Nearly thirty years ago I visited Natchez Mississippi. It is a beautiful and picturesque city situated on the banks of the Mississippi River. It is dotted with grand, historic mansions. We were led around town by a local guide. At one point she made reference to the War of Northern Aggression. I raised my hand to ask about this unknown war. “I have never heard of this war in all my years of study.” She said, “Y’all know, the war that began in 1861 when the Northern states attacked the South.” I said, “Oh! You mean the Civil War.” “No,” she retorted, “The War of Northern Aggression.” I opened my mouth to argue some more, but others advised me to let it go.
Perhaps I should not have.
The Civil War was not so much fought over secession. It was about slavery. Southerners believed that other human beings could be bought and sold like property. They were willing to die to preserve this horrible idea. The South lost. And yet as this weekend attests, the struggle continues. We continue to fight over the idea first taught in the Book of Genesis that all human beings are created in God’s image. All people, regardless of race, religion or gender, contain a divine spark. All are equal in God’s eyes.
In Southern cities there remain statues to heroes of the Confederacy. These must now come down....
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