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Lava Lamps and Slave Chains: A Response to Douglas Wilson

Douglas Wilson, in his ever-valiant effort to defend the worst aspects of Southern American culture, wrote an article making fun of the recent Southern Baptist resolution calling for the discontinuation of flying the Confederate battle flag. I have three small kids and lots to write for sermons and school papers, so I will keep this response brief.

First, it’s false to argue that the breakdown of sexual ethics and the genocide of abortion mean that racial issues are unimportant. Sexual confusion, abortion, and racism all function as an assault on the created dignity and design of humanity by God; and all are worthy of attention and effort from Christians.

Second, it’s false to argue that the American flag functions symbolically like the Confederate battle flag does. The Confederate battle flag celebrates a Southern United States in violation of the imago Dei and gospel of equalizing reconciliation. Heinous things have been done under the flapping of many (all?) human national flags, but when one flag comes to represent one particular thing most concentratedly (slave states and racist ideology), it’s good and right to pull it down.

Third, it’s false to argue that the liberal source of the calls a half century ago to repudiate racial discrimination inherently invalidates the goodness of those calls. This falls into the trap of coordinating racism and sexual equality, only it does it in reverse. What Wilson will not acknowledge is that someone can repudiate racialist ideology without validating the sexual ethics of the current age.

It also makes a fallacious chronological point, basically arguing “better never than late.” Wilson makes fun of Southern Baptists for being unfashionably late to a cultural party, like buying our lava lamp long after it’s gone out of style. Maybe so.

But I’ll take a lava lamp full of ancient Light for the world a generation too late over some cheap period-era slave chains any day.

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