Slavery, Racism, Religion and the Confederate Flag

The Civil War Was About Slavery. Confederate Leaders Were Totally Clear On This. By Julia Craven Symbols of the Confederacy are an inescapable fact of life in Southern states. The Confederate flag is displayed prominently near the South Carolina statehouse, evoked in multiple Southern state flags, flown in frontyards, on T-shirts and off pickup trucks. And those who fought during the Civil War to maintain antebellum “traditions” are glorified relentlessly.  A few days after a white shooter murdered nine black people attending Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, apparently driven by the same sort of racial animus present in this history, the nation is having a conversation about how, or if, these Confederate tributes have a rightful place in society. This discussion has led some people to question if the Confederacy, and therefore the Civil War, was truly motivated by slavery. “But there are other difficult truths. Among them, when the war began, it was not explicitly a war to end slavery. … When hundreds of thousands of southern men took up arms (most of them non-slave-owning), many of them fought with the explicit belief that they were standing in the shoes of the Founding Fathers, men who’d exercised their own right of self-determination to separate from the mother Country,” wrote David French for National Review. “Others simply saw an invading army marching into their state — into their towns and across their farms — and chose to resist. And no one can doubt their valor.” Others have made similar attempts to explain away the significance of slavery to the war. But like accused shooter Dylann Roof, whose manifesto clearly outlined his hatred for black people and his desire to start...