On Wednesday, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, her office released this correspondence. Tens of thousands of letters and eMails.
By law, when you send an eMail or a letter to a public official or to a government agency, your name, address, telephone number, eMail address, etc. all become a matter of public record. That is why most government agencies have a disclaimer on their websites telling you not to email them unless you agree to having your name and contact information potentially disclosed to the world via a Freedom of Information Act request . Yet for some unknown reason Governor Haley redacted last names, email addresses and other identifying information from these thousands of letters and eMails before releasing them.
Not too distracted from redacting her Freedom of Information Act disclosures, Haley instructed her Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) to serve official notice on all of the state's Confederate Flag supporters that they will be held criminally responsible for the behavior of Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis should they dare to hold the Southern Heritage Rally scheduled for 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 10 at the State House.
Haley, through SCDPS officers, has personally threatened the event's organizers.
In a letter to SCDPS, Dixie Heritage subscriber James Bessenger raised concerns about the Governor's handling of the rally. According to Bessenger, Haley's agency informed him last week that a decision had been made to separate attendees at the upcoming rally into two categories - "pro-flag" and "anti-flag." He also claimes that SCDPS informed him he must permit KKK members and neo-Nazis to join him inside a protective barricade set aside for the members of his group.
Bessenger wasn't happy about that. "I can all but assure you that these individuals would be received no better inside they barricade than they would be outside of it," he wrote. "Our organization actively speaks out against such organizations and the effect they have on the cause of preserving Southern Heritage."
Bessenger also noted in his letter something we have reported on in the past, that the KKK leadership in South Carolina are actually, wait for it, Federal Agents (i.e. agent provocateurs). "One might draw the conclusion that this is being led toward a set-up," he added.
Basically, what Bessenger's group had planned as a peaceful event to commemorate the flag's former presence on State House grounds is now being steered (by government) in a vastly different direction.
What we are trying to determine is whether or not Haley also had a hand in Thursday's announcement by the leaders of "Black Matters," that their "Not My Heritage" counter-rally against supporters of the Flag, that was originally scheduled to coincide with this weekend's rally, has been canceled.
"Black Matters" says it will host its event two weeks after this weekend's rally - at which time it will "demand a ban of Confederate emblems nationwide."
REBUILDING SOUTH CAROLINA'S GOVERNMENT
Tuesday, June 14th, South Carolina Republicans threw out two of the most brazenly anti-Confederate legislators in Spartanburg County.
Pro-Confederate challenger Josiah Magnuson soundly thrashed Rep. Doug Brannon, taking 58% of the votes cast to Brannon's 42%. Brannon not only authored the resolution removing the Confederate flag from the Confederate memorial on Statehouse grounds, but also introduced legislation to make it illegal to display the Confederate battle flag on the Statehouse grounds. In an adjoining district, Steven Long defeated anti-flag incumbent Donna Hicks 66% to Hicks's 34%. Hicks, accused Long of giving her cellphone number to "white hate" groups after she voted to remove the Confederate flag. Long said he only gave Hicks's contact information to those who asked. Her cellphone number is available on her official webpage.
Most importantly, state senator Lee Bright of Spartanburg County polled 38% against three opponents. Hundreds of thousands of dollars from Haley and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce flowed into Talley's campaign. Despite previously filing for bankruptcy, Talley was also able to donate $100,000 to his own campaign. In his previous legislative experience, Talley has earned a B- rating from the NRA and voted to confirm liberal judges hostile to the 2nd Amendment, Confederate flag, and pro-life causes.
Bright was one of three senators to support the flag and honor the will of his constituents. He URGENTLY NEEDS contributions for his campaign. Also a superhero for the second amendment, Bright exemplifies the traditional values we seek to uphold and maintain. A contribution to Bright is a vote against Haley and the establishment whose interests will never represent our own.
The link to Bright's campaign is below, along with a mailing address for his campaign. If you wish to mail a check, please expedite it.
Please donate to Senator Lee Bright. Help us raise money and continue to represent the 12th district! If you prefer to mail your contribution, please send your check ...
Bright For Senate
PO Box 589
Roebuck, SC 29376
NIKKI HALEY BREAKS THE LAW
Nah, she wouldn't do that? Actually, yeah, she would. And it was her own flag law to boot:
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley apparently broke the law when she flew a university flag over the Capitol to celebrate a national championship last week.
A 2000 law ordering the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome notes that only the U.S. and state flag can fly at the dome. It gives no exceptions.
South Carolina Secessionist Party is considering filing a formal complaint over Haley's decision to fly the Coastal Carolina flag for a day after the team won the college baseball world series Thursday.
Haley didn't immediately respond to questions given to her staff Tuesday.
Board Vote on Renaming JEB Stuart High School
FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA - A cause that attracted the attention of some famous former students including actress Julianne Moore will come front and center for a vote July 28 by members of the Fairfax County School Board. Renaming J.E.B. Stuart High School.
BRICKS THROUGH WINDOWS
CANTON, Ohio - A Canton man who proudly flies a Confederate flag outside his home says he is now the target of vandalism.
Dennis Tipton says he displays the flag, not to offend, but "to honor the fallen heroes who fought for our freedom."
Other residents, however, don't see it that way.
Just days ago, he says someone threw bricks into his home with a note attached. It was filled with expletives and threatened: "take the flag down...or it's gon' be worse."
But Tipton says the threats don't bother him and he intends on keeping the flag on the pole in his front yard.
"I have no prejudice. We're all pink on the inside."
BLACK STUDENTS DEFACE MONUMENT
A year after a student movement pushed University of Texas at Austin leaders to remove a statue of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis from campus, another campus monument has been attacked.
On Thursday, "Black Lives Matter" was spray painted over a dedication to the Confederacy that is carved into a wall on UT Austin's Main Mall. The same was spray painted on the Davis statue last year as students, alumni, faculty and others lobbied the university to remove it from campus.
The dedication, not far from the school's iconic tower, was an inscription, near the prominent Littlefield Fountain, that is dedicated to "the men and women of the Confederacy who fought with valor" to maintain "states' rights."
UT President Greg Fenves announced last August that the university would no longer display the Davis statue, which has drawn criticism since it was commissioned in 1916. But several other Confederate monuments, including the inscription that was painted over this week, as well as statues of Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston, a Confederate general, remain on UT's Main Mall, despite calls from a minority of students to remove them.
The university may add a plaque near the prominent Littlefield Fountain to explain the context of the statues, Fenves has said.
LOUISIANA WOMAN ARRESTED FOR DESECRATION OF FLAG
HARAHAN, La. (AP) - A Harahan woman has been arrested after police say she stole and tore a Confederate flag.
Harahan police say that 18-year-old Madelyn Christina was caught on surveillance video Monday stealing a Confederate battle flag from a flag pole in front of a neighbor's house. When contacted by police, Christina told officers that she stole the flag because it was racist.
Police also say that when they tried to retrieve the flag from Christina's vehicle, they found marijuana, cocaine and alprazolam.
Christina was arrested on three counts of drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, theft under $100 and flag desecration.
Louisiana is one of five states with laws making desecration of the Confederate flag illegal.
It's unclear if Christina has an attorney.
In the Baptist churches of the antebellum South, blacks and whites usually worshipped together. This was not the case in most of the churches in the North.
Fast forward to our modern era, and in the last 15 years or so a new generation of Southern Baptists have arisen. They have been told by the liberals in their leadership that the convention was established as a byproduct of the Civil War by evil slaveholders in the South whose primary missionary enterprise was to promote slavery and whip black people while quoting scripture verses about slaves obeying their master.
Just as their has been a push throughout our nation to purge our history of its founding fathers, so in the SBC there is a movement to purge the convention of any reference to the fact that its founders and early leaders were Southern.
The reality, the history, is a totally different story. As the organizational developments and formal establishment of the Southern Baptist Convention predates the War by a decade and the divisions between Baptists of the South and their brethren in the North a few decades prior even to that.
There were a LOT of things dividing the Baptists of the North from the Baptists of the South. In his history of the Southern Baptist Convention, W. W. Barnes expressed the view that these differences between northern and southern Baptists would have brought separation even had there not been a political division in the country that ultimately resulted in the WBTS.
With all that divided them, believe it or not, the one thing that Baptists, both North and South actually shared as common ground in about equal numbers, was slavery. That is because for every Baptist in the South who wanted to own slaves or run their plantation or mill with slave labor, guess what? There was a Baptist in the North who was in the business of human trafficking, eager to sell slaves.
A minority of Northern Baptist merchants sought the profit involved in importing slaves from Africa while a minority of Southern Baptist planters, the only ones able to use large numbers of unskilled laborers on large plantations in a relatively warm climate, were their customers. At the height of this system, however, two-thirds of the white families of the South owned no slaves at all, and Baptists (who were generally of the lower economic status) owned even fewer slaves than their wealthier Episcopal and Presbyterian neighbors. The number of slave owners in the Southern Baptist churches was about equal to the number of slave sellers in the Northern churches. Likewise, the number of abolitionists in the Southern churches was about equal to the number in the Northern churches too.
So the Southern Baptist Convention, despite all of the revisionist propaganda to the contrary, was not established by slaveholders for the purpose of promoting and expanding slavery. Here is the real story of the establishment and development of what is arguably the greatest missionary enterprise the world has ever seen - The Southern Baptist Convention:
Most early Baptists in America arrived from England in the seventeenth century where the King and the State Church persecuted them for their separatist religious views. Baptists like Roger Williams and John Clarke migrated to New England in the 1630s; Elias Keach and others entered the Middle Colonies in the 1680s; and still others purchased land in the Southern Colonies in the 1680s and 1690s.
The oldest Baptist church in the South, First Baptist Church, Charleston, South Carolina, was organized in Kittery, Maine, in 1682, under the leadership of William Screven. The church moved to South Carolina a few years later. A Baptist church was formed in the Virginia colony in 1715 through the preaching of Robert Norden, and one in North Carolina in 1727 through the ministry of Paul Palmer. By 1740, there were just eight Baptist churches in the southern colonies.
The Great Awakening swept through the American colonies about 1740. Shortly thereafter, Baptists in the South began a period of rapid growth. As George Whitfield, the Anglican evangelist who led the revival lamented, "Woe is me, all of my chickens have become ducks." This was in reference to his converts seeking baptism and membership in Baptist churches.
The principal Baptist leaders in the Great Awakening were Shubal Steams and Daniel Marshall, who were called Separate Baptists. In 1755, these two Baptist preachers from Connecticut and a few of their followers organized a church at Sandy Creek, North Carolina. During the next few years they preached zealously in all the southern colonies, stormed the new western frontier, and provided patterns of church life that Southern Baptists still follow. This rapid spread of Baptists in the South was strongly opposed by the churches in the North because the northern churches were primarilt State churches and were supported by public taxes.
In Virginia Baptist preachers were whipped and imprisoned in the decade before the American Revolution.
When the Declaration of Independence was signed it was against the law to be a Baptist in 12 of the 13 colonies.
Baptists soon became active patriots in the Revolutionary War. With their demands for religious liberty, they included a cry for political liberty. They loyally supported patriots like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington, and received their praise. Baptists in the South played an important role in securing the adoption of religious liberty in Virginia. Like their fellow Baptists in the North, they helped lay foundations for the national Bill of Rights which guaranteed religious liberty for all in the new Constitution of the United States.
After the close of the Revolutionary War, Baptists in the southern states grew steadily during the remainder of the 1700s. A second Great Awakening broke out among several denominations west of the Allegheny Mountains just at the turn of the century. Baptist churches in the South gained many new members as a result of this revival.
Baptists in America, like their English Baptist brethren, desired the larger fellowship and combined ability for missions that comes from associational work. In 1707, Baptists around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, organized the first Baptist association in America by sending messengers from nearby churches. The second association, a daughter of the first, was formed in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1751. After this, the number of associations began to increase rapidly.
At first the associations provided a larger fellowship and to allow counsel concerning common problems facing the churches. Associations had no authority over the churches which affiliated with them.
Some Baptists, however, were not willing to relate to an association for fear that their churches might lose some of their freedom and authority. When the Philadelphia Association began a home missions program in 1755, many churches viewed this as another way in which the associations might rob them of their freedom. They began to consider other ways to do mission work which would safeguard the authority of the churches.
One of these new methods came into being in 1792 when William Carey led in the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society in England. This kind of missionary body would make it possible for individuals to work together in missions or any other Christian task without surrendering any church authority. Called the society method, it differed from the older associational method by removing the churches from the supervision of the associations in missionary activity. Under this new plan, any Baptists interested in foreign missions could organize an independent society for foreign missions whose membership would consist of those who would make a financial gift for foreign missions. Similarly, those Baptists interested in home missions could organize another independent society for that purpose, or another society could be organized in this way for any kind of Christian work. Massachusetts Baptists adopted such a plan in 1802. Within a decade, most of the associations had turned their missionary programs over to independent missionary societies.
In 1812, Adoniram and Ann Judson and Luther Rice sailed to India as missionaries for another denomination. En route, they studied the Bible and other books carefully, concluding that Baptist beliefs were closer to the New Testament teachings than their former views. All three sought out baptism as Baptists in India. They informed their denomination of this and were stripped of their standing. They sought to become missionaries for Baptist churches in the United States, but there was no Baptist foreign mission society in the nation. So local societies were formed in the North and the South to meet the immediate needs of these new Baptist foreign missionaries.
May 18, 1814, thirty-three messengers representing Baptist churches throughout America met at Philadelphia and formed a national foreign mission society called the General Missionary Convention. Meeting only once every three years, this body was sometimes called the Triennial Convention. The Convention was organized on the society pattern (that is, organizing a separate society for each Christian ministry), although southern leaders sought for several years to change it into the associational type (that is, one denominational body fostering several different Christian ministries). Baptists in America formed a second society in 1824 for tract publication and distribution. In 1832, they organized a home mission society. Seemingly, these Baptists had permanently united on the society model for Christian work.
When Baptists in this country formed the first of their three national societies in 1814, many of their leaders recognized that there were numerous social, cultural, economic, and political differences between the businessmen of the North, the farmers of the West, and the planters of the South. These differences had already brought much political rivalry between the several sections of the new nation. Each section continued to revive old colonial disagreements and wrestled with questions about how the new constitution should be interpreted, what constituted the final legal power, and similar problems.
So naturally, the meetings of the three Baptist national societies in the 1840s brought angry debates between Northerners and Southerners. These debates concerned the interpretation of both the constitutions of the missionary societies and also the Constitution of the United States.
The Northerners in the societies often rejected the appointment of Southerners to receive missionary appointments. The Northern churches also wanted to extend the authority of the denominational body to discipline church members in violation of local church autonomy. The stage was set for separation.
In 1844, Georgia Baptists asked the Home Mission Society to appoint a missionary to guide church planting efforts in Georgia. The appointment was declined. A few months later, the Alabama Baptist Convention asked the Foreign Mission Society to appoint one of their preachers as a missionary. When the society said no, Virginia Baptists called for Baptists of the South to meet at Augusta, Georgia, in May, 1845, for the purpose of consulting "on the best means of promoting the Foreign Mission cause, and other interests of the Baptist denomination in the South."
May 8, 1845, about 293 Baptist leaders of the South gathered at the First Baptist Church, Augusta, Georgia, representing over 365,000 Baptists. They concluded, with expressions of regret from their own leaders and from distinguished northern Baptist leaders, that more could be accomplished in Christian work by the organization in the South of a separate Baptist body for missionary work. The Methodists in the South had already separated from their northern brethren and formed their own denominational body and southern Presbyterians were in the process of doing so too.
Southern Baptist leaders noted that Paul and Barnabas had disagreed over the use of John Mark in mission service, and "two lines of service were opened for the benefit of the churches." These leaders hoped that "with no sharpness of contention, with no bitterness of spirit, . . . we may part asunder and open two lines of service to the heathen and the destitute."
10, 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention was provisionally organized under a new constitution, which was ratified the following year in Richmond, Virginia. In their address to the public, Convention president William B. Johnson and other Southern Baptist leaders pointed out that Baptists, North and South, were still brethren; that separation involved only the home and foreign mission societies and did not include the third national society for tract publication; and that this new organization would permit them to have a body that would be willing to appoint Southerners to home and foreign mission fields without the objection of the northern churches.
At the 1845 meeting, Southern Baptists were faced not only with the question of whether to organize a separate body but also with the problem of what kind. Baptists, like other denominations which give final authority to the local churches, have had difficulty in trying to form an effective general body without threatening the local church's autonomy. This was the reason that the association-type plan had been viewed with suspicion by some churches, resulting in the adoption of the society plan for missionary and other Christian work.In safeguarding the authority of the churches, however, the society plan made it difficult to secure unity and effectiveness in denominational work.
Southern Baptists, at their meeting in 1845, deliberately rejected the method of having a separate society for each kind of Christian service. They chose instead to follow the more centralized pattern of the older associational plan to form only one general convention closely related to the churches for all Christian ministries. They felt that they could provide safeguards in Convention operation that would protect the autonomy of the local churches. Rather than form independent societies for Christian ministries, Southern Baptists elected a board of managers to supervise foreign missions and another to supervise home missions, both under the authority of the Convention. Other boards for additional Christian ministries would be formed later by the Convention.
After 1845, Northern Baptists moved even farther toward the society type of organization until 1907-08, after which they began experimenting with a modified associational type of convention. Southern Baptists continued to move toward an associational-type body until 1931 when, by constitutional action, practically all of the remaining society-type characteristics were eliminated from their convention.
Toward the end of the 1850's and especially into the 1860's the northern invasion of the Southern States and its resultant War Against the South; followed by reconstruction; continued sectional rivalry, depressions and inflation, internal doctrinal conflicts, perplexing organizational questions, and - despite these things - remarkable growth and expansion in Christian ministries made up the story of Southern Baptists until 1891.
The War Between the States totally disrupted all of the programs of the Convention. Reconstruction (until 1877) delayed the return to normalcy. Political / sectional differences in other forms continued to mar the fellowship and cooperation of Southern Baptists with Northern Baptists. While the question of reunion was raised by Northern Baptists after the WBTS had ended, Southern Baptists declined to return to the society-type denominational bodies they had left in 1845. Despite this, the Home Mission Society of the North carried on a fruitful program of missions, education, and church, assistance among both blacks and whites in the South during this period. This active work in the South by the northern society provided a formidable rival for the Southern Baptist Convention. Not until the 1880s was the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board able to claim the southern field as its base.
Landmarkism, another important movement in Southern Baptist history, developed in the 1850s led by a preacher, Dr. J. R. Graves. He migrated from Vermont to the South bringing with him the typical New England Baptist fear of conventions. His leadership ensured that the Southern convention would respect the autonomy of its churches for generations to come. I
In 1846, after the first year of operation, the Foreign Mission Board reported that only two missionaries had been appointed to one field (China) and that receipts had totaled only $11,735. By 1891, however, the board had raised a total of almost $2,000,000 and had increased the number of missionaries to ninety-one serving in six fields: China, Africa, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, and Japan.
One of these missionaries in China was Lottie Moon. In 1887, she appealed to Southern Baptist women to make a special Christmas offering for foreign missions. In the following year, the newly-organized Woman's Missionary Union set a goal of $2,000 for this cause and raised $3,315. This was the small beginning of an annual Christmas offering that has raised more than $1,000,000,000 for foreign missions.
The Home Mission Board encountered many problems in its first half century of life. Despite adverse conditions, this board made excellent progress. In its first year, it reported seven missionaries and receipts of $1,824, but by 1891 the number of missionaries had increased to 407 and the receipts for that year to $199,251.
In addition to these two original boards, the Convention elected two other boards during this period, neither of which survived. In 1851, a Bible Board was formed at Nashville, Tennessee, but it was dissolved during the War. From 1863 to 1873, the Convention fostered the first Sunday School Board at Greenville, South Carolina, but it was a casualty of the postwar financial crisis in 1873.
Some Southern Baptists desired to carry on ministries which the Convention preferred not to include as boards. Four society-type bodies were organized outside of the Convention between 1845 and 1891 to support these ministries. A Southern Baptist Publication Society was organized in 1847 and a Southern Baptist Sunday School Union in 1857, but neither survived the War. In 1859, an Education Convention opened the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Greenville, South Carolina. Forced to close during the War, the seminary resumed classes at the close of hostilities, moving to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1877.
The fourth organization developed outside of the board structure was Woman's Missionary Union, Auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention. After many years of activity on the local and state levels, in 1888 Southern Baptist women formed a southwide organization, with Annie W. Armstrong as the first executive secretary.
The close of this period of Southern Baptist beginnings occurred in 1891. Southern Baptists did not separate from the American Baptist Publication Society of Philadelphia at the time the Southern Baptist Convention was formed. This northern society continued to publish books for Southern Baptist writers, provide tracts, and furnish Southern Baptists with Sunday School quarterlies, supplies, and helps for Sunday School teachers. It had many friends among Southern Baptists. When southern leaders in the 1880s proposed the formation of a separate Southern Baptist Sunday School Board, there was immediate resistance from many Southern Baptist leaders. When J. M. Frost, a Virginia pastor, declared in an article in Baptist papers in 1890 that he intended to push for a separate Sunday School Board, he was opposed by a large majority of southern leaders and editors. Nevertheless, after many debates and some sensitive confrontations, Southern Baptists formed their present Sunday School Board [now LifeWay Christian Resources] in 1891 with headquarters at Nashville, Tennessee. The formation of this board marked a new era for Southern Baptists. It signaled the move of the Convention toward becoming a truly denominational body. Through its promotion and financing of many ministries, its development of effective methods for church growth and training, and its unifying effect by providing a common literature for all Southern Baptists, the Sunday School Board rapidly fostered a strong denominational unity that became an important factor in the geographical expansion of Southern Baptists in the twentieth century.
The growth of the Southern Baptist Convention between 1845 and 1891 was substantial. From 365,346 members in 4,395 churches in 1845, Convention affiliation increased to 1,282,220 members in 16,654 churches by 1891. Scores of new ministries had been undertaken by the Convention, and a developing denominational unity gave the promise of effective cooperation through the years ahead.
Southern Baptists have absolutely NO reason to be ashamed of their ancestors, of their Fathers in the Faith, those who established their convention. Likewise, it is the duty of Southern Baptists, and of all Southerners, to make sure that their ancestors would have no reason to be ashamed of their descendants.
Southern Baptists for Southern Heritage
This week we released the first of a series of videos under the title of Southern Baptists for Southern Heritage.
Confederate Lives: Soldiers and Statesmen
The distinguished historian Gamaliel Bradford, Jr., author of Lee, the American and other acclaimed biographies offers portraits of eight key leaders of the Confederacy.
Bradford's skills at compiling concise profiles are at their finest in these compelling sketches of prominent figures in the Southern Cause.
Commanding officers include Joseph E. Johnston, the highest-ranking U.S. Army officer to resign and join the Confederacy; the war's most famous cavalryman, J. E. B. Stuart; Lee's "Old War Horse," James Longstreet, who served from Manassas to Appomattox; P. G. T. Beauregard, winner of the nearly bloodless victory at Fort Sumter; and Rear Admiral Raphael Semmes, so successful in battle that he was charged at the war's end with treason and piracy. Confederate statesmen include U.S. Senator Judah P. Benjamin, appointed by Jefferson Davis as Confederate attorney general, secretary of war, and secretary of state; Vice-President of the Confederate States, Alexander H. Stephens; and Senator Robert Toombs, who evolved from conservative Unionist to ardent secessionist.
The book concludes with the "high water mark" of the Confederacy at Gettysburg and examines the effects of that momentous battle.
Previously available only in expensive, hard-to-find editions, I would like to send a reproduction of this classic work to everyone who donates $5 or more to Dixie Heritage this week.
Order your copy of Confederate Lives: Soldiers and Statesmen
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I certainly hope that the people who continue to disparage Confederate flags and soldiers as symbols of hatred and bigotry will realize that they are not persuading those of us who know better.
A good example is the recent letter insisting that Confederate armies were fighting for slavery, a suggestion that surely would have surprised the men in gray. Most of those who fought for the Confederacy took up arms only after federal armies were formed to invade the South in the Spring of 1861.
The most famous Southern soldier of all, Robert E. Lee, made his reason for fighting clear in a letter on April 20, 1861: "Save in the defense of my native state, I never desire again to draw my sword."
Throughout American history, young men have joined military ranks out of loyalty to their kin, their state and their country. And from the patriots of the Revolution, to the blue and gray of the Civil War, to the doughboys of World War I, they weren't citing as reasons for taking up arms as the Stamp Act, the Dred Scott decision or the sinking of the Lusitania.
The Confederate battle flag was first unfurled on Nov. 28, 1861, long after hostilities had begun, as a soldiers' banner. It was presented to the Confederate Army of the Potomac (later Army of Northern Virginia) by Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard as symbolic of the "service and duty" of the troops.
There is considerable documented evidence from letters, diaries and reports written during the Civil War as to what Confederate soldiers believed they were fighting for and what they found symbolic about their flag. It was not slavery, and any interpretation to the contrary is not historically accurate.
Oak Park Drive
A NEWS ITEM SUBMITTED BY ONE OF OUR READERS:
GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania lawmaker who got a Confederate battle flag removed from the state Capitol would like to see them removed from Civil War battle reenactments.
Democratic state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, of Philadelphia, tells WHTM-TV that she's "been to a lot of re-enacting and the re-enacting does not tell the stories accurately."
But state Rep. Dan Moul, a Republican who represents Gettysburg, says it doesn't make sense to not use the Confederate flag when re-enacting battles like Gettysburg's. The 153rd anniversary of that pivotal Civil War battle is being celebrated this weekend.
Moul says, "I'm not so sure that trying to rewrite history is where we want to go" adding, " Are we going to take all the Confederate soldiers off the battlefield and just have the re-enactment one-sided?"
March for the Confederacy is being sponsored by a Dobson-area group called Southern Cross.
Participants are to begin gathering at 12:30 p.m. at Pilot Hosiery Mills on East Main Street in Pilot Mountain and, about 1 p.m., will walk to a spot near Hardee's where a short program is planned.
In addition to the Southern Cross group, members of local J.E.B Stuart Camp 1598 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans have been invited to participate in the march, and Southern Cross President Joe Davis said this also extends to the general public. "We encourage anybody that wants to come."
Although highlighting the positive aspects of Confederate heritage is a goal of the event, Davis said organizers seek to do more than that.
"The overall purpose," he explained, "is our rights and freedoms."
In speaking at the Mount Airy War Memorial after a similar downtown march on May 7, Davis cited a need for grass-roots awareness efforts in light of recent federal governmental actions threatening rights of expression, gun ownership and religion. "We're just a group of guys who want to make a difference."
Davis acknowledged that Saturday's event also is a way to provide positive exposure for Confederate history. "So much stuff is misrepresented."
During the May 7 event in Mount Airy, group members solemnly made their way down North Main Street carrying both Confederate and American flags, as onlookers watched and took pictures. The gathering at the war memorial included a prayer.
"Oh, man, it was awesome," Davis said this week of the Mount Airy march. "Everything went off without a hitch - the police there gave us great cooperation."
As was the case in Mount Airy, a hearse will be towed along the street as part of Saturday's procession through Pilot Mountain, to symbolize how rights have died or are dying.
Davis emphasized that the intent is to hold a dignified event, with "no racist stuff" allowed among participants.
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