When Theoology All Goes South

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.

3 Responses to “When Theoology All Goes South”

  1. Just a few questions:

    1 – Do you wonder why an atheist like Sebesta is so obsessed with maligning Southern heritage, or why so many in the political and apolitical areas of Southern heritage are devoted Christians?

    2 – Why do you think the Southern Poverty Law Center works to take down public displays of the Christian faith, from the Ten Commandments to creches?

    3 – And why are we the problem? We advocate smaller, human-scaled self-government, and oppose big government. The policy of the over-grown, over-centralized regime in DC is to wipe out vast populations who stand in the way of its agenda. Remember Madeline Albright’s defense of how US sanctions and bombing of civilian areas resulted in the death of over a half-million Iraqi children?
    And the current “war of liberation” in Iraq has displaced millions of innocent civilians, and killed tens of thousands more. We opposed all of those actions of the DC empire, yet we are the bad guys.

    Why?

  2. Michael, I presume that Sebesta is a liberal who finds bigotry, especially the long history of racial bigotry in this nation, to be as offensive as I do. I truly hate to say this, but I don’t think that the majority of those committed to Southern heritage are “devoted Christians,” an assertion I make not by any prerogative to do so other than by examining the fruit they themselves offer. I think the SPLC involves itself in the removal of overtly Christian displays because of genuine concerns about the Constitutionality of erecting symbols portraying any specific religion — a concern that I as a Christian share. And, finally, there are ways to advocate for smaller government and states’ rights than to use those causes to advance an agenda and attendant practices odious to sensibility, never mind the majority. Why not advocate for a “states’ rights” program to encourage, say, compassion for the homeless? Michael, I truly appreciate your questions — your challenges — and I welcome your critique. But the more I read of NC ideology (and I’ve been reading for years, not just this week), the more convinced I am that it is NOT Christian and is, in fact, utterly antithetical to it. I wish you no harm; I wish you enlightenment, something you no doubt wish me. Let’s continue talking, and I hope you enjoy your Christmas and New Year’s. Keely

  3. I think it’s the fruits of the various parties in question, rather than the words, you should focus on. The DC empire is the most evil force on the face of the earth. What is it about its bloodlust that you think you should defend — and in the name of Christianity, at that? I suggest a more thorough reading of Matthew.

    How an atheist like Sebesta better represents the calling of Christ than the ministers who founded the League is beyond me. That would be substituting the religion of empire and state-worship for the Gospel.

    Does the vast wealth accumulated by Dees & Co. in its services to the realm not bother you?

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