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Mon Jun 29, 2020, 09:57 PM

Even the Bible Is Full of Flawed Characters - NY Cardinal Dolan, WSJ op-ed

Years ago I was dedicating a new parish to St. Peter. A woman wrote to protest: “Why would you name a Church after such a coward, a sinner who denied even knowing the Lord when Jesus needed him most, at the hour of His arrest and crucifixion?” Knowing her and what parish she was from, I wrote back, “But you’re a proud parishioner at St. Mary Magdalene Church. She was sure not a paragon of virtue for a chunk of her life. Yet, by God’s grace, she became a radiant, inspirational saint. If we can’t name churches after sinners, the only titles we’d have left would be Jesus and His Mother!”

Isn’t the same true of America’s historical personalities? All of them had flaws, yet all of them still contributed a lot of good to our nation’s progress. Defacing, tearing down and hiding statues and portraits is today’s version of Puritan book-burning. Our children need to know their country’s past, its normative figures and their virtues and vices. That’s how we learn and pass on our story. Is there any more effective way to comprehend America’s history of racism than reading “Huckleberry Finn” or one of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, works of literature now ominously on the chopping block?

(snip)

God forbid we’d go through a cultural revolution as China did five decades ago. Beware those who want to purify memories and present a tidy—and inaccurate—history. And who’s to say which statues, portraits, books and dedications are spared? Remember when some objected to raising the status of the Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday to a national holiday, citing his self-admitted flaws? If literature that depicts prejudice, or words or scenes that are today rightly abhorred, is to be banned, I don’t know if even the Bible can survive. If we only honor perfect, saintly people of the past, I guess I’m left with only the cross. And some people would ban that.

As a historian by training, I want to remember the good and the bad, and recall with gratitude how even people who have an undeniable dark side can let light prevail and leave the world better. I want to keep bringing classes of schoolchildren to view such monuments, and to explain to them how even such giants in our history had crimes, unjust acts and plain poor judgment mixed in with the good we honor.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/even-the-bible-is-full-of-flawed-characters-11593370160 (subscription)


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Reply Even the Bible Is Full of Flawed Characters - NY Cardinal Dolan, WSJ op-ed (Original post)
question everything Jun 29 OP
Thomas Hurt Jun 29 #1
people Jun 29 #2
question everything Jun 29 #5
Phoenix61 Jun 29 #6
wnylib Jun 30 #8
question everything Jun 30 #9
wnylib Jun 30 #10
Ferrets are Cool Jun 29 #3
GeorgeGist Jun 29 #4
mazzarro Jun 29 #7
Solly Mack Jun 30 #11

Response to question everything (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 10:03 PM

1. Statues raised as a political statement do not expose the flaws...

nor elicit discussions about the flaws of famous people.

Would it be better if statues were peaceably removed to some museum...sure.

Problem is the powerful aren't listening, and the Cardinal's op ed shows he isn't listening either.

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Response to question everything (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 10:20 PM

2. An Easy Way to Understand how Awful These Confederate Statues Are

Does Germany keep statues up of Himmler and Hitler and Goebbels? How would I feel in Germany if my relatives were murdered by the Nazis and I had to walk around today and everyday and see statues of these monsters still up everywhere? I would be incredibly upset and angry. We don't need to honor these monsters to learn about this awful history.

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Response to people (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 10:51 PM

5. Auschwitz concentration camp is there, intact

To remember the horrors. School children from Israel visit there.

I think that it is important to explain the roles that these Confederate soldiers played. This is the past of this country that should not be ignored.

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Response to question everything (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 11:06 PM

6. So we keep one "plantation" and stick all the

statues there. They didn’t need to be scattered all over the country.

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Response to question everything (Reply #5)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 01:41 AM

8. The Auschwitz camp does not honor

and glorify Nazis. It is a perpetual reminder of the depths of their depravity. And a memorial to the people who were murdered.

A statue is a symbol of honor, to revere the subject of the statue.

Not the same things at all.

I am all for removing statues of Confederate soldiers and officers, as well as Columbus and Andrew Jackson. They did much harm with few or no redeeming qualities worthy of note. Put them in history museums with plaques describing their deeds.

Others, like Washington and Jefferson, were enslavers while proclaiming liberty for themselves. Hypocrites. But they also laid the groundwork for a nation with ideals of liberty and the means of change in government. Let their worthwhile achievements be known, but their faults and flaws be openly admitted and known, too.

What about putting up more statues that honor people of all races and ethnicities for .their contributions to values that we claim to believe in and promote? Harriet Tubman, SojounerTruth, Frederick Douglass, Abigail Adams, unnamed abolitionists, Justice Robert Jackson (Nazi war crimes trials), the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) consultants at the Constitutional Convention, the Navajo code talkers of WWII. Also people whose works and inventions improved people's lives and promoted peace, health, and happiness. There are so many of all backgrounds in our history that we can acknowledge and honor for contributing to values we can admire and hope to live up to.





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Response to wnylib (Reply #8)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 05:04 PM

9. Slavery, Columbus, Jackson are all part of the history of this nation, whether we like it or not

Slavery and Columbus are an integral part of the foundation of this country. Nazism, as far as I know, was not an integral part of Germany.

Sure, add more memorials but how will these be viewed in 200 years?

The ecstasy that is engulfing the country, demanding the removal of all things that do not meet today's ideas is, really, reminiscence of the "cultural revolution" of China. Is this what we want?

And... will Ohio change the name of its capital?

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Response to question everything (Reply #9)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 06:47 PM

10. Please note that, in regard to slavery, Jackson, and Columbus,

I did not suggest removing them from history. I suggested removing them from places of honor and putting them in HISTORICAL museums, as part of our history.

Regarding Nazis being integral to German culture and history, nearly every step of their persecution of Jews has very long and deep roots in German history, as well as in the rest of Europe (where collaborators aided Nazis).

In Medieval Germany (and most of Europe), Jews wore identifying clothing by law. They were restricted on where they could live and what occupations they could pursue. Violations of these laws could be punished harshly. Jewish sections of cities were walled off from the rest of the city. Attacks (called pogroms) on Jewish villages and city sections resulted in looting, destruction of homes, businesses, and synogogues, and slaughters. Reasons for the attacks varied, from accusations of stealing Christian children for blood sacrifices, to riled up parishioners after Easter week sermons. Jews were accused of poisoning wells and causing the Plague. Thousands were slaughtered in Europe. In Germany, whole Jewish villages and city sections were destroyed and the entire populations slaughtered.

In the 16th century, the German monk, Martin Luther, said that Christian treatment of Jews was an obstacle to converting them. But when his own attempts to convert them failed, he said and wrote some of the most vile things about Jews that anyone had ever said. By the early 20th century, in the era of the Nazis, several Lutheran clergy had rejected Luther's anti Semitism and formed, along with Reformed clergy, the Confessing Church, in opposition to Nazis. They were attacked and imprisoned. Some died in concentration camps. But many others willingly joined the Nazi takeover of churches to form the German Christian Church.

So anti-Semitism, restrictions of clothing, movement, and occupations were a very longstanding part of German history and culture by the time of the Nazis. So was wholesale slaughter of Jews. Nazis modernized it with a cold, scientific approach. To gain power, they aroused the old anti-Semitism that lay deep in the German (and European) culture.

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Response to question everything (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 10:41 PM

4. Put up a statue to Satan, Cardinal ...

and we'll talk.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 11:40 PM

7. B-I-N-G-O!

👍👍👍

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Response to question everything (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 07:53 PM

11. Blatherskite

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