We should honor all Americans who took up arms for their state and country

This of course includes Confederate soldiers. And their flags should continue to fly. Are these outrageous statements? Didn’t the Confederate States of America, as symbolized by its various flags, represent hatred of Negroes and defense of slavery, which it wished to expand westward to the new states? How is it possible to honor men who fought for such a dishonorable cause?

Before we invite the reader to a thought experiment, let us try to clear some of the deck, so to speak, and set out a few thoughts to gain some perspective. Let’s try a Q and A format.

Isn’t human slavery an evil Godless institution? Yes, of course, this goes without saying. Considering that some people can be considered property violates the essential dignity of every child of God.

Did Confederates hate slaves? Of course not. Slaves were very important to their owners. Hatred of them was not one of the slaveholders’ sins.

Weren’t the Confederates inveterate racists, prejudiced against Negroes? Just about everyone at that time was a racist. Lincoln thought the slaves inferior and did not advocate equal rights in today’s sense. In fact he was in favor of sending them off to Liberia .But thankfully he did believe they were not chattel and had a God-given right to the fruits of their labor.

Wasn’t the Civil War just about slavery? Slavery was an important issue, and may have been the flash point, but there was no single issue determining war. Others were unfair taxation, mercantilism, balance of power between the states and the national government, and particularly defense of the idea that one’s state has the legal and moral right to determine its own future. In 1861 slavery was constitutional. In his first Inaugural Address, Lincoln reiterated he was not an abolitionist: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists.” Most Southerners did not own slaves.  Continue reading

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