Civil War 2004

Ahem…the South was not right in the 19th century any more than the Christians sponsoring this joke are right today.

Since the time of the Articles of Confederation and then the early Federal Era, the south jealousy guarded what it called its “peculiar institution”–slavery. They fought federal government interference on the slave issue, as well as the social influences of a much more diverse north. Indeed, southerners thought that the life of landed aristocracy–based on the old English gentry class–was their heritage–a heritage that included the “correct” christianity, and of course, the “correct” morals. By 1860, they were sincere in their belief that the southern way of life was the true descendent of Jeffersonian ideals. They preached the rightness and even scriptural basis for slavery, segregation of the classes, and the rule by “Christian elites”…sound familiar?

And the federal government’s involvement with South Carolina in 1861 was not the first time the feds had to crack down on a rebellious state. It happened during Shay’s Rebellion (1780’s Massachusetts), the Whiskey Rebellion (1790’s New York), The Alien and Sedition Crisis (Kentucky and Virginia), and the Nullification Crisis (1830’s). The feds also had to threaten the south over every new state entering the union when the south feared losing parity in the US Senate.

What the South thought it was preserving and protecting was in fact the first victim of the American Civil War–a moral, agrarian, decentralized Christian nation. It ceased to exist when the confederacy had to centralize political power in first Montgomery and then Richmond and force poor southern white boys to fight. The rich could buy their way out of the draft and as a result, gained the anger of the average southern soldier. The Civil War became, for the average southerner, a “Rich Man’s War, but a Poor Man’s Fight”.

This stuff about secession by Christians today is just plain silly. And for them to have chosen South Carolina, the first state to seceed from the union upon hearing word of Lincoln’s election in 1860, justs adds to the perception that today’s fundamentalists and other supporters of this nonsense are little better than the slave-owning class who moralized to the rest of the nation about how awful everyone else was, but how the south was, in its day, a government run by God’s laws.

If today’s S.Carolina secessionists wish to see what they could identify with in the 1861 secession, how about: Justification of slavery as “God’s Will” (hey, even they recognized that it was taught and justified in the Bible); laws which severely restricted women from any real positions of power while justifying it as gallent southern men defending the honor of it pedestaled ladies; large population of poor whites who neither owned slaves and in many cases didn’t own the land they were farming–but were called upon to fight; and a cock-sure attitude that they were chosen by God, had the correct interpretation of the Bible, and that the rest of the land was hopelessly liberal in its Christianity and therefore little better than infidels.

Yep, the seceding Christians of South Carolina have much to look back upon and learn from–then again, they will probably think the south was right and like some southerners today still call the war that ended slavery the “war of northern aggression”.

The Confederacy, for all of the bluster of its southern defenders today, stands as a shameful symbol of racism, Jim Crow laws, Ku Klux Klansmen, and in general a backward and quite unsophisticated society for much of the 20th century. No wonder many find the confederate flag offensive.

I think these Christians who “can’t take it anymore” are already much like their confederate counterparts. These fools cannot see that the nation is secularized or at the least pluralized, and that the constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state is what has allowed them to worship freely for some 200 years. Not able to win the nation on the basis of their ideas or arguments, they resort to bluster, ignorance, and intolerance.

Or like the confederacy, they threaten to leave the “infidels” and unbelievers that comprise the rest of the United States. Self-righteousness, intolerance, and historical ignorance are not the building blocks of a new nation; rather, they are the hallmarks of the minds who suggest such a stupid thing.


“When a man really believes it is necessary to do a certain thing to be happy forever, or that a certain belief is necessary to ensure eternal joy, there is in that man no spirit of concession. He divides the whole world into saints and sinners, into believers and unbelievers, into God’s sheep and Devil’s goats, into people who will be glorified and people who are damned.”

–Robert Ingersoll

The above was posted by Jimmy Page (presumably not the Led Zeppelin guitar player at Find more here.


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