The Defense of Southern Heritage
(A Must Read)
Ray L. Parker
A Contemporary Battlefield
Across the nation, Southern heritage is under bitter and unrelenting attack. Southern monuments are being removed. The names of streets, parks, and schools are being changed. Southern flags are being lowered. War Between the States' Battlefields are being rearranged without Southern symbols. Those with a high view of Southern heritage are being disgraced. As Southerners we are told that we are to sit perpetually upon the stool of shame with eternal apologies coming from our lips. We are told that all things Southern are to become "invisible." It is to be as though the Confederate States of America never existed and our ancestors were not brave defenders of family and home.
The reality is, Southerners have nothing to apologize for. Our ancestors sought to sustain the Constitutional realities birthed out of the American Revolution of the 1700s. The Southern States recognized the un-Constitutional direction of the Federal Government and thus sought to form a governmental system based upon the American Constitution. It was Southern desire to do this peacefully. One of the first acts of President Jefferson Davis was to send a peace delegation to Washington, DC. This delegation President Lincoln refused to see.
The War Between the States was an unnecessary conflict -- it was a war that did not have to be. It was a war fought for only one reason. The Federal Government sent armed troops to practice total war against the Southern population. If Federal troops had not marched South, there would have been no war. The Southern Government and the Southern Army had no designs to destroy the Northern States. The South only wanted to be left alone.
Many, of course, seek to convolute the reasons for the war. The current "politically correct" reason for the war is slavery. Thus they "say" that Southern monuments praise "white supremacists" and bigots who fought the war "to keep their slaves." They are "reading into history" what is not factually there.
It is certainly true that slavery was part of the nineteenth century US culture and was discussed with much emotion. The US Constitution protected the institution of slavery. The US Supreme Court defended the rights of slave owners. The US Congress passed laws regarding the protection of the institution of slavery. Abraham Lincoln in his election campaign stated that he did not desire nor did he have the power to alter the practice of American slavery. Lincoln believed that the white race was superior to the black race. Slave labor was used in the construction of the US Capital building during the War itself. How hypocritical it is to point to the South and declare that the 1860s American conflict was about Southern slavery. Slavery was a national problem in the nineteenth century not a Southern problem.
And if (as is being said) Southern monuments must be removed because they represent white supremacists (which they do not), then to be consistent we must remove statutes of Abraham Lincoln. He specifically stated that the white race is superior to the black race -- but, we do not hear about that. If I made that statement, you would hear about it. Abraham Lincoln made that statement and all is silent. This establishes the reality of prejudice in decisions made regarding Southern monuments.
A Contemporary Response
As Southerners we cannot be silent and we will not become "invisible." At every Southern home a Confederate Flag should fly. In every Southern city defense should be made for our Southern monuments; and if these monuments are removed by the overreach of government all of our efforts must be used to secure and place these monuments in a prominent place -- on private land, of course -- to continue their visibility. We must not allow these monuments to disappear -- to become "invisible." This is exactly what our detractors desire. Let's make ourselves visible.
We must be involved in the political arena of our community. We must attend the City Council meetings and we must allow our voice to be heard when Confederate items are on the agenda. We must fight for street names, park names, and school names. We must defend the battlefields and the Confederate symbols that are there. We must do our duty. Let's make ourselves visible.
We must place flags in prominent places -- on Interstates and other major roads. We must place billboards with the Southern message all across the South. For example, would it not be impressive as you enter (say) South Carolina on every Interstate to see a billboard that says, "Welcome to South Carolina -- the first Confederate State." Now multiply that with these billboards in every Confederate State. What a sight that would be! These symbols must be continually obvious to those traveling Southern highways. Let's make ourselves visible.
Let us write the Governor of each Confederate State and express the reality of what faces us in the South. Let the politicians know that we expect them to protect the history of the State. They must do what is right. Let them know that we are watching. Let's make ourselves visible.
Below I share a copy of the letter I am forwarding to the Governor of each Confederate State. Feel free to use the information in this letter and form your own correspondence for each Confederate State Governor. Let's mail these letters this week to every Confederate State Governor. Let's 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
A Contemporary Power
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."
Truly there is enough of God's power available to answer every prayer ever prayed in His will. Leonard Ravenhill wrote: "One might estimate the weight of the world, tell the size of the celestial city, count the stars of heaven, measure the speed of lightening, and tell the time of the rising and the setting of the sun -- but you cannot estimate prayer-power. Prayer is as vast as God because He is behind it. Prayer is as mighty as God because He has committed Himself to answer it." Virginia Whitman stated: "Other activities produce what we can do. Prayer output is what God can do."
Prayer is not some psychological exercise to make us feel better about ourselves. Prayer is not some magical formula or incantation. Prayer is not some religious endeavor to answer some superstitious belief. Rather, prayer is the means through which the power of God can be released within our experience. It provides us enough power to handle whatever has come before us.
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.
Ray L. Parker
Sons of Confederate Veterans