Almost Everything That COULD HAVE Gone Wrong in a Home, Did

I will now attempt to weigh in on this sad, sordid account by Jeri Massi.

For a time, I’ve been following various watchbloggers. I often check in on the Deebs over at TWW, and also with Todd Wilhelm at Thou Art The Man, as well as Brent Detwiler and Warren Throckmorton. I also follow Amy Smith/Watchkeep on Facebook. I don’t agree with them on everything–Throckmorton leans well to the left of me politically, and the Deebs have a tendency to turn almost everything into a War on Complimentarianism–but they do a good job exposing atrocities and absurdities that various conservative elements have either ignored, swept under the rug, or are directly complicit in their commission.

Same is true for Jeri Massi, a Bob Jones University grad who also worked for a time at their publishing house. Over the years, she has done a remarkable job of documenting cases of sexual abuse and their coverups, particularly within the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) ranks. Along the way, she has also done a remarkable job exposing the absurdities in the IFB world.

While I have my differences with her on a few things, I have found her blog to be otherwise very insightful.


Why do I follow these cases?

I’ve always considered myself on the side of, “Let the word of God be true, and every man a liar.” When the Scriptures say that something is good, then it is good. If the Scriptures say that something is evil, well…then it is evil.

If I commit an offense–even a small one, like, say, flipping off the driver who almost ran me over while I was on the bike–and the Scriptures say it is evil, then there’s no ‘splainin’ to do: I have a duty to confess my sin and ask for forgiveness.

That also means that, if there is an abuse or atrocity or some egregious sin among the Church–and I am assuming that either (a) the offended parties have reported it to me and/or (b) I directly witness either their commission or confession or another party admitting to the fact of their commission–then I have the duty to do the right thing.

That means (a) reporting the matter to authorities and cooperating with any investigation (if the allegations are criminal in nature) and (b) ensuring that people are otherwise protected from such abuses.

It is my view that conservatives, of all people, OUGHT to WANT to purge abusers–that includes abusive spouses, child abusers of all types, and abusive clergy–from their midst.

During my time at SBTS, I personally witnessed those who wanted to undermine the Scriptures, promoting a theological model closer to Molech and Asherah than to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Al Mohler–for all his shortcomings–ran that element off, as well he should have.

Sadly, by accomodating abusive pastors–including those who cover for child sexual abusers–Mohler now threatens to undermine those accomplishments. (I would also suggest that by transforming SBTS into a NeoCal echo chamber, he is also undermining Biblical conservatism, but that is a different discussion that is beyond the scope of this post.)

And that is what bothers me: while conservatives OUGHT TO WANT to keep abusers out of their ranks, their leaders have often done the opposite: they have coddled them, accomodated them, even excoriating the victims and others who exposed the abusers.

Now, to address the sad account of Peter.


Massi’s account of Peter is a necessary warning to every would-be conservative Christian homeschooling family, as well as an indictment of many within that sector.

FWIW: I am all for homeschooling. MrsLarijani and I want to do it for the following reasons: (a) in general, given technological advancements, it’s a better learning model than the traditional classroom, and (b) we wish to introduce her to the world as we see fit. We do not wish to shelter our kids–as we will encourage their participation in group and team activities and even athletics–but we DO want her to learn about the world on OUR timetable, not a schedule decided by a school board that promotes an agenda fed to them by teacher unions.

At the same time, homeschooling appeals to various subcultures that are fundamentally unhealthy:

  • Quiverfull adherents: these types generally eschew all forms of contraception, as they assert that having a large family is a commandment and that any contraception is an affront to God’s design. They are often very hard Calvinists.
  • Fundamentalists: these types are often in the hardcore Southern Baptist or IFB ranks, but they can also include Missouri Synod Lutherans, Church of Christ, Christian Church, and various evangelical stripes. Their ranks include Calvinists and non-Calvinists.
  • Ultra-Calvinists: these tend to come from the really hardcore PCA/OPC ranks. They are among the Elect, and that Election has passed to their children.

While there are many honorable families in each of these sectors, the dysfunctional ones–and that includes the family about which Massi speaks–in each of these three sectors have the following in common:

  • They are often driven by the mindset that they are better than everyone else, and their goal is to show the world–by their chlidren’s accomplishments–that they are better than everyone else. Pride is often A key–if not THE key–driver in their choice to homeschool.
  • They often have embraced–actively or passively–the worst realm of Headship Theology, the end result being a profoundly dysfunctional patriarchy that spawns abuses.
  • They often reject the most basic understanding of original sin, as they think their righteousness–imputed to them via Jesus–is conferred to their children as a result of their own faith. They think that while all have sinned and come short of the glory, their kids don’t have the need to learn self-regulation.
  • Worst of all, they often reject the God of Scripture, exchanging the Biblical Jesus for the pursuit of a contemporary model of life on this earth: just go to church, confess the right things, teach children these things, make them memorize enough Awana sections, and they will be healthy, wealthy, and successful, and mom and dad will have all the wealth and all the things and they will have it all on this earth.

What I am saying: their sin is, at the root level, idolatry. They love neither God nor their neighbor; they love the life they hope to have by following what their popular homeschool advocate told them they need to follow.

Follow that far enough down the trail, and that festers in a myriad of ways.

In Massi’s account, Peter’s father was a serial adulterer who never had to face the gravity of his sins until after he dropped dead of a heart attack. While he was defrocked as a result of his adulteries, he was able to move on and continue leaving a trail of damage, even working as a “nouthetic” (i.e. Biblical) counselor.

In Scripture, Paul was very hard on the men. He chided husbands for being harsh with their wives, suggesting that their prayers aren’t being answered because of their treatment of their wives; he admonished them, many times, against sexual immorality (even homosexuality and at least one case of incest), excoriating them for even tolerating it among their ranks. He also pounded them over issues of gossip, slander, greed, deceit, even racism, and other profoundly sinful behavior.

Paul was also tough on the women. He chided women who were disruptive to orderly worship; he commanded wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord; he said, “woman was made for man, not man for woman”. He even precluded women from particular church offices.

Even as Paul was pro-Patriarchy, he pulled no punches on the men. Men didn’t have special spiritual standing on account of their plumbing. They were responsible for their sins. And women have no less access to the Father than the men, nor do they need a husband to “redeem” them, as the work of the Redeemer is sufficient.

Still, Paul commanded believers to love God and extend that grace to one another. And that included raising children with the appropriate level of discipline–which would “drive the rebellion out”–while not being overbearing.

That job is not an easy one, as some of the best people in the Bible (including Jacob, David, and other kings who succeeded him) failed at it.

But here is the thing: in every failure I’ve witnessed or read about–including Massi’s account of Peter–there is a common thread: a profound lack of humility.

While everyone, on a continuous basis, will struggle with issues of pride, the worst-case homeschool disasters often begin with a runaway pride.

That is the type of pride that leads parents to overrule teachers or coaches or even other church leaders in matters of discipline and achievement. In team sports, fathers often chide coaches as to why their kid isn’t getting the right amount of playing time; they’ll question the teacher who gives their kid a lower grade; they’ll question the Awana leader as to why they had to sit their kid out of game time. The problem can’t possibly be with their kid; after all, he (or) she is part of a special-Elect.

Massi speaks of Peter’s mother, who was often frustrated with the lack of respect Peter showed for her, even as she overruled Massi’s evaluation of Peter’s learning. Peter rarely–if not never–was held to account for his sins. Peter followed in the arrogance (and deviance) of his father, and–sadly–that ended in disaster.

Do the Scriptures promote such a parenting model? Of course not.

Throughout Proverbs, you have the father imploring his son to listen and learn and seek wisdom with humility; you have the father admonishing his son–repeatedly–about the seductive nature of sexual sin and its end results; you have the father imploring his son to work hard and eschew laziness; you have the father contrasting the work of a wise woman with that of a foolish one; you have the father contrasting the behaviors of wise and foolish men; you have the father warning the son about being short-tempered; you have the father warning the son about deceptive and malicious people; you even have the father warning his son about the pitfalls of desiring wealth.

What you get in Proverbs–or, heck, the entirety of the wisdom literature–is a man (Solomon) who, in spite of all the wealth and privilege conferred on him by God, at the end of the day, calling on everyone to love God, to fear God, to obey God, and to make less of the things of this world.

As Cain seethed in anger over God’s rejection of  his offering and his acceptance of Abel’s offering, God issued a dire warning to Cain: “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Cain did not embrace self-regulation that would lead to the mastery of his sin. And we know the rest of that story.

In Massi’s account, Peter–sadly–was denied the opportunity to feel the weight of his failures as a child. As a guy, he was never held accountable for his sins. He never learned self-regulation as his father never practiced it. His father was able to move in church circles with minimal hassle in spite of serial adultery. All the while, he was effectively told he was better than everyone else beccause he was a boy and had confessed all the right things and, most importantly of all, was homeschooled.


What are some key takeaways from all of this?

(1) We must not confuse the love of God with the love of dogmatic models about God.

I don’t care if you identify as Calvinist, Arminian, Catholic, Orthodox, or any other flavor of Christianity. I’m not here to debate the merits and pitfalls of the respective models. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

The problem arises, however, when you fall in love with your theology.

Many–not all–homeschooling families have the tendency to fixate on their theology, and, as a result, construct a mindset of family life that is more conformed to that dogmatic model while not necessarily reflective of Scripture.

Even worse, if you are in love with your dogmatic model, you are going to be in for a rude awakening when bad times hit. What happens when you lose your job? What happens when your child ends up in the hospital? What happens if you fall into hard financial times? What happens if you or your spouse suffer a health crisis?

If you are trusting in your dogmatic model to protect you from these things, you will find yourself disappointed.

(2) With patriarchal authority comes great responsibility.

Make no mistake: Christianity is Biblically and historically Patriarchal. That is inescapable. Egalitarianism is a modern development.

At the same time, while the Scriptures do reflect a Patriarchal design, it is also true that the Biblical writers went to great lengths to admonish the men–particularly the husbands–about the responsibilities that come with their authority in the home.

There were abusive husbands then, just as there are today; Paul was emphatic in his warnings to men about that. Some parents were overbearing on their kids; had that not been the case, then Paul would not have had to admonish parents not to exasperate their children.

Nor did any of the Biblical writers coddle children; far from it. Solomon was emphatic about the need to discipline children. He who spares the rod hates his son. Parents who undermine teachers (as Peter’s mom undermined Massi) are denying their children the opportunity to learn valuable lessons.

In the real world, you aren’t always going to get the grade you might deserve. You can do everything right in your company, and someone else will win the contract. You might not get the promotion or the pay raise you otherwise rightfully earned.

Women need to learn about these things, but the men do especially. This is because, as they have God-given authority in the home as husbands, they are responsible for loving their wives as Christ loved the Church.

With the Disciples, Jesus was always admonishing them, teaching them, praying for them, correcting them, training them, and even receiving them warts and all. And He often did these things with humor to boot. (“Sons of thunder” anyone?)

(3) Headship Theology is Poison.

When I say that, I often get the question, “So you don’t think that the husband is head of the wife? It’s in the Bible, you heretic!”

My response: you don’t know the first thing about Headship Theology.

Headship Theology kind of goes like this…

(1) It starts with the premise that the husband is head of the wife. (So far so good)

(2) If the husband loves his wife the right way–as Jesus loved the Church–then she will submit to him the right way. (Nope, not Biblical.)

(3) If the wife doesn’t submit to him the right way, it is because he is not leading the right way. (Nope, not Biblical.)

(4) As a result, if there’s any sin in the house, it is the fault of the husband, because he is not leading the right way.  (Nope, not Biblical.)

While starting with a correct premise, the Headship Theology crowd takes that to lengths that are nowhere to be found in Scripture.

Sadly, the HT teachings foster a dynamic of abuse. This is because if he is responsible for his wife’s–and his children’s–sins, then this incentivizes him to exercise the authority to make them submit and obey as they ought.

Let’s look at the Scriptures here from the high-level:

(a) Jesus loves His Church perfectly and provides perfect headship. But even then, the Church has never been completely faithful. The history of Christendom is rife with atrocity and failure.

(b) There are cases in Scripture where husbands have loved the right way (wives have submitted the right way), and yet the wives (husbands) did not submit (love) the right way.

(c) There are cases in Scripture where sons failed even otherwise good parents.

Hosea loved Gomer well, but she still prostituted herself; Abigail was, by all accounts, a Proverbs 31 wife, but her first husband (who dropped dead) was a dirtbag; and there is no indication that Josiah, an excellent king, was a bad father, although his sin–Manasseh–would sacrifice his own son to Molech.

Headship Theology–a very common teaching in conservative circles–is profoundly un-Biblical and downright heretical. It’s long past time to dismiss it to the dung heap where it belongs.

Ultimately, if you are a Christian and seek to raise your children to love and fear God, you must first start with yourself.

That requires the humility to face your own sin and deal with your spouse with humility and respect.

Leadership and humility are not incompatible; in fact, the latter is essential to the former.

The Best Piece on Hugh Hefner I’ve Read

I’m not a fan of Ross Douthat, but this time he hit one out of the park.

Hugh Hefner was the most pitiable and pathetic excuse of a human being.

I do not envy him now, and–in all honesty–never envied his life in the slightest. Yes, he had a plethora of ladies and enjoyed an amount of sex that most men and women–in their most hedonistic moments–can’t even fathom. At the same time, reading the accounts of his life, what we get is a personal hell of emptiness that his over-the-top hedonism never satisfied. Let that be a lesson for your life.

He was not a mass murderer like a Hitler or a Stalin or a Mao or a Pol Pot, but his work has fomented trends that push societies toward demographic collapse. The world looks at promiscuity as a simple pleasure at best, and a “victimless crime” at worst. But private sin, especially on a mass scale, can have far-reaching consequences. And make no mistake: Hefner was not a force for that which is good.

The Sexual Revolution that he championed has laid waste to many lives, and has led to the decline of the nuclear family. For all the glamorous promotion of the “free love” culture, the other side was rife with disease, depression, and nihilistic oblivion far worse than the paradigms that, whatever their faults, made for a stable society.

As a result of the work of Hefner and his ilk, marriage has been in serious decline worldwide, and this is not boding well for the coming generations.

Even then, I do not celebrate Hefner’s passing. Quite frankly, it is tragic that he squandered every chance that he had for 91 years to repent. Unless he had a change of heart on his deathbed–and I doubt he did–then the Biblical assessment of his future does not look encouraging.

As for us, the reality of his death should call us all to attention, as that will be us one day. And while many in the world will celebrate his life, the only thing that will matter–in the final analysis–is God’s assessment of his life.

That, also, is true of the rest of us.

Class dismissed.

Aspiring Pastor Murders Wife

By now, most of you have probably read about this case: Matthew Phelps, a graduate of Clear Creek Bible College and aspiring pastor, admitted to stabbing his wife to death, claiming that he had taken too much cold medicine. I have some friends who initially gave credence to his attempt at the Twinkie Defense, but–looking at his mug shot–I immediately dismissed that, as it is very clear that he was in a fight with someone who, go ahead and call me sexist for saying this, “fought like a girl”.

He did not accidentally kill his wife; this was a fight that ended in a stabbing.

I had friends who suggested that they looked like the “perfect” couple. I suggested that the facts will reveal a marriage that was very far from perfect, and–beneath the appearances–was a very

Well, the veneer of the perfect couple is beginning to unravel, as I long suspected it would: Matthew Phelps was previously married. (HT to Amy Smith of Watchkeep via FB.)

And while I realize that having a prior marriage does not a murderer make, it does show that Phelps’ character was at variance with the image he projected.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times:

(1) Charisma is not character.

(2) You CANNOT outrun your character. Your character will ALWAYS catch up with you.

Hold on to your seats, ladies and gentlemen.

Class is dismissed for recess.

What We Have Here, Is a Shortage of Rope

More people need a short-drop hanging than I have rope.

This will make your skin crawl. Read the details. It is long and sad to read.


As I have often said, I am not surprised that pedophiles target churches. I am also not surprised that pedophiles target Christian schools. Pedophiles want kids, and that is where the kids are.

It seems that Covenant Life Church, C.J. Mahaney’s flagship church, had multiple leaders who were given to pedophilia and/or other very dark sexual fetishes unbecoming of a minister of the Gospel.

That Mahaney and others in his inner circle actively sought to cover up the abuses is not news. However, I challenge you to read the details.

Yes, they are sad and sordid and dark. Yes, some very high movers and shakers of Neo-Calvinism are implicated.

I hope this pisses you off. And I hope you stay pissed off.

If you expect God to bless a Church that hides this crap, then you don’t get it.

That is why the fictional John Kelly is my alter-ego.

Class dismissed.

CBMW, TWW, and the “Nashville Statement”: Discuss Among Yourselves

Here is the original Danvers Statement, by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, on masculinity and femininity.

Here is the Nashville Statement, by the same council, which was released August 25.

Here is Deb’s assessment of it at TWW.

Here are my initial thoughts on which I will expound later:

(1) The original Danvers Statement is otherwise Biblically-sound. I see no problem with it. I’m not saying that every signatory of that statement has necessarily fleshed out the details properly–I think some of the Patriarchs/complimentarians, in their attempts to flesh out what that relationship means, have been more rigid than necessary, as the complimentarian framework, even as one looks at Scripture, carries great flexibility–but the statement itself is good.

(2) The Nashville Statement, at first glance, appears to be, for the most part, Biblically-sound. I will delve into more details and make a more in-depth assessment of it.

I would add this, however: having studied the issue of intersex–not to be confused with “transgenderism”, which is a sexual fetish–I cannot say that I oppose such a one, who may have genetic properties of one sex while having anatomical ambiguity, getting surgery. I see nothing in Scripture precluding that, as surgery, in such a case, would be tantamount to correcting a birth defect. It would seem that such surgery ought to be looked at as a good thing in those cases, which are not the same as “transgenderism”.

As a result, I would pick better wording for Article VI to provide clarification.

(3) Deb is conflating two issues: (a) the Nashville Statement–which, at face value–is good, and (b) the questionable doctrine of Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS), which many complimentarians have used to frame their case for complimentarianism/Patriarchy.

My view on ESS: that doctrine needs to be tabled, as any attempt to frame this issue in terms of the Trinity–something that NONE of the Biblical writers do–is risky and requires decades (perhaps even a century) of assessment and deliberation. I would stop short of calling it heresy, but I am leery of framing in issue in a way that the Biblical writers did not pursue. I wrote about that last year.

The Biblical case for Patriarchy is rooted in (a) Creation, (b) the relationship of Christ and the Church, and–in the context of Church offices–(c) the Fall.

When Jesus addressed the issue of divorce, He framed it in terms of Creation.

When Paul explicated the relationship between husband and wife, he did it in terms of Creation and the relationship between Christ and the Church.

When Paul precluded women from particular offices of Church leadership, He framed it in terms of Creation and the Fall.

None of the Biblical cases for Patriarchy are connected to ESS, so I’m not about to go there.

At the same time, The Nashville Statement is not about ESS, and I think Deb is going off on an unnecessary tangent here. They would do better to discuss the particulars of the Nashville Statement.

By focusing on ESS, they are creating a red herring.

TWW and Abuse in the Church: It’s Not About “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”

Lise, writing in TWW in a firsthand account of an abuse situation handled very badly at Providence Baptist Church, makes a very salient point:

People called Doug Goodrich a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I call the Pastors who knew and did nothing the shitty shepherds who let the wolf in.

Everyone should read Lise’s story. Sadly, her account underscores some key points I have made from here on many occasions:

(1) Pedophiles and molesters will flock to churches for the same reason (that’s where the kids are) that armed robbers hit banks (that’s where the money is).

If your church has a substantial children’s and/or youth ministry, you should expect that someone who is sexually-attracted to kids or teens will be trying to get a foot in the door. Don’t ever think that because (a) your children’s minister is a respected seminary graduate, or (b) you run background checks on everyone, or (c) that your people are of sterling character, that “that would never happen here.”

(2) Pedophiles generally don’t look evil or creepy. In fact, they are often the most trusted people you’ll meet. They will be “cool”, they will have charisma, they will be good with people, they will often be married and have kids.

When someone accuses them of wrongdoing, you won’t want to believe it!

(3) But what YOU do when an accusation is made is the difference.

Are you going to dismiss the accusations and even malign the accusers?

Are you going to “do your own investigation”, and intimidate the accusers into recanting?

Are you going to ignore the accusation altogether?

Or are you going to report the matter to law enforcement and allow them to investigate?

At Providence Baptist Church, leaders allowed Goodrich to skate: they dismissed and maligned accusers, they ignored obvious red flags, they even tried to cover up the truth when it became crystal clear that Goodrich was very guilty of heinous abuses.

Even worse, the pastor showed no sense of gravity of the situation. While I get that he was on sabbatical, there comes a point when one must show up for battle–ready to “bring it”–when a wolf shows up.

It’s time to say to Hell with the vacation. If you don’t understand that, then you aren’t worthy to be the shepherd.

In the case of Providence Baptist Church, it wasn’t about David Goodrich, who was a wolf in sheep’s clothing; it was about, as Lise puts it, the “shitty shepherds” who gave him an executive pass.

IFB Baptist Pastor-Pedophile Richard Mick Facing More Charges

Already on the hook for two life sentences plus five years, Richard Mick, a former IFB pastor–convicted for the rapes/molestations of two children–is facing an additional 8 counts of gross sexual imposition.

Yeah, I know he’s not on trial for the acts for which he has already been convicted, and he’s entitled to a fair trial for the pending charges.

The larger problem, here, is twofold: (a) the folks in his church have not supported his victims, and (b) his denomination–Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB)–has not lifted a finger to have him defrocked.

And while Baptists can generally only be defrocked by the church that ordained them, the denomination could easily put the heat on the ordaining body to take action.

I cannot say that my personal experiences with IFBs have been bad; I actually have had mostly good experiences with IFBs, even if the KJV-only folks among them can be irritating. Then again, I’ve never been a member of an IFB church, either.

But covering for child sex criminals is a big honkin’ deal, and the IFB needs to re-assess their existing mindsets which may be exacerbating the problem.

Race Relations, Part 1: The Attack on Statues, Monuments

Having lived on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and having attended both de-facto segregated schools (grades 4, 7-8.5,10-12) and integrated/de-segregted schools (grades 1-3, 5-6,8.5-9), and having worked in environments that included multicultural settings, I’m going to offer my $0.02 on race relations and confederate statues and monuments.

When I was in 3rd grade, we moved from Dayton, Ohio to Albany, Georgia. That May, we did what we had always done: we took Memorial Day off from school. But at that school, they didn’t take that day off.

Other than the accents, that was the first serious difference I noticed about the South. We hadn’t been taught much about the Civil War at that time, but we would get quite the education in the coming years.


In 7th grade, when we moved to Nashville, I attended a private Christian (fundamentalist) school for the first half, and then transitioned to a public school when we moved to nearby Hendersonville. In the former, we learned Tennessee history, and the coverage was fair. We had not, however, reached the coverage of the Civil War. When I moved, we had just covered Andrew Jackson. At the public school–where I finished 7th grade and the first part of 8th grade–nothing was ever addressed. The Civil War was not covered, pro or con.

However, over the years, we traveled between Ohio and Florida. Oftentimes, we would stop in Lookout Mountain. We got to see different perspectives on the Civil War. It was covered fairly.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of memorials and monuments. Each tells a story. Sometimes those memorials can represent unsavory times in our history; sometimes those memorials celebrate great victories; some of them–Vietnam in particular–represent a painful testament to very bad choices by our leaders.


In America, we have a tendency to memorialize our history for both better and worse. Sometimes we over-romanticize the accounts; other times, we tell the sobering truth. But monuments and memorials provide an opportunity for reflection regarding the person, the event, and the outcomes.

This is why, as much as I HATE the KKK, I have no problem with a statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, perhaps one of the most enigmatic military figures in American history. Yes, he was a founder of the KKK. But you know what? If you study about him, you will find that, near the end of his life, he provided the following remarks in a speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) This day is a day that is proud to me, having occupied the position that I did for the past twelve years, and been misunderstood by your race. This is the first opportunity I have had during that time to say that I am your friend. I am here a representative of the southern people, one more slandered and maligned than any man in the nation.
I will say to you and to the colored race that men who bore arms and followed the flag of the Confederacy are, with very few exceptions, your friends. I have an opportunity of saying what I have always felt – that I am your friend, for my interests are your interests, and your interests are my interests. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, and live in the same land. Why, then, can we not live as brothers? I will say that when the war broke out I felt it my duty to stand by my people. When the time came I did the best I could, and I don’t believe I flickered. I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe that I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to bring about peace. It has always been my motto to elevate every man- to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going.
I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, that you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Use your best judgment in selecting men for office and vote as you think right.
Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. I have been in the heat of battle when colored men, asked me to protect them. I have placed myself between them and the bullets of my men, and told them they should be kept unharmed. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand.

Does a statue tell me all of that? No. But statues often leave me wondering about individuals, and give me a note to look that person up and check out the balance of his or her life. I often do the same thing regarding monuments to battles.

Monuments and memorials represent a story. Sometimes that story is sordid and bitter, as every great nation in history has had sordid and bitter periods in their histories. Sometimes that story is glorious. But those are about who we were and how they have shaped who we are today.


Almost every year, MrsLarijani and I flock to Dayton for the Air Force Marathon, which is held at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB. It was a place I frequented during my grade-school days, it is where I did my first marathon. We always tour the museum the day before.

In that museum are aircraft of all types, going back to attempts at flight before the Wright Brothers. It includes aircraft of all types throughout every era of aviation, including World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cold War, and even the era since the Cold War.

Those aircraft include German WWI aircraft and WWII aircraft, Japanese aircraft from WWII, and even Soviet aircraft from the Cold War era. Among the aircraft on display is a North Korean MiG-15 that was flown by a professor of mine who defected at the end of the Korean War.

The Germans and Japanese–and dare I say the North Koreans in collusion with China and the Soviet Union during the Korean War–killed thousands of Americans. Ditto for North Vietnamese who flew Soviet aircraft.

I have no problem including those in the museum, as they provide a forum that one may learn (a) the history of flight, (b) the history that drove the development of such aircraft, and (c) the state of flight today, for both better and worse, as a result of those factors.

I once believed that the equitable solution here with respect to statues and monuments was to create museums for their inclusion, while opposing their destruction. Having seen what is going on today, however, I am opposed to moving them. Leave the statues and monuments as they are.

Today’s leftist fixation on monuments and memorials is a recent thing and is being driven by mostly Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) who have nothing in common with the movers and shakers of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

I cannot help but question the SJW preoccupation on statues and monuments at this time, given that (a) that war has been over for 150 years and (b) not even the iconoclastic movers and shakers in the Civil Rights movement targeted them. While some could argue that MLK had other irons in the fire at the time, many years have passed between then and now. Race relations had been improving greatly until the push for reparations began circulating in the late 1990s.

The cynic in me suggests that there is a more insidious agenda going on here, and it isn’t simply about race relations, but rather something more totalitarian in nature, with the lure of reparations in the form of “social justice” as bait, as an endgame.

I have some good friends who are totally on-board with removing Confederate statues; at the same time, from what I see from the SJWs, it won’t stop there. In fact, they’re already aiming for statues of our Founders, including Washington, Jefferson, and–ironically enough–even Lincoln.

To that point, those who ask, “When will it end?”, indeed have a legitimate question.

One thing we must remember: SJWs, at their core, are cultural Marxists. The authors of their playbooks are Marx, Mao, and Alinsky, their leanings Communist, and their appeal to the Christian is merely to recruit useful idiots.

And when understanding Communists, we must remember that it is not a political or an economic ideology but rather a militant Atheist religion that seeks to impose itself through political , military, and economic means. They have killed more of their own people in peacetime alone than any system on earth.

There are radical totalitarian groups in the Middle East who are destroying statues and monuments: they are ISIS.

The only difference between ISIS and our SJWs is that the former is motivated by Islam and the latter by communism.

Are SJWs seeking to kill you? I doubt it. They do, however, seek to rule over you and impose their system of law and justice on you. And to do that, they must gaslight you into accepting their narrative about history.

But for that to happen, they must make it more difficult for you to identify with the truth.

What you must remember, however, is this: even if you are a minority, the SJW is not your friend. You are just a means to his end, just as the laborer was to Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution.