Christians Should Be The Ones Tearing Down Statues and Graven Images, Starting with Jonathan Edwards
In my last post a new blog friend, Brother Jim, posted a comment retort to another reader as to what is really going on in the protests and “tearing down” of slavery-associated figures and vandalism operations that are exaggerated and sensationalized on certain conservative media outlets here. They in turn blame any perceived negative act in the streets on the latest “boogeyman” Antifa, like the operators behind “Big Brother” in the novel 1984, who had similarly mythologized “Emmanuel Goldstein” as their source for all things anti-societal (totally disregarding the potential for the common occurrence of state-directed false flag operations, with many posting on some police-friendly vandals and provocateurs recently caught in the act, not to mention the supposed Antifa online “call to violence” that Twitter later confirmed as being connected to the white supremacist group Identity Evropa with connections to Russia, which Donald Trump Jr. passed on as “proof” that Antifa was a “terrorist organization”), to exhibit in their own daily “Two Minutes of Hate” (now we have “progressed” to 24-hour news outlets to extend the rage).
As old Future Quake listeners would know, the use of agents provocateur (often state-sponsored) to justify state-sponsored violence and restrictions on First Amendment protesting and other civil rights is a age-old technique. Think of the Reichstag fire, or Nero burning Rome (blaming it on the Christians then). The supposed Communist bombings in Italy by Operation Gladio NATO stay behind units post-war, the King David Hotel and Suez British and US army barracks bombings by the Israelis, the violent provoking of anti-war groups by embedded FBI agents in COINTELLPRO and even within the Black Panthers, the 9/11 bombings (oh wait – not supposed to go that far…). I remember an old Alex Jones video showing footage on the ground from I think the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, where a masked, armed dark-robed “protester” broke a lot of windows to get the crowd going, then discreetly went through the police lines, being patted on the back as he disappeared behind them and entered a police cruiser on his own, although for the life of me I cannot find the reference right now (although in the 1999 WTO protests it has been confirmed that some of the more heavily-armed protesters present were embedded Delta Force personnel deployed on U.S. soil). At the 2007 G20 meeting in Canada, protesters there found several highly-armed, highly protected fellow “protesters” in masks, armed with rocks in their hands, and tried to expose them then as police implants, which the police there refused to move on when exposed, and which the government denied until later, when the government officials admitted they had been implanted by them in the midst of the protesters. The Intercept has additional listings of such historic infiltrations. Recently, Denver police had confiscated assault rifles from the “Boogaloo Bois” right-wing anti-government group near the site of a protest. Other mysteries still remain about current events. Forbes and other outlets have written about a violent, enigmatic figure discovered at protests known as the “Umbrella Man”, a white man dressed in all black and an umbrella, staying away from other protesters and breaking windows, wearing an expensive, sophisticated gas mask, while those protesters around him asked if he was a police officer, and reportedly stumping officials. Asia Times notes that today’s protests are a confusing mess, in which some provocateurs are possibly connected to Antifa, as well as some nefarious Caucasian figures passing out bricks and weapons from trucks, and even some noble acts by legitimate protesters to protect police (such as some black men who surrounded a separated and stranded police person in Louisville to keep him from being attacked), and the Christian service history of George Floyd himself. I personally have heard reports on TV from law enforcement figures that they have been able to confirm that at least some of the roving looting groups are part of an interstate crime operation (I have seen them pull up to just-broken doorways of stores in their expensive vehicles and Escalades, send a few people out quickly to run in the store and grab some goods out and then drive away, letting another such expensive vehicle rapidly pull up behind them).
In the process of welcoming Brother Jim to the blog and bolstering his arguments, I went further (as I am wont to do) in my assertions from his point, which became lengthy enough to justify its own independent post (not an uncommon event).
My point was that, as of today, I would go further and suggest that if Bible-believing Christians ever decided that they should be a moral example of their society, they should provide leadership and publicly destroy the widespread graven images of that notorious life-long slave holder Jonathan Edwards – I volunteer to swing the sledge hammer first! God’s leaders have a long legacy of tearing down strongholds, images and idols, particularly when those items are connected to figures associated with Him while representing values He does not hold, including the golden calf, the brazen serpent on the Temple, the Asherah Poles, the statue of Dagon (the Ark of the Covenant gets credit for that one), the idols of Diana, and others come to mind, and centuries of Christian missionaries toppling over similar blasphemous figures. Why can’t we get in on the act?
The beloved “Brother Jonathan” Edwards owned a number of slaves during his life (at least seven, most of them teenage girls originally, as he originally bought them (like “Venus”) from the Newport slave traders at the docks as the new slave ships arrived), and even at the death of both of he and his wife’s life they refused to release their slaves, just directing that they be sold off to other slaveholders at their deaths, including possibly separating a married couple. At that time in the North in the mid-1700s, only the conspicuous ultra-wealthy indulged in expensive slaves to avoid their Puritan values of hard personal work, and Jonathan Edwards was known to be one of those super wealthy preachers, made from his excessive salary from the tithes of his church and his exorbitant lifestyle, prompting them to chase him out because of his financial exploitation. In 1741, the year he preached the famous “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” he wrote a treatise when his fellow wealthy preacher came under attack for owning slaves, which most of the laity and citizenry fought the clergy and other wealthy aristocrats about. However, he deftly and politically avoided directly condemning his own hypocrisy as a slave owner by merely condemning the overseas culling of Africans to be brought to Europe and elsewhere for sale (as he had bought his own), but did not condemn the keeping or buying of slaves already residing in America, or born into slavery here (obviously, the more slaves that were continuously brought in from Africa, the less valuable on the market his own slaves were – its simple supply and demand). Ironically, the clergyman at the center of his attack later freed his slave, while Edwards didn’t free his. His writings consistently featured a staunch and biblical defense of slavery, while the common folk knew better.
I think that this cognitive dissonance and rationalization of his hypocrisy was fueled by his central acceptance of Calvinism, and its assertion that God purposefully created the majority of humanity to unavoidably be sent to the Lake of Fire without their control, because it was God’s pleasure to do so (and thus why should we resist the hand of God and treat them any differently, as the Puritans earlier rationalized in immolating the Pequoit Indian women and children trapped within their walled community, the Puritan colonial leader even writing that their burning flesh was a “sweet savor before God”). Jonathan himself wrote about how we was originally repulsed about the blatant injustice of the Calvinist worldview, until he had a mysterious change of heart, writing in his Memoirs,
“From my childhood up, my mind has been full of objections against the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, in choosing whom he would to eternal life; and rejecting whom he pleased; leaving them eternally to perish, and be everlastingly tormented in hell. It used to appear like a horrible doctrine to me. But I remember the time very well when I seemed to be convinced, and fully satisfied, as to this sovereignty of God, and his justice in thus eternally disposing of men, according to his sovereign pleasure. But I never could give an account of how, or by what means, I was thus convinced, not in the least imagining of time, nor a long time after, there was any influence of God’s spirit in it; but only that I now saw further, and my reason apprehended the justice and reasonableness of it. However, my mind rested in it; and it put an end to all those cavils and objections. And there has been a wonderful alteration in my mind, with respect to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, from that day to this; so that I scarce ever have found so much as the rising of an objection against it, in the absolute sense, of God showing mercy to whom he will show mercy, and hardening whom he will. God’s absolute sovereignty and justice, with respect to salvation and damnation, is what my mind seems to rest assured of, as much as of any thing that I see with my eyes…The doctrine has very often appeared exceedingly pleasant, bright and sweet.”
This is why I see venerated religious figures like Jonathan Edwards as bringing, rather than “The Great Awakening,” the “Great Darkening,” as he and his Calvinist Puritan peers and descendants brought an exceptionalist, elite “elect” mindset that could attempt to justify the subjugation, extermination and slavery of Africans, Hispanics and others as “God’s will” for those beasts who were the God-commanded “depraved” from before birth. It is more than fitting that the Protestant Anglo-American Establishment plutocracy over our nation’s leadership for centuries, Yale’s Skull and Bones Society, built a dormitory for their aristocrats that later became part of Yale’s “Jonathan Edwards College.”
I wonder if the unrepentant Jonathan Edwards, after condemning countless others to Hell (with some reportedly committing suicide in his day after hearing his message on the certain condemnation of God, including his own uncle), eventually found himself as a “slaveholder in the hands of an Angry God,” and doomed not by a prenatal fate set by the hyper-sovereign Calvinist God, but rather by his own autonomous hands and self-election.
We here in Nashville should not gloat; until recently we have had here for years a seven foot-plus tall idol statue to Billy Graham, who called our anti-war youth “Communist sympathizers” and proposed to Nixon to drown North Vietnamese villagers by blowing up their dams (a war crime), and bragged of his closeness to Martin Luther King, yet never attended any civil rights marches, did not attend his funeral, heeded J. Edgar Hoover’s warnings to him about King, held whites-only crusades in the 1950s, claimed that segregation was just “a local problem,” telling the press he just followed “local customs” and that “the Bible has nothing to say about segregation,” belonged to a whites-only country club until 1991 (the club having kicked a black child out of its pool that was a guest of a member), said after King’s “I Have A Dream” speech that “Only when Christ comes again will the little white children of Alabama walk hand in hand with little black children,” in 1965 (right after passage of the Civil Rights Act) bragged in Alabama to the press there about the confederate flag flying from their capitol dome and that his grandfathers were Confederate soldiers, told the press that Rev. King and Negro marchers should “put on the brakes,” calling Dr. King “a good, personal friend” but also “hesitates to call himself a thorough-going integrationist” and “asked for a period of quietness in which moderation prevails,” all while Dr. King was rotting in the Birmingham jail, leading the later-released King to respond in a speech, “‘Well,’ they’re saying, ‘you need to put on brakes.’ The only answer that we can give to that is that the motor’s now cranked up and we’re moving up the highway of freedom toward the city of equality, and we can’t afford to stop now because our nation has a date with destiny.” King had stated in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” written in jail while Graham was publicly reprimanding King (and almost prophetic as to the weeks we have recently experienced, and in response to the words of many white Christians today), that “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride towards freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than justice.”
Where do you stand?