On July 4, while waving your flags, give thanks for this…

A fellow interrupted our Facebook discussion on apostasy/faithfulness in my denomination to slam various denominational leaders and then veered a half-mile off-subject onto his lasting loyalty to the Confederate cause.   Each year, he said, he travels to the Confederate cemetery back at home and honors the people, the cause, the flag, etc.

I don’t know the guy, so this is not so much to him  as it is to all those unreconstructed Southerners who still cannot get past the CSA, who idolize Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, and who would die for the Stars-and-Bars before they would the Stars and Stripes.

We have no argument with honoring the dead.  I’ve stood at the gravesites in Columbus Mississippi’s Friendship Cemetery and shed more than one tear for those on both sides buried there.

But no matter your position on the Southern Cause, my friend, there is something you should give thanks for.

Give thanks we lost. 

“Give thanks the South lost, friends.”  It was a terrible war brought on by the diehard intransigence of leaders from both the South and the North, and the nation paid a horrible price for their foolishness.

Slavery and states rights were lost causes from the beginning. Had those two institutions prevailed, a thousand bad things would have resulted.  Thank God they didn’t.

I am a Southerner.  Born in rural Alabama and raised there.  We had relatives on both sides of this conflict.

I am a history student.  I’ve read fifty books on the Civil War and have been to a number of the battlefields, particularly Vicksburg, Shiloh, and Gettysburg.  My sons have a strong interest in the war also, and each has a photo of their great grandfather Edmund Waller Henderson in the CSA uniform on display in their homes.

I’ve been to Andersonville, Georgia, site of the worst prison ever.  The Confederates did not have food enough for their own people, and so in addition to brutally mistreating their prisoners, they  starved them too..  McKinley Kantor’s Andersonville was a prize-winning novel on that prison and I recommend it highly.  The prison’s warden was hanged by the Nation after the war, and rightfully so.

We know one big thing:  Losing the war was the best possible outcome for the Confederates.  Consider the alterative…

Had the South won…

–The slaves would still be slaves.  God help us. There is no possible justification for slavery.  None.  Don’t even try.

This nation is still paying a terrible price for its history of slavery.

–This nation, presently of fifty states, would not be just two states today, the North and the South, but would have splintered into a half-dozen or more.  After all, if the South could pull out of the Union, then individual states could secede from the Confederacy and they would have. South Carolina, for one, has always shown a tendency to assert its rights and go its own way, and does  to this day.  (They can thank their Senator John C. Calhoun for that, in my humble opinion.  Calhoun did not live to see the Civil War, but it was as much his child as anyone’s.)  I guarantee you Texas and California would be their own nations.

We are “one nation under God indivisible.”  Let us give thanks for that.  It didn’t happen without a lot of pain.

–And if the North American continent were composed of a half dozen or more independent nations,  Hitler and Hirohito would have had  their way in the world in the late 1930s, and the  response to the aggression of Stalin and Communism would have been feeble and ineffective.

No telling what kind of world we would be living in if the South had won.  One thing we can be sure of, however:  It would be a far, far worse world than we have now.

Imagine a world without the United States of America.

Emphasis: United. 

So, give thanks for the victory of General Grant, for the wisdom and courage of Abraham Lincoln, and for the win at Vicksburg and the surrender at Appomattox.

It’s possible to do that and still honor our Confederate dead.

Some were honorable, but not all.  Some were willing to fight for the cause, but many were conscripted and forced to fight.

God have mercy on them all.

Judgment will sort it all out. 

I suppose there are those among us who think God in HIs righteous judgement will have nothing to say about all this when we stand before Him at That Day.  But they are wrong.   We shall all give account.

Hitler will be there. Hirohito and Tojo, Rommel and Goering, Churchill and  Roosevelt will all be at The Final Judgement.  Henry Clay and John Brown, Ulysses Grant and Robert E. Lee, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and Donald Trump will be there.  Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth.  You and me. All of us.

And–count on it–God will not be looking at the warmongers and saying anything silly like, “Oh well, that was wartime so those  atrocities do not count.”

There has to be a hell.

Otherwise, without a hell the mass murderers of humanity have gotten off scot-free.

You will be there. So will I.  We will all give account.

The drug-pushers and the adulterers.  The child-abusers and the pedophiles.  The liars and cheats.

“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.”  (Revelation 21:8).

May God have mercy on each of us.  “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.”

“But those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Jesus is Lord.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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