Alright, I confess, I don’t remember a lot of the history I was taught in high school. I could use the fact that high school for me was many years ago as an excuse for my lack of retention of the facts – but the fact would remain – I have forgotten many names, dates and important events which have brought us to where we stand today.
I’m thinking right about now, the protesters/rioters wish they had paid a little more attention in history class too, because it would serve them well now, in their present endeavor of statue toppling and desecration. Why? Because if you have a cause, you need to know which statues support your cause and which are against what you stand for before you demolish them.
After all, destroying statues that are on your side just makes you look foolish at best and totally stupid at worst. And let’s be honest, no rioter/protester wants that kind of an image on social media. It could actually do harm to your cause. (you do know what your cause is? right?) Although, the media would probably cover for you and not let anyone know that such a blunder in vandalism and violence had occurred. I think your secret is safe with them. The media is as concerned about your image as you are.
But this lack of knowledge of American history did become apparent recently in Pennsylvania when rioters assaulted the statue of abolitionist Matthias Baldwin, dousing it with paint and spray painting the words “colonizer” and “murderer” on the statue. The problem? This particular guy, Matthias, did believe that black lives matter. He fought against slavery, established a school for black children and paid the teachers’ salaries himself and lobbied for blacks to be able to vote.
Maybe the rioters don’t know what the term abolitionist means? This must be the case because they also vandalized Philadelphia’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors monument with the graffiti, “BLM”, even though this monument is in memory of those who fought for the Union, in memory of those who died fighting to end slavery. Talk about looking foolish, do the protesters not know it was the Union that fought against slavery?
You really do have to know your history before you attempt to erase it from the face of the earth. If you don’t, you may lose something very important in the process, something absolutely essential to your survival – your identity. Progress can only be measured against the past. If there is no past, the evidence of all our progress is erased from our collective memories.
Examples of the protesters ignorance abound, but one of the most glaring and the saddest of these is their vandalizing of the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial in Boston. Who does this memorial honor? It honors the first African American volunteer infantry unit that fought in the Civil War. Their colonel was Robert Gould Shaw.
This memorial took the artist, Saint-Gaudens, fourteen years to complete, finally debuting in 1897. It is considered the greatest piece of public art to come out of the Civil War and it is one of our nation’s most prized pieces of public art as well. As in other places, the graffiti that defaced this monument included the words “black lives matter” among other four-letter words of profanity painted everywhere. (helpful hint to protesters – if you have a message that’s important to you, don’t bury it beneath profanity, let it stand alone and stand out)
Ironically, this memorial honors black lives. These were black lives – giving their lives – giving their lives for a cause greater than themselves, freedom. I think that mattered, I think they mattered. I think it matters still. I think they matter still. Don’t you, protesters? Obviously you don’t, or you wouldn’t have done what you did to their memorial.
By your actions, protesters, you say you disagree. You say black lives matter and then you disgrace and dishonor their memory. Do you want to erase it too? There is nothing courageous about toppling and tearing down statues, nothing courageous in defacing and destroying memorials and monuments. Nothing. No courage is required to do these things. Just ignorance and anger. And sadly ignorance breeds anger. Only truth opens our eyes and sets us free.
Sadly, protesters/rioters, you are not the only people to act wrongly because you do not know history. The Israelites thought they knew their history, it was written in a book that contained a lot of prophesy about a coming King. And they were looking forward to His coming – until He came. When He came, most of them didn’t recognize Him as the One they had been waiting for all this time. Did they not remember their history? Or had they never learned their history to begin with? So out of their ignorance of the truth, they killed Him. Crucified Him, actually.
We really do need to know our history if we do not want to repeat our mistakes. Destroying the symbols of our past just gives us amnesia – not hope, not peace, not freedom, just empty space where once history mingled with memories too painful to repeat – too important to be forgotten.
That crucified King was Jesus. He knows our past, our present and our future. He has been present for all of it. Revelation 1:8 confirms that,
” ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’ ”
Not only is He present with us but the justice, the equality that we have been seeking are found in Him.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
Racial division in Jesus’s time was between Jew and Gentile rather than between black and white. It seems we always look for some way to separate ourselves from each other. But in Christ we are all one and God sees us all the same. He is no respecter of persons.
“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.'” (Acts 10:34)
“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ ” (Revelation 7:9-10)
Did you catch that? every, no one excluded on the basis of nationality, or ethnic group or language spoken or any arbitrary, humanly devised division. Why? Because God looks at us differently than we look at ourselves and look at each other.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ ” (1 Samuel 16:7)
If only we could learn to do that with each other. Martin Luther King Jr. said it when he said people should be judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery said it too, using these words, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Lord, give my heart eyes to see that which is essential, that which is essentially, eternally valuable in each person as Your creation . . .
sincerely, Grace Day
One thought on “Corona Chronicles-True Confessions#57”
I learned a lot as I read today’s chronicle. I didn’t realize those particular statues were vandalized or who they were so this was a history lesson for me as well. Your point is a valid and good one. May this country wake up and realize the madness we’re descending into by rioting, looting and desecrating our historical landmarks and turn back to Jesus and repent. Oh Lord…that we would humble ourselves, repent and that God would heal our land.
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