The Terribly Offensive Truth About Our Monuments

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Every American, it seems, is offended by something. It’s our new national pastime.

Each day, someone new wants to do something to Stone Mountain. Last week the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP announced that they wanted the image on the side of the mountain sandblasted off or somehow torn off and sold to the highest bidder.

This week, Michael Julian Bond, an Atlanta city councilman, has joined in on all the fun. He suggested that other famous Georgians should be added along with the image that is already there.

Some call the image of Davis, Lee and Jackson offensive. Others call it downright racist. One commenter who relocated to the south from the enlightened city of Chicago called it “backwards.”

Here’s the thing we forget about our monuments and statues. All of the men they honor are terribly flawed. All of them. Terribly.

Consider just one of those terribly flawed men.

He imprisoned thousands of citizens, clergy and journalists from his own country simply because they spoke out against his policies.

He censored communications between private citizens.

He used the military to interfere with elections.

He confiscated firearms from citizens.

He had a political opponent deported.

He said this. Read it very carefully.

“I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary.”

And, finally, you can ask any surviving members of the Santee Sioux Indians how they feel about this man and his monuments. But good luck finding any because he had a few hundred of them killed.

There appears to be quite a significant difference between Abraham Lincoln and good old Honest Abe that you learned about in school. Even still, I’m not expecting the Lincoln Memorial to be removed from Washington D.C. and sold to the highest bidder anytime soon.

Robert E. Lee was flawed. So was Honest Abe. So is your grandfather. You are too. And so am I.

Scratch deep enough through the bronze, clay, granite, plaster and mythology and, just as sure as the devil, you’ll find the dirt. It appears as though no human being can live up to the allegedly high standards we have set for our monuments.

Well, there is one human being worthy of such honor. One who lived his whole life without sin.

But we could never put up a monument devoted to him in front of the capital building.

It might offend someone.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

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