VIRGINIA: Episcopalians Struggle With Confederate Past
Recent eruptions of violence over Confederate symbols like the rebel flag have prompted impassioned national debates — and not just in the public arena. Churches, too, are wrestling with the question of what to do with emblems dotting their parishes that memorialize the former slaveholding states and their battle heroes.
It’s in part the continuation of a conversation that was sparked when self-avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine African-American parishioners during a Bible study at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. Roof was seen brandishing a Confederate flag in photographs that surfaced after his arrest. He is currently on federal death row.
The shock and turmoil of the shooting at Emanuel A.M.E., the South’s oldest black church, prompted the removal of a Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds in Columbia. And then came Charlottesville, Virginia. When violence erupted there in August at a rally of white nationalists opposed to the removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, calls for taking down Confederate monuments accelerated.
Many churches date back to Civil War times and beyond and found themselves on the side of the pro-slavery South when their sons marched …
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(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)