Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Civil War Isn't Over

Today marks 150 years since General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered his forces to Ulysses S. Grant and the Union Army on April 9, 1865.

Yet, conservative southern states of the old confederate south reject ‘Obamacare’ because they don’t need the federal government messing with their states rights.

Of course, conservative southern states of the old confederate south are some of the most dependent on federal government funds in the country.

Mississippi, for example, gets around $3 in subsidies from the federal government for every $1 they pay the federal government in taxes. South Carolina gets $7.87 back for every $1 it sends in. Yes, that means states of the old confederate south are subsidized by those evil, Northern Yankee Aggressors.

Seriously, the questions at the heart of the war still occupy the nation.  “It is easy to proclaim all souls equal in the sight of God,” wrote James Baldwin in 1956 as the Civil Rights Movement took hold in America; “it is hard to make men equal on earth in the sight of men.” Philosophically and theologically, claims of human equality are as old as human civilization. The struggles for genuine equality of rights, of equality before law, and equality of opportunity continues to this day.

The profoundly sacred and legal journey toward equality before the law, and God, is not likely to arrive at a destination, rather its a long, grinding journey of human striving. Equality is inevitably a process of change balanced against individual rights, self-interests, material interests, and a diversity of definitions for “liberty.” The civil war over these issues will never truly be resolved.

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