Just a few days ago I woke up and unlike usual I did not check my eMail because I had a very busy day. Late that night, when I finally made it back home I sat before my computer and saw my eMail was lit up with orders for my book The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag. There were over 1,200 of them. What had happened? I went to bed. The next morning I awoke to read a news headline that Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart had all announced that they would no longer be selling, or allowing the sale, of any "Confederate" merchandise. I logged onto Amazon and sure enough, my books were gone.
eBay's war against all things Confederate was nothing new. Since the late 90's eBay has routinely found other excuses to punish and close the accounts of people selling "Confederate" merchandise. That's why myself and others have had so many dozens of eBay user names over the years. The accounts that did not sell "Confederate" merchandise were never attacked. Only the ones that did. There was a pattern there.
Wal-Mart really surprised me. A Southern company, owned by a Southern family, whose patriarch was a supporter of the SCV, UDC, etc. But it would seem that political correctness knows no limits.
Here are some of the news reports from this week - just in case you missed them:
CNN: eBay will ban the sale of Confederate flag merchandise, the auction site announced Tuesday, in a decision that follows in the steps of major retailers like Sears. "We have decided to prohibit Confederate flags, and many items containing this image, because we believe it has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism," eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff said in an email to CNN. "This decision is consistent with our long-standing policy that prohibits items that promote or glorify hatred, violence and racial intolerance."
ABC NEWS: Following Walmart , Sears and eBay, mega online seller Amazon and crafts site Etsy say they will ban sales of Confederate Flag merchandise, after the products experienced a surge in popularity.Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. is joining the ban on Confederate flag sales, a spokesman for the company confirmed to ABC News, with its more than 2 million third-party sellers.
In the last 24 hours, the top five biggest sales rank gainers on Amazon.com, or "movers and shakers," of the "patio, lawn and garden" category have been Confederate flag products, according to the website.
ESPN NEWS: NASCAR, a sport with deep Southern roots, issued a statement Tuesday supporting the movement to take down the Confederate flag
THREE SOUTHERN GOVERNORS ORDER FLAGS REMOVED
While the media storm was brewing the governors of three Southern States, both Democrat and Republican, have ordered the flags and memorials of our ancestors removed.
And additionally the Supreme Court of the United States issued its first ruling against the Confederate Flag.
If you are a "flagger" then you probably know that you have been disowned by the SCV's top leadership.
And if all this wasn't bad enough I started receiving statements from the top leadership of my own Southern Baptist Convention who had decided that this was the week when they would disavow everything "Southern." The top officers of the convention, chairmen of committees, seminary presidents, etc. They began issuing statements, like dominoes, attacking our ancestors, attacking the very men who founded the denomination as slave owners and bigots, attacking the confederacy, I'll have more about this below.
We've thought that we've been fighting the "heritage" war for how many years now? This week must have been the "heritage war tet offensive" because lets just say that there has been more of an attack against our history and against our heritage in the past few days than we had seen in the past several years.
The truth is that until this week, much of the "heritage war" was the organized squabbling of a few individuals for the sake of fundraising. For example, The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern Legal Resource Center. Basically two lawyers going back and forth, suing each other, saying nasty things about each other, in typical lawyer fashion, and maintaining the "fight" as an excuse to keep their respective sides stirred up and donating to their respective non-profits. When donations on either side slacked off the words would get hotter and the accusations nastier, etc. Jessie Jackson does the same thing. If "racial unity" were ever accomplished in this country Jessie and his ilk would all be immediately UNEMPLOYED and they know it.
In both cases, our culture war and Jessie's, the media got involved. Then the government. Then corporations jump in thinking that they will use this as an advertising ploy. This means that corporate America is betting against us!
Wal-Mart, eBay, Amazon, Sears, etc. are all betting that they will pick up more sales from minorities, liberals, Yankees, etc. than they will lose from Southerners who would properly take their business elsewhere. They are not only gambling that there are more of them than there are of us - they are gambling that we will just fold like one of Wal-Mart's cheap "Ozark Trail" brand tents and continue shopping there. Why spend millions of dollars advertising to us when they can insult us for free and pick up the support business of those who don't like us all the while keeping our business.
And NASCAR is gambling that you'll have nothing better to do on Sunday than set in front of your TV and watch cars drive around in circles all day. I've got a silly idea? How about going to church in the morning - its what our ancestors did - and then watching a baseball game or playing a board game with our kids or even taking a nap in the afternoon? Just a thought.
How many of us drink coffee at Starbucks? How many of us use Facebook? (I do not use Facebook but sadly most of you probably do). How many of you still vote for Republicans? Or even Democrats? There are options to Starbucks. Does anyone remember Folgers? And there are options to Facebook. There are even alternatives to the two major political parties. My favorite of the many is the Constitution Party though admittedly I have voted independently the last few election cycles. But the only alternative to Amazon is eBay and the only alternative to eBay is Amazon. And since Sears owns Kmart (little known secret, actually Kmart owns Sears) the only alternative to Wal-Mart is Sears and the only alternative to Sears is Wal-Mart. So where else is a good Southerner going to shop?
What am I saying? I'm saying that the "heritage war" is only now beginning and we are going to be scrambling trying to figure out how to fight it.
Where are so many of Wal-Mart's stores? In the South? Their corporate headquarters is in Arkansas. How many store managers, assistant managers, and even employees are solid Southern folks. Men and women who are "salt of the earth" people. Proud of their ancestors, their culture, their heritage. They cannot just up and quit their jobs because their employer has basically just told them to go take a long walk down a short pier.
And do thousands of us leave our churches because the denominational leadership has declared war on our ancestors and in the case of the Southern Baptist Convention - itself? Institutions that we've sacrificed so much for - lets just abandon them and give them to the liberals without a fight. Yeah, that sounds like a battle plan. Its exactly the one that the liberals are counting on us enacting.
I'm just saying that we have to be patient with one another as each of us determines how we will fight this war. Like the war in which our ancestors fought, we did not ask for this. It was thrust upon us by aggressive men of evil intention and with it comes the duty of fighting. Unlike before, there will not be the organized benefit of our local governments collectively rising up and banding together. Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, etc. will not be seceding again as they did before. There will be no "Confederacy" to join. No army to enlist in. But our duty to maintain our culture and pass along our history and heritage to our children and grandchildren continues. It is a duty we must not shirk. The enemy is counting on the fact that once provoked we will turn on each other. We must never do so.
I will admit, I too am at a loss right now. What should I be doing? No doubt more than I am! That said, I've put about 22 hours into the heritage fight in the last 46 hours of this week. The front on which I have chosen to fight: The Southern Baptist Convention.
In the last week, Russell Moore, one of the Convention's presidents, has issued the following statements:
"The SBC was founded over the issue of human slavery....It's not just that the SBC was on the wrong side of the issue....we were on the wrong side of the Bible, on the wrong side of the gospel, on the wrong side of Jesus."
"The cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire."
"Let's take down that flag."
His comments were supported by his predecessor, Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:
"Gospel-minded Christians should support taking down the flag."
Alan Cross, a pastor from Montgomery, Alabama who serves on the Executive Committee issued the following statement to that committee:
"I do not know of very many Southern Baptists, if any, who fly the Confederate flag... And I live in Montgomery, Alabama, the first capital of the Confederacy. We have some memorials around with the flag on it, but they are relics of the past and are not related to the active ministry of churches."
Suffice to say, the Southern Baptist Convention was NOT founded for the purpose of advancing, maintaining, or perpetuating slavery. And the Bible does not encourage or condemn the institution of slavery. It simply acknowledges its existence, much like it acknowledges the existence or air. In other words, it takes it for granted. Therefore it would be impossible for the convention to have ever come down "on the wrong side of the Bible, on the wrong side of the gospel, on the wrong side of Jesus."
And the fact is that the Southern Baptist Convention was established many years before the War Between the States so it is not a uniquely Confederate institution. That said, most of its founders were supporters of the Confederacy. Many of them served in the Confederate military and/or in Civilian posts within the Confederate government. In 1863, at its annual meeting, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution promising to:
"render a hearty support to the Confederate Government in all constitutional measures to secure our independence."
So in their hopes to attack all things "Southern" the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are wrongfully attacking the very founders of their own denomination. And in lying about the godly men and women who established the convention, and in lying about the motives and beliefs of their founders I have to wonder what their motives are?
So I spent the better part of yesterday formulating a reply that was sent to the editor of every State paper for every State convention within the Southern Baptist Convention. The replies I have received to it have been interesting. Suffice to say, the only favorable reply came from Gerald Harris, editor of the Christian Index, the State paper for Georgia. He wrote to me the following:
Dear Dr. DeVries,
Thank you for sending the letter expressing your well founded views on the Confederate flag, our ancestors and the importance of honoring our "fathers." I am in complete agreement with you. I am not at all happy with some of our SBC leaders, namely the ones you mentioned. Not only are they insensitive to our heritage, but seem to be pushing a Calvinistic agenda, which is dividing our Convention. I grew up listening to Jack Hudson at Northside Baptist Church in Charlotte and going to meetings of the Baptist Bible Fellowship, so I appreciate both your theology and philosophy. I consider myself a fundamental Baptist in the Southern Baptist Convention. God bless you for your strong stand and deep convictions.
In the fellowship of Christian love,
The Christian Index
Below is the editorial to which Dr. Harris replied. An editorial that I have been publishing far and wide, throughout the Convention. Pray that it will receive an audience.
I am a Southern Baptist pastor. I am the president of a Baptist college with over 800 students. And I am the direct descendant of godly Southern Baptist men who served honorably in the Army of the Confederate States of America. My ancestors did NOT own slaves. And they did NOT fight to maintain or perpetuate slavery. My great-grandfather, Macijah N. Lawrence, was a deacon in a Southern Baptist Church, a Sunday school teacher, and a soul-winner. He owned two very large farms which he and his family worked without the benefit of slave labor. He enlisted in the Confederate States Army because his homeland was invaded by an aggressive army from the North. He served honorably during the entire course of the war and he was discharged honorably when it surrendered.
Having surrendered in Texas and not having the money with which to travel by any other means he walked home to Alabama to find his farm had been destroyed by the invading Army, his farmland had been stolen by carpetbaggers, and his family was living by the charity of others. Fortunately, while serving in Texas, he had purchased some land. So he, his wife, and their 9 children walked all the way back to central Texas where he helped to plant a church as they built a new farm and a new home.
My grandfather's service during the war was as the color sergeant in the 19th Texas Infantry. His job was to march at the front of the column, carrying the flag that Russell Moore, Al Mohler, and others now vilify. It also meant that he was the primary target for enemy fire in each and every battle. The fact that he survived the war is itself a miracle given his job.
I share this ancestry with my maternal grandfather, himself a Southern Baptist pastor for 53 years. Hundreds of thousands of Southern Baptists share similar ancestry.
In Exodus 20 we are commanded to honour our fathers. Reading biblical genealogy we know that our grandfather's and even great grandfathers are considered our "fathers." That is why our Lord, so many more generations removed from His ancestors than we are from our Confederate ancestors, was referred to as the "Son of David."
Perhaps Russell Moore, Alan Cross, Bill Leonard, Albert Mohler, Danny Akin, Doug Wilson, etc. do not share the ancestry common to the majority of Southern Baptists? Or perhaps they do and are simply choosing political correctness over the 5th commandment? In either case, I cannot just set quietly in my office as men with voices more prominent than mine slander the good name of my fathers. Men who have left me a godly heritage. Proverbs 13:22 tells us that, "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children." My Confederate ancestors were good men. And among the many things that they left for us was the King James Bible, the testimony of their Christian faith, a faithful adherence to the doctrines and practices once considered "distinctive" to Baptists, and the presentation of the gospel to their children who, in turn, were able to lead us to the same common salvation. It is because of, and not despite my Confederate fathers, that I today find myself "accepted in the beloved." The greatest of all gifts left to me by my godly Confederate fathers was the "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," of Ephesians 4:5.
I have another great-grandfather, he was a chaplain in the Confederate Army and also a Methodist pastor. He too held and preached the "One Lord" and the primary tenants of our "one faith," even if he did not share our baptism. He too has left to me a godly heritage.
The men who founded our Southern Baptist Convention, almost to the man, were themselves Confederate veterans. Those who were too old to serve were documented supporters of the Confederate States government. So the attack by our denominational leadership is not only an attack against my ancestors. Not only is it an attack against a common heritage shared by the majority of Southern Baptists. It is a very attack against the very men (and women) who birthed our denomination and established many of its critical institutions. It is a direct attack against the character and the godliness of our fathers and heroes in the faith.
In Psalm 11:3 the question is asked, "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" I simply cannot imagine why the leaders of our convention would be making such a vicious attack against the very foundation of our denomination by impugning the character, morality, and patriotism of our denominational founders? Do they not realize that our denomination cannot withstand such an attack without being redefined so drastically that it may cease to be what it has always been? Maybe they do? If so, that is even scarier! I simply cannot allow the attack against my fathers by ancestry, or my fathers in the faith, both of whom were unashamedly Baptists, Confederates, and dare I say it?, Southern, to stand without an answer.
13 years ago I authored a 10-chapter book with 61 endnotes documenting the truth that the flag which my Confederate fathers so bravely carried into the battle defending their homes and hearths was not a symbol of slavery or hate. It was a symbol they selected from antiquity as a testimony of their Christian faith. In the few hours between when Amazon announced that they would remove all "Confederate" merchandise and the time when they removed the listing of my book I sold 1,215 copies of it. I will give a copy, absolutely free, to anyone who visits my new website and requests it. The reason I am giving it away for free is because our history and heritage are under attack like never before. And sadly, the attack against our Southern Baptist ancestors is now coming from high-ranking so-called "Southern Baptists." How sad it is that I must work so hard to enable the rank and file of our Southern Baptist churches to defend the heritage and the good name of our noble ancestors, men and women who have given us so much, against the slander of our own denominational leadership. The very least that I can do is give anyone who requests it a copy of the book in the name of those who so bravely fought for their nation as they passed down to their children, and to us, the "faith once delivered unto the saints."
The website is at www.dixieheritage.weebly.com - I have also posted a video blog (I think they call them VLOGs) at https://youtu.be/OcYToxS6BdI
While I too think that the actions committed by a domestic terrorist against our brethren at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were deplorable and unconscionable I do not believe that the proper response to them, by Southern Baptists, or by anyone else, is to vilify the good name of our ancestors. Nor should we propagate lies about the banner under which many of them so bravely fought.Romans 12:21 tells us to, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." To that end I am writing this letter hoping in some small measure to combat the lies about our ancestors and about our common history with truth.
I believe that the motto of the Confederacy is most applicable: Deo Vindice - God will Vindicate!
As the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 16:6, "I have a goodly heritage." It is a gift given to me by my Confederate fathers. Men who sacrificed much to live for Jesus and laid the foundations so that we too can serve Him in our Southern Baptist Churches.
Edward DeVries, Th.D.
School of Biblical & Theological Studies
THIS WEEK IN THE WBTS
President Andrew Johnson named Lewis E. Parsons as provisional governor of Alabama.
Frances Adeline Seward, the wife of Secretary of State William H. Seward, passed away of a heart attack at age 60.
The C.S.S. Shenandoah, located in the Bering Sea, captured two whaling vessels.
At Dokesville, near Fort Towson, Indian Territory, Confederate Brigadier General Stand Watie surrendered the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole and Osage Battalion to Lieutenant Colonel Asa Mathews. The Creek Indian general represented the last formal submission of any sizable body of Confederate troops.
CAN I HELP YOU RAISE FUNDS?
Many of our groups, be they flaggers, SCV camps, or individuals will need to raise money to fight the heritage war. To help with that I am offering to release bulk copies of my book The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag. This is the SAME book you can get for free by simply going to our Dixie Heritage website and requesting it. When you go to the website you receive an eBook copy. This offer is for actual paper-printed books. Hard copies.
The books have a cover price of $6. I have intentionally kept that price low to encourage the sale of the book. But many groups have used the book as a fundraiser at $10 per book. One group at $12 per book.
In the past I made the book available for $3.50 per book plus postage. Right now, I'll make it available for as little as $1 per book. So a group can order 100 copies and turn $100 into $600 or they could order 50 copies for $65 and turn that into $300. That is assuming you are reselling the books for the $6 cover price and not the higher $8 or $10 fundraising price.
If you just want to give the books away I would let 25 copies go for $35.
All of these prices include postage for me to ship the books to you anywhere in the US or Canada.
And of course, if you just want to put the information into people's hands at NO cost to them or to you just send them to our website: www.dixieheritage.weebly.com and I will send them a FREE copy for the asking. The offer for bulk sales is intended to help those of you who want to give hard copies of the book away and/or who want to sell them as a fundraiser to be able to do so. It cost me $2.71 cents per book to have them printed. So at $1 per book I am losing money to help you raise money so that you can continue to defend the good names of our noble ancestors.
Until next week,