Friday, 25 August 2017

Stalinist Warriors and Febrile Iconoclasts

When Will Michelangelo's "David" Be Torn Down?

The past week or so have been "tearing down memorials" season.  We read a piece this week which asks when the establishment is going to get around to the bust of Margaret Sanger in the Smithsonian.  For the record, we are not in favour of destroying historical monuments, but like the Scripture itself, we believe the present is far better served by an abundance of memorials of the past that are accurate: a record of warts and all.  

As an exemplar, take the Apostle Paul--persecutor of Jesus Christ and Christians, complicit murderer of the first Christian martyr, quarreller with Barnabas, John Mark, Peter and Judaizers, at times tetchy and impatient, fiercely intolerant of apostate Judaism.  None of these sins, character lapses and militancy are hidden. Yet, at the same time,  he is arguably the finest exemplar of Christianity after our Lord Himself.  His contribution to the Church is virtually immeasurable.  His influence for divine good is greater than any other, apart from the Lord for whom and to whom he laid down his life.  Paul warrants the odd statue or two.

Or, consider King David.  His sins are painfully and accurately recorded in Holy Scripture.  He committed rape, polygamy, murder; at times he acted with great treachery.  We could go on.  Yet God raised him up to be the honoured forefather of our Lord, so honoured in fact that the King of all kings insisted upon taking the title, Son of David [Matthew 1:1; 12:23, Revelation 22:16]

Our view is that the statues of Lenin and Stalin and Saddam Hussein should stand--and the full truth be told about each of them.
 For, as Santayana so wisely put it, those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.  The tearing down of historical memorials in the United States will only lead to a repetition of the evils of the past.  That is the first consideration.

The second is this: those so busy tearing down memorials ought first to contemplate which of their heroes or heroines should be joined to the list.  For the scorched earthers, let's think about Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, that accursed abortionist organization that continues to work on an industrial scale.

A blogger presses the uncomfortable issue:
The removal of Confederate statues around the United States has prompted a fiery debate.  On one side, many argue that the statues represent history and should be left where they are, lest we forget the significance of the era in which they were erected.

On the flip side, some argue that the statues are racist and have no place in modern society.  But why are proponents of the latter viewpoint only upset about certain statues and not others?  Why, for example, is the bust of racist Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger in the Smithsonian Museum not one of the statues progressives are freaking out about?

As a Washington Times article from earlier this year points out, Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood “on racism [and the] belief in protecting society against ‘the unfit.'”  “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she wrote in one 1939 letter to a friend.  A look at the numbers proves that Sanger’s dream for Planned Parenthood has been realized; currently, Planned Parenthood kills more black people than all other causes of death combined.

Think about that for a moment.

The founder of Planned Parenthood was racist in her ambitions. Her organization today continues to exterminate black babies at alarming rates.  Her legacy is not like that of Robert E. Lee – more than a century removed. Rather, it lives on and continues to affect millions of lives.  Yet no progressives seem to be rushing into the Smithsonian to violently tear down the bust of Margaret Sanger as they did with a confederate statue in North Carolina on Monday.

In fact, the only significant mention of a call for Sanger’s bust to be removed dates back to 2015, when a group of black pastors wrote a letter to the Smithsonian Museum.  “Perhaps the gallery is unaware that Ms. Sanger supported black eugenics, a racist attitude toward black and other minority babies, an elitist attitude toward those she regarded as ‘the feeble minded;’ speaking at a rally of Ku Klux Klan women; and communications with Hitler sympathizers,” the letter reads.  “The obvious incongruity is staggering!”

However, as reported not long after that letter was sent, the request for the bust’s removal was denied. 
“I received your letter regarding the legacy of Margaret Sanger and respectfully decline to remove her portrait from the museum,” Smithsonian director Kim Sajet wrote. “The Struggle for Justice gallery brings attention to major cultural and political figures from the 19th century to the present day who fought to achieve civil rights for disenfranchised or marginalized groups.” 
So, there’s that.  Apparently, judging by the silence from progressives, this is perfectly okay. Confederate statues commemorating figures from a crucial turning point in America’s history, though? No, they’ve gotta go, apparently.
The inconsistency and hypocrisy is manifest.  For our money, we believe that the bust of Sanger should remain.  She is too important an historical figure that it should go.  Rather, the Smithsonian should be confronted with the insistent demand that they tell the truth about Sanger--the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  It is the Christian way of writing and recording history.

If not, then all this rabid and rampant iconoclasm  in the United States is nothing more than deceit and subterfuge, where the living are playing tricks upon the dead--and themselves.

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