Seventy New Orleans pastors have rallied together under the moniker “Clergy for a United City” to support liberal mayor Mitch Landrieu's call to remove statues in the city that honor Confederate heroes. Parroting our divisive President, the pastors claim, “These monuments belong not in our public line of sight, but in museums where context and education may be given and learned from.” In their current public setting, the pastors opine that the monuments, “Reflect a deafening silence about Jim Crow culture.” And are “living links to past crimes against our common humanity.” This is mighty fiery rhetoric from the concerned clergy! But political rhetoric is exactly what it is.
These men have merely jumped on the bandwagon of trashing all things Southern in the wake of recent events that had nothing to do with the Confederate States of America. Pastors, who are often 99 percent Politician, know how to scratch the itch of their constituency and keep themselves in the good graces of their people. A cursory look at the list of signers will show Unitarian Universalists and Methodists, along side Conservative Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics. People who can't even come close to agreeing on abortion, gay marriage, who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell. But amazingly they can unite on the perceived wickedness of Robert E. Lee, who happened to live a life of stellar Christian witness and honorable conduct that would probably dwarf any of the high browed signers who castigate his memory.
The letter goes on to say, “New Orleans is a great city. Its people have done great things in the arts, music and industry. This is the culture and history we should celebrate in our monuments. These qualities point to who we are as a common people and who we want to be.” That's fine. Celebrate whatever you wish. But why should these clergymen be allowed to denigrate, destroy, and dismantle the monuments of other people's heroes? Why can't they simply build the statues they wish to build to celebrate their “arts and music” while leaving the monuments of men who fought for something greater than art and music, alone? With all of their sophisticated and pious prose, these men do a smooth job of hiding the fact that they espouse a totalitarian philosophy which wishes to silence opposition, minimize detractors, and white wash history by elevating only the characteristics of the enshrined men that are no longer socially acceptable nor politically correct. This is a sad travesty and self-proclaimed men of God should have higher callings to pursue with their time.
Kissing up to Mitch Landrieu is not their calling. Proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ should be. And while we may have many disagreements among us; we should at least be able to agree on celebrating the good qualities of great men, while recognizing they were also flawed. Some will not rest until all vestiges of Southern history are erased and replaced with a more soothing and dishonest narrative. Today's version of a hero might emasculate himself for attention (Bruce Jenner) or push for the right to murder babies in the womb (Barack Obama). Perhaps these men need statues instead of Lee, Davis, and Beauregard. It would no doubt testify to the depravity of America in general, and New Orleans specifically. And then, maybe the seventy New Orleans clergy could have some marble men they can really be proud of. Forget honor, courage, and integrity. Instead celebrate diversity, depravity, and moral decay. As a Pastor myself, I cannot go along with what these seventy clergymen in New Orleans have signed on to. In the famous and frequent words of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, “I Dissent!”