‘Cathedral of the Confederacy’ reckons with its history and charts future

By Heather Beasley Doyle
Posted Jun 19, 2017

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia, has historically been known as the Cathedral of the Confederacy. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Photo: Courtesy of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

[Episcopal News Service – Richmond, Virginia] Looking around the sanctuary of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church here nothing suggests an altered space. Enough plaques, stained-glass windows, wall sconces and other adornments remain that the sanctuary is anything but bare. Its columns, deep-red pew cushions and the Tiffany Last Supper mosaic above the altar offer much for the eye to behold. And although St. Paul’s has long been known as the Cathedral of the Confederacy, the space feels cozier than a cathedral. The ceiling and walls hug close. When congregants huddle near the altar for a ceramic-cup and rustic-bread communion at the 9 a.m. service, it feels as right as the church’s later, more staid liturgy.

But when Linda Armstrong, who chairs St. Paul’s History and Reconciliation Initiative, pointed to the three spots where plaques used to be – two in the sanctuary and one in the narthex – on a Saturday in late April, the emptiness left by a Confederate past becomes apparent; each a blank spot amidst the visual richness, awaiting its fate.

St. Paul’s Rector the Rev. Wallace Adams-Riley, left, with Barbara Holley, a member of the History and Reconciliation Initiative’s steering committee and its Memorials Working Group. Photo: Heather Beasley Doyle

The History and Reconciliation Initiative germinated in the wake of shooter Dylann Roof’s racially motivated attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. On a Sunday soon after the June 17, 2015, massacre, the Rev. Wallace Adams-Riley, St. Paul’s rector, asked in a sermon, “What if in this, the last summer of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, we begin a conversation here at St. Paul’s about the Confederate symbols in our worship space?”

That question could not have come from just any pulpit. And coming from where Adams-Riley stood, in the sanctuary of the Cathedral of the Confederacy, it made waves. “I thought it was very important that it be done with a tone of seriousness and invitation, to invite our people to lean into this moment in a discerning way,” said Adams-Riley. “It quickly became clear to me that there was some anxiety.”

Richmond was the capitol of the Confederacy during the American Civil War; Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, worshipped at St. Paul’s during the war. Davis was a member of the church. Their pews still bear plaques attesting to their affiliation with the church, and stained-glass windows dedicated to them allow light into the sanctuary. In the 1890s, when it became popular to memorialize family members with sanctuary wall plaques, several sprung up in St. Paul’s honoring Confederate soldiers, some decorated with Confederate battle flags. Additional battle flags had been embroidered into the kneelers by the altar.

Adams-Riley’s question called for parishioners to pay attention. Small and spread out, the battle flags were hidden in plain sight; many people had never even noticed them. “I’d been here for 45 years and had never read the plaques,” said St. Paul’s member Lee Switz, who chairs the History and Reconciliation Initiative’s Memorial Working Group.

A plaque honoring Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, is one of the items St. Paul’s removed from its walls. Photo: Courtesy of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Now those Confederate battle flags are gone, removed after a November 2015 vestry vote, a decision that followed several tabled discussions on the topic. At the same time, the vestry also voted only to keep Confederate-related memorials without the battle flag, including plaques paid for by the families of congregants who fought in the Civil War. Moreover, the governing body established the History and Reconciliation Initiative, appointing vestry member Armstrong as chair. She has since spearheaded the parish’s deep dive into its history and its relationship with race since its 1845 founding. The History and Reconciliation Initiative has laid out a four-year plan to be completed in 2020, when the church marks its 175th anniversary.

In parsing out what to leave in the sanctuary and what to remove, “we have really considered those families,” said Armstrong. In looking at a plaque, she remembered that “this was a human being who was loved by his family; it’s the humanity of it.” By contrast, the battle flag communicates “I believe this is right, and I’m willing to kill you for it, too.” Some flags simply unscrewed from the plaques to which they were affixed. The removed items remain in a vault at the church until their fate, whether becoming part of an exhibit somewhere in the church or a traveling educational display, is determined.

In establishing the History and Reconciliation Initiative, St. Paul’s committed to push its parish conversation beyond the Confederate flag, beyond “Confederate iconography” to what Confederate symbols fundamentally evoke: a national history with thick scars around race. They would look at these scars and at their own part in staunchly defending an economic system based on the subjugation of African-Americans. In fact, the parish took its efforts a step beyond, to racial reconciliation, an attempt to figure out the church’s role in perpetuating racism, recognizing that role, and moving forward with those insights in a way that heals and repairs. “It’s doing some interior work so that we can move out into the world in ways that would not have been possible without that,” Adams-Riley said. “Isn’t that [also] true on an individual level?” And while Adams-Riley’s June 2015 sermon triggered anxiety, “It was also clear to me that there was great excitement and hope – and possibility,” he said.

St. Paul’s began by hosting two “Prayerful Conversations” in the summer of 2015, and hired an outside consultant to facilitate the events. Of the parish’s 300-400 active members (on average, 200 show up for Sunday services), 100 turned out for those initial events. Adams-Riley and Armstrong agree that hiring a consultant played a crucial role in setting a relaxed tone that invited people to share deeply. The discussions were frank, sometimes emotional, and condoned conversations about race at St. Paul’s. From there, “we didn’t talk about it officially for a couple of months, because it was just too hot,” Associate Rector the Rev. Molly Bosscher said.

Christopher Graham, left, with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Associate Rector the Rev. Molly Bosscher. Graham chairs the History Working Group of St. Paul’s History and Reconciliation Initiative. Photo: Heather Beasley Doyle

Bosscher underscored the interpersonal complexities of a process that aims to give St. Paul’s a new reputation: the Cathedral of Reconciliation. “You understand the enormity of the work, right?” she asked. “It’s changing our very flavor as a church. You could not stop this process now if you tried. It’s too far in bloom.”

As messy as St. Paul’s reconciliation work has sometimes been, the 60-member History and Reconciliation Initiative lends it a framework, a timeline and concrete goals. While Armstrong stressed that the goals are not set in stone, they offer a structure that participants value and respect. “It’s a four-year process, but we do have some deadlines,” said Memorial Working Group chair Lee Switz, “and that gives it a sense of urgency.”

Along with the Memorial Working Group, two more working groups are nestled under the initiative: the History Working Group and the Music & Liturgy Working Group. With the History Working Group’s research as a foundation, the Memorial Working Group and the Music & Liturgy Working Group will determine St. Paul’s visible, audible reconciliation pieces. Revisions are planned to the church’s walking tour brochure, and its 175th anniversary book will be reimagined from the 150th anniversary predecessor.

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry will visit next March. Prayerful Conversations remain ongoing and the church will hold a special service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. And in some way, whether by stopping at stations of reconciliation along Richmond’s Slave Trail or with a different ritual, History and Reconciliation Initiative members plan to commemorate African-American slaves in the city that had the second-largest slave market in the United States.

In the meantime, as chair of the Initiative’s History Working Group, Christopher Graham has helped St. Paul’s to discover how racial ideas throughout the church’s history have determined how parishioners live their lives and faith. Originally 20 to 25 members, the History Working Group now has a core of seven active researchers. A historian by profession, Graham gave working group members guidance on what to look for as they research. “And that’s been a remarkable success,” he said.

The group is uncovering the church’s relationship era by era, in five chunks of about 40 years, starting in 1844. They have scoured U.S. Census data, diocesan records, vestry records and private journals. They delve into Newspapers.com and Ancestry.com. And then there are secondary sources, including “Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia” by J. Douglas Smith, which Graham recently read.

Cross-referencing the records from First African Baptist Church and St. Paul’s with census data, the History Working Group has confirmed that from its founding until the Emancipation, most St. Paul’s members “were engaged with slavery or in the slavery economy,” Graham said. This was not surprising. More illuminating has been learning St. Paul’s attitude toward race between the Emancipation and today. While its membership remains overwhelmingly white, in 2017 St. Paul’s is a “liberal” church with longstanding outreach projects and ties to social justice initiatives throughout Richmond, a city that initiative leaders described as more conservative than their church. St. Paul’s members “have always done what they thought was the Christian thing to do,” Armstrong said, “even if they thought it was segregation.”

And for a long time, it was. “At the turn of the 20th century, Episcopalians and other white people were arguing that black people were evolutionarily behind whites,” Graham said. For generations after emancipation, St. Paul’s members participated in a government that enforced Jim Crow and segregation. This mindset continued, Graham suspects, until the early days of the civil rights movement, “and it’s more complicated than ‘we hate them.’ ”

As St. Paul’s “whole story” emerges, the damage done by upholding the racial status quo is clear, Graham said. “So what does it mean? What are we doing about it?” he asked. He was working on a narrative of his working group’s findings.

That narrative will feed the other working groups’ efforts. The Music & Liturgy Working Group has met twice. They began by asking why St. Paul’s needs reconciliation music and liturgy. The answer became, “We’re finding things at St. Paul’s that we need to mourn, and (in) the Episcopal Church music and liturgy is how we do that,” said Music & Liturgy Working Group chair Pam James, quoting fellow group member Michelle Walker.

In the fall, James’s group will introduce a new collect, with the idea of adding one for each church season. The largest task ahead of them is sifting through the history group’s narrative to find lyrics for a piece of music. St. Paul’s will commission music to allow St. Paul’s to mourn its past. “Yet we are also cognizant of the fact that we’re going to send it out into the world for other churches to [use] for their own mourning,” said James.

Things weren’t as immediately clear for the Memorial Working Group. “One of the first meetings was a free-for-all,” recounts Switz. “Everybody was talking past each other, but there were some strong emotions in the room.” The Memorial Working Group is charged with “seeking a physical or living/legacy expression of acknowledgment, commemoration, and reconciliation,” according to a History and Reconciliation Initiative flier. Initially, that mission got lost in the tumult, Switz said.

She considered how to proceed in keeping with the yearlong theme of “Be Reconciled,” landing on the church’s congregation-wide read, “The Book of Forgiving,” by retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. “Let’s all tell our story,” Switz said at the next meeting. The half-dozen working group members did just that for two hours, she said, opening the path to more discussion. They’re currently working on “a very concise statement” on what “visceral, spiritual message” a 21st century St. Paul’s wants to convey through its history and reconciliation memorial.

Deep into research and reflection, parishioners seem patient with the process as it unfolds. “They’re taking their time, they have not rushed the process, and that’s been notable,” said Carl Stauffer, an associate professor at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. Stouffer has visited St. Paul’s twice since December, guiding parishioners in reflection and workshop, and preaching. “There’s been a tremendous amount of effort in having the congregation buy into the process,” he added.

When St. Paul’s clergy and initiative leaders talk, consensus around one point quickly reveals itself. “I don’t think we’re finished. I think we’re still working on reconciling with each other,” Armstrong said. “If we sincerely want reconciliation, if we’re serious about it, it should be a different church [in 2020],” she said.

Beyond the process, beyond the memorial, the music and the liturgy, some at St. Paul’s wonder when reconciliation will conclude. “So how long will this process go, and how will we evaluate what the process achieved?” wondered St. Paul’s member Michelle Whitehurst-Cook. While she wants the History and Reconciliation Initiative’s efforts to remain ongoing, “I think there are lots of ways to continue [the work] and also to measure what we’ve achieved.” Whitehurst-Cook points to possibilities for measuring the initiative’s impact, from changes in outreach and church participation to gauging the number of sermons on social justice or talking with small groups.

And Memorial Working Group member Barbara Holley offered a caveat as St. Paul’s moves forward. “It’s more than a black-white issue,” she said. “I don’t want to just hear from somebody, ‘I’m sorry.’ That would just make me mad. I want to know that by your actions.” Racial reconciliation wasn’t on Holley’s mind when she joined St. Paul’s, but being a part of the History and Reconciliation Initiative has catalyzed an internal shift. “I do believe it’s changing me, in just bringing more awareness to the divisiveness of racism,” she said.

Holley’s sentiment represents another thread at St. Paul’s: Participants agree that as they target a communal paradigm shift, working with the initiative has already affected them personally. “For this to mean anything, it has to be personal,” said Adams-Riley.

“I’m a Southerner, and I still am, in all the good and the bad,” said Armstrong. “(Notwithstanding) the brutality of slavery, I love Southern culture.” Nonetheless, she’s had “almost a transfiguration” regarding race. She recognizes it more, continues to learn and is increasingly dedicated to reconciliation, group to group, within herself and with God.

However reconciliation unfolds at St. Paul’s, Stauffer credits the church with courage and vision. “What they’re doing is setting a national precedent for how faith communities can work through racial reconciliation,” Stauffer said.

That this racial reconciliation has sprouted in the unlikeliest of places, in the Cathedral of the Confederacy, is never lost on Adams-Riley. Nor is the reality that that his forebears included slave owners and Confederate soldiers. “People who knew me growing up never would have expected that I would have been a part of this (kind of reconciliation),” he said.

Yet he is. And he’s certain that it is important work with a connection beyond anyone’s intellectual grasp. “It becomes about how we live our lives today, about the spirit doing deep soul work that leaves us living differently,” he said. “I say lead on, spirit, lead on.”

— Heather Beasley Doyle is a freelance journalist based in Massachusetts.


Comments (27)

  1. Pjcabbiness says:

    Historical “censorship” and revisionism as demonstrated above, is intellectually dishonest, spiritually counterfeit and an anathema to freedom. Actions like these, as innocuous as they appear, are small steps on the path to totalitarianism.

    1. Fr. Eric Holloway says:

      It seems to me that they are not censoring history, since the materials they have decided to take out of their worship space are either going to be placed in a historical presentation area in the church, or in a traveling exhibit. So, they are putting the history with the history and, again, it seems to me this is an appropriate place for them.

      Church buildings are not museums, they are places of worship, and choosing to honor or not honor the confederacy in a holy place has nothing to do with our responsibility to history (which, again, they are fulfilling) and other questions of what we want in our worship space are totally up to the congregation and the wider Church to decide upon.

  2. John B Hills says:

    1. Bravo for the people of St Paul’s, Richmond, VA. The study of their parish history empowers reconciliation, their own and that of others.
    2. Every parish needs to find in its history the path to reconciliation. In the history of every parish is evidence of selfish individual and collective behavior and decisions which contradict the gospel, and build walls between people.

  3. Bruce Garner says:

    I was born in Atlanta and lived my entire life in Georgia and all in Atlanta except for 6 years. The Civil War was part of my upbringing in one way or another. There are Confederate memorials of all sorts scattered all over the place. Some so unobtrusive as to cause no notice, others glaring like a thousand watt bulb. Atlanta is the city it is now because it was burned to the ground during the Battle of Atlanta. My townhouse sits in one of the battle trenches for that war. We lived on a street named “Confederate Court” when I was a child. One of the elementary schools I attended was named for General John B. Gordon. I don’t think I knew much about who he was at that age. I know better now and as a white skinned person, I have a more circumspect view of Civil War issues.

    Reasonable white people, reasonable people, period, would be horrified to see Nazi symbols like the swastika displayed anywhere other than a museum. Why is it that our horror over that symbol doesn’t apply to symbols such as the Confederate Battle flag?

    Yes, certainly, all of this is part of our history as a nation….and it should be treated like a part of history. It should be taught accurately so we don’t make the same mistakes again. It should be taught so that we recognize the inherent evils of slavery and some of the symbols that represent that atrocity. But, it’s high time that we stopped romanticizing a war and its symbolism and relegated its physical imagery and artifacts to museums and history centers instead of continuing to offend with them.

    Our baptismal covenant vows call us to respect the dignity of every human being. When we know that certain symbols harm the dignity of others, why would we want to perpetuate their use? Are we that mean and insensitive? Yes, some of all of this is tied to family members and their history. That’s fine too, but that is still no excuse for offending others. All of us have family members we would rather not claim, but that’s life. Again, that, even family, is no justification for harming the dignity of another child of God.

    This war ended 150 years ago. Isn’t it time to move on or must we cling so tightly to something that remains horrendous? What value is there to worshiping a lost cause?

    Congratulations to St. Paul’s for having the courage to move forward.

  4. Owen Hoskin says:

    I am full of admiration for St Paul’s move towards addressing historical injustices to assist in present day reconciliation and to start the journey to a realistic ‘one-in-Christ’ tomorrow. We need to do more in Aotearoa/NZ to follow their example.

  5. The Rev. D F Lindstrom says:

    What seems to be lost in all of this is that History is important. We don’t need to be erasing it, we need to learn from it! If we destroy all of the symbols of periods of history we do not like, what have we accomplished? Nothing except a little misguided “feel good” for those in favor of the destruction of the symbols.

    The same symbols that people want to destroy provide us with a chance to explain how we have resolved those issues, grown as a Church and as churchmen, and understand and respect the journeys of those who lived though those times struggled with their own faith. What can be wrong with that? Have we not learned from the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and from the Civil Rights Movement? Should we destroy the Holocaust Museum, etc.. I hope not.

    Let us not be so heavenly minded (???) that we are no earthly good! (Thanks C.K. Chesterton)

    1. Fr. Eric Holloway says:

      They are not destroying those symbols; as the article mentioned, they have been set aside for a historical exhibit either at the church, outside of the holy space, or a traveling one. It seems that there move is to take these symbols that they have discerned are no longer a part of their theological life out of their theological space, and putting them into a historical space. So what is your problem with that? Sanctuaries are not museums (at least we hope they are not), and it seems like they are creating historical understanding, not subtracting from it.

      But, you raise a good idea, which is, perhaps we should have more, and more robust, civil war museums as a place to put these kinds of monuments and symbols that not longer seem appropriate in our active political and religious spaces.

  6. Martha Richards says:

    The confederacy is a part of our history. It is wrong to glorify it, but I think we need to remember it so that we don’t let this happen again. Sweeping things under the rug don’t make them go away, compassion and justice keep them from happening again. I was born and raised in Miami. My family lived in Key West and had slaves and freed them but still provided for them as long as they lived. It is our history, we can’t make it go away – we need to remember.

  7. F William Thewalt says:

    Political correctness has gone too far when it results in the re-writing of history. It’s our past and we all live with it. The USSR was the last regime in my lifetime to attempt to re-write history. I am saddened the U. S. is going that way.

    1. Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD says:

      If you haven’t noticed, the progressives are the new Communist.

    2. Bruce Garner says:

      How is it “re-writing history” to put events in their correct and proper perspective? It is truly hypocritical of us white folks to claim it is history when symbols clearly offend those African-Americans who sometimes even share the church pews with us. What I see is not honoring history, it is clearly making an idol of a past that ended over 150 years ago…..yet whose influence has been romanticized to the point that it injures other human beings and perpetuates a system that should have disappeared long, long, ago.

    3. Nellwyn Beamon says:

      The rewriting of history occurred after the Civil War in which the South and its brutal economic policies were normalized. This rewriting of history then only continued the unofficial slave economy with Jim Crow and other means to subjugate a people. Sanitizing the Civil War by making it a war for “states rights” is also a rewrite. This version of history is what we Southerners grew up hearing and believing. It is time–now 150 years later–to see what the war really was. I don’t consider any of this a rewrite. It is a making right.

  8. Gordon Irwin says:

    My late grandfather, born in 1863, and reared by a negro “Mammy” who was first a slave and later a freed woman who worked for the family until near her death, was “unreconstructed” and wrong. It’s time to recognize the Confederacy was composed of many brave, but foolhardy people who were wrong in their political, theological, economic beliefs, and just about everything regarding racial policy of the period. We must move on and leave them to history, not as heroes, but as representatives of a wrong and failed cause.

  9. Hugh Hansen, Ph.D. says:

    I find it horrifying that those at St. Paul’s and other places are trying to revise history. Bruce Garner is not part of the Atlanta I know. As with New Orleans and Saint Pauls and other places, I am sure that this dishonesty will continue. Comparing the confederacy to the Nazis is obscene. The Nazis were not our own brothers, our own flesh and blood, our comrades in arriving at the truth. People of all races need to know our history. It was the history of all of us, Horrifying and evil as it was, we need to know it! The Episcopal church does not seem to be able to break it’s love affair with popular culture, even for the truth of its history.

    1. Bruce Garner says:

      See above. And symbolism that offends is symbolism that offends whether it is the swastika or the battle flag of the Confederacy. If you read carefully, I did not make the comparison you suggest. I did compare symbols. I stand by that comparison. The swastika continues to offend our Jewish sisters and brothers just as much as the Confederate Battle Flag offends our African-American sisters and brothers.

      1. Donald M Stewart, Jr. says:

        I would hope that the nazi swastika, and all that it represented (and, sadly, still does) would offend all civilized people, be they American, Canadian, European, Christian, non-Christian, and so on, around the globe. My father was one of the many thousands that died liberating the European continent and from when I first grasped what this symbol stood for until now I have hated (a word I do not like to use) it with a quiet passion. Given that background (and please understand that during the Civil War (although nothing civil about it) my ancestor families on both parent’s side suffered many killed and wounded – one lay imprisoned for months in Fortress Monroe – and homes and barns looted and burned to the ground) is easy for me to understand why the Confederate Battle Flag, as a symbol, would upset those of African ancestry. As is being suggested and done, its time to put the CBF in the museum. Besides, we have another flag we should be waiving. Peace

  10. Peter M Antoci says:

    I applaud the people of St. Paul’s for engaging in this hard work. They are dealing with their own history directly, and no matter how they resolve it, these conversations and actions are where Christian ethics and our Baptismal Covenant touch real life. We who are not members of St. Paul’s owe them our prayers, not our criticism. We should not second guess them or their prayerful process. They are doing what they can in the place they live and in the property they steward. What are the rest of us doing in the church we attend, and the properties we steward?

  11. Doug Desper says:

    If anyone is really interested in truth then I suggest reading a newly published work by the Rev. R. David Cox entitled The Religious Life of Robert E. Lee (available on Amazon). David poured much effort into research of original sources and has a wealth of good reading in his 336 pages. It and other such researched works will challrnge the oversimplified notion of Union virtue versus Southern bigotry. The Civil War is over. No one reading these kinds of news articles ever owned a slave nor have any of us been a slave. The constant dredging up of an aggrieved status or claiming a more enlihhtened status must end. In my opinion the people of those old times were people of their day. They should be remembered for their more noble and sacrificial acts. Take the Confederate decor to a history room. Study virtues. Study the impossibly complex choices that had to be made. Ponder all the while how we will be judged as people of our time.

  12. Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD says:

    The one thing the Episcopal Church can’t change is its absence in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans and a few others were there, but the Episcopal Church was wrapped in its exclusionary posture and stay out of it. God did not send Jesus to change history, He sent Jesus to redeem history. “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.”

  13. David Jameson says:

    For the Church yesterday was about removing “offensive” Flags; today it is about removing “offensive” Monuments and Plaques; tomorrow it will be remove any reference to anyone who was remotely associated with the Confederacy because it is “offensive”. In a few decades future generations will know nothing about the “Cathedral of the Confederacy” because all traces of it will be gone and it will be seen as just another church…..

  14. Alda Morgan says:

    Two Things: I am puzzled by Dr. Flint’s statement that the Episcopal Church did not participate in the Civil Rights movement. I was involved, as were many of my Episcopal friends and colleagues. Moreover, my diocese (The Diocese of Pennsylvania) was deeply involved in it, both pro and con. On what basis, Dr. Flint, do you make that statement?

    Secondly, I am torn by the passion to remove the signs of our previous mistakes and –yes–unfaithfulness. But the issues that erupted in the Civil War and Reconstruction were much more complex than most of us know. The tensions between North and South (with slavery in the middle, but far from the whole story) were a major political, economic, and cultural reality of our pre-war history and much of it was unresolved by the war. To do this reconciliation properly, the churches in the North, as well as the South, need to make the same efforts to study and understand its role in that complex history. The “virtue” of the North and the “evil” of the South is nonsense. In different ways, both areas were and are complicit in the tragedy of slavery and racism. I truly believe that we won’t be able to achieve the reconciliation we all want without mutual confession and effort to listen and resolve our part in this tragedy.

    1. Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD says:

      My experience was in the South. I stand by what I said.

  15. Jawaharlal Prasad says:

    The Episcopal Church that I attend hosted a showing of the documentary 13th which shows the criminalization of African Americans and the US prison boom. It is a very touching documentary and I was surprised to learn that much injustice continues to this day via legal means.
    History as taught in school is not entirely accurate and some sort of revision is definitely needed. In every age, most people conducted their lives based on religious teachings and prevailing moral / ethical values. However, in hindsight, certain activities that led to the Stolen Generations in Australia or Britain’s Lost Children were neither moral nor ethical even then. Much psychological, emotional and mental damage must have been done to the children and their family. There are many such examples. It is commendable that some of the governments and organizations that participated in these programs are offering apology and providing some compensation.

  16. Joel Watson says:

    Let’s remove all crosses which have been so opprmessive to non christians for 2000 years. Oh, also, remove all baptismal, communicate, confirmation, burial records of those who oppress[ed] others. Oh, and all rich people, remembering the teaching of Jesus, “Woe to you rich.” Excuse me, I have a splinter in my eye.

  17. Joel Watson says:

    Let’s remove all crosses which have been so oppressive to non-christians for 2000 years. Oh, also, remove all baptismal, communicant, confirmation, burial records of those who oppress[ed] others. Oh, and all rich people, remembering the teaching of Jesus, “Woe to you rich.” Excuse me, I have a splinter in my eye.

  18. Dr Vladimir Pleshakov says:

    History is filled with unpleasant, cruel facts. Eliminating them from our consciousness is, in a sense, re-writing history, sanitizing it for our comfort, and escaping from uncomfortable reality.
    Book-burning comes to mind. When knowledge is replaced by blissful ignorance, dictatorship is not far off. It has happened before: Stalin re-wrote history for the sake of creating his utopian paradise. We know what ensued.
    A blissfully ignorant insect-like society enables a dictator to force on us a new type of slavery.
    Wisdom, bred from knowledge, is a better choice than comfortable ignorance of a disturbing e past.
    Let us strike a wise balance that would enable us to see the good and praise it, and to see the evil and condemn it. We definitely should repair all damage done.

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