Biden’s Dark and Sinister Speech

On Thursday night in Philadelphia, in front of Independence Hall, President Joe Biden gave what could easily be called the most chilling and sinister speech ever given by a United States president.

Given against a backdrop of red lights, darkness, and two Marines, the atmosphere evoked an eerie, dystopian, Big Brother vibe. Memes popped up online soon afterwards with the hashtag, #TwoMinutesOfHate, a reference to the novel 1984.

Biden railed against Trump supporters, “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic….MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies….MAGA Republicans look at America and see carnage and darkness and despair. They spread fear and lies — lies told for profit and power.”

Biden didn’t limit the reasons for his attacks on MAGA Republicans just to January 6. He went on to attack MAGA Republicans for their conservative views on abortion and marriage: “[they’re] determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”

This kind of rhetoric is dangerous. It further divides the country and pours gasoline on an already volatile situation. I can’t remember a time before where an American president attacked half of the electorate and labeled them as dangerous extremists.

Interestingly, Biden walked back the comments the next day, saying, “I don’t consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country.” Perhaps someone reminded him of what he said in his Inauguration speech on January 20, 2021:

“Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation. I ask every American to join me in this cause….That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably, within the guardrails of our Republic, is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly: Disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you: I will be a President for all Americans. I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.”

President Biden, Inauguration Speech, Jan. 20, 2021

Biden has failed to live up to his promise of uniting the country. In fact, he has been one of the most divisive presidents we’ve ever had. And his speech on Thursday night was disturbing to say the least. The dangerous extremist that Americans should be worried about is not Donald Trump or his supporters. It’s the man living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

A Ship is Safe in the Harbor….

The World History teacher I had in my junior year of high school had quotes posted all over his classroom wall. One in particular caught my attention:

A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for. —John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic

I can’t tell you the impact that statement had upon me. It stuck with me long after high school. I was a shy kid who found it hard to meet new people and fit in socially. But after thinking upon that maxim, I decided I would have to learn to take risks.

I don’t think you’ve really lived until you know the full range of the human experience. It gives you a perspective that helps you see beyond the immediate situation. It grounds you.

I’ve loved and lost, and loved again. I’ve known rejection, but I’ve also known the thrill of romance. I’ve known triumph as well as defeat. I’ve been on mountaintops, but I’ve also suffered in deep valleys.

You will be rewarded for your risks and failures if you persist in the pursuit of your dreams. Don’t expect to stand on the heights if you aren’t willing to fall down many times. It reminds me of another quote from Teddy Roosevelt that had a big impact upon me as well:

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”—Theodore Roosevelt, Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

That last line about the cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat resonated with me. I saw myself going down that path. But I decided to step out in faith and take small risks one at a time. Those efforts built upon one another until gradually I felt my courage grow.

Sometimes I still take the safe path and listen to my fear instead of faith. But as I look back I can honestly say I’ve know both victory and defeat. I’ve taken chances. Sometimes I failed, and sometimes I’ve succeeded. I have sweet memories of adventure and romance that I would not have experienced had I stayed in the harbor.

Yes, it’s dangerous and scary out on the high seas. But consider the alternative. Picture a boat sitting there in the harbor day after day failing to fulfill the purpose for which it was built. That’s a sad picture, indeed.

My First Time to Ski

Little Blue bunny slope, Youth Center, and Main Chalet at Red River Ski Resort

My family and I recently went skiing at Red River, New Mexico. It was my first ski trip. The town of Red River offered beautiful scenery, tasty food, and a quaint atmosphere.

Our first task when we arrived in town was to go to a local sports shop to rent skis, poles, and boots. The staff at All Seasons was very helpful in getting our sizes and providing the gear that we needed.

View of the Tubing house and the Gold Rush slope

After the ski shop, we went to the chalet to sign up for lessons. It was very crowded, and we had to wait in line. They were sold out of lessons, but we were able to buy lift passes (which were expensive) so that we could ski the next day.

Since we didn’t get lessons, I watched YouTube videos that night at the condo on how to ski. The videos were helpful. They talked about the importance of using the wedge technique. Even after watching the videos, though, I still found it hard to slow down or turn.

There are three different kinds of slopes, which are color-coded. The Green slopes are for beginners, the blue for intermediate skiers, and the black for experts. For the first day, I stayed on the green bunny slope called Little Blue (confusing, I know), which was challenging enough. It had a long, moving treadmill to transport skiers back to the top of the slope.

On the second day of skiing, I got bolder and took the ski lift up to a steeper, green slope called the Gold Rush. Let me just say that the ski lift requires a bit of skill to ride as well. When I exited the ski lift, I had a wipeout. It was pretty humiliating.

At top of the slope, I was quite intimidated by the steepness of the slope before me. Keep in mind this was still a green slope. The resort also had a black slope called “The Face” that went almost straight down. I have no idea how people skied on that one. I started down the Gold Rush slope and my speed quickly got out of hand. I tried the wedge, but it didn’t seem to slow me down. I fell, and I had trouble getting my skis back on. I managed to try again, though. I didn’t want to give up so easily. I went a little further down, and I had an even bigger wipeout. One thing I learned is that if you fall on the higher-up slopes, no one seems to care to help. They just zoom right pass you. I felt like I came close to injuring my leg, so I decided that was enough. It wasn’t worth getting hurt over. So I walked down the rest of the way (which wasn’t easy in ski boots while also carrying my skis and poles).

Carrying the gear and wearing the boots were my least favorite part of the ski experience. The boots are hard to get on and off and even harder to walk in. With long walks in the cold from the car to the slopes, I felt worn out before I even began to ski. My shins and legs were also sore from walking in the boots.

My wife had skied multiple times before, so she was already an experienced skier. She made it look easy. She traversed the Gold Rush with ease. My older son loved skiing. Even though it was his first time, he picked it up rather quickly. My younger one was more like me. Skiing was not really his thing.

I would say that some people are going to enjoy skiing more than others. I found it very challenging, and even slightly dangerous. It probably didn’t help that I’m not really a cold weather person.

The view behind our condo

Our condo at The Woodlands on the River had a beautiful view (see the picture above). It felt very cozy to go back there in the evenings and light the fire and look out the windows. And with a kitchen, we were able to have meals there as well.

There are only a few restaurants in town, but the two that we ate at were delicious—Sundance Mexican Restaurant and Texas Reds Steak House. Sundance had huge sopapillas, and Texas Reds had a delicious T-Bone steak. Sundance had a long wait time. They took reservations, but we didn’t realize that so we put our name in and went back to the condo. We came back an hour or two later. Texas Reds didn’t take reservations so we got there early, even before they were officially opened. We were the first ones to be seated.

Small pond near the Flyer House

As far as recommendations to new skiers, I would say that you definitely need to have a plan. It may be crowded, and things can quickly sell out. So call ahead or go online to see if you can reserve a spot for lessons and lift tickets. Figure out where you are going to rent your skis from. Also, it might be a good idea to take sandwiches for lunch in the chalet. They have a small cafe and snack bar, but the lines were long and seating was hard to find. Expect things to be expensive. Parking is difficult as well unless you get there early or late in the day.

Overall, it was a fun experience. I enjoyed the scenery, food, and time with family more than the skiing. Yet I’m glad I got to experience it so at least I know what it is like. Before I went, I didn’t really understand the appeal of ski trips. Now I know that they have a charm all of their own.

The Sad, Sinful, Silence of the Church

I know pastors and seminary professors who should be speaking out on the false doctrine, marxism, and corruption within churches and our society, but sadly they are not. So I ask myself, “Why do I go through the trouble of warning others about these things if our leaders don’t seem to care or are unwilling to do anything about it?” The answer is that I don’t want to be like them. I actually care about the truth more than being popular. And just as Ezekiel was called to be a watchman on the wall and warn others, so too do we have a responsibility to do likewise.

Our society is crumbling all around us, so it seems rather strange and a little unnerving to attend church and hear little about such things. Nothing about the dangers of marxism, CRT, or social justice. Nothing about the threat of the LGBT movement. Very little about sin or repentance.

We’ve been through two of the most tumultuous and eventful years in American history, and I’ve heard little to nothing about the race riots, January 6, or tyrannical government overreach. At what point does the church become out of touch if it refuses to address such huge events? If there is no position taken or instruction given in some of the most consequential events in American history, people begin to look elsewhere for answers.

This timidity in addressing contemporary events, sin, and societal dangers is one of the major problems in the church. We need preachers who will guide their flock on what position to take on such matters. A man of God must be willing to declare, “Thus says the Lord,” and preach the Word of God boldly without apology. But sadly, too many pastors seem to be more concerned about advancing their careers.

There is much emphasis put on the academic side of things in churches. But I would rather sit under a preacher with no advanced degrees who just boldly and faithfully preaches the Word than to listen to a Ph.D. who is afraid to take a stand or say anything controversial. It seems to me that what often happens is that the more academic credentials a preacher has, the less courageous his preaching becomes. His focus becomes more about impressing or pleasing his friends in academia rather than pleasing the Lord.

And it is difficult to respect your leaders when they don’t have courage. I find often that the people in the pew are more willing to speak out and to fight in the trenches, than those in the pulpit. In fact there seems to be a real gap between the pew and the pulpit. Many leaders seem completely out of touch with their congregations.

One of the jobs of the shepherd is to fend off the wolves and protect the sheep, but these days it seems that the wolves are let in the door to devour the sheep. Ezekiel rebuked the sinful shepherds of his day who fed themselves instead of feeding and taking care of the sheep:

“Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.”
‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭34:7-10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

In John 10, Jesus talked about hirelings who failed to protect the sheep from the wolves:

But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. John 10:12

So little has changed. We still have hirelings in pulpits who refuse to protect the sheep from the wolves. We still have sinful shepherds who feed themselves instead of feeding the flock. What has changed is that the dangers have increased, and the lies have become more subtle. In a time when the sheep need bold and vocal shepherds more than ever, we have many weak and selfish shepherds who are more concerned with their career or social standing than with preaching the unadulterated truth. It is indeed sad that the church is silent in such a dangerous day.

American Idols

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” 1 John 5:21

In the Old Testament, idolatry consisted of worshipping other gods, usually statues made of wood, stone, or gold. Israel struggled throughout its history with worshipping the false gods of the nations around them, right up until the time of the Babylonian Captivity, at which time they finally seemed to learn the lesson (perhaps they even overcorrected and became too legalistic).

In the New Testament, Paul mentions idolatry in Romans and 1 Corinthians, but he seems to expand the concept to other forms in Colossians 3:5, where he declares that greed, or covetousness, is idolatry.

In churches today, you’ll often hear a definition of idolatry as anything that people value or love more than God. The Bible is clear that we are to keep God preeminent in our lives. After all, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. —Matt 22:37

America has many such idols that prevent us from loving God with all our heart. Let’s focus our discussion on two of the most popular ones—money and sports. These two often go together, but let’s begin with money.

There’s nothing wrong with money in and of itself; it’s the love of money that is a sin. We need money to pay the bills, to eat, and even to help others. Money is a necessary evil in a fallen world.

Our currency displays our national motto, “In God We Trust.” It is a wonderful motto. Sadly, though, in practice our nation often seems to trust in the dollar instead of the Deity.

Idolatry often masks itself in practical ways as corporations and individuals excuse unethical behavior in order to increase the bottom line. At other times it’s more obvious such as when a professional athlete or coach who is already making millions of dollars will leave his team for a better deal.

Paul warns us about chasing after riches in 1 Timothy 6:9:

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

The idol of money, like all idols, will not satisfy. No amount is enough. Those who seek happiness or security in wealth will never be fulfilled.

Sports is another American idol. Again, there’s nothing wrong with sports in and of themselves. I’ve enjoyed playing and watching sports myself. But our society has taken athletics to the extreme. We’re all familiar with the exorbitant salaries of professional athletes. We also are aware of people who won’t miss a game of their favorite team, but they can’t seem to find anytime for serving God or attending church.

Little league baseball teams play tournaments almost every weekend in the spring, summer, and fall, making it almost impossible for the players and parents to attend church on Sunday mornings. Fans will go all out for their favorite sports team, but they often show little enthusiasm for the things of the Lord. Families get together for holidays and spend nearly the whole time watching and talking about football.

To make matters worse, there are seemingly few sermons about repentance of idolatry in American churches. We need preachers who will tell it like it is. Instead, preachers calculate what is safe to say and filter their sermons through a politically correct lens. If we’re going to correct the sin of idolatry, we must first confront it from the pulpit.

The bottom line is that we need to repent of leaving our first love and get back to putting Christ first in our lives. Anything less will leave us feeling unsatisfied and miserable. Only God can fill our hearts with joy and offer us the forgiveness and healing that our nation so desperately needs.

James Carville Blames Virginia Losses on “Stupid Wokeness”

Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s governor’s race Tuesday night. Many attributed McAuliffe’s loss to parental anger at his tone deaf statement, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Parents in Virginia were already upset with the Loudoun County school board over sexual assaults, CRT, and transgender issues. Others cite Biden’s unpopularity as the reason for McAuliffe’s loss.

But Democratic strategist and political consultant, James Carville, may have given the most eye-opening and candid explanation for the Democrats’ defeat in Virginia.

Carville appeared on PBS News Hour Wednesday night, and host Judy Woodruff asked him about the reason why Democrats lost. He summed it up in two words, “Stupid wokeness.” The rest of his answer did not disappoint:

“Some of these people need to go to a woke detox center. They’re expressing a language people just don’t use and there’s a backlash and a frustration at that.

Carville went on to say that the Democrats need to be about changing laws instead of dictionaries. He lambasted “these faculty lounge people that sit around mulling about I don’t know what.” And he even commented on Seattle’s CHAZ from last year, saying, “autonomous zone–who could even think of something that stupid?”

Wow! It’s an interview worth listening to, and it’s an indication that all of this wokeness is so out of control that even the Democrats are starting to wake up to its negative effects. The question is, “Will other Democrats wake up to the dangers of wokeness like Carville?”

The Courage of Luther

On this Reformation Day, in which we commemorate Martin Luther’s act of nailing the 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, on October 31, 1517 (which began the Protestant Reformation), we can be encouraged by his boldness to stand for the Gospel and the Word of God.

Luther was protesting the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church. Luther wanted to get back to the heart of the Gospel–justification by faith alone, which is one of the Five Solas. They are listed below:

Luther suffered consequences for his principled stand. In 1521, he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X and called upon to defend himself at the Diet of Worms before the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. There he uttered these words:

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

Interestingly, it is debated whether he said the famous words, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” Many scholars say there is no evidence for this particular phrase. Regardless, Luther showed true courage in standing against the Pope and Emperor.

In the Edict of Worms, Luther was declared to be a heretic and had to flee to Wartburg Castle, where he translated the Bible into German. Luther never was arrested. He was protected by German princes, and the Emperor was soon distracted by other problems.

On this Reformation Day, we should remember the courage that Luther showed in standing up to the Pope and Catholic Church, and the reason for his stance–fidelity to Scripture. We could use more people like Luther today, people with courage and conviction to follow Christ regardless of the consequences.

Politics in the Pulpit

I believe that we should trust in the Lord. The Bible is very clear on that principle. In addition, I believe that we should wait upon the Lord. I also believe that sometimes we must speak up, take action, and get involved. Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for every season and purpose under the heaven.

“…A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” –Eccl 3:7b

In our day and age when marxism, sexual anarchy, and general wickedness seem to be running rampant, I believe that it is time to speak out. Sadly, though, it seems many Christians use the concept of trusting in the Lord as an excuse to do nothing and say nothing. Or they might view speaking on politics in the church as somehow impure, worldly, or as a diversion from the true mission.

I’ve found that the people who believe this are sometimes judgmental toward those who do speak out or get involved in politics. They seem almost pharisaical in their attitude, as if they are somehow purer or more devoted than those wayward Christians whom they see as “trusting in princes.”

What I find surprising about all of this is that our Founding Fathers saw no problem with speaking about politics in the church. They trusted in the Lord and exercised their rights as citizens. An examination of Acts 22 shows us that the Apostle Paul did the same.

Consider the Reverend Jacob Duché’s The American Vine sermon, in July 1775, in which he blasts Britain for attempting to cut down “this branch of thine own vine.” He goes on to say:

“Go on, ye chosen band of Christian Patriots! Testify to the world, by your example as well as by your counsels, that ye are equally the foes of VICE and of SLAVERY.”

Or take for example the Reverend John Carmichael’s June 1775 sermon entitled, A Self-Defensive War Lawful:

“The angry tools of power who mislead government may call us American “rebels, who would throw off all government–would be independent and what not.” –But we can now, with great confidence, appeal to God that that is false — we desire no such things –we desire to be as we were in the beginning of the present unhappy reign –we have tried every lawful peaceable means in our power — but all in vain! . . .

. . . Therefore you can, GENTLEMEN SOLDIERS, appeal to GOD for the justice of your cause.”

Or the Reverend Samuel Langdon’s sermon before the Assembly of Massachusetts Bay at the end of May 1775:

“That ever memorable day, the nineteenth of April, is the date of an unhappy war openly begun by the Ministers of the King of Great Britain against his good subjects in this Colony, and implicitly against all the colonies. —-But for what? —- Because they have made a noble stand for their natural and constitutional rights, in opposition to the machinations of wicked men who are betraying their Royal Master, establishing popery in the British dominions, and aiming to enslave and ruin the whole nation [so] that they may enrich themselves and their vile dependents with the public treasures and the spoils of America.”

And perhaps most famously, John Witherspoon’s The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men on May 17, 1776:

“God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable, and that the unjust attempts to destroy the one, may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both.

One of the results of shunning politics in churches is an increasing ignorance in the pews of moral and contemporary issues. Many parishioners may know how to become a Christian but very little about how to live as one. Sometimes I feel as though we are winning people to Jesus who then go on to live like the world because they never hear that transgenderism, abortion, pornography, and other evils are contrary to God’s will. Or they may support a party or a candidate that promotes values which are in opposition to godliness because their pastor declared a moral equivalence between the two opposing political parties.

So if you’re a Christian who turns his nose at politics and pretends to be above such worldly matters, you may not be superior in your faith. You may just be a bad citizen. Or at least an ignorant one.

In Defense of Columbus Day

“Columbus, of course, has always held a proud place in our history not only for his voyage of exploration but for the spirit that he exemplified. He was a dreamer, a man of vision and courage, a man filled with hope for the future and with the determination to cast off for the unknown and sail into uncharted seas for the joy of finding whatever was there. Put it all together and you might say that Columbus was the inventor of the American dream.

After years of academic assaults on the legacy of Christopher Columbus and the riots of last year in which multiple statues of the Genoese explorer were torn down or removed, the celebration of the holiday bearing his name seems to be hanging by a thread.

Some objections to honoring the man who discovered the New World and opened it up to exploration and colonization by Europeans include the following: Columbus’ cruel treatment of native peoples, the fact that he never touched foot in the continental United States, and that he wasn’t actually the first person to reach the New World.

That his behavior was sometimes cruel and tyrannical is really undisputed, although it might be exaggerated somewhat. At one point the Spanish crown sent to have Columbus put under arrest and brought back to Spain. But we would honor very few people if we let their faults exclude them from recognition. Columbus did have plenty of blemishes on his character, but who doesn’t? He also had a lot of positive traits. He was willing to take risks and boldly embark upon an ocean-crossing adventure at a time when no one was sure what lay on the other side of the Atlantic.

It is also true that Columbus did not set foot in what is now the United States. In his four voyages to the New World, he explored the Bahamas, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Central America, South America, Trinidad, and the Lesser Antilles. But that does not mean he didn’t have a large impact on our country’s history. He let the world know it was possible to sail across the Atlantic and that there were undiscovered lands between Europe and Asia. Thus, Columbus’ successful voyages to the West Indies opened doors to European exploration of the future United States that would soon follow.

While Columbus was the second person to discover the New World (behind Leif Erikson and his voyage to Vinland, or Newfoundland, 500 years before), his impact may have been larger. As hinted at above, Columbus paved the way for the other European explorers and the English who would found settlements in the modern-day United States. The same can’t be said for Leif Erikson’s voyage. While there were lasting Viking settlements in Greenland, that wasn’t the case for the rest of North America. Perhaps, timing played a key role, but it is pretty clear that Columbus’ footprint in history is larger than Erickson’s when it comes to the exploration and development of the Americas.

So it is important that we continue to celebrate Columbus Day in an age when much of our history is being erased and rewritten. Our society is based upon the tradition of Western Civilization, and if we throw out our heritage, we will forget who we are and where we came from. If you don’t particularly like Christopher Columbus, remember that Columbus Day is about commemorating his contributions and impact upon history as much as it is honoring the person. If our nation cancels Columbus, it is cancelling much more than another explorer. It is cancelling an important part of her history.

Why Removing Richmond’s Robert E. Lee Statue was a Bad Idea

On September 8, 2021, a 21-foot-tall statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, which sat upon a graffiti-covered 40-foot-tall base, was removed from a traffic circle on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam had wanted to take Lee’s statue down previously, but lawsuits prevented the removal until a recent decision by the Virginia Supreme Court. As of now, the pedestal is staying. According to an NPR article https://www.npr.org/2021/09/08/1035085412/robert-e-lee-statue-down-in-virginia-artifacts-time-capsule-richmond, the base will contain a new time capsule. It will have inside it various items, including a photo of a Black ballerina in front of the statue, a Kente cloth worn at the 400th commemoration of 1619, a “Black Lives Matter” sticker, “Stop Asian Hate” fliers, an LGBTQ pin, and an expired vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

What are we to think of all this? The first place that my mind goes to is the Cultural Revolution in China under Mao Zedong. In the Four Olds campaign, young Red guards destroyed Old Ideas, Old Habits, Old Culture, and Old Customs. Anything before communist rule had to go. So those who tear down statues have a lot in common with communists. If there is doubt about this, just look at what and who will be replacing Lee–marxist ideas and personalities.

It is sad to think of the loss of culture and heritage to the city of Richmond by these actions. Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Obviously, Lee was from Virginia. So this is local, as well as national, history that is being lost.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.” 1984, George Orwell

It is also shortsighted, simplistic, and spurious to write off Lee as a racist or a bad person. Those who have studied Lee know that he was an honorable man of great skill as a general, as well as a man of noble character. One of the main reasons why he turned down an offer to lead the Union army was that he did not want to take up arms against his home state of Virginia. Contrast the honor and character of Lee with the vulgar graffiti found on the statue’s base. Who has more character? One of the most skilled generals in American history or some punk who spray-painted obscenities on the base of the statue?

“Save in the defense of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword.” -Robert E. Lee in a letter to his friend, General Winfield Scott

And just so my position on the Civil War is not misunderstood, let me explain my views on it. I love studying history, and I can appreciate that there were good people on both sides. I identify with the abolitionism of the North, but I also appreciate the states’ rights argument of the South. In addition, I realize that history is not always as simple or clear-cut as we would like it to be. It is often very messy. For example, Abraham Lincoln made plenty of statements that cast doubt on whether he wanted to abolish slavery at all. His primary concern, at least in the beginning of the war, was to preserve the Union. And you can find similar sentiments by other Northerners, such as General William T. Sherman. And in contrast to those examples, you can find evidence that Lee was more enlightened on racial matters in some instances than his Northern counterparts.

“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.” –Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to Horace Greeley, 1862

So why do I oppose the removal of Lee’s statue? The bottom line is that I dislike the erasing of history and tearing down of monuments that are central to a place’s identity and heritage. Think about it. Will ignorance of the past by our youth lead to a more enlightened society? Did not the statue educate and provoke discussion of the past simply by its existence there on Monument Avenue? Now that Lee is being cancelled, I’m sure that many youth in Richmond will grow up being unaware of who he even was and what role he played in the history of our country. Then you can ask yourself, “Who can better articulate the history of race in America? Those who know the history of the Civil War and the personalities on both sides or those who are ignorant of the other side’s heroes?”