This morning I had the opportunity to sit in on a Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Their debate prompt was “Resolved: Rescuing great cultural and artistic achievements from theft or destruction is worth risking one’s life.” I’m sure part of what prompted this prompt was the destruction and theft of cultural artifacts in Iraq, Syria and Libya by ISIS. The concern on the part of the students is the fact that with such destruction comes the loss, change or intentional rewriting of history that accompanies it. Certainly, in the Middle East, ISIS is attempting to eradicate any evidence of the Church’s history in those areas. But are we in America any better?
Ironically, the Lincoln-Douglas Debate format is based on the 7 debates that Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held between August 21 and October 15, 1858. Of course, the coming Civil War was the forefront of those debates. And here we are today, with the debate still raging as communities attempt to rewrite our history by removing Confederate monuments. Our new mayor in St. Louis is intent upon removing a Confederate monument in Forest Park because “it’s an emotionally charged issue…that is hurtful to so many people.” Perhaps we should remove Douglas from the tableau at Lincoln Douglas Square in Alton, IL? That’s probably coming.
What a ridiculous concept that if we have “hurt feelings” because of history, then we should just rewrite or eradicate that history, rather than learn from it. This is the same logic that Holocaust deniers and historical revisionists use because there are people who are uncomfortable with the truth. And where does it end? Memorial Day emerged from competing Union and Confederate observances eventually becoming Memorial Day by 1882. Shall we now make distinctions between those Americans who lost their lives in service to our country, but only those Americans who fought for ideals that we agree with? Vietnam? The Gulf wars?
Churchill once said that “History is written by the victors.” But history is rewritten by the those with “hurt feelings.” Progressive culture really wants to rewrite the Church, who, it seems, from their perspective, is oppressive. Individuals and our feelings have become our idols. And I am still awed by the fact that He, who knew no sin, became sin for us, and as Y’shua endured that pain, He was not a victim, but victor who cried out to His Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”