This week, a Very Special Episode of Sundays With the Christianists, with some special comments from admirers of this feature. Actually, we're somewhat surprised that, in the year and some weeks we've been at this, we haven't gotten more negative feedback -- we appear not to have attracted the attention of the Jesusphere so far, which is occasionally a little disappointing. We'll just have to try harder/more blasphemous-er. On the other hand, our recent posts on how Christian textbooks cover the Civil War have generated a couple of unhappy comments, which we're delighted to share with you today.

Our first comment comes from "Rebelbill," who went to the trouble of including a confederate flag avatar on his account, just so we'd have no doubts about where he stands. In reply to our September 1 post, Rebelbill writes:

I've never heard such a brainwashed crew of cultural marxists. Southern states had the Constitutional right to secede. Lincoln promised the South that he would enshrine slavery forever. No deal.

Oh, this should be fun.

As to that "slavery forever" bit, Rebelbill appears to be referring to the "other thirteenth amendment" or "Corwin Amendment" proposed by Ohio Rep. Thomas Corwin in 1860 as one of several last-ditch Constitutional tweaks to preserve the Union. And Lincoln did indeed support it, even mentioning it in his first Inaugural Address:

I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution ... has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service....holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

Of course, there are a couple of problems with Rebelbill's take on this: The first is that "I have no objection" is something less than a "promise" -- it's certainly in keeping with Lincoln's famous letter to Horace Greeley in which he said he'd save the Union by freeing all the slaves or without freeing any slaves, and we know where he eventually came down on that question. The slightly larger problem with Rebelbill's version is that before Lincoln was inaugurated (and while the Corwin Amendment was making its way through Congress), the first seven states had already seceded and formed the Confederacy, in February 1861, and they all ignored the offer to keep slavery and stay in the Union (not that it would have resolved the issue anyway).

So "No deal" is right -- Rebelbill just forgot who said it. Rebelbill continues:

The South was tired of being continually outvoted by those alien to their culture. That part hasn't changed. Plenty of us still think secession is a good idea. If you queer yankee dirtbags don't like the South, stay the hell away.

Sorry, Rebelbill, we will continue to oppress you with our queer Yankee internet electrons, which have no regard for state lines. As long as you keep kudzu from choking the interweb tubes, you're stuck with us. Also, you may have noticed that the flag on your own local post office is not the one on your commenting account. You're the one whose values are alien to U.S. America.

I doubt there is a Bible-believing Christian amongst you, so why would you care what homeschoolers read to their children anyway. Most of you will never bother to reproduce and if you do, your offspring will likely end up in government schools learning to hate their heritage and their white skin.

Pretty sure you just gave us an excellent reason to keep paying very close attention to what homeschoolers are teaching their kids about America, Rebelbill. Thanks for explicitly stating your motives.

Our second missive comes from "connielchastain," who recently popped up in another of our deleted-comments posts to insist that "Southern rednecks [are] many rungs above left-libs on the moral, intellectual, spiritual, common sense and kindness ladders." Back in August, Ms. Chastain also took issue with our discussion of the reasons for the Civil War, and sent us a Genuine Historical Text to prove that the abolitionists were nothing but big old hypocrites:

Allow me to quote a passage from "A Trip to Cuba," written by Abolitionist Julia Ward Howe and published in 1859-60 by Ticknor and Fields, Boston. (With "abolitionists" like this, what slave "needed" Confederates?)

"Now we who write, and they for whom we write, are all orthodox upon this mighty question. We have all made our confession of faith in private and public; we all, on suitable occasions, walk up and apply the match to the keg of gunpowder which is to blow up the Union, but which, somehow, at the critical moment, fails to ignite. But you must allow us one heretical whisper, -- very small and low. The negro of the North is the ideal negro; it is the negro refined by white culture, elevated by white blood, instructed even by white iniquity; -- the negro among negroes is a coarse, grinning, flat-footed, thick-skulled creature, ugly as Caliban, lazy as the laziest of brutes, chiefly ambitious to be of no use to any in the world. View him as you will, his stock in trade is small; -- he has but the tangible of instincts of all creatures, -- love of life, of ease and of offspring. For all else, he must go to school to the white race, and his discipline must be long and laborious. Nassau, and all that we saw of it, suggested to us the unwelcome question whether compulsory labor be not better than none...."

Ms. Chastain is so fond of this passage that she has copypasted it in multiple web comments since at least 2010. And it's a real quote all right, from an actual 1860 book by Howe. This therefore proves... well, that Julia Ward Howe had racist attitudes that were pretty common for her day, even among abolitionists.

Strange, though -- even with those repugnant attitudes, and with that "unwelcome question" about whether slavery might not be "better" in some ways, Howe nonetheless worked for its abolition. On the other hand, perhaps we should give serious consideration to the possibility that because some abolitionists were racists, there was no moral distinction to be made between those who supported slavery and those who opposed it.

Except of course, that abolitionists, even if they weren't perfect egalitarians, didn't believe that human beings should be owned as property. We think that distinction may matter somehow.

Next Week: Reconstruction, and how Abraham Lincoln was a lot like Ronald Reagan

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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