Support the Café

Search our Site

South Carolina Gov. Haley and other top Republican lawmakers support removing the Confederate flag

South Carolina Gov. Haley and other top Republican lawmakers support removing the Confederate flag

Gov Haley, pictured, is believed to support removing the Confederate flag

The man who killed nine people at Mother Emanuel Church wrote a manifesto replete with references to the Confederacy and outlining his racist hatred, rooted in white supremacist ideology, which was discovered on the internet this past weekend. Petitions and marches demanding the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse have intensified since the revelation, and top Republican lawmakers in South Carolina have said that they are now willing to remove the flag.

From the article:

“It’s appropriate,” said Sen. Paul Campbell, a Charleston Republican, who said Monday he expects to hear the governor call for the flag to be moved. “The Confederate memorial is there for a reason. We need to celebrate those people because its part of our history. When it’s abused by jerks like Roof, then you have to look at it from a different perspective.”

Campbell said South Carolinians look at the flag as “history and heritage” but said the shooting and Roof’s use of the flag had forever altered its image.

Several writers have written pieces criticizing the flag and exposing the ‘heritage not hate’ claim as a falsehood rooted in an idealised, romanticized, view of the Civil War. Writing on Medium, John Price, a cultural historian, explains this as a “Lost Cause narrative”.

From the article:

In America today, the most prominent, prevalent, and pernicious of these revisionist movements is the Lost Cause narrative: the idea that the Civil War was a romantic struggle for freedom against an oppressive government trying to enforce cultural change. There are scores of books on this topic, and you should check those out at your local library.

After briefly eviscerating Gone With the Wind, Price breaks down each talking point and offers the counterpoint. Another historian, Kevin Gannon, provides historical context and first-source material illustrating the role that white supremacy and racism played in forming the Confederate image and branding. He has titled his scathing blog post “I Will Not Argue About the Confederate Flag“.

Are you glad that South Carolina is finally taking down their flag? Are you impressed to see that lawmakers are saying that the image is forever tainted, or frustrated that this is what it took for them to admit the real harm that a symbol of racism has caused?

Posted by David Streever


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robert Martin

The Confederate flag would never be flown by anyone with even a passing familiarity with its history and symbolism of racial slavery. Its use and history is forever bound up to that wickedness. Those who proclaim it is a question of pride in culture beg the question, what culture? It is a culture of slavery, war and gross injustice. There is no place for this hateful symbol.

Paul Woodrum

According to one South Carolina historian I heard on an evening news show, the Confederate Battle Flag had passed into history until the 1960’s when the state legislature revived it and required it to be flown, first over the capital, then on the capital grounds, to protest the civil rights movement, desegregation of schools, and repudiation of Jim Crow laws. Southern states themselves turned it from the honor of Confederate war veterans into the dishonor of symbolizing white supremacy and racism. That it’s still flying and that it takes the shedding of black folks’ blood to get it lowered, shames them and their history.

Dan Rafferty

If some of the attempts at linkage seen above are truly followed through their mutiple respective paths, then something would glaringly standout. That something would be immediately dismissed by progressives.

So who coordinated the hunts, the false promises and captures and sold whom into slavery?

Be very careful in this exercising of blindered linkeage history. Carry it through to the inception of the trans-Atlantic African slavery and get ready to deal with a quandry.

Take off the blinders and we can see where truly unfettered linkeage (history) leads one to an uncomfortable link. It’s (Black) African people who are the primary perpetrators in documented allegiance with Spain.

Without the cooperation of an indigenous African people, the slave trade would not have flourished. If anyone thinks that whites ran the show with recalcitrant slaves, the person needs to read the letters exchanged between Spain and an African king.

Cynthia Katsarelis

There’s plenty of ugliness to go around on the slave trade and slavery. African collusion does not change the fact that European slavery was exceptionally brutal and that it’s legacy in the New World is our cross to bear.

There’s an interesting article that talks about “voluntary minorities” vs. “involuntary minorities” (such as African-Americans and indigenous people). It is a really productive understanding. A good prism for seeing the dynamics in our country. And for understanding why things are so different for them, vs. other ethnic minorities (like my Greek grandparents).

David Allen

This isn’t new information here. It isn’t a secret who comprised the various sides involved in the slave trade between Africa and the Americas. However, I doubt that the Africans are who came up with the idea of transporting slaves from Africa to the Americas. Spain found that necessary when many of my Native American ancestors and more distant relatives died out in various locales due to European diseases and the harsh conditions of their slavery.

Bro David

Randall Stewart

Charles has a point. There is a church dedication that needs to be changed at the least.

The flag was actually an ingenious vexillographic solution to the problem of friendly fire in the Army of Northern Virginia. It became part of the flag of the rebel government in 1863. To quote Indiana Jones out of context, it belongs in a museum.

Charles McAllister

Many of the confederate leaders were members of the Episcopal Church -Robert E Lee for example and Bishop L Polk was a General -historically we do not have a solid leg of moral outrage to stand on-oh and the President of the Confederacy was an Episcopalean ( Jefferson Davis)

David Allen

With this faulty logic, no one in any expression of the church of Christ descended from Western Christianity has a leg to stand on regarding moral criticism of others. We have evil, horrendous skeletons in our closets that date back much further than the US Civil War. Our religious ancestors tortured folks and burned them at the stake, among other awful forms of execution. The English king associated with founding our branch of the Church, was married 6 times and had two of his wives murdered by the state.

But before that, using your logic, folks following the man who became the Apostle Paul also would have no moral grounds to criticize others. As Saul, he persecuted the Jewish Christians and for all we know during that period of his life was guilty of more than just holding the coats of others as they murdered the 1st Christian martyr.

The sins of our forebears has no claim to who we are today.

Bro David

David Allen

First Anand, I was writing a reply to Charles.

Second, I haven’t seen anyone make a comment about benighted, lower-class, ignorant, redneck Southerners. Nor have I seen any comments from anyone who appears puffed up with pride or self-rightousness. That you’ve conjured from whole cloth.

Third, as a Mexican in the US, I don’t have a lot of privilege of which I’m aware. I’ve had to stare down some pretty racist and/or anti-gay folks at times here in the US.

Bro David

Anand Gnanadesikan


I think you misunderstand me.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t criticize the flying of the Confederate flag. I agree that we should for the sake of our African American brethren.

What I am saying is that in doing so we shouldn’t puff up our pride about how righteous we are relative to those benighted, lower-class, ignorant, redneck Southerners. While ignoring the ways in which the modern Episcopal Church still benefits from the legacy of slavery and through its educational programs may be perpetuating segregation.

You argue that “The sins of our forebears has no claim to who we are today.”

Exactly what is white privilege then? Dark-skinned as I am, I am an inheritor of that privilege through where I was educated and through the assimilation of Asian Indians as “honorary whites”.

Being privileged is not a sin- I agree with you there that we are not inheritors of the sin of past generations. If that’s what you thought I was saying I can undertand your reaction.

But ignoring one’s privilege may well be sinful.


Anand Gnanadesikan

Well said Charles. It is easy for us in TEC to ignore the fact that a significant portion of the wealth of our country and particularly our church has flowed from the exploitation of (often non-white) labor over centuries. While I’m glad to see the Confederate flag come down, it’s cheap grace to think that simply supporting that renders us not guilty.

Having recently seen “Woman in Gold” I’m reminded of Austria banning the Nazi flag, but holding on like grim death to artworks looted from Jews…

Cynthia Katsarelis

I fully agree with Anand that bringing down the Confederate flag would be “cheap grace” if we don’t also examine White Privilege and systematic racism, and work towards reconciliation from the power side.

Mark Mason

Queen Elizabeth also signed the first Letters Patent authorizing black slaves to be brought to the New World. Her finger resting on California in the Armada Portrait was used to justify Manifest Destiny. History is what it is. Erasing it doesn’t change it.

Dan Rafferty

Just an aside to your later comment. I discovered a bit ago that “redneck” derives from the Scots who stood against Mary’s efforts to Catholosize Scotland. They wore red neckerchiefs. The. Elizabeth sent a bunch to Anglicize Ireland…we know how that turned out. The now Scotch-Irish went to New England…not a good fit either. Ended up in Appalachia. So one could say Red Necks saved Scottish Anglican Protestantism …..hillbilly history has deep roots in the Anglican bloodline.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Dear Charles,

My ancestors emigrated to the US in the 1910’s and I adopted the Episcopal Church in 1995. I have a moral leg to stand on and so does every member of TEC in 2015, seeing as not one was there during slavery. Also, there were Episcopalians who made the Biblical case against slavery. There were Episcopal abolitionists up north. It is madness to paint the entire church with the brush of some people.

In modern times, there is an Episcopal martyr of the Civil Rights Movement. Also, check out the anti-racism work that TEC has been doing since the 1960’s.

There is no entity that is untainted. The Quakers became awesome, but in the port city of Bristol, England, they were leaders in the slave trade and enriched themselves tremendously (Lloyd’s, Barclay’s). Progress is made by repenting and renewing our work for justice, not by slithering under a rock saying “I’m not worthy because Great-great-great-great-grampa was on the wrong side of history.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café