by Al Benson Jr.
I have also read, over the years, some comments by writers who actually considered people like John Brown and Thaddeus Stevens to be Calvinists! Where they came up with such flights of fancy I have no idea–maybe from the same people who blithely inform us that Abraham Lincoln was a Bible-believing Christian. One is as equally ludicrous as the other. But that seems to be the trend today. Demonize Christian Southerners and try to make agnostic and apostate Northerners look like Christian crusaders.
Awhile back, historian David S. Reynolds wrote a book called John Brown–Abolitionist.. According to http://www.guardian.co.uk/ writer Michael Tomasky tells us that: “David S. Reynolds, in contrast, asserts that Brown was a hero. He reminds us that Emerson, Thoreau and Douglas were among Brown’s greatest champions, and that Brown’s historical stock has tended to rise during more progressive eras. He thinks Brown should be posthumously pardoned.” In other words, during more “porgressive” (socialist) times, Brown’s reputation seems to get better. But I guess, with some “progressives” (socialists) a terrorist is not a terrorist unless they say he is. With such mentalities, a member of the Tea Party faction carrying a sign at a peaceful demonstration would be considered a terrorist while someone like Che Guevara or Obama’s friend Bill Ayres of the Weather Underground would be considered glorious freedom fighters, worthy of emulation. You can see why John Brown looks so much better when socialists are running the country.
As far as Emerson and Thoreau supporting John Brown, were we to do a little homework we would come up with the fact that both of these mental giants were Christ-denying Unitarians–quite typical of those that supported Brown.
Tomasky ends his little diatribe with “…while the terrorist label applies in the technical sense, I don’t think it holds in any moral sense. No one today doubts that his cause was right.” In other words, its okay to do something horrendously wrong, like hacking people to death with swords, provided you do it for the right reasons. So the end justifies the means. Sound Marxist thinking!
Furnas also noted of Brown that: “He put up with his sons imitating his prejudice against organized religion to the point of agnosticism…” Otto Scott noted on page 250 of his book that: “…John Brown had been described as a modern Puritan; a man of firm biblical faith, clean-living and high-minded. A Rev. D. H. King sought him out to try to ascertain exactly where he was coming from, which turned out to be not an easy task.” King stated: “I tried to get at his theology…but I could never force him down to dry sober talk on what he thought of the moral features of things in general…For him there was only one wrong, and that was slavery…If any great obstacle stands in the way, you may properly break all of the Decalogue to get rid of it.” Again, the end justifies the means. If Christianity gets in your way, then don’t hesitate to break all of its tenets to accomplish your ends. This belief was most prevalent among abolitionists and their views “bore very little resemblance to Christianity.” So much for Brown’s “Puritan” mindset. Author Tony Horwitz noted that Brown was a terrorist, but then turned around and likened him to a “bearded fundamentalist.” Really??? Pardon me if I disagree here–bearded terrorist yes–bearded fundamentalist no. Let’s don’t try to tar the Fundamentalists with John Brown’s brush. That’s grossly unfair to them. Otto Scott’s comments about Brown’s theology, or lack thereof, show that Horwitz was off base on this point.
To be continued.