by Al Benson Jr.
In order to protect our future (if such is still possible) and to pass on to our grandchildren truth and accurate history, we must have an understanding of our past much beyond that which the “good old boys” of revisionist/humanist “history” will ever be willing to give us. Let us briefly examine a few truths that will never flow from the pens of James McPherson and his Cultural Marxist clique.
The War for Southern Independence was mainly theological in nature. It was partly cultural, but that was based on theology as all culture is based on theology. It was partly economic and partly political, but the theological issues were the main issues, even though “historians” today will never address that just as they are extremely reluctant to address the amount of Marxist penetration in the early Republican Party and in Lincoln’s armies. It’s almost as if they take the position that “what you don’t know can’t hurt us.”
However, a true understanding of history must subordinate other causes to the theological cause. In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary a confederacy is defined as a league or covenant. Even in Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary it is defined as a “league or compact” which is pretty close. Now “covenant” is a religious term, a biblical term. At its root, our “Civil” War was fought over the definition of that term “covenant.” The South saw that term in a biblical context and sought to revive (confoedus revivo) the old national covenent which the states made when they created a very limited federal government.
The North held an opposing view. Many of them, like “Honest Abe” thought the “Union” was something perpetual, that it had even existed before the states. They, therefore, took the view of Thomas Hobbs that, basically, the king (government) had the absolute right to do whatever it wished, something like what we have in Washington today. Contrary to what he might admit to publicly, that was the position adhered to by the railsplitter/lobbyist from Illinois.
Webster’s Dictionary also defined the United States by stating that the United States ARE a confederacy. Webster used the plural term, which was and is correct. That was the term predominantly in use until the railsplitter/lobbyist began saying “The United States is a great nation.” Abe’s emphasis was always, ever, on centralism (expressed in bad grammar) and not on truth. That’s why the Marxists loved him. He was a kindred collectivist spirit.
The North, due to its shifting theologies, Unitarianism, Transcendentalism, deism, spiritualism, socialism, and eventually Arminianism, saw the concept of “covenant” in an unbiblical context. As the War geared up, in terms of becoming long and protracted, the North thought more in terms of a bloody apocalypse that was necessary to cleanse the land of the “evil” of slavery.
Unitarianism and deism were the driving forces in the North promoting this view. Julia Ward Howe, in her Unitarian-inspired “Battle Hymn of the Republic” which is in many Christian hymnals and doesn’t belong there, saw the Yankee/Marxist armies slicing up the evil serpent of the South with their “terrible swift sword!” You can talk about your economics and all the rest all you want, but that kind of Northern mindset reflected a distinctly anti-Christian Northern theology.
There were, to be sure, sincere evangelical Christians in the North. But, in the main, they no longer thought covenantally as did most Reformed Scots-Irish Christians in the South. The influence of radical Arminians like Charles Finney had infected many of them in terms of thinking only individually rather than in terms of the continuity of the Faith over a period of generations. Everything revolved around their individual salvation and nothing before they came along seemed relevant to their lives. Now I’m not saying that folks shouldn’t be saved. What I’m saying is that this needs to be in the context of a church. The Arminian concepts of extreme free will and “free moral agency” had permeated Northern Christianity, leading many to believe that they actually had a hand in their own salvation. They lost their historical frame of reference and could only think in terms of “here and now.”
Most Southerners did not just go mindlessly to defend their country and region. They were no more jingoistic than anyone else. The Southern clergy supported the Confederate war effort only so long as they felt their country was about doing the Lord’s will. There was notable Christian revival in the Southern armies–indeed the Confederate army may well have been the last Christian army on the face of the earth. It has been compared, in that regard, to Oliver Cromwell’s army by some historians.
It has been reported by some that, in the Union armies, chaplains gave out both evangelical and Unitarian-oriented material to troops. Many in the Union identified their invasion of the South as bringing in the Kingdom of God. This myth has carried forward even to our day. If you happen to have viewed the Ted Turner video Gettysburg and watched carefully, you were probably able to pick out strains of this in the dialogue of the Northern soldiers. It’s subtle, but it’s there.
The driving force in the destruction of any Christian culture has always been envy. What depraved and fallen human nature can not imitate it sets out to destroy. Look at the wanton destruction that the Northern armies perpetrated on the South, much of it needless. Churches were burned and desecrated and libraries and schools were destroyed. Most of it was needless. You have to admit that the Marxists in many of the Union armies destroyed Southern property because they hated the idea of private property, which is also a biblical concept.
Lincoln had a radical view of the nature of true union, as previously mentioned, and as Donnie Kennedy and I noted in our book Lincoln’s Marxists. His was not a biblically-based view, but rather one that was totally man-centered. In his efforts to promote his peculiar view of the Union, the railspllitter/lobbyist from Illinois took pains to superimpose his view back onto previous history. Therefore, history had to be redefined so as to conform to the man-centered Northern viewpoint. This is still being done in our day, with secular saints such as James McPherson and Ken Burns frantically running to and fro striving to instill in future generations the liberal myth that the “Civil War” was totally fought over slavery and nothing else. They are so persistent in their efforts it almost seems that they, somehow, realize their time is short. However, God will always vindicate His truth. “Deo Vindice.”