Monthly Archives: April 2010

Does God care about Confederate History Month?

Every time politics and religion collide or collude, life gets interesting – and frequently dangerous.  I just returned from three days in Gettysburg, PA, immersed in history.  While the fighting only lasted three-days in the four years of Civil War (1861-1865), it represented a turning point in favor of the Union.  I have long avoided any extensive consideration of Gettysburg prior to now but with the Virginia governor declaring April “Confederate History Month,” I have been asking myself what about religion and the Civil War.

Like many prior wars, both sides thought they had God on their side.  The Confederate soldiers were all white, largely Protestant volunteers.  The Union army had ethnic and religious diversity and more professional soldiers, along with militia groups of temporary recruits.  Any reading of soldier or officer letters or dairies will include frequent and easy references to God.  Some thought fighting in this war was their duty to God and many prayed to God for victory, approval, support, survival, blessing – you name it.  And both sides had similar expressions.

If there is a personal God, I don’t think he/she cares about Confederate History Month, nor do I think God is taking sides in human wars.  An argument could be made for God having a preference regarding the underlying issues, like slavery, of course.  What I hope people of conscience – secular and religious – do care about is the willingness of a governor to celebrate a sad, gruesome and divisive part of this country’s history.  I guess Virginia is not for lovers but racists.  This takes us back to when Southern churches used their pulpits to defend slavery.

Somebody blog Governor Bob and remind him that no matter what the Virginia Confederate soldiers contributed to the Civil War, they still lost, and the majority of us are grateful.  It seems he is waxing sentimental about a dark part of this country’s history.   Even though his proclamation denounced slavery as evil and said that it deprived people of their “God-given inalienable rights,” I am not convinced of his sincerity.  Governor Bubba, do you really want to go backwards in time?

What do you think?  -J.B. Good