9/23/17

Seminary Professors should interpret exegetically, Baptist seminary student says

By: Jonathan Harris

I am a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. For the most part, I am very grateful that the Lord has given me the opportunity to study under some very godly and wise men who have pointed me toward Christ. I have not had Dr. Brent Aucoin for a class since he teaches undergraduates and I'm in the seminary, but it deeply disturbs me that my tuition money is also going to pay for the salaries of people like him who promote political correctness. Knowing the same leftist slant that exists in secular universities is present here used to surprise me, but now it doesn't. It's effects are evident in the student body. In a recent article in the The State, Dr. Aucoin was featured under the heading, “Confederate monuments should go to the scrap heap, Baptist seminary professor says.”

Aucoin says, "I just find it strange to venerate someone who waged war against our country." Well, I find it strange that he, as a history professor with a Ph.D. in American History, finds this strange? Obviously, before the War Between the States especially, state allegiance trumped allegiance to one's national government. It would take hardly any work to demonstrate that this was the attitude of the vast majority of the Founding Father's themselves. Those who died defending their state were in essence defending their country. I'm sure Dr. Aucoin is familiar with Lee's dilemma and decision to stand with his homeland of Virginia. There is nothing strange about this. He also assumes the national government is "our country." This would not have been the assumption of North Carolina where Aucoin teaches. In fact, just the opposite. Defending North Carolina from an invasion of a foreign government WAS fighting for one's country. A second problem with this statement is that he says the Confederates, "waged war." If self-defense against an invasion is "waging war," I need to go back and correct most of my history books. Poland did not "wage war" on Germany. They defended themselves, unsuccessfully. The same can be said for the South. Dr. Aucoin's statement is absurd from a historical point of view. Only someone effected by revisionism would make such a claim.

Dr. Aucoin again plays fast and loose with the facts as he tries to pin the South with the moral stain of fighting for the expansion of slavery. He cites "documents published at the time by delegates from the states that seceded from the Union, starting with South Carolina. Its secession delegates defined states as 'slaveholding' and 'non-slaveholding,' and said that slaveholding states had broken the contract of the union of the United States by refusing to capture and return runaway slaves."

Two things should be noted from the outset. 1) The vast majority of monuments are not to the governmental policy of the Southern states or their politicians, they are to soldiers who fought to protect their homes. 2) Even if Southern states seceded in order to perpetuate slavery, this still does not mean the soldiers were fighting for it. In fact, there are extremely good reasons to believe the perpetuation of slavery had nothing to do with the war itself. When someone confuses the causes for secession with the causes for the war (and the monuments dedicated to the soldiers of that war) you know they are deceiving you. With those two observations out of the way, let us examine the statement more closely.

Aucoin cites original “documents” as proof for the South’s nefarious reason in secession. There are two things however he does not do. 1) He does not cite the secession documents of the upper South. South Carolina, along with other lower southern states DO sight the institution of slavery as being related to their motivation to secede, but about half the states DO NOT. For instance, Virginia does not mention slavery except to refer to “slave states” as a matter of distinction between regions. The mobilization of Federal troops for the purpose of invasion had more to do with the upper South’s reason for secession. 2) He does not put the question of slavery in historical context. Slavery was not a moral question, but an economic and a political question. For more information on this I refer people to my blog (therisingseed.blogspot.com) where you can read articles on the economic, constitutional, and political question of slavery. Long story short, as Jefferson Davis said, slavery was not the CAUSE, but rather the OCCASION for conflict. The North’s insistence on disallowing blacks from the territories in order to keep them for free white labor, the insistence of abolitionists in wanting the South to emancipate without any plan to compensate or integrate former slaves into the North, and constitutional questions of the Fugitive Slave Act and the allowance of slaves (and thereby Southern political influence) into the territories that would gain statehood, must be part of any discussion on how slavery relates to secession.

Aucoin neglects any of the questions that would cast the political situation of the 1860s in a more nuanced and balanced light. Instead he opts to let the reader assume a black and white false dilemma, insinuating that the South was in the black. We read in the article, “‘Often times the debate over the Civil War is whether the southern states seceded because of states’ rights or because of slavery,’ Aucoin said. ‘In part, it’s both, but mainly it’s because of slavery. States’ rights is simply the basis upon which they seceded.’ Aucoin quotes from the documents’ assertions of the 'undeniable truth' that Africans were an inferior race.” As shown previously, State’s rights vs. slavery as the cause for the war is an oversimplification. Aucoin seems to admit the false dilemma, but then turn right around as if to wink and say, “But we really know it’s over slavery!” A more accurate historical way to view “State’s rights vs. slavery” is to admit that the war was over State’s rights, and secession was partially connected to the political question of slavery. The central question of the war was, “Is a state allowed to leave?” A question the 13 original colonies were fortunate enough to have answered in the affirmative in contrast with their Southern descendants. The central question of secession was, “Would the South stay in a union in which the Constitution of that union was trampled on?” The South’s rights were not secure from her point of view. The tariff, the postal crisis, denominational divisions, the American System, the question of Southern influence in the territories, the disregard for the Fugitive Slave Act, John Brown and other radical abolitionists attempts to encourage slave insurrections, all factored into this question. To oversimplify the issue and then follow up with a quote about racial superiority is irresponsible—especially for a time in which almost every American (including Lincoln) believed in a kind of racial superiority. Racism is a weight large enough for both regions of America to bear.

Dr. Aucoin continues his anti-Southern address by turning our minds toward the purpose of Confederate monuments. He states, “The monuments, along with lynchings and segregation, he said, were intended to remind African Americans in the South that, ‘This is a white man’s region. We are superior. You are inferior. You need to know your place and as long as you maintain your place, we will have peace between the races. But if you challenge white supremacy, you will pay a high price.’”    This may be the most ridiculous statement of all. Dr. Aucoin has taken on an unbearable burden of proof without, well, giving any proof! Aucoin teaches at an institution that prides itself on “exegetical preaching.” In other words, letting the text speak for itself and not imposing external meanings onto the text. This is however precisely what Dr. Aucoin does with history. He imposes an outside meaning, and one that will not ride no matter how many carrots you give it. Fortunately for lover’s of Dixie, civic groups which erected monuments left no doubt as to their true intentions in the form of plaques. I’ve probably seen hundreds of Confederate monuments, and not one of them says a thing about slavery or white “supremacy.” What they do talk about are sacrifice, honor, and bravery. They are to soldiers. Those who sacrificed life and limb for hearth and home. Now the question must be asked, “Why are those who agree with Dr. Aucoin hard-pressed to furnish proof?” If they can demonstrate that the majority of monuments incorporate racially insensitive language in their plaques it wouldn’t be such a hard sell. This proof does not exist however. Dr. Aucoin’s position would require us to believe that in a culture thoroughly embedded with racism, for some odd reason the racists who lived in it were not allowed to express their “real” feelings. . . because why? If the culture is racist, there would be no repercussion. Such is the absurdity that Dr. Aucoin wants us to buy into. I can’t speak for everyone, but this seminary student will continue to interpret both Confederate statues and the Bible exegetically.
   
The article ends with Dr. Aucoin quoted as stating that monuments “probably should not be on the grounds of government institutions, like the one that stood outside the old Durham County Courthouse before it was toppled by protesters.” It is a sad day indeed when those defending a local community should be barred from being honored by that community. I wonder whether or not Dr. Aucoin makes a distinction between Federal, State, and local authority? I’m not sure what the answer is, but one thing I am sure of- I am concerned for the institution I am attending. Dr. Aucoin is not alone in his sentiments. I do know there are professors who disagree, but they tend to keep quiet. One told me not too long ago that if he told people what he really thought he would likely be fired. That is not the kind of environment where learning can thrive. There must be debate. There must be opportunity for challenge. There must be humility. Instead what I’m noticing more and more is an arrogance—a pride that says, “We can slander and disregard our Christian ancestors, especially to the sound of the applause coming from the world.” If the seminary continues in this direction it will not survive. The church must be different from the world, not attempting to gain the world’s respect or acceptance.  One day Southern Baptists will learn that they will not achieve the acceptance they're looking for, this student just hopes it will not be too late.

21 comments:

  1. How long can a nation last when its "institutions of higher learning", its government, its media and even its "churches" constantly belittle, denigrate and spit on the proud heritage of its most loyal and patriotic citizens and those most likely to volunteer to risk their lives in that nation's armed forces????

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  2. While I appreciate the thousands of lives lost to the Confederacy in those brave men defending their ideals they were willing to die for, let's not lose sight of the main issue here. Even right down to Lee, they knew what they were doing, and that was defending the indefensible which was the brutal enslaving of human beings to do their work and bidding. That was their "ideal". It was so wrong on so many levels that it simply cannot be accepted even in the light of past American History. This is not something to be revered. Should it be remembered? Yes, as a reminder so we never go back there. Exalted? Never.

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    1. Horse manure.
      No one dies solely for the right to enslave anyone. And no one fights as Confederates fought so that other men could enslave. They DO, however, fight as Confederates fought against the godless Yankee liar and invader. You do not have to agree that the Confederacy was right in the politics of their day (of which slavery was but one issue out of many). The SLAVERY brush was shorthand for a sectional divide in which there were MANY divisions. You, Doc Lynch, and those who think as you do, are bereft of reason and - at best - dwell in a hateful fantasy that demonizes the Confederacy for a host of non-rational reasons that this country saw through as they finally cast the radicals upon the dustbin of history.
      And now, we must again see through this radical idiocy as the power-grab by the corrupted without anything better to offer than theft, rape and plunder. Let us remember the lessons of history and interpret the people's reasons in truth, without the projection of hatred and lies that posters like Doc Lynch insist upon.

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    2. DocLynch, you read the article then put your spin on it. Lee and others did not like slavery. Thats understood. However, no one in the north or south fought for or against slavery

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    3. Doc seems to be part of the problem of spreading lies and smearing true history. I would like to know what type of doc they are!

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    4. Doc Lynch, Since West Virginia was admitted to the union as a "salve State" during the War and the members of the union army from Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, as well as other locations in which slavery was completely legal; does that mean that the north was fighting for slavery? Grants wife owned slaves that were not freed until the ratification of the 13th Amendment - was Grant fighting for slavery. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but no one gets to manufacture facts. Well, I guess if you win a war and control the wealth and resources of the conquered you can get pretty close to inventing your own version of 'truth'.

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  3. It's never been about Confederates. It's always been about taking white Europeans, our culture, and our society down. This is why media, government, and higher education continue to stoke hatred, fear, and resentment of white people.

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  4. Very well written, Jonathan Harris. Seems that you have educated this professor. Lee was a very religious man and did not own slaves himself. After the war, those whom his wife inherited from her father were all freed as well. Sadly, it seems that those who use slavery as the basis for "the cause" of the war, want to pin in on the south without stopping to consider that there were more slaves in the north and that Lincoln himself stated in his ignauation address that although he was an abolitionist who did not believe in slavery, he had no desire to abolish the instituion of slavery...that tells you that slavery wasn't "the cause" of the war since the north invaded the south. The south had no intentions of fighting the north but when push comes to shove, you will defend yourself, your family, and your property and that is exactly what the south was forced to do yet we are to pretend the sacrifices and loss of life as a result of the northern invasion didn't matter?? That is why monuments exist today!

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  5. Mr. Harris, your thoughts in this article are well thought out, and exhibit a rather educated and mature approach to this subject. Your points remind us that the same old "good side v. bad side arguments used by Union apologists is a dog which just will not hunt. One tip, if I may. Please review the article for a few grammatical and punctuation errors, because Dr. Aucoin and those who reason as he does will be sure to use that against your presentation. Otherwise, fine job. I wish I had written it myself.
    Daryl Coleman, B.A., ThM

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    1. Mr. Coleman, this time I decided to skip using Mr. Harris's grammatical and punctuation errors against him and instead just used his arguments against him.

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  6. The entirety of Mr. Harris's second paragraph above is dedicated to proving that my assertion that Confederate soldiers “waged war against our country” is not only inaccurate but also “strange,” “absurd,” and the result of “revisionism.” However, I can not conceive of any way that a citizen of the United States of America could deny the truthfulness of that statement. It is an undeniable historical fact that the Confederate States of America fought a war against the United States of America. Therefore it is accurate for an American to assert that Confederate soldiers “waged war against our country.” Please note that to “wage war” (according to the dictionaries I consulted) simply means to fight a war, not to start it. Therefore, nothing in the rather lengthy paragraph above invalidates my statement, much less shows it to be “absurd.” However, while we are on the subject, I would like to point out that the Confederacy started the war by bombarding a United States fort (Ft. Sumter) occupied by United States soldiers. In fact, the Confederate artillery barrage went on for a couple of hours before the United States soldiers fired their canons in response. In my personal conversation with Mr. Harris he indicated that the United States started the war by sending a supply ship to Fort Sumter. I find the argument that the United States started the war by having a US ship carry food and medicine to a US fort occupied by US soldiers unconvincing. I would dare say that the vast majority of American historians and history textbooks indicate that the Confederacy started the war with its bombardment of Ft. Sumter (a bombardment that started, by the way, before the supply ship even arrived at the fort). To assert otherwise would be revisionism. In conclusion, my statement that Confederate soldiers “waged war against our country” is entirely accurate, even if you liberally define “wage war” as starting the war.

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  7. In paragraphs 3 & 4 above Mr. Harris seek to prove that I “play fast and loose with the facts” in trying “to pin the South with the moral stain of fighting for the expansion of slavery.” First, for the sake of clarity and accuracy, let me state that I never said the South fought to expand slavery. Rather, I asserted that it fought to maintain or perpetuate slavery. Secondly, even a casual reading of the two paragraphs indicate that the basis of Mr. Harris’s argument is not my playing fast and loose with the facts, but rather it is his assertion that the soldiers of the Confederacy were not fighting for the [maintenance] of slavery. Well, first of all, James M. McPherson has demonstrated in his book, For Cause & Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (Oxford University Press, 1997), that at least some Confederate soldiers fought to perpetuate slavery. On page 20 of his book, McPherson quotes a letter of a Confederate soldier named Lunsford Yandall in which he said: “The vandals of the North…are determined to destroy slavery…We must all fight, and I choose to fight for southern rights and southern liberty.” Also on page 20 McPherson said: “One of three brothers who enlisted in a South Carolina artillery battery believed that ‘a stand must be made for African slavery or it is forever lost’.” Some other quotes provided by McPherson are: A captain in the 15th Georgia who owned forty slaves wrote his wife in 1863 and assured her that if the South won, then slavery “is established for centuries.” (107). A lieutenant in the 28th Mississippi wrote in 1863 “We can only live & exist by that species of labor [slavery]; and hence I am willing to fight to the last.” (107). On the basis of his findings, McPherson reached the following conclusions: “This pairing of slavery and liberty as the twin goals for which Confederates fought appeared in many volunteers’ letters.” (p.20), “Some Confederate volunteers did indeed avow the defense of slavery as a motive for enlisting.” (p.19), and finally, “Indeed, white supremacy and the right of property in slaves were at the core of the ideology for which Confederate soldiers fought.” (106). However, no one asserts that every Confederate soldier fought for slavery. I even indicated in my podcast with Dr. Strickland that many Confederate soldiers were motivated to fight by other factors. The problem for Mr. Harris, however, is that in the end, you can not divorce the soldiers from the aims of the army for which they fought. Regardless of their motives for joining the fight, they are nevertheless contributing to the ultimate aims of the army for which they fight and for the aims of the government that outfits, pays, and commands the armies. The goal of the Confederate armies was to achieve Confederate independence by means of defeating the armies of the United States, but the ultimate purpose of Southern independence and hence of the Confederate government was protecting the institution of slavery from the perceived threat of a United States government controlled (in part) by the Republican Party. So, while it can be said that some Confederate soldiers did not fight because of slavery there is no denying the fact that all Confederate soldiers ultimately fought for the cause of continuing slavery because that was the aim of the government for which they were fighting. I would, however, say to those who wish to honor the average Confederate soldier with a statue, that in doing so you put any such statue in a cemetery where Confederate soldiers are buried, not in a government or public space where the presence of a statue of a Confederate soldier can be interpreted as a government or community honoring the cause of perpetuating slavery.

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  8. In paragraph 5 Mr. Harris gives two reasons why it can not be said that the South seceded because of slavery. The first argument seems to be that since only about half of the secession documents specifically identify slavery as a cause for secession that it can’t be said that slavery was, well, a cause of Southern secession. However, a quick perusal of the secession documents shows that 100% of the states that identified any reason at all for seceding, cited slavery as the reason. On top of that, Alexander Stephens, the Vice-President of the Confederate States of America, clearly articulated the purpose of the Confederacy in a speech he gave just after the Confederate Constitution (a Constitution, by the way, that explicitly condoned slavery and said slavery would exist in any new territories acquired by the Confederacy) was adopted. Stephens said: Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea [of all men are created equal]; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. . . . They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal. In our personal conversation with me, Mr. Harris claimed that it is doubtful that VP Stephens ever said this. However, Thomas E. Schott, the author of the only scholarly biography of Stephens to be published (LSU Press, 1988), says on page 335 of his biography: “Many years later Stephens was still defending his by then infamous ‘Cornerstone Speech’….His official biography omitted the offensive statement, providing only a pallid paraphrase. It claimed the speech had been ‘grossly misinterpreted’ and ‘imperfectly reported.’ It had been neither, of course; Stephens had meant exactly what he said.” Stephens was in many ways merely echoing what the Texas Secession ordinance said: We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
    That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states."

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  9. Continuing with paragraph 5: While it is undeniable that the upper-South states did not secede until after President Lincoln called for troops to suppress the Southern rebellion, as he put it, it does not negate the importance of the slavery issue. It simply meant that the upper-South states had to decide whether they would side with the pro-slavery states or those states opposed to slavery. They picked the former. That is precisely how Virginia put it in its very brief secession ordinance. Virginia argued that the Federal Government had acted unconstitutionally [on matter related to slavery] with the result being “not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.” The logical reckoning of this statement is that Virginia is seceding ultimately because in their opinion the Federal Government was acting in a way that was injurious and oppressive to Southern Slaveholding States, including Virginia. If slavery was not at heart of the matter, the ordinance would simply have said Virginia and Southern States. By including the world “Slaveholding” the authors of the ordinance are indicating that the alleged oppressions are the result not of states merely being Southern, but rather being “Slaveholding.” And while North Carolina’s ordinance does not explain why the state seceded, the governor who led the state out of the Union, John W. Ellis, made it clear in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination for governor in 1860 how he viewed the political situation that ultimately led to the state seceding: “Upon these questions the parties are arrayed, and the contest approaches. Upon the one side the Democratic party, buoyant with the recollection of many victories gained in the cause of the country; on the other Freesoilers, black Republicans and Abolitionists, consolidated and combined. These, sir, are the two great contending political forces that divide the country. All others are mere political atoms, that cannot and will not be felt, except so far as they may affect the contest between the two main organizations.
    Such, gentlemen, are the parties to the contest. The issue between them should be clearly understood, especially here at the South. I assert, and shall maintain it with the proofs, that this issue is, whether African slavery shall be abolished here in the States, where it now exists? Let us not be deceived upon this point. Men may talk about our rights in the territories, but depend upon it they are not the questions now in issue. The abolition of slavery here at home is the design of our opponents. This is the bond that cements all the anti-slavery elements in one solid column against us.”

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  10. My last point from paragraph 5: The second point or argument that Mr. Harris makes in the paragraph above appears to be that “slavery was not a moral question.” I am not sure how that assertion, even if true, would demonstrate that the South did not secede because of slavery. It is of no matter, however, because the statement is patently false. Even Governor Ellis in his statement quoted above speaks of the contest being whether African slavery shall be abolished in America or not. Abolished not because it is not economically viable, or politically or constitutionally invalid, but because it is immoral. The Abolitionists definitely saw slavery as a moral question. I am not sure what else can be or needs to be said on this. Therefore, nothing that Mr. Harris says in the paragraph above succeeds in disproving the assertion that the South seceded over slavery.

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  11. In paragraph 6 Mr. Harris accuses me of promoting “a black and white false dilemma” regarding the South’s reasons for seceding. However, he then quotes me as saying that when it comes to whether the South seceded because of states’ rights or because of slavery that the answer is “both.” Wouldn’t “a black and white false dilemma” answer be to say either “slavery” or “states’ rights”? My statement is not much different than the one by Jefferson Davis that he quoted in the previous paragraph. Slavery is what prompted the South cite states’ rights as their justification for leaving the Union. To prove that I am wrong about the South seceding because of slavery but on the basis of states’ rights he stealthily shifts the question from “Why did the South secede?” to “What was the central question of the war?” Those are two starkly different questions. I will be the first to say that the South seceded because they feared the North would seek to abolish slavery and that the North went to war with the South after it seceded so save the Union (not to abolish slavery – that only came later in the war). Interestingly, Mr. Harris first seeks to answer the question “Is a state allowed to leave?” by saying that “the 13 original colonies…answered in the affirmative in contrast [sic?] with their Southern descendants.” I must point out that what the 13 original colonies said is completely irrelevant to this question. The 13 colonies formed a Confederation when the adopted the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, and at that time ceased to be colonies. And even though they created a confederation, it was one, as evidenced by the title, in which the member states could not simply leave – it was designated a perpetual union. When it became clear that the Confederation they created was seriously flawed, these states (not colonies) replaced the Articles of Confederation with the United States Constitution, which in its Preface indicates that its purpose is to create “a more Perfect Union,” a union more perfect than the perpetual Union of the Confederation. If individual colonies could not leave the Confederation and by all accounts the Constitution created a more centralized and concentrated Union, how then can one say that those who wrote the Constitution saw it as a document that would allow members states to leave whenever they desired?

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  12. In the latter part of paragraph 6 Mr. Harris shifts topics again, this time to the assertion that the Constitution was being trampled upon and the rights of the South were not secure. Unfortunately, Mr. Harris provides a lengthy list of complaints, but none of them rise to the level of genuinely being considered a trampling of the Constitution or a threat to the rights of the South. The closest he gets is that some Northern localities and even states refused to return slaves who ran away from the South. I will grant that from a legal standpoint the actions of those Northern cities and states was somewhat akin to cities violating federal law by being sanctuary cities or states that violate federal policy in allowing legal marijuana. But can such actions really be deemed a trampling of the Constitution and a threat to Southern rights? It seems to me that this complaint does not even come close to the justification for rebellion that, say, “no taxation without representation” does, or even better, the denial of God-given, unalienable rights, namely Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. In fact, if any section of the United States could rightly be accused of taking actions that fall into this category, it would be the South which was clearly denying an entire race of people their God-given, unalienable rights. Some of the things listed by Mr. Harris, such as John Brown’s raid, denomination division, and the rhetoric of abolitionists are all the actions of private individuals and were not sanctioned by the United States government. How do any of these things constitute a trampling of the Constitution or a threat to the rights of the South? Is it a right of the South not to have Baptists divided into northern and southern factions?

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  13. In paragraph 7 Mr. Harris attacks the connection I made between Confederate monuments and the White Supremacy campaign of the New South as “ridiculous” primarily because Confederate monuments don’t have explicitly racist or white supremacist plaques on them. The short answer to Mr. Harris’s argument is that Confederate monuments don’t have to expressly communicate a racist message in order to be a part of the wider White Supremacy Campaign and contribute to the overall message of that campaign, which was that the South was to be controlled by whites and that blacks are to know and keep their place. The same is true of both lynching and segregation. They did not literally proclaim explicitly racist messages. Segregated water fountains did not give a racist explanation for why blacks could only use a particular (and usually inferior) water fountain. But they nevertheless communicated the message that whites are in control and that whites are superior while blacks are inferior. When governments erected (or private citizens erected in prominent public places) statues venerating or honoring individual Confederates or Confederate soldiers in general, and in particular did so in the midst of the White Supremacy campaign (1885-1915, which is when the bulk of Confederate statues were erected), they were sending a message that the government/community is giving its stamp of approval to the attempt made by the Confederacy to secure its independence and that it considers Confederates to be heroes. Formers slaves and the descendants of slaves who lived in those communities and under the authority of those governments did not share in those sentiments. They certainly did not give their stamp of approval to a nation seeking to secure its independence primarily so that it could continue enslaving blacks, nor did it consider those who fought sought that this goal could be met to be heroes. If one is unable to see how blacks in the 1890s would view the erection of those statues, and what message was communicated to THEM by the erection of those statues, then there is nothing more that I can say.

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  14. Below is the last part of Mr. Harris’s essay and my responses to it:
    The article ends with Dr. Aucoin quoted as stating that monuments “probably should not be on the grounds of government institutions, like the one that stood outside the old Durham County Courthouse before it was toppled by protesters.” It is a sad day indeed when those defending a local community should be barred from being honored by that community. First, they were “defending” a community from an opponent that they provoked, that they fired upon first. Their leaders caused the war, thus ultimately putting the community in potential danger and in a position where it needed to be “defended.” Secondly, the community around the old Durham County Courthouse consists primarily of the descendants of slaves. Confederate soldiers were not defending their ancestors. They were defending those who oppressed, exploited, and enslaved their ancestors.

    I wonder whether or not Dr. Aucoin makes a distinction between Federal, State, and local authority?

    I have a pretty good idea of the differences between Federal, State, and local authority, but I have absolutely no idea what Mr. Harris’s point is in asking this question as he makes no clear or coherent connection between it and anything else in the paragraph or essay.

    I’m not sure what the answer is, but one thing I am sure of- I am concerned for the institution I am attending. Dr. Aucoin is not alone in his sentiments. I do know there are professors who disagree, but they tend to keep quiet. One told me not too long ago that if he told people what he really thought he would likely be fired.

    Again, Mr. Harris’s point is unclear. He knows professors who disagree…with what? With me? With you? This whole section is rather cryptic and vague. So one professor said if people really know what he thinks that he would be fired. OK, but thinks about what? About Confederate monuments, the divinity of Christ, the authority of Scripture? What? How any of this connects to or supports Mr. Harris’s overall effort to absolve the Confederacy is lost on me.

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  15. Finally, the last notable quotes from Harris's essay and my responses:
    Harris: "That is not the kind of environment where learning can thrive. There must be debate. There must be opportunity for challenge. There must be humility. Instead what I’m noticing more and more is an arrogance..."

    [Aucoin] “Dr. Aucoin’s statement is absurd…only someone effected by revisionism would make such a claim.”
    “Dr. Aucoin again plays fast and loose with the facts.”
    “when someone [does what Mr. Harris accuses me of doing] you know they are deceiving you.” “This may be the most ridiculous statement of all.”
    “I wonder whether or not Dr. Aucoin makes a distinction between Federal, State, and local authority?”

    [Harris] ....—a pride that says, “We can slander and disregard our Christian ancestors,

    [Aucoin] Is Mr. Harris here claiming that all Confederate soldiers were Christians and are our Christian ancestors? While I would love to say more about this statement by Mr. Harris, I will simply say that scholars such as Steven E. Woodworth, George Rable and Mark Noll have shown that Christians did not make up even half of either the Confederate or the Union armies, and that clearly some of those men were not Christians when they first entered the armies as evidenced by the revivals that occurred in both armies.

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