When Dominoes Fall
by Hal Lindsey
The fallout from the brutal murders of nine people in a Charleston church last week has been stunning. It surprised no one to hear calls for what most people incorrectly believe to be the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina state capital. It was shocking, however, to see an attempt to purge America of every reminder of slavery in its past. And it was downright jaw dropping when this led to a discussion on CNN about whether or not the Jefferson Memorial should be destroyed.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the 21st Century is the speed with which movements gain momentum. That’s mostly due to the Internet, social media, and a news cycle that never quits.
When something grabs the public’s attention, the media has to talk about it because the media makes its money by getting people to read, view, or listen to its reports. However, once the facts are told, and in this case the facts were known fairly early, what do you talk about? When you have no more to say, but you keep talking anyway, you get in trouble.
Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” [NASB]
The King James Version puts it like this. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.”
Think of the number of words being generated every day for permanent storage in computers, books, video libraries, etc. Anyone with Internet access can send tweets, write on Facebook, put up a website or blog. All you need is a smartphone to become a documentary filmmaker. Altogether, an enormous, almost unimaginable number of words are constantly being generated. And with that, “transgression is unavoidable.”
Political and social movements that once took decades to form can now happen in hours. It’s like falling dominoes except these dominoes seem to have a mind of their own. They can stop as suddenly as they start. They can turn in directions no one expected. And they move fast.
And so, last week, when an evil young man viciously murdered nine people in a Charleston church, the dominoes began to fall. Less than a week later, as a direct result of his action, people on a major television network with millions of viewers seriously discussed removing the Jefferson Memorial.
Why? Because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Never mind that his words in the Declaration of Independence set forth the American ideals that would eventually end slavery and, a hundred years after that, would become the cornerstone of the civil rights movement.
This call for purging America of all reminders of slavery began with demands for the removal of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia from the grounds of the South Carolina State House. Then people began to think of other things that might represent slavery.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Kentucky to remove a Jefferson Davis statue from a display in their Capitol building that depicts famous people born in the state. The statue of Davis stands near the one of Abraham Lincoln. Jefferson Davis was famous and born in Kentucky, but he was also President of the Confederate States of America. So the call went forth to get rid of his statue.
That makes sense, but where does it stop? There have been calls this week for the removal of Robert E. Lee statues, and to rename the highways, buildings, and college named in his honor. In fact, it is now politically incorrect to honor anyone who fought for the South in the Civil War.
After we destroy the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument would be next to go. After all, Washington also owned slaves. Maybe the city of Washington, as well as the state that bears his name, will one day consider changing their names.
Think the Lincoln Memorial would be safe? When Abraham Lincoln was trying to convince the people of his day that he was not a radical on the issue of race, he said some strongly worded things based on his culture. Most notably, in 1858, he said, “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.” He would not say those things today.
But . . . there goes the Lincoln Memorial of yester year, as if we are without the ‘sins’ we haven’t grown out of today.
No, I don’t expect any of these memorials to be destroyed at any time, but that’s the logical direction in which the people of today are going. We, as a nation, are cutting ourselves off from our heritage, especially in our schools and universities. We do so at great risk.
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln were good men, but flawed. Their virtues were numerous, and all three of them planted seeds of righteousness from which mankind continues to harvest good fruit. But they were also men of their times. They held racial ideas that embarrass us now, but were common in the culture to which they were born. We should tell that part of the story, but we should also praise God for lives that have so directly led to the abundance of freedom and material blessing we enjoy today.
Let us not forget the cultures of the past that endured well slavery - but were given instructions to treat their slaves with kindness and fairness until the teachings of Christ overcame slavery itself. The Bible does not teach us to throw Abraham out because he had slaves too. It only taught him to treat his slaves well, because he had a master over him also – God the Father. After all, God does patiently endure our many other sins till we grow up in ultimate understanding at the judgment seat of Christ.