Monday, August 14, 2017

August 15, 2017

"No, the Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God." Micah 6:8

President Trump came out today with what he meant to be a much stronger condemnation of the radical racist groups in Charlottesville by specifically calling out the names of several hate groups involved in the violence Saturday. As strong as it was the statement was criticized as being 48 hours too late by his detractors. 

Perhaps the President will realize some day there is no pleasing his critics. Such is the job of President these days! Critics criticize! It's what they do! Leaders need to lead. It's what they do!

The evil of racism reared it's ugly head in Charlottesville last Saturday and was universally condemned as it should have been. But there were several other dangerous ideologies in play that seemed to go unnoticed by the media. I mentioned one of them in my previous post and that is the destructive idea of history revisionism. If you missed that post you can click back a day or scroll down to read it.

Yet another dangerous ideology that contributed to the violence in Charlottesville is intolerance. Everyone who showed up to demonstrate had a First Amendment right to be there and state their views. Freedom of Speech gives people the right to be idiots and say stupid things just as it gives me the right to preach and teach the Gospel. To protect that First Amendment right I must tolerate dissenting viewpoints because I want the freedom to speak my ideas and be tolerated.

A phrase I often heard while I was coming through high school and college was, "I may disagree with what you are saying but I will defend your right to say it!"

That is what tolerance looks like! It was a respected value in those days.

We don't see that much anymore and we certainly didn't see it Saturday. As repulsive as the racist, supremacist and Nazi groups are, if their protest would have been ignored (the proper way to tolerate it) by the counter protesters there would have been no violence.

I am not defending these despicable groups but simply acknowledging it takes two to fight. And all it takes for a fight to be avoided is one group to decide they will tolerate the distorted views of the other group.  

Those groups branded racist should have tolerated the views of those desiring to revise history by removing the statues. 

Perhaps you are thinking, "Brad, are you saying racism should be tolerated?" 

It should be vigorously opposed, debated and debunked by better ideas. Where laws are needed to protect people from discrimination those laws should be implemented.

But we should not revoke the First Amendment on someone who wants to publicly espouse that view.

If you want to counter the views you disagree with you can schedule a press conference and make the case for your viewpoint.

In a free society there must be a tolerant debate of opposing viewpoints so that ultimately the best ideas win out. That is how America has worked for over 200 years. It is how we became great. And that is why what happened in Charlottesville Saturday was far from great. 

Actually, it may be possible to oppose the removal of historic statues and NOT be a racist. But an intolerant attitude would not be willing (or able) to make that distinction. 

When you demand tolerance but refuse to tolerate others you are under-minding your own cause. That was dramatically demonstrated on Saturday. And that is a direct threat to free speech.

That happened on Saturday in Charlottesville and was totally missed by the media and much of the public. The most dangerous threats are the ones we don't see coming.


August 14, 2017

"Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life." Ephesians 4:26-27

It's Monday morning and the appropriate outrage over the violence that erupted in Charlottesville on Saturday has been expressed. Those were despicable actions from detestable people that lead to senseless deaths and injuries.

Having consented to the obvious and appropriate outcries against the violence and hatred that stoked it, there are a couple of equally troubling factors contributing to the chaos that erupted Saturday morning in that beautiful city. I have heard no one call out these dangerous ideologies so I will be the one to do it.

You won't hear the media talk about history revisionism but it is a major factor in instigating the rally that resulted in violence.

What is history revisionism? It is the ideology that if something from the past offends you remove the things that remind you of it. As you remember, it was a movement to remove the statues of Confederate Generals that initiated the furor that precipitated the gathering on Saturday.

Now don't misunderstand me, that in no way justifies the violence that was committed but it did provide a motivation for these racist nationalistic thugs to show up.

Slavery marks a regrettably dark period in American history. Every sane reasonable American deeply despises this evil dehumanizing system that existed in our nation for over a century. It breaks our hearts every time  we think of it and the statues of those who fought to preserve that way of life force us to reflect on the shameful past. Honestly, I don't like to be reminded of it, either.

If removing those statues could actually remove that part of our past I would be first in line to endorse it. But it doesn't. And it shouldn't because the pain of this moral evil from our past motivates us to make sure it never happens again!

It has been wisely stated that, "Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it." I believe that and do not want that evil visited upon America ever again!

What could and should happen when an American views a statue of a Confederate General or a Confederate flag is to remember the U.S. is the only nation that fought a war and suffered the loss of 600,000 citizens in order to correct a moral wrong within its borders. See those images and remember that we struggled through this painful period but managed to preserve the Union and with a century rise to become the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth! When you have a proper perspective that only comes from history you can bear the shame but distill the hope from it!

We have seen efforts by some insidious groups to deny the holocaust. Again, another racist atrocity that is agonizing to remember but can never be allowed to  be forgotten. We pray to God it never gets repeated!

So, history revisionism was indeed a contributing factor to the chaos and violence in Charlottesville on Saturday. You won't hear the media mention it. Few, if any commentators will decry it. But it is real. It is dangerous. It exists. And it must called out, debated and resisted just as we have done with racism.

America is far from perfect and never will be the utopia many hope for. But she is still the best hope for our weary world. And we are better than we were because we learned from our past and rejected it's evil. If we erase our past we may become more comfortable but we won't become greater.

In tomorrow's post I will identify another troubling trend that contributed to the melee in our back yard this week-end.