American South

The Civil War “Ended” 156 Years Ago Today, But Actually Has Never “Ended”!

It has been 156 years since the Civil War ended officially, with General Robert E. Lee surrendering at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant.

It took until the early 20th century for a sense of nationalism to lead to the construction of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

But the South never truly changed, and still has not even now in 2021.

They still promote racism, white supremacy, antisemitism, anti labor rights, nativism, and evoke hypocritical belief in their own version of Christianity.

For a century, it was the Democratic Party spewing forth these ugly views in the South, and now it is the Republican Party, since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Of course, not all Southerners are oriented toward hate and narrow mindedness, and many Northerners have moved to the South and made the South become more cosmopolitan.

But rural Southerners still think they are in the Civil War Era, and are gaining the backing of the Republican Party in trying to limit the voting rights of people of color, and making even white workers to be subjected to limits on their ability to advance and move ahead!

Barack Obama And Religious Extremism: Totally Accurate Statement, So Why The Outcry?

President Barack Obama spoke up on Thursday at the Annual Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC on the dangers of religious extremism, promotion of one’s own faith as the only true faith, and legitimizing bloodshed and violence in the name of one’s God.

This was in reaction to the horrors that have been perpetrated by ISIL (ISIS) in the Middle East, including beheadings of Americans, British, and Japanese hostages; and the even more horrific act of taking a Jordanian pilot, captured while attacking ISIL targets, and setting him on fire, causing him to be burned to death.

What Obama said was that any religion that endorses or promotes such bloodshed and violence should be condemned, and he reminded our nation, much of it totally unaware of our history, that we had seen the lynching, butchering, and setting on fire of a few thousand African American men and boys in the American South and Midwest over a period of more than a hundred years of Jim Crow segregation in the 19th and 20th century and Ku Klux Klan influence; had also experienced nearly 250 years of slavery, which included similar mistreatment; and that world wide, there had been the Christian war on Islam during the Crusades; and the Catholic Church Inquisition of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance period.

Obama did not specifically mention the horrible persecution of Jews by Christians over two millenniums, and not just the Catholic Church, but also Protestant groups, including Martin Luther and the Lutheran Church; or the mass murder of Catholics vs Protestants in Northern Ireland, as recently as the period of the Irish Republican Army between 1969 and 1998.

And of course, in the Middle East, today, as shown by the setting on fire of a Jordanian who was Muslim, the old holy war of Shiite and Sunni Muslims continues unabated, as it has for 13 centuries; and there is also bloodshed between Muslims and Hindus in India; and turmoil in the Balkans, that led to mass murder by Christians against Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s.

From what Obama reminded us of, plus the additional information provided here by the author, and well known to scholars, it is clear how devastating organized religion has been in its promotion of narrow mindedness and hate, and commitment to torture and extermination in the name of God, no matter which religion.

So Obama was offering a moral lesson, but yet the outcry by right wingers, who do not wish to be reminded of the sins of Christianity fanatics, and only wish to look at the Muslim fanatics today, and imagine that this is the whole story of religion in history, is very troubling. They fail to realize that many more Muslims have been killed by the barbarism of ISIL (ISIS), and their refusal to accept and recognize the history of Christianity as being just as full, historically, of violence and bloodshed, bodes ill for the future ability to understand and accept religious differences and promote religious tolerance!

The “New South” Of Bill Clinton And Jimmy Carter Clashes With The “Old South” Of Billy Graham And Franklin Graham

The American South, referring to the states of the Civil War which broke away from the Union, have been said to have changed in the years since the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

With African Americans given the right to vote, and civil rights being enforced by the federal government, we saw a switch of many white Democrats, who believed in segregation of the races, to the Republican Party, including a vast majority of state and national officeholders.

Those who remained Democrats were seen as “moderates” who wished to bridge the gap between the races, and keep the heritage of equal rights and social justice connected, and therefore, we saw the triumph of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton winning the Presidency, reflecting a “changed” South.

But while Carter and Clinton were inspirational to many, the truth is that the majority of white southerners remain what they were before—unwilling to accept racial equality, resentful of Northern liberal influence on their section of the country, and using their religious views to oppose gay rights, labor rights, women’s equality, and immigrant rights.

So despite Bill Clinton backing the fight against Amendment One in North Carolina, putting traditional marriage alone in the state constitution, the amendment passed easily, most notably supported by the Reverend Billy Graham, now 93, who along with his preacher son, Franklin Graham, show us just how little progress has been made in North Carolina, the last “Old South” state to ban gay marriage in its constitution.

Even with the popularity of Bill Clinton nationally, and the fact of the victories years ago of both Clinton and Jimmy Carter, the “Old South” is still very much evident in what some attempt to consider the “New South”! The past is not yet past, sad to say!

The “Bible Belt”, Religion, And The Republican Presidential Race

After Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucuses by EIGHT votes over Rick Santorum, some saw it as a victory.

But others pointed out that Romney actually received SIX fewer total votes than he did in 2008 in the Iowa Caucuses!

And Romney did not do well among evangelical Christians, which are a very large portion of the Republican vote in Iowa. Considering also that he received just 25 percent of the vote, the same percentage as in 2008, brought to mind that his Mormon faith MAY have an effect in the Southern primaries and other Midwest primaries where evangelical Christians still look at Mormonism as a religious cult, in areas considered the “Bible Belt”!

So Mitt Romney is not seen as overcoming the religion question as John F. Kennedy did in 1960.

But the problem is that Jon Huntsman is also a Mormon, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are Catholic, the problem that existed for Kennedy. Only Rick Perry and Ron Paul are evangelical Christians or Baptists, which is predominant in the South.

The question is whether Rick Santorum, who shares the religious and family values of many Southerners, but is a Catholic, can win them over and have an impact in future primaries. He is already trying to appeal to blue collar whites who are often rural in environment and religious more than the rest of the country. Will Perry and Paul have a better shot, particularly in the South, and can Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism, overcome that fact?

The point is that religion COULD be a factor in the final decision as to who the GOP Presidential nominee will be!