Dear Dr. Hiter:
Since you have strongly suggested in your letter to me post marked March 25, 2014 that I ask the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) regarding questions I might have about the SCV, I am submitting these 15 questions to the SCV. I look forward to a timely reply.
I had other questions, but I think these 15 questions are a good start. Please note I am copying these to the SCV Chief of Heritage Defense with this email since perhaps it is his authority within the SCV to answer these questions.
Edward H. Sebesta
QUESTIONS FOR THOMAS Y HITER AND THE SCV
1. The prefix “neo” means new in a case where something is a new version of something in the past. For example there is neo-Classical architecture, music, and art. Today a group of people who claim to have the “principles” and “ideals” of the Confederate soldier, which is part of The Charge to the SCV, are certainly not surviving Confederate soldiers, but are new holders of their beliefs. Wouldn’t neo-Confederate be a proper recognition that these are new Confederates?
Question: What is the SCV objection to the term “neo-Confederate”?
2. The states which are considered as being former states of the Confederacy vary with different groups and individuals.
Question: Which states does the SCV consider former states of the Confederacy?
3. The SCV has a program called Vision 2016. It is described in an article “Our Southern Vision,” by Thomas Y. Hiter, SCV Chief of Heritage Defense, in the Nov. /Dec. 2011 issue of the Confederate Veteran, official publication of the SCV, on pages 10-11. In reading the article it can be perceived that the SCV has a political agenda though it is partly stated in terms that the non-member might not understand.
Hiter reports that in February 2011 the General Executive Council adopted “The Vision” statement. This vision statement sets goals for the year 2016 reunion of the SCV of membership growth, and from the statement, “… and is widely seen by others as the pre-eminent authority on Southern heritage and American liberty.” The reference to “American liberty” might be understood that they are going to have a historical interest in American concepts of liberty and the Constitution, however reading further it becomes apparent that there is a political component.
Hiter in bold face has a statement of belief of the SCV, “We believe in God, home, family, heritage, duty, liberty, freedom, self-determination, self-government, patriotism, truth and self-defense,” and further asserts that “most Southerners” believe this and that the actions of the SCV “can make a difference in achieving these things.”
It is subsequent to this statement that Hiter it becomes more apparent that it is a political agenda.
After the statement of belief Hiter writes, “In other words, we believe in our heritage. Now there are other facets of the SCV than Heritage Defense.” He then lists the usual “heritage” activities of the SCV and then states, “But all in all, over and above that, we stand ready to fight all over the battles which President Davis predicted we would fight when the Cause they fought for once again rears its head and calls for attention and eventual victory.”
To persons outside the neo-Confederate movement this reference to Confederate president Davis may be obscure. Davis asserted that the issues of the attempted secession were ideological and that the issues would arise again in the future. Davis said:
“The principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form.”
This quote is commonly referred to by neo-Confederates as being from an 1871 address to the Mississippi state legislature. I haven’t found the historical reference for it. Hiter is explaining with this reference to Davis prediction that the SCV is preparing to get involved in “battles” over principles.
Hiter becomes even more clear that it is a political agenda in his statement about media awareness of the SCV.
Today they know us, but are a bit confused about who we are and what we want. Some confuse us with the Klan, or some other undesirable group. Others think we are reenactors or some other worthwhile but essentially benign, association.
We are neither. We are the descendants of the men who gained our freedom from English despotism and who fought a bloody four-year-long war against Yankee despotism for the same reason, and who have no intention now of surrendering to modern one-world-socialist despotism now!
Here Hiter declares that the SCV isn’t just an association unengaged in the political questions of the day, but instead they are going to be ready to fight future political battles.
More ominously Hiter refers to a yet potential armed conflict:
Now it is our turn to step into the breach and show the world the same God-given truths which motivated the patriots of 1776, motivated those of 1861, and that we stand today to advance the same cause they stood for then.
Happily, we are not called, yet, to arms in defense of our liberties or our lives.
In online presentations Hiter states that the goal of the SCV is to reclaim “American liberty,” which again implies a plan of action to achieve a goal.
Question: What is “American liberty” and what is the agenda of the SCV to “reclaim American liberty”?
4. The SCV sells and endorses the movie “Birth of a Nation” which glorifies the Ku Klux Klan and has been selling it for sometime as a Confederate gift. In the Confederate Veteran the SCV has endorsed in a book review Michael Andrew Grissom’s book, “Southern By the Grace of God” which portrays the KKK as saviors of the South during reconstruction and recommends the books of Thomas Dixon. The SCV sells this book as a “Confederate” gift. The SCV sells this book online, in their catalog, and in the Confederate Veteran.
Question: If the SCV is against the KKK why does it sell pro-KKK material?
5. The SCV sells and endorses a book “South Under Siege” by Frank Conner in which he argues that the 20th Century Civil Rights movement was a Jewish conspiracy to an attack the South. Here are some quotes from the book:
From page 391:
Thereafter, the German Jews and Russian Jews cooperated to the extent necessary to direct the postwar Southern black-civil-rights movement in the U.S (as we shall note), and oversee the destruction of the traditional white Southerners as a people.
The American Jews seem to have reached a compromise position between the Reformed Jews’ desire to stay out of government and instead run the people who run the U.S. (and the world), so as to retain their moral superiority; and the Russian Jews’ desire to take over the government and run the U.S. (and the world) themselves.
From page 393:
Until after the turn of the 20th century, anthropologists had routinely recorded genetic as well as cultural differences between races and ethnic groups—that being the whole point of anthropology. The highlighted differences among races hand include those of intelligence. But as Kevin McDonald points out in The Culture of Critique, a German-Jewish-immigrant anthropologist named Frank Boas changed all that. At Columbia, Boas arbitrarily claimed that biological differences between the races were miniscule—that environment alone shaped the behavior of the different races and ethnic groups (a la Rousseau). A number of other Jewish anthropologists swiftly adopted the Boas’ position; and soon the Jews dominated the field of cultural anthropology. As MacDonald points out, by 1915 the Jews had gained control of the American Anthropological Association; and by 1926 they were chairing the anthropology departments at all of the major universities.
Question: Why is the SCV promoting anti-Semitic books?
6. In the April 2008 issue of the Chaplain’s Corp Chronicles, a publication of the SCV’s Chaplain’s Corps, is a review praising “Antebellum Slavery: An Orthodox Christian View,” by a Council of Conservative Citizens leader Gary Roper, reviewed by Michael Andrew Grissom who praises the book. The view of the book is that the Bible justifies slavery. This book is sold by the SCV in the Confederate Veteran as a “Confederate” gift and in the SCV catalogs.
Since 2001 the SCV has also sold in the Confederate Veteran, as either “Southern Gifts” or “Confederate Gifts,” books which are defenses of antebellum slavery such as “Myths and Realities of Antebellum Slavery” by John C. Perry, “Myths of American Slavery” by Walter D. Kennedy as well as other defenses of slavery such as Albert T. Bledsoe’s “Liberty and Slavery.”
The SCV’s latest catalog, an insert in the Sept. /Oct. 2013 issue of the Confederate Veteran, as well as the “Confederate Gifts” bookstore section in the Sept./Oct. 2012 issue of the Confederate Veteran sold “Myths of American Slavery” by Walter D. Kennedy with his condemnation of the Southern Baptists for their apology over slavery and claims that abolitionists were anti-Christian.
Question: Does the SCV feel that the Bible defends antebellum slavery?
7. Starting in the Vol. 1 2001 Confederate Veteran to the Sept./Oct. Confederate Veteran catalog insert, as either a “Classic Southern Reprint” or a “Confederate Gift,” the SCV has sold the book, “The Legal & Historical Status of the Dred Scott Decision,” by Elbert William R. Ewing which is a defense of the Supreme Court Dred Scott decision. One key part of the Dred Scott decision was that persons of African descent inherently weren’t citizens and had no rights.
Question: Does the SCV think the Dred Scott Decision was right or wrong?
8. The Southern Mercury was published by the Foundation for Preserving American Culture, Inc. which is listed on its masthead that it is “An educational foundation of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc.” In the Vol. 4 No. 4, July/Aug. 2006 Southern Mercury is an article titled “The Tolerance Scam,” pages 8-9, 30-34, by Michael W. Masters, who has been involved with the Council of Conservative Citizens (www.cofc.org). The editor for this issue is Frank B. Powell, III, who is also the editor of the Confederate Veteran.
The article isn’t so much about the Southern Poverty Law Center as an attack on the civil rights movement as a Marxist conspiracy, fear mongering about immigrants, and an attack on the very concept of anti-racism itself.
From Page 30
Using the wedge of anti-racism cultural Marxists orchestrated judicial and legislative changes over the course of decades ¾ e.g. Brown v. Board of Education in 1955, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Immigration Reform Act of 1965. … The cultural Marxists relentlessly hammered away at Western cultural norms using the sledge of anti-racism as a battering ram to bring down the walls of traditional Western culture.
Given the type of books that the SCV endorses and sells it appears that there is a public face and private face of the SCV regarding racism.
Question: Given the type of books the SCV endorses and given that the SCV’s educational publication instructs its readers that anti-racism is a tool to destroy Western civilization, can the SCV’s claims of being anti-racist be taken seriously”
9. Along with the books mentioned in the prior questions the selection of books the SCV sells raises issues as to how the SCV selects the books it decides to sell. For example, on unpaginated page 35 in the Vol. 2 2002 Confederate Veteran Patrick J. Buchanan’s book “The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil our Country and Civilization,” is offered as a “Classic Southern Reprint,” with the endorsement, “Bursting with facts, from which the reader can draw his own conclusions. Should be required reading for every American voter.” This book isn’t about the Confederacy and it doesn’t present itself as a southern issue, but it is offered as a “Classic Southern Reprint” with the SCV’s endorsement of the book.
Question: What is the decision making process in the SCV’s selection of books it offers for sale?
10. In the Sept. /Oct. 2003, Vol. 1 No. 2, pages 10-14, Southern Mercury Frank Conner has an white supremacist article “Where We Stand Now: And How We Got Here.” In it, African Americans are asserted to have low IQs, a fact which has supposedly been covered up by a liberal conspiracy. In a section of his article titled, “Liberals Create a False Public Image of the Blacks,” Conner writes:
Previously, anthropologists had routinely recorded the notable differences in IQ among the races; but at Columbia, a liberal cultural anthropologist named Franz Boas now changed all of that. He decreed that there were no differences in IQ among the races, and the only biological differences between the blacks and white were of superficial nature. The liberals swiftly made it academically suicidal to challenge Boas’ flat assertion. Meanwhile, the liberals in the media heaped special praise upon black athletes, musicians, singers, and writers – and treated them as typical of the black race. The liberals were creating a false image of the blacks in America as a highly competent people who were being held back by the prejudiced white southerners.
The 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka is denounced by Conner as “patently-unconstitutional.” Conner also sees the landmark civil rights legislation the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as “patently-unconstitutional”. Civil rights legislation is denounced by Conner as being part of a liberal conspiracy, which he calls “Reconstruction II.” He explains: “Black civil rights was simply the best moral weapon with which to destroy the white Southerners as a people – just as it had been in the 19th century.” The creation of Jim Crow is defended. Conner calling African Americans “a childlike people” and that “the white Southerners had disenfranchised and segregated the blacks, in perhaps the mildest reaction possible at that time to the black’s transgressions.”
Conner sees civil rights and efforts against racism as a means to destroy the South and America stating:
Thus reinforced, Reconstruction II is steadily shredding the traditional white society – first in the South and then the rest of the nation. But the liberals are in a big hurry to replace Christianity with secular humanism and limited government with socialism.
This article was not an isolated example in the Southern Mercury. In another Southern Mercury article, Vol. 2 No. 1, pages 5-7, 32-33, “The Enemy’s Strategy,” the Frank Conner writes:
The liberals overran the South’s main defenses during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and outthought and outfought and intimidated and demoralized the white Southerners so badly then that most of our people reacted by pretending that this war is not even happening.
Nor are such sentiments confined to just the Southern Mercury. In the March/April 2012 Confederate Veteran, in the cover article by Boyd Cathey, “The Land We Love: Southern Tradition and Our Future,” pages 16-23, 56-59, civil rights is held to be an attack on the South. Boyd states, “Southerners have understood perforce that the races must live and work side by side, and hopefully harmoniously, but that did not imply legal and social equality for all, either black or white.”
Cathey also believes that the “Southern republicanism is anti-egalitarian” and as a consequence everyone didn’t “have some unqualified right to participate in or rule over the commonwealth. Participation in government wasn’t based on the modern concept of ‘one man, one vote.’”
Cathey perceives the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement as an attack on the South:
The decisions of the Supreme Court, the triumph of the civil rights movement which in some ways was a frontal attack on constitutional republicanism and the rights of property, and the triumph of political correctness and cultural Marxism, all signaled the beginning of a “Second War of Northern Aggression” aimed at totally reshaping and restructuring our culture and at rejecting the principles and beliefs our ancestors.
The SCV also sells and endorses books such as the “South Was Right!” by James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy which denounce the Voting Rights Act.
Questions: What is the SCV position on the mid-20th century civil rights movement, court decisions, and laws? Is there any civil rights legislation of the 19th, 20th or 21st century of which the SCV approves?
11. SCV chaplains in the SCV Chaplain Corps use the terms ‘sodomites’ and ‘sodomy’ when referring to and condemning gays.
H. Rondel Rumburg, past Chaplain-in-Chief of the SCV, in the March 2007 issue of the Chaplain’s Corps Chronicles of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, pages 4-8, condemns those who would support historical apologies by the State of Virginia for past wrongs stating that “these same people need to confess their own offenses to God and to the people they have mislead,” among the things Rumburg considers offenses, is that of being, “guilty of protecting sodomites, thus spreading AIDS.” In another article in Sept. 2009 issue of the Chaplain’s Corp Chronicles, unpaginated, pages 10-13, Rumburg laments that after the Civil War “Deconstructionists” worked to bring humanism to the South which he claims has had disastrous results, among other things such as “an enthroning of sodomy as a preferred lifestyle.”
Former Chaplain-in-Chief Alister C. Anderson gave the Invocation delivered at the Confederate Evangelistic Sesquicentennial Service on February 25, 2012 which was reprinted in the April 2012 issue of the Chaplain’s Corp Chronicles, pages 12-15. In it he enthusiastically praises “Southern ancestors” that they were “manly men who preached about ‘tough love’ and who would not condone the ministry and preaching of non-Biblical, cheesy, whinny, quiche-eating, effete, effeminate pastors who were afraid of their own shadow,” which presumably is a criticism of contemporary pastors. Further, Anderson worries, “O Lord Jesus Christ, could the radical, despotic, contempt for women, Jihadist Muslim critique of our supposedly Judeo-Christian civilization be true?,” and “O Lord, are we a narcissistic, selfish, self-centered, spectator-oriented, voyeuristic pornographic culture that is possessed with the desire for elicit [sic] sexual activity, fornication, and sodomy?”
In the Sept. /Oct. 2009 Confederate Veteran Chaplain-in-Chief Cecil A. Fayard, Jr., in the Chaplain’s Comments section, pages 12-13, 45, asserts that America is in trouble. Fayard says that America has become immoral, "We have sown immorality," he writes and "We live in a very loose society, a wicked nation morally. All types of unspeakable and deplorable acts are being committed by deviant men and women." Fayard also states as a sign that America is in trouble is that “One school curriculum in America teaches acceptance of homosexuality in the first grade…”
Michael Masters in the previously mentioned Southern Mercury article, “Tolerance Scam” sees the campaign for Lesbian and gay rights as a Marxist conspiracy against society writing:
And just as the Bolsheviks inflamed the masses to violence against the Russian aristocracy, today’s cultural Marxists harness the massed numbers of a new proletariat – composed of people of color, feminists, homosexuals and other disaffected groups – to secure social acceptance and the numbers sufficient to convey political power.
In the Vol. 6 1999 Confederate Veteran, in the column, “Chaplain’s Comments,” pages 60-61, Chaplain-in-Chief Alister C. Anderson tells the SCV membership:
My brother compatriots. I ask you to remember that we are soldiers in the Army of God and are organized along the military lines of our ancestors. We are called to discipline ourselves so that we can train and teach our posterity about the true history and moral foundation of our ancestors’ lives. I ask you to remember that the spiritual discipline within our brotherhood is essential for the success of our missing and in a larger sense is crucial for the survival of our Republic in these dreadfully immoral times.
Question: Is the SCV opposed to legal protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, same-sex-marriage, the elimination of laws against same sex relations, or gay and Lesbian clergy?
- The Nov. /Dec. 2012 issue of Confederate Veteran cover article is, “Lincoln’s Band of Tyrants.” In this article President Lincoln’s preservation of the Union during the Civil War is held to have advanced a communist agenda against states’ rights. Lincoln’s preservation of the Union is supposed to parallel Adolph Hitler’s creation of the Third Reich. The essay concludes that, “Lincoln, Marx, Engels and Hitler are indeed a strange but deadly ‘Band of Brothers.’” Kennedy further asserts that the communist and Nazi dictators of the 20th century are held to be inspired and instructed by Lincoln.
In the March/April 2008 issue of Southern Mercury is an article by Alan Stang titled “Republican Party: Red from the Start,” in which the Republican Party is asserted have had Communist influence from the beginning. Stang discusses complaints made by supporters of Ron Paul that the Republican Party has lost its way and needs to return to its original principles. Stang rejects this arguing that the Republican Party did not “go wrong,” did not “go left,” and further stating:
It has been wrong from the beginning, from the day it was founded. From the beginning the Republican Party has worked without deviation for bigger, more imperial government, for higher taxes, for more wars, and for more totalitarianism. From the beginning, the Republican Party has been Red.
By “Red,” Stang means communist. Stang thinks that if Robert E. Lee and Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson had been better informed about the issues of the Civil War he would have “hanged our first Communist President [i.e. Abraham Lincoln]”. Stang explains:
Lee and Jackson did not fully comprehend what they were fighting. Had this really been a “Civil” War, rather than a secession, they would and could easily have seized Washington after Manassas and hanged our first Communist President and the other war criminals.
Question: Aren’t these articles comparing Lincoln to Hitler and calling him a communist as well as alleging that the Republican Party has been part of a communist conspiracy from the beginning, and asserting that Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jackson would have hanged Lincoln if they were better informed fairly extremist beliefs?
- Why is the SCV restricted to persons descended from Confederates? If a person has a positive view of the Confederacy why not have them be members instead of auxiliary members? What is the necessity of being a descendant? Is the SCV setting themselves up, intentionally or unintentionally, as a hereditary cast of Southerners who are more southern than others?
- Why only male members? This is the 21st century and not the early 20th century. True the name is Sons of Confederate Veterans, but names can be changed. The SCV has changed its name before. The SCV allows a person to join with proof being a descendant and paying dues. The UDC has more restrictive policies in which you have to be asked in or have a sponsor. The UDC isn't an alternative, but even if they were, why not open up to women instead of confining them to an auxiliary group The Order of the Confederate Rose?
- The original name of the SCV was the United Sons of Confederate Veterans (USCV) similar to the names United Daughters of the Confederacy and United Confederate Veterans. In the book “Ghosts of the Confederacy,” LSU Press, Gaines M. Foster states that the name of the USCV was changed because its members were horrified that the initials were the same as for the United States Colored Volunteers.
Question: Why did the USCV drop "United" from their name?