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Your View | Christian faith commands us to confess, not celebrate, slavery

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Letter to editor meta

The article in Saturday’s Bristol Herald Courier, “Washington County rededicates Confederate statue,” raises many questions and concerns.

The Confederate soldiers memorialized by this statue, as United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) member Ruth Ann Holley describes it, “Fought for their families, blood. And they fought for the Christian faith. … It wasn’t multi-cultural. It was a Christian culture, predominantly protestant.”

That’s because white masters stripped enslaved Africans of their religion, language, culture, family and everything that gave them dignity and identity as a people. White pastors used to recite passages in the Old Testament that appear to justify slavery, but holding persons in bondage is clearly sinful. I think all Christians, today, can agree on that.

Indeed the United States army invaded Virginia and fought rebel armies here, that was because Virginia seceded from the nation it was a part of — the United States of America. The same country that our founding fathers fought for and established. In that founding document — our United States Constitution — there never has been any article permitting secession.

The Civil War was a rebellion, fought by the seceding states to maintain slavery. Though slavery as a cause of the war is often denied by modern day Confederate partisans, it was the primary reason. The tobacco and cotton economy of southern states depended on enslaved labor. Some states even announced in their articles of secession that maintaining slavery was a reason for their act of secession.

I am a 10th generation Virginian. Many of my ancestors enslaved human beings. They claimed to be Christians, yet they enslaved others to extract their labor. I believe Christian faith commands us to confess — not memorialize — the brutal sins of our forebears and our own shortcomings at making amends and to embrace our fellow human beings.

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