The Defense of Southern Heritage: Part Two
(A Must Read)
Ray L. Parker
The Southern Struggle
The Southern States are being "invaded" by Northern sympathizers who have no understanding of, appreciation for, or commitment to historically accurate Southern history. Many of the current conflicts over monuments, flags, cemeteries, battlefields, street and school names, etc. are led by those who have no historic or cultural "roots" in the community. They "moved in" and implanted themselves into the political process. Now they scheme ways to apply "politically correct" decisions on the community without regard or care for the historical legacy of the region. Their goal is to make all things Southern invisible.
There are other detractors who are Southern by birth but have been educated in classrooms where there is a presentation of skewed history. These skewed facts wedded to political ambition produce cultural monsters committed to their own agenda with no allegiance to the land of their birth. They take advantage of any heritage conflict to pose as the hero of equality and justice and demand that "those degrading Southern monuments" be removed. Their goal, again, is to make all things Southern invisible.
In addition, another group of detractors has emerged. These detractors seemed to be controlled by anger and bitterness. Their voices are loud and their rhetoric is violent. They "take to the streets" in harsh defiance and demand that Southern heritage be removed. Some in this group have defaced monuments, removed flags, and desecrated graves. They cheer and laugh as honorable Southern men and women of history are disgraced. Their goal is to make all things Southern invisible.
Perhaps one of the greatest struggles in this cultural conflict are those who just "walk on by" and refuse to recognize what is happening and thus do not get involved. Some say, "The War was so long ago. There are so many other things of importance that demand our attention. It is time for us to just 'lay those days aside' and move on." They are willing to allow the courage of their ancestors to "dim with the passing of time." They will lay the torch of truth down because they feel there are so many other things of significance that touch their lives. They fail to realize that Confederate history is only the beginning. These "history changers" will embrace other things as well. For example, there are now some colleges and universities that no longer display the flag of the United States. They say, "It offends some." This process will not stop unless those who respect truth and honesty begin to push back. Remember, they want to make all things Southern disappear.
Perhaps to illustrate this point. A few days ago my wife and I spent a couple of days in Savannah, Georgia -- a beautiful, historic Southern city. In two days of sight-seeing in that wonderful city, we saw one Confederate flag. This was the first national flying over Fort Jackson at the entrance to Savannah Harbor. We saw British flags, US flags, company flags, state flags -- but only one Confederate flag flying over the fort. Our detractors have but one goal: to make all things Southern disappear.
These determined efforts are not going to cease. The march against the South is persistent, unwavering, and relentless. If at first they do not succeed, they will try and try again. To face this foe will take dedication, fortitude, and consistency. Our goal has to be visibility. We refuse to go away. We refuse to lower the flag. We refuse to be silent. As the Apostle Paul wrote so many years ago, "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).
The Southern Response
I think Paul's words provide an action plan for Southerners. We will "speak the truth." The truth must be sounded loudly and clearly. We will not retreat from truth. We will not apologize for truth. We will not "water down" the truth. Truth is truth and cannot be changed. If it is changed, it is no longer truth.
The truth of the cause of the War Against Southern Independence is found in one word -- invasion. Federal forces marched South and practiced total war against the Southern population. Cities were burned, crops were destroyed, homes were ransacked, ladies were raped. Southern people were treated with the greatest of disrespect.
Our recent trip to Savannah illustrates the contempt Federal forces displayed against Southerners. As we passed a large cemetery, our tour guide pointed out the number of above ground mausoleum type burial sites that were there. He stated that when (war criminal) Union General Sherman and his forces occupied the city, Federal troops would open the mausoleums, remove the bodies, and use the tomb for shelter. They had no respect even for the Southern dead.
Southern states responded to the practice of Federal total war. Southern men rallied to their State's defense. The South waged a defensive war, not an aggressive war. If Federal forces had not marched South, there would have been no war -- 620,000 young Americans would not have died. It is a total perversion of history to say that the battles in the War Between the States were fought by the South to preserve the institution of slavery. The War was fought because the South was under attack -- no more, no less. If there had been no attack, there would have been no war. This is the truth of history.
Our challenge is to make this truth known. In every venue possible, we must sound this truth. As Paul admonished, "We must speak the truth!"
Paul's second admonition gives us the method of our speaking. We are to "speak the truth in love." We will not follow the example of our detractors. They expose anger, bitterness, vile language, and hatred of the deepest kind. Our speech will be in calmness and peace. We will not be violent, but we must be visible -- we must be seen.
Let every Southern home fly the Confederate flag. Let every Southern patriot be active in the political process. Let us attend the city council meetings. Let us be knowledgeable of the political agenda being set. Let us speak out. Let us write letters to our governmental leaders. Let us express the truth in "Letters to the Editor" (and other public forums). Let us support our leaders in the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Many Southern patriots should run for office and be elected. We must be (without exception) politically active. We cannot be silent. We must be visible. Our detractors must see us and be convinced that we are not going away.
In our last article we encouraged you to write the governors of all Confederate States. I hope you have done that. If not, why not put that letter in the mail today. Once again allow me to share the letter I forwarded to Southern governors. Feel free to use these ideas as you craft your letters. Southern governors should receive literally hundreds of letters in the next few days. Let's fill their mail boxes. We must make ourselves visible.
(Sample Letter to the Governor of Virginia -- change the details as your write the other Governors)
Thousands of young Virginians gave their lives in defense of their State in the War Against Southern Independence. These young men answered Virginia’s call in a time of armed invasion and defended her borders, cities, and citizens. They endured the horrors of the conflict because they loved their State and families. They sought not honor or geographical expansion, only peaceful self-determination in a time of cultural upheaval. The hoped for peace was broken by invading armies.
It is only right and proper that each Southern State remember with dignity, honor, and propriety these young champions. They gave their highest sacrifice for the State they loved. No honorable State would ignore, belittle, or politicize the depth of their devotion.
The Flag under which they served their State should be publicly evident. Their battlefields should be preserved and their graves and monuments maintained. In the history of our country, these are the only ones to die in defense of the State of their birth and in which they lived. How inappropriate it would be for the State they loved so dearly to convolute the bold sacrifice they made.
Virginia will want to honor her soldiers in the most public venues possible – the best of their generation. These young men died in the War Between the States for their beloved State. They gave the full measure of devotion for Virginia.
Ray L. Parker, PhD
All of these efforts must be baptized in prayer. Prayer allows us to unleash the power of God into our lives, for prayer is not what we can do but rather what God can do. R. A. Torrey wrote: "Prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouse of God's infinite grace and power. All that God is and all that God has is at the disposal of prayer."
In prayer we rush into the very throne room of God to spend time with Him. As one person stated, "Prayer is not so much a time to express an opinion as it is a time to feel a presence." There, in the presence of God, we can begin to enjoy His promises.
Scripture, of course, is filled with the promises of God. Promises that we can tap into through the process of prayer. The promises of God touch every phase of our life. We are to pray about food, clothing, shelter, work, friends, loved ones, heritage defense -- yes, everything that concerns our lives. As someone once said, "Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, it is laying hold of God's willingness.
Hundreds of books have been written on prayer. Thousands of sermons have been preached on prayer. Perhaps the simplest definition of prayer is, "Prayer is the soul on its knees." No matter what position the body may be in, in prayer the soul bows before God. Here we have an attitude of heart that humbles itself before the living God and says, "I need Thee!"
As we do the good work of proclaiming truth, we need the Lord. In prayer we are depending on His ability not ours. We ask him to give us strength, discernment, love, and perseverance.
Let us individually spend time in prayer. And would it not be appropriate in every SCV Camp Meeting for the Chaplain to lead in a prayer regarding heritage defense. These are uncertain times. We face a dedicated enemy. We need the direction and protection of God as we make ourselves visible.