In Mississippi late last year, there was a ballot initiative being talked about, known as Initiative 46, which would have promoted the use of the flag. According to the Christian Post:
Also called the "Heritage Initiative," Initiative 46 has 12 provisions, including a call for Mississippi to be classified as "a principally Christian and quintessentially Southern state," English as the official language, designating April as "Confederate Heritage Month," and prominently displaying the Confederate Battle Flag on the state capitol grounds.Neither the Southern Baptist Convention—which is the largest religious body in the State of Mississippi—nor the American Family Association supported the initiative.
Then in April, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention said that "[t]he cross and the Confederate battle flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire."
More recently, the Washington Post reports:
These days, Moore is the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which makes him the leading public voice of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.Quite recently, this was not the only acceptable opinion according to the media, of course, which is why Moore is, as the Washington Post headline puts it, "a surprising voice". As Southern historian Shelby Foote put it on PBS Newshour in 2000:
He is also a new kind of evangelical leader, as evidenced on Friday, when he stepped into — and helped shape — the rapidly gelling movement to banish the Confederate battle flag from the public sphere.
I don’t object to any individual hiding from history, but I do object to their hiding history from me. And that’s what seems to me to be going on here. There are a lot of terrible things that happened in American history, but we don’t wipe ’em out of the history books; we don’t destroy their symbols; we don’t forget they ever happened; we don’t resent anybody bringing it up. The confederate flag has been placed in that position that’s unique with an American symbol. I’ve never known one to be so despised.This desire to "banish the Confederate battle flag from the public sphere" is a natural symptom of progressivism's inability to abide what lies beyond its cultural borders. This inability doesn't apply solely to the public sphere, as we see with the recent Supreme Court decision which effectively bans White flight. Looking at the past three quarters of a century or so, we see a campaign to eradicate successively less public forms of 'discrimination'. As the article linked above notes:
The White House released a statement following the decision, saying that it reflects the reality that discrimination exists not just out in the open, but in more hidden forms. "Too many Americans are victims of more subtle forms of discrimination, such as predatory lending, exclusionary zoning and development policies that limit affordable housing," the statement said.When Rome was Christianized, non-Christian practice wasn't banned all at once. Early on, and throughout the fourth century, temples were demolished, holy images were removed or destroyed, and public feasts involving explicit sacrifice to the gods were made illegal. But feasting out in the open and simply toasting the gods, without animal sacrifice, remained legal—for a time. Then that was banned as well. Then, from the fifth century on, peripheral villages which hadn't yet complied with the new edicts were sought out and attacked. The most private elements of pre-Christian religion—amulets, for example, or markers in the doorways of homes—persisted the longest.
At the same time, however, Christianity assimilated many pre-Christian practices, even as the Church condemned some. In Lycia in the middle of the sixth century, St. Nicholas sacrificed seven calves in the chapel of St. George; wine and wheat was distributed to those present, and they feasted in thanks of God. Christians still made amulets and kissed doorposts, just as their ancestors had. And of course, the sacred role of the Emperor was preserved.
From the Civil War on, and especially after World War II, prior elements of American culture, as well as of the political formula, were targeted by campaigns of diminution or removal; but again, not all at once. Christianity is still, nominally, the majority religion; mass immigration from non-Western countries did not begin until the third quarter of the twentieth century; a century and a half have passed between the end of the Civil War and the great effort on the part of the upper classes to "banish the Confederate battle flag from the public sphere".
At the same time, however, progressivism has appropriated the language of classical liberalism. Its adherents and detractors can both be heard to claim that they are continuing the project begun by the Enlightenment, as we have previously noted:
Much as in the case of woman suffrage, this orthodoxy retrospectively places the external advent of the modern world within its own inward logic of continual progress, claiming it in a sense as its own achievement.This is reminiscent of Augustine's belief that "that which is known as the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist" and thus that "from the beginning of the human race until the time when Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christianity"; and much as Christianity retained the Emperor, progressivism retains the Constitution (sort of).
As this process of monocultural domination continues to take successively more private cultural elements as casualties, we should ask: what allowed our previous recoveries from similar situations, those of the Renaissance and of the Enlightenment? We are back again at the matter of the Classical inheritance. Let us hope of our descendants, even if they have no rebel flags to fly, that they have among them at least a few capable of reading Homer.
But let's try and pass a flag or two down, too.