) by most non-Christian cultures in history. It could thus be easily argued that the subordination of women in Christian history was borrowed from the “secular world,” and that it tells us more about the societies in which those Christian rules were formulated than about God’s eternal purposes.” Craig Keener, ibid.