The Sons of Confederate Veterans are right about Stone Mountain

stone-mountain-1

The Sons of Confederate Veterans have a valid argument.

As they point out, Georgia law requires that Stone Mountain Park be maintained as “an appropriate and suitable memorial for the Confederacy.” It’s right there in the code, 12-3-192.1  They argue further that installing a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. on the property, as park officials now propose, would be “an intentional act of disrespect toward the stated purpose of the Stone Mountain memorial from its inception.”

(In its own “intentional act of disrespect,” the SCV refers to King as “Michael King,” rather than the name by which he became known to posterity, I guess so we have no misconception about where they’re coming from.)

As the Sons see it, you simply cannot put a memorial to a civil rights leader such as King in a park dedicated by law to the Confederacy. The conflict between the two would be too blatant. It “would be akin to the state flying a Confederate battle flag atop the King Center in Atlanta against the wishes of King supporters,” the SCV argues. “Both would be altogether inappropriate and disrespectful acts, repugnant to Christian people.”

So how to resolve this dilemma? Personally, the solution seems clear: State law must be changed. If we have a state law that forbids the honoring of Georgia’s most famous son in one of its most popular parks, as the SCV claims, then that law is wrong. That law must be repealed.

And the truth is, the law is wrong for more important reasons as well. It’s 2015, more than a century and a half since the Civil War ended. Georgia should not have a law still on the books mandating that we honor a government formed for the primary purpose of keeping millions of our fellow Americans in bondage and perpetual servitude. We are better than that.

I know there are some who to this day will argue some other purpose for the Confederacy. They are simply wrong, and they are wrong not because I and others might say so, but because those who formed the Confederacy say so, unanimously and with vigor. Alexander Stephens, a Georgian who had already been elected to serve as vice president of the Confederacy, explained its purpose in no uncertain terms in an 1861 speech in Savannah.

Stephens told his listeners that the Founding Fathers had believed in their hearts that slavery was wrong. Even slaveholders such as Thomas Jefferson believed that “the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically,” and would eventually be ended.

But the Confederacy was different:

“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

We should not have a state park to memorialize such a government. We should not have a law on the books requiring that such a government, founded on such a cornerstone, should be honored in any way. The law must be repealed. And if our state leaders tell us that the time has not yet come for such a repeal, then they tell us and the rest of the world that we are not yet ready to fully divorce ourselves from that attitude.

To be clear, that doesn’t by any means suggest that the sculpture carved into the side of Stone Mountain should be removed or even altered. That should never happen. The flags should come down, the Confederate memorabilia that by law must be sold on park grounds should be removed. But the sculpture can no more be removed from Stone Mountain than the lasting scars of the Civil War can be removed. It is part of our mutual history, a relic of an earlier time that reminds us how far we have come, and when necessary how far we have yet to go. It is important to all Georgians, of all races, that it be preserved. It is heritage.

But the law must go, and soon. And I appreciate the public service performed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans in making that point so clear.

Reader Comments 0

1306 comments
Greta Mccrory
Greta Mccrory

If you dont like the memorial on stone mountain, just don't go to the park. It's that simple.

Derrick Ely Baggett
Derrick Ely Baggett

It would be a disrespect to our Confederate soldiers if they put anythang else up on the mountain

mistrbrnt
mistrbrnt

umm no ..    leave the law the way it is .. no flags or memorabilia should be removed or made unavailable . if someone doesn't like it .. well they don't have to ..   no half measures to removing honored symbols of the south because some are uncomfortable about them ..   I've been uncomfortable with Obama masquerading as President for seven years .. and I have yet to see anyone removing him ... so if I can't be comfortable .. nobody can ..     and that is all I really have to say about that .

BPJ
BPJ

I agree: the law should be changed so that Stone Mountain is no longer a Confederate Memorial, but a Civil War memorial.

Salim Sivaad
Salim Sivaad

Wow, Jay!  This is...to paraphrase that immortal poet, Tupac Shakur: "The realest (thing) you ever wrote".  Much respect on this column and especially shining the light on the infamous "Cornerstone Speech" of 1861!  It's required ammunition for anyone who finds themselves in the unenviable position of educating someone who was fed the lies about the Confederacy being a rebellion over "State's Rights".  It was over a State's right to legally perpetuate human bondage, and the violent extreme the South was willing to go to ensure that right.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

...debate sheets. figures. Maybe I'll paste that comment below, above...?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I saw most, not quite all (had to tune in to some of the NLDS matchup in Queens, after all) of the Chicken Noodle News debate.

Eh. About what I expected. 

Hils and Bern look polished, rarely stumbled, none of their answers surprised me much. I think Hils' "I'm a progressive who wants to get things done" might have been her best line. I apparently missed Bern's "eff you, corporate media" quip about the emails, but it must've been great in real-time.

O'Malley had to have helped himself. Nobody watching this can think that it's just Hils and Bern as viable candidates; he too was well prepped and had very good (if pretty stock) answers for anything that came his way.

I wanted Jim Webb to do well, and his first half was ok, but he came off as whiny after complaining for the third time that he wasn't getting enough time. Still, he got to remind everyone that he alone on that stage has actually killed people, so, you know, he'll do what needs doing and whatnot.

Chafee blew a great opportunity when asked "so why aren't you still a Pubbie". Probably had the most to gain from this debate, but I have a feeling he won't poll well enough to be back for the next one.

goat diddler
goat diddler

I was bouncing around between the voice and ancient aliens what free stuff were we promised what did I miss?

Derp...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Heads-up from the Fox "News" homepage. Looks like this might be the Word Of The Day:

Sen. Ted Cruz slams the left's 'antipathy' for Christians

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

Can't believe the CUBS!!!!

Go CUBS!!!!

I believe!!!

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Does Jesus though? That's what matters at the end of the day.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

Hillary was a joke, like the entire debate. 

IF the token opposition wanted to win it could have attacked Hillary's honesty, her mendacity, her complete lack of success in foreign policy. 

That the others, including Sanders, could not bring themselves to do this, but instead grumble about the top 1%, proves what losers they are. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@foo2u

Yes, it is shocking indeed that YJC did not enjoy what he heard last night.

Cherokee51
Cherokee51

Good day to be alive.  Hillary did well.  And any of them on the stage would be far superior to the Klown Kar brigade of the Republican debates.

And since Hillary did well, I*m more confident that my kids will live in a country where they don't have to worry about going bankrupt because of medical issues, or lose their home because the government wants to implement wealth transfer programs for the rich (as all the Republican candidates have proposed).  They'll also live in a world where governments are serious about preventing the devastating effects we're already seeing from climate change.

Good stuff

Mach Stone
Mach Stone

It's insulting to put a monument of Dr. Martin Luther King next to a bunch of racist who attempted to overthrow the U.S. government.

Drexel-Gal
Drexel-Gal

IT ... IS ... ALL ... GEORGE ... BUSH'S ... FAULT.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@CherokeeCounty @Drexel-Gal  Only in the minds of the uninformed. The war yes, with the aid and support of some  (not all) Democrats. The economic collapse would have happened regardless of who was president.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@InTheMiddle2 The economic collapse would have happened regardless of who was president.

That was a truly uninformed comment.  I've studied the causes and it was most definitely aided by a total lack of government oversight on the big banks who ran their leverage up beyond what the law allowed and did so with the blessing of the chairman of the SEC (a Bush appointee).

Cherokee51
Cherokee51

@Drexel-Gal 

Nah, not all of it.  But the deficit, the economic collapse, and trillions spent on wars of choice?  Yeah those are George Bush's fault.

breckenridge
breckenridge

"We are getting closer to the end of days." Ben Carson, 10-10-2015


Ah ha ha ha ha.  What a fruitcake.  What a looney tune.  What a nutter-butter.


And this freak show wants to be president?  Amazing.


Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@breckenridge

"We are getting closer to the end of days."

That is literally true. It's not like we are getting farther away from our solar system's ultimate, inevitable demise, after all.

That's what Doc Carson meant, yes?

W2XAB
W2XAB

Maybe if ISIS takes over our country they will destroy all history, both Stone Mtn and all the MLK sites.

~moonbat_betty~
~moonbat_betty~

Lame debate, but at least Hillary wasn't scratching her nails on the chalk board too much and Colonel Sanders has to be JamVet.


Hillary rehearsed well.


It's obvious Hillary/Sanders are in bed together.

Gmare
Gmare

Anyone else having problems with this blog tonight?!?!?

td1234
td1234

How much will all the give away's the Dems promised tonight cost the American people? 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

I took a bathroom break at a crucial moment. Did they promise leather or leatherette? Need to know so I can give you an accurate estimate.

td1234
td1234

@Eye wonder How long does it take for a bathroom break? It seemed like there was a commercial every 15 minutes. Maybe you need to go see a Dr. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@td1234

all the give away's 

Too many to list, but I particularly like O'Malley's plan to teach English pluralization to right wing trolls.

gotalife
gotalife

fox did a better job at not rushing them with rapid fire questions but did not address the issues. They just slung poo at each other and attacked Americans.

gotalife
gotalife

Too rushed with rapid fire questions does not work when debating the issues. The kids say cooper was on meth and Sanders destroyed cnn and their fake scandals. Hillary shined and cnn failed.

JKLtwo
JKLtwo

@gotalife Luntz had Bernie as the overwhelming winner.  If Biden jumps in, Hillary is toast for sure.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Wonderful Democratic debate.  The difference in quality between the Democratic candidates for President and the Republican candidates for President was profound.  I am sure that most people know why.

YouLibs
YouLibs

A substantive policy debate and a kindergarten playground argle bargle.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@td1234 @YouLibs


I want them to give me free jack-boots and a small whip.


Then I'll finally be happy.

td1234
td1234

@YouLibs As set up by CNN. Not much real policy besides going closer and closer towards socialism. 


Are you happy with the government gaining more and more power and confiscating more and more money? 

YouLibs
YouLibs

What a contrast against the Republican debates.


Wow.



td1234
td1234

@YouLibs This is what happens when the moderators decides to talk policy and not intentionally set them up to bash each other.  


It is not called the Clinton News Network for nothing. 

YouLibs
YouLibs

@td1234 @YouLibs


Better journalists, better, more informed candidates who all have considerable legislative experience.


Sorry, I'd feel like the whole world is unfair too if I were you.