In 2014 as a result of my letters to them, St. Paul's Episcopal Church dis-invited the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC).
This is part of my general campaign to get churches to not host neo-Confederate groups.
To my surprise St. Paul's Episcopal Church has further decided to get ride of Confederate memorials that are part of the church itself.
This effort is not unique to St. Paul's Cathedral. Another Episcopal Church, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. is getting rid of its Confederate stain glass.
The effort by St. Paul's has led to discussions by historians, including one by Ashley Luskey who published a rational for St. Paul's to keep the Confederate memorials.
Kevin Levin did an interesting blog posting with links to two articles on the topic.
Kevin Levin's blog posting is:
Christopher Graham blog posting is:
Then there is Ashley Luskey's writing on the topic:
She voices the usual justifications, "history is being white washed" etc. She doesn't seem to get it that the Confederate symbols glorify the Confederacy and have power as long as they are in their place.
I have written this before, "Every Confederate monument whispers, 'Civil Rights might be the slogan of the day, but white supremacy is for the ages.'"
Kevin Levin's blog posting and Christopher Graham's posting make good points and refute Luskey.
I think that all three however miss the big picture about race and Christianity and these historic churches.
These historic churches are usually downtown in metropolises of substantial size. In many cases people whose parents or grandparents attended those churches have moved (fled) to the suburbs. In a lot of cases the church is finally closed down and sold to another denomination with an urban demographic. ( I mean minorities.)
There is a church in my neighborhood a few blocks away which was sold since the members were getting tired of driving from the suburbs into Oak Cliff, a part of Dallas. I was told that they held on for a while, but as the older members died off and the younger members were growing up in the suburbs it finally came to an end.
In other cases, for churches that think they are universal and that have a history of African American and Hispanic members will, they will consider recruiting members from those people that live downtown.
I can tell you that Ashley Luskey's chattering rationalizations aren't going to be generally accepted by minority members. I am sure that the Walter Williams of the world will be glad to go to a church with Confederate symbols, but most African Americans don't want Confederate symbols around when they are dealing with life issues.
Another issue is that Christianity's center of gravity is leaving the West. Christianity started as a religion in Asia and its center of gravity is leaving or has left the West. Interest in religion is declining in the West. Christianity is thriving outside the West.
The Anglican Communion has a great many members in Africa. It is a global faith.
The Confederacy is baggage that American Episcopal church doesn't need if it wishes to be connected to a global Christianity. The same goes for other American churches.
Besides planning on writing Richardson and Dallas churches in the coming year, I am planning on writing religious leaders concerned with race overseas and in Africa. Let the United Methodist Church explain to their members there why they are fooling around with the Confederacy.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
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