Douglas Wilson responds to SBTS' Slavery and Racism report

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Joeb's picture

The above occurred almost 20 years after 1968.  Mixed race couples were not allowed into ministry or to be missionaries.  So to say it happened so long long ago when actually with the above it was only 25 years ago. 

mmartin's picture

Growing up in the North, I knew about the civil war, that the North won, about slavery during that time period.  But other than that, I really didn't care, nor did anyone else in my family or any other person I knew growing up.  It was a non-issue that was rarely, if ever, talked about other than at history class in school.

I remember when I went to BJU in the mid-90's my friend's roommate was from Virginia.  I was in my friend's room one day and his roommate made a couple comments about the civil war and a way that was clear he wasn't happy about the outcome.  I couldn't believe it!  It was the first time in my life I met someone who was serious about the South losing the war.  Honestly, even today, it still astonishes me to a degree. 

A relative of mine grew-up in the North, but later moved to the South.  She told me she didn't dislike southerners until she moved to the South.  A few years ago a friend of mine (from the North) had a daughter who lived in Georgia with her husband.  After a couple years of living there they moved to another state, in part, because of they were Northerners living in the South.

Now, as I have studied the civil war further, including an outstanding & comprehensive biography of U.S. Grant, the more I am happy the North won handily and that I wasn't born in and don't live in the South.  The Lost Cause myth is pure trash from top to bottom.  Go Blue!!

Is everyone in the South still wound-up about the war, etc.? No, of course not.  But, the sentiment is definitely still there.

At the same time, I believe important to recognize that even though the North won and had a much more progressive attitude towards abolishing slavery, that didn't mean quite a few folks in the North weren't just as racist as the Southerners they were fighting.

 

Bert Perry's picture

Martin, as a Spartan who was born just south of Columbus, I'm prone to see your "Go B***" as something of an obscenity.....  :^)

But seriously, while I'm with you on what you've seen in the South, I've got to remind you that my grandparents' hometown in west central Illinois did indeed have a sign telling blacks to get out before nightfall, and I'm pretty sure the sign was not as politely worded as that.  Realtors in the north did refuse to show homes to minorities, unions in the north did work to exclude minorities (that's a big part of how minimum wage laws got started), cities in the north did implicitly zone schools to give inferior schools to blacks, and nationwide, we had laws excluding the Chinese and other Asians, and a whole bunch more.  To draw a picture, Jesse Owens ran track at Ohio State because at the time, blacks were not welcome on the football team.  My alma mater, Michigan State, was a groundbreaker in recruiting blacks for athletics--in the 1960s.  Getting blacks into the professions was somewhat easier in the North than in the South, but it was no picnic.

And there, brothers, are your victims.  There is a ton of sociological research that says that if you don't have professionals in your neighborhood, if you don't have books in your home, if you don't have the money to go to college, and the like, it's going to leave a mark that lasts generations.  And that includes the sociological markers Paul Henebury refers to, really.  Not 100% of the issue, but a great portion.  

Plus, another cause for those sociological markers is that in the 1950s and 1960s, blacks advanced by standing up to the rules of the majority culture.  Unfortunately, that mode of thinking, while commendable when addressed towards southern and northern Jim Crow laws, can creep out into other areas where the majority culture is actually helpful.  

As such, my hope and prayer is that the SBC and Southern will go well beyond their support for slavery and fess up to the arguments they offered in support of Jim Crow, and the failure to recognize the disaster that left behind.  And again, it took us 400 years to get where we are; it's going to take a while to get out.  

A final note here is that even if there was absolutely no responsibility on the part of the SBC, Southern, or for that matter white fundagelicalism in general, we would yet be confronted with a large population that is disproportionately poor that quite frankly our churches are not reaching.  James 1:27, no?  We have compassion to a degree for addicts and such, and commendably so; what about the hood?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

  1. I attended a church several years ago where the pastor made it very clear from the pulpit on numerous occasions that the "War of Northern Aggression" should have been named such and that the South was right.  This is in the state of New York sometime around 2010-2015, not antebellum South Carolina in 1870.
     
  2. A friend and fellow member of SI was discussing music with another well know music traditionalist a few years ago.  My friend read what this person wrote and called him on his racist beliefs.  The traditionalist protested, but made it clear that music originating from Africa was used for pagan worship and needed to be rejected out of hand by Christians.  This was in 2014/2015.
     
  3. As an teen, my family was OK with dating other teenagers, but my then church and family treated my African American friends, especially females, very differently from my white female friends.

Don't tell me racism is just a thing of the past that people need to get over and move on with.  Those wounds run very deep, and we wallpaper it and call it 'fine' when we need to own our mistakes.

Finally, Doug Wilson knows full well about institutional rot, since he's practically the embodiment of it.  This is a guy who has built his own church, seminary, association and other organizations with no ministerial training, and all of those places revolve around him and what looks very much like a personality cult.

Doug knowingly and willingly married off a pedophile to a young woman on the basis of a two month (I think) relationship knowing full well that they expected and wanted to have children.  Now he washes his hands and cries crocodile tears about how horribly it went wrong and how terribly he's been treated when people are rightfully horrified.  The father of that child is rotting in prison for being aroused by his infant son and has divorced from his wife.  That's Wilson's failure, whether he owns it or not, and there's plenty of additional cess.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jim's picture

Joeb wrote:
The above occurred almost 20 years after 1968.  Mixed race couples were not allowed into ministry or to be missionaries.  So to say it happened so long long ago when actually with the above it was only 25 years ago. 

Clarity (or refinement on this) re the GARBC:

  • The GARBC had "approved agencies" (BMM, ABWE, EBM, et al) that were really independent of the GARBC
  • I have a distant recollection (but it is really foggy) that at least one of the agencies would not accept mixed-race (there really is no such thing) to be missionary candidates. The rationale is they would not be effective 

 

josh p's picture

Man I hesitate to open this can of worms. I have read a decent amount about the CW and tried to be as objective as possible (pretty difficult obviously).  A lot of Southern bitterness about the Civil War is about reconstruction and the way the war was fought. I don’t think it’s accurate to automatically assume that it’s racism. I say this as a lifelong northerner who has never even visited the south. I also think that Wlson’s views of American slavery are hilariously absurd and deceitful.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Jay wrote:

  1. As an teen, my family was OK with dating other teenagers, but my then church and family treated my African American friends, especially females, very differently from my white female friends.

Don't tell me racism is just a thing of the past that people need to get over and move on with.  Those wounds run very deep, and we wallpaper it and call it 'fine' when we need to own our mistakes.

As another anecdote, in my church, not only does no one blink an eye at multiracial friends or relationships, we have a black-white couple attending that everyone welcomes and treats as any other couple.  In addition, we have families that have adopted non-white children, and again, those kids are treated like any others.

My kids are now grown and on their own, but both my wife and I made clear to them that we only had an issue with their dates if we didn't like either their character or apparent spiritual state.  We also stated flat out that if they ever dated people from other "races" (and we have always taught our kids that there is just one race -- the human race) that that was just fine as long as they met the criteria we put on anyone -- we wanted them to be, to the best of our knowledge, Christian in belief and behavior.

So as you can see, we can all offer our anecdotal evidence.

I'm not trying to claim that all racism in US society is dead and gone.  However, I refuse to own the mistakes and sins of others or spend any time continually apologizing or repenting for them.  Any hurt that people have experienced due to racism, while real and significant, is not due to me, so yes, I don't spend much time in never-ending retrospection on the dark history of racism in the US, and what I therefore have to do about it to make it right (rather than just doing my best to not commit those sins myself), any more than my wife spends any time "repenting" over what her countrymen did to the Jews under Hitler.

Dave Barnhart

Joeb's picture

I said this before and I believe it because Southeners have always lived in a diverse community where as Whites in the Rural and Medium to Small Towns in the Midwest are just experiencing a diverse community.  In my opinion they don’t like it and have bought into Trump’s position that it’s the legal and illegal minorities fault that they have lost their jobs.  This creates a yearning for days gone buy in ones Lilly White Midwestern Town.  Hence let’s return to the 1950s Fundy/Evangelical Rant.  

Sorry folks the 1950s have come and gone and for Minorities in our Country they were not so great.  If the Churches in the Midwest are following this 1950s crap they need to repent.  Closing the border is not going to stop the change from predominantly white communities to diversified communities.  Diversity is here to stay and grow.   

Wally you may not like what Bert says but I’d say 98% Bert is right along with Jim.  

JD Miller's picture

Growing up in the rural Midwest, I did not even know what Jim Crow was and could not imagine someone being banned from a town or business based on their skin color.  I wonder if I never saw that stuff  because there were not enough blacks in the area for it even to be an issue or if we just didn't have the racism other places had.  I say that because some of the things I have read about here show me that the racism problem was far more widespread than I realized (I was quite isolated). 

The one mixed race couple that knew growing up was my mom's cousin who was a Skandinavian who married an Asian.  Later my own cousin on my dad's side did the same thing.  I remember some of my young cousins trying to imitate the foreign language they had heard at the wedding (my cousins in-laws were recent immigrants) but they would have done the same thing if they had been southerns (still not right).  In both of these mixed race marriages the new family member was welcomed into the family as far as I know.  I remember my mom commenting on how nice they were and my asking "why wouldn't they be?"  I don't think my mom meant any harm in her statement, it was just that this was something new and unfamiliar.  I remember as a kid (35 years ago) that the concern in our home was not so much about the interracial marriage but whether or not the children would be mistreated.  (we all understood that bigotry was real even though we had largely been isolated from it).  That concerns seems almost silly today, but 35 years ago it wasn't- even in an area where we didn't even know anything about Jim Crow.  I'm glad we have come as far as we have, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep learning and changing.

As I reflect on these memories, I realize that even though racism wasn't right out in the open in our area like it was in other places, we still understood that it was a problem, even if we rarely addressed it.

Bert Perry's picture

Josh, I've seen some of the same, and what strikes me is that while the contemporary (1800s) documents do mention slavery and race a LOT, very often in derogatory terms, you don't see that in modern documents.  The issues of slavery and race are more or less glossed over in favor of emphasizing the Tariff of Abominations, the Transcontinental Railroad, and promoting Northern Industries over Southern.  So I'd be careful to go back to original sources before closing on that.  I think if you do, you'll find that while not too many people come out smelling like a rose, you are going to see that "it was about the cruelty of Reconstruction" is not exactly true.

Regarding my own experience, I grew up in a town populated heavily by people who had fled Gary, IN, when blacks started moving in, and who had seen the consequences of the nasty games people in all corners played.  Suffice it to say that I've seen some things, and my teachers did indeed feel it necessary to teach us about a century of legal discrimination against blacks. I'm quite frankly shocked that JD's teachers didn't cover it well.  It's not exactly a little topic of history, something like the debate over the 27th Amendment or something.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

josh p's picture

Yeah my only point is that we should be careful about identifying every southern supporter as a racist. There were state’s right issues mixed in there and a whole lot of other things. As a thought experiment I illustrated the issue to my son once by suggesting a story idea of the more anti-abortion south invading the more pro-abortion north to stop the practice. I think a lot of very pro-life northerners would take up arms against them. Not an exact parallel but still.

edited to add: The CSA documents themselves directly reference slavery so it pretty obvious that it was a major issue. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m downplaying that. 

Jay's picture

edited to add: The CSA documents themselves directly reference slavery so it pretty obvious that it was a major issue. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m downplaying that. 

I had a long discussion with the pastor I mentioned before who insisted that the War of Northern Aggression was about many other things and slavery was a smaller part of it. So imagine my surprise when I read the Constitution of the Confederate States and saw this:

(3) The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

So now when they say it was about states' rights, I ask them what the specific rights were they wanted protected.  And then, if they ignore it, I call this section of their own constitution out for their attention.

A little knowledge goes a long way sometimes...

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

josh p's picture

Jay wrote:

edited to add: The CSA documents themselves directly reference slavery so it pretty obvious that it was a major issue. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m downplaying that. 

I had a long discussion with the pastor I mentioned before who insisted that the War of Northern Aggression was about many other things and slavery was a smaller part of it. So imagine my surprise when I read the Constitution of the Confederate States and saw this:

(3) The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

So now when they say it was about states' rights, I ask them what the specific rights were they wanted protected.  And then, if they ignore it, I call this section of their own constitution out for their attention.

A little knowledge goes a long way sometimes...

 

Yeah the constitution was actually what I was referencing. I personally kind of doubt that the average soldier was fighting to preserve slavery since many families didn’t even have them. No doubt that the CSA government was though. 

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