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AUDIO Bringing America Back to God

By Rev Bill Woods

Judges 1-2

Judges covers Israel’s history for 305 years after Joshua died… 

    – Israel declined, backslid, and walked away from God. 

      – It’s frightening to see the parallels between Israel then and America today.

God established Israel, and gave Himself to them. 

    – He gave them the Law — the 10 commandments and the covenant. 

      – He gave them Canaan — the best land on earth.  .

All God asked for was their love and obedience.   

    – What’d Israel do? 

      – They denied God, defied His law, and defiled the land.  God had to judge them.

The parallel with America is alarming. 

    – No nation’s had a Christian beginning like the USA. 

      – We’re also given the Lord, the law, and a land — we’ve denied Him, defied Him, and defiled our land.

1.  America’s Denied God!

God’s been expelled from nearly every public venue. 

    – It started back in the ‘60’s in public schools, when Madelyn Murray O’Hair filed a suit  because she didn’t want her son, William, to be exposed to prayers of religious people praying to a God she didn’t believe in.

Since then it’s gone to public places — Assemblies, stadiums, court houses, coins, our Pledge of Allegiance — today we’re even fighting battles about what can be preached in church! 

  • This pandemic has locked our nation down and people have lost their motivation.
  • Churches have been denied the privilege of worship which has caused further deterioration.

It’s not separation of church and state — it’s separation of America from God Who’s blessed us!

  • Currently there is a battle raging in America over who will be President of the United States.  Donald Trump has tried to lead this Nation back to a conservative base which recognizes God’s Standards.
  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are Liberals wanting to defy God’s Standards and put in place abortion, gay marriages, drugs, and Marxism.

How will it end?  We will get what we need or what we deserve?

What’s happened that our “Christian” Nation has come to this?  Why have we deteriorated so quickly?

2.  America’s Defied God’s Law!

The Supreme Court ruled the 10 Commandments can’t be displayed in public places.

    – People might ponder them, maybe obey them — that’d violate separation of Church and State! 

America’s trailing the same path that Israel did. 

    – The official position of our government — the 10 commandments are dangerous! 

      – Kids shouldn’t see ‘thou shalt not kill’ because what if they obeyed it!

Ladies, if you broke down in the roughest part of town, and had to walk for help. 

    – Four men come out of a house and walk just behind you………’d be terrified! 

 Then you hear them talking about God, they’ve just left a Bible study. 

     – They’re carrying Bibles.  How do you feel now?  (PHEW!) 

The direction our Nation’s going is foolish, and defies common sense.

    – God’s promised to Bless and prosper us doesn’t it seem dumb to “bite the hand that’s feeding us?”    

    – We’re so afraid we’ll force our beliefs on other people and violate their beliefs that we’ve let the world destroy our core of morality.

    – Islam and other pagan, God denying cults aren’t afraid to force their beliefs.

    – The Communists weren’t afraid to force their beliefs.

    – Just Christians are holding the Truth, but so anemic they’ve no backbone to share it!

Like Israel, we’ve denied God, we’ve defied His Law and

3.  America’s Defiled the Land

We’ve done this in many ways — one primary way is the spilled blood of aborted babies.

    – There have been over 57 million abortions since the Supreme Court handed

    down its Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, allowing virtually unlimited abortions.

If you listened to the Democratic Convention you heard one of their planks is “Women’s Rights.”

    – Giving women a right to control their own body (mostly meaning abortion on demand).

You might not realize it, but the Democratic Party’s never recognized the sanctity of life.

The burning issue that led to the Civil War was the debate over the future of slavery.

The Democrats wanted to keep slaves for economic reasons and even made speeches proclaiming that to rid the country of slavery would destroy the wealth and happiness. – To them, slaves were property like cattle or sheep, not human beings!

The large plantations in the South utilized slaves to tend their agriculture and perform other menial duties.

The Republicans, under Abraham Lincoln, wanted to free the slaves because they recognized Blacks as human beings.

On the eve of the Civil War, some four million Africans and their descendants toiled as slave laborers in the South.

Slavery was interwoven into the Southern economy even though only a relatively small portion of the population actually owned slaves. – Slaves could be rented or traded or sold to pay debts, or even killed with no consequence,     because they were only property to be owned.                                                                                                                                   

Ownership of more than a handful of slaves demanded respect and contributed to social position slaves were just property of individuals and businesses, represented the largest portion of the region’s personal and corporate wealth, as cotton and land prices declined and the price of slaves soared.

The Northern states, one by one gradually abolished slavery.

When Congress established a law against slavery, Southern Democrats rebelled and that dispute led to secession, and secession brought about war in which the Northern and Western states and territories fought to preserve the Union, and the South fought to establish Southern independence as a new confederation of states under its own constitution.

The US Civil War lasted from 1861 to 1865 and led to over 618,000 casualties.

Again, life was and still is cheap to the Democratic Party.

God removed His glory from Israel for sacrificing their children to Molech. 

    – Today He’s removing Himself from the USA. 

      – We need a national revival, a moral and spiritual awakening. 

        – What’ll it take?  If 9/11 and all the recent terrorist attacks isn’t enough, what will be enough?

  • All these natural disasters are God’s efforts to wake us up.  Soon He’ll send Judgment!

God raised 13 Judges to deliver Israel from backsliding and bring national revival.

To understand imagine ‘the family fortune.’ 

    – When a family becomes rich there are 3 stages which usually occur:

           – 1st generation generates the fortune.

·            – 2nd generation speculates their fortune, through compromises and foolish decisions.

               – 3rd generation dissipates the fortune and it’s gone.

That’s how it works with nations. (And churches) 

    – 1st generation generates freedom, 2nd generation speculates it away, 3rd generation dissipates it until its gone.. 

      – Look at those nations that have forgotten God in history.


What do we know about the Israelites who entered the Promised Land? 

    – Under Joshua God gave Israel one victory after another. 

      – Walls tumbled down — kings were subdued. 

        – They’d never have won such victories without the Power of God.

That’s a picture of America! 

    – The Revolutionary War — Britain had more men, money, better machinery….it was David and

       Goliath but God was on our side — we won!

Patrick Henry’s speech sparked the revolution in 1775: 

    – “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery?

      Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me; give me

      Liberty or give me death!”

George Washington — 1st President. 

    – He took office putting his hand on the Bible.  He finished the oath and kissed the Bible. 

      – His 1st official act was to lead Congress in 2 hours of worship.  

        – What would’ve the ACLU said about that.

In his inaugural address he said, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.” 

    – In plain English — God got us here, and we’d better not forget it!

Our founding fathers were clear this land was founded on God and the Bible. (Today, liberals are trying to discredit them)    

    – The Bible was the 1st book used in public schools — until the 1940’s.


    – Succeeding generations in Israel began to squander it all away.

Judges 2:1-2 — God said, “Look at all I’ve done for you.” 

    – I delivered you from slavery, fed you manna, guided and guarded you into the Promised Land   

      – Now look at you…why have you done this?!

Judges 2:7 — Joshua’s generation saw 1st hand the great works of God.

Judges 2:10: And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.  — How sad!  Joshua’s generation failed to pass their values on to their children. 

    – America in the 1960’s — look where we are today. 

Americans are brainwashed by humanism, situational ethics, and relativism. 

    – We don’t understand the moral foundations and spiritual principles of our heritage. 

      – We’re trying to rewrite history and remove God.  (Losing Nation for Political Correctness)

        – One publisher said he wouldn’t publish any history before 1840.

Judges 21:25 is saddest verse: Judges 21:25:  In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.   

    – They became people with no absolutes…no standard to live by. 

    – That’s our Nation!  How frightening!

Barna Research found 67% of Americans say there’s no such thing as absolute truth.  That right and wrong aren’t clear…what’s wrong for you isn’t necessarily wrong for me. 

    – Even more frightening — they did the same survey in evangelical churches — 52% said the same thing! 

     – Imagine, Christians saying there’s no right or wrong!

How’d Israel get to this point?  Through compromises.

Judges 2:1-2 — God said drive the enemy out — have nothing to do with them. 

    – They were to separate themselves from sin, as we’re supposed to do.

They Feared the Canaanites — Judges 1:19

    – If they had trusted God they would’ve won — they were afraid to try. 

      – They said, we can’t conquer these people.  We’d better accommodate them, surrender to them — compromise with them.

Are there Canaanites we fear today?

       – Many of our leaders want to surrender in the war on terror. 

          – They say we’re losing — we should quit trying to win. 

        – We should negotiate with the terrorists — stop trying to police the world.                    

            – By doing that we’re just inviting them to come to us.

Many politicians are calling for an end to the war on drugs saying we’ve lost — we should surrender and legalize it — if we legalize it we can control it — marijuana

    – Just like we’ve controlled alcohol! 

     – Trying to control drugs by legalizing them is like trying to control a fire with gasoline.

Parents are surrendering to sexual promiscuity. 

    – “You’re not going to be good, so be careful. — Wear protection.” 

        – What message does that give kids?

We’re putting ambulances at the bottom of the cliff when we’re supposed to put fences at the edge of the cliff!

It’s time to speak up! — God’s Word. 

    – People, God wants you pure and chaste. 

      – He wants you to be a virgin when you marry, not be passed around like a bottle of Gatorade  in a football huddle! 

We’re afraid of confrontation — we might offend someone. 

    – Whom shall I offend?  Man or God? 

      – Truth usually is offensive, but it’s our only hope — John 8:32:  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

We’re so politically correct about homosexuality that we’re afraid to say anything about it. 

    – Leave it as a personal decision in spite of what God says and in spite of what happens to a society when they go that route.   

Now America’s turning to Socialism. 

    – Ignoring lessons from countries who’ve tried it, we’re speeding down a dead end street that

      leads from Capitalism (which made us strong) to socialism, communism — we’ll soon be a nation with no wealth, no freedom, and no reason to work!

      – We’re at the tail end of the speculation generation — it’s getting scary!

Israel didn’t get rid of The Canaanites

Judges 1:28 When the Israelites grew stronger, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves, but they never did drive them completely out of the land.

They said we can use these people. 

  – They used them — God said have nothing to do with them!                                                                      

    – Sure they’re wicked, but some good can come out of them.

See America today!  Legalized gambling, the lottery, marijuana and such things. 

    – “Look at the good — we’ll build roads and schools, and generate tax dollars! 

      – Look at the revenue we can generate!”

It’s time to stop saying look at what we can gain and ask, what are we losing?

Now we’ve turned to borrowing, not just from banks, but from the world, especially China, who now owns us. 

    – We’re borrowing our children’s future — they’ll never pay it back…but hey, that’s their problem!

Just like Israel, we favor the world over God.  We have a President who wants to “Make America Great Again,” and honor God’s Standards and the populace wants to get rid of him?

They Fellowshipped With The Canaanites — Judges 1:32 — Instead, the people of Asher moved in among the Canaanites, who controlled the land, for they failed to drive them out.

    –  Hey, they aren’t such bad people! — They worship different gods — they’re good neighbors! 

Israel learned their wicked ways, indulged in their idolatry, sacrificed their children to Molech.

Today’s cry is, there’s nothing wrong with the Gay lifestyle.  What they do is their business.   

    – They should have rights; after all, they’re good neighbors…why can’t we just get along?! 

God says that lifestyle’s an abomination — it’ll be our downfall — breaks down the family, makes a mockery out of marriage…… 

        – If we adopt it we’re begging for His judgment — God’s done it before — He’ll do it again! 

Don’t misunderstand, God loves homosexuals and so should we. 

    – But we love them, not by accepting their sin, but by confronting it with God’s truth, offering the antidote which is their only hope and ours as well!

Israel ended where every man did what was right in his own eyes…and God had to judge. 

    – The parallels today are paralyzing.


Judges 2:3So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.”

    – Thorns and snares………….. 

Judges 2:4When the angel of the LORD finished speaking to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly.  

They wept because God was lifting His hand of protection off of them.

On 9/11 terrorists turned planes into missiles. 

    – Jerry Falwell said, “We’d better realize God is removing His protective hand from this nation.” 

He cited our national sins of abortion and homosexuality.  The liberal press crucified him.   

    – He was right.  God’s using our current administration to give us what we’ve asked for. 

      – It’s change, we’re finding out it isn’t change we can believe in.

Revelation describes the downfall of a world power.  It’s an economic disaster.  Is that us?

    Some ask, “Would a loving God allow that?” — If we ask for it! 

“Where was God at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December, 2012 when 28 people were killed including 20 children?”– We expelled Him in 1962!  We threw out His Bible and prayer and told God, you’re not welcome!

Now we’re in a godless generation — Is this the final generation in America?

We’re facing a very critical election……..Will we get what we need or what we deserve?

Our forefathers generated so much, our parents speculated it away. 

Will this generation dissipate it until it’s completely gone? 

    – We’re one generation away from losing our country. 

Is there any hope?  Where there’s God, there’s still hope!

Judges 2:16 — Then the LORD raised up judges to rescue the Israelites from their attackers.

God would always rather forgive than to judge…but if we insist, we should be afraid.

During the civil war a benevolent gentleman saw a young black lady being auctioned as a slave. 

    – He bid just above every bid he heard and finally won the auction, paying a very high price. 

      – After winning he started to walk away — she followed him. 

        – He said, “Young lady, I didn’t buy you to own you, but to set you free.” 

          – “Free?”  she asked. 

“Yes, free to do whatever you want.” 

    – She replied, “Then I choose to go with you.”

After all God’s done for America, how can we spit in His face? 

    – We need to pray for national revival!

If you’re not saved, consider all God’s done for you…the high price His Son Jesus paid for you.     

    – Will you choose to be His servant and serve Him?

Many soldiers died so you’d have freedom to make that choice.

Christ died so you could make it!





What To Read Instead Of ‘White Fragility’

Sooner or later you’re going to encounter these anti-American ideas about addressing racism in your workplace, on kids’ homework, or in the faculty lounge – and you can’t be fragile when confronting it.

“Do the work!” The phrase has become a kind of ritual malediction among activists who seek to weaponize racism.

First, an accusation of racism is made. It goes without saying that it is accurate – how could it not be, when virtually every institution and norm in modern America is an instrument of white supremacy?

At this point, a lot of people merely yield or acquiesce to the will of their accuser out of misplaced guilt or fear of the reputational harm that comes with being branded a racist. If you are foolhardy enough to raise questions of the accuser about the veracity of the complaint, or are merely confused about what’s being alleged, a discussion will not ensue. There will be variations of the same theme: “I AM TIRED. AND EXHAUSTED trying to explain your white privilege to you. DO THE WORK.” 

What does “do the work” even mean? Well, if you want to go down the academic rabbit-hole from which this emerged, in neo-Marxian critical theory argot the term of art is “praxis.”

In his late-phase Marxism, Jean Paul Sartre defined “praxis” as the transformation of the world in accordance with a specific ideological end. So when you’re told “do the work,” leftists don’t mean any kind of personal development that would allow for unique circumstances, individual understanding, and personal agency. They have a very specific program in mind for you to follow.

So we get passages like this from a priceless open letter in Portland Monthly where “white people” are addressed en masse and told to “Consider your performative solidarity officially on notice”:

I advise you to check your white guilt and the impulse you may now feel to reach out to the Black folks in your life. DO NOT CALL YOUR BLACK FRIEND RIGHT NOW! This might be a novel concept, but consume content about the Black experience produced by Black creatives and thought leaders—not white non-experts on Blackness you feel safe with. We all have the same internet, and from it you have equal access to books, culturally-specific contemporary publications, podcasts, and other seemingly endless resources that can be the impetus for your own self-examination.

It’s telling that engagement is one-sided – you’re not to be engaged until you’re immersed in a “culturally-specific” and political understanding of their choosing.

To that end, the author above provides a link to a Google doc with a slew of resources to get woke. The suggestions range from relatively benign or helpful (read Toni Morrison novels!) to eye-rolling (follow The New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie on Twitter) to pernicious works influenced by critical race theory that damage race relations and interpersonal relationships (the work of Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi, authors of White Fragility and How to Be an Anti-Racist).

By now it should be obvious what’s going on. If you’re aggressively confronted about alleged personal weaknesses, shut out from dealing directly with the supposedly aggrieved party, told you can only begin these failings by engaging with and agreeing to a specific doctrine, and at that point you relent… congratulations! You’ve just joined a cult.

The purging of wrongthink will be total. Last month, The New York Times published an op-ed encouraging people to send texts “to your relatives and loved ones telling them you will not be visiting them or answering phone calls until they take significant action in supporting black lives either through protest or financial contributions.”

The Kafka Trap

While critical race theory is seeping into the culture from a lot of different directions, it’s worth looking at the two most influential books, White Fragility and How to Be an Anti-Racist, which are currently dominating the bestseller lists.

The reach of DiAngelo’s White Fragility is such that she was recently a guest on the Tonight Show, and the book has become almost totemic in its significance. Recently, Robin Broshi, a member of a New York City Community Education Council, got outraged at her fellow councilmember during the group’s public Zoom meeting for bouncing a friend’s nephew on his lap.

His crime? “It hurts people when they see a white man bouncing a brown baby on their lap and they don’t know the context. That is harmful,” she said, in obvious distress. “I would like to know how having my friend’s nephew on my lap was racist,” he asked. “Read a book. Read White Fragility,” she retorted.

Fortunately, the notoriety has been such that at least a few notable people have read White Fragility and finally begun to condemn the insanity it provokes. Matt Taibbi, an avowed liberal who has recently become alarmed by the growing belief that “individual rights, humanism, and the democratic process are all just stalking-horses for white supremacy,” tore the book to pieces in a widely read review, noting, “DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horses–t as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory.”

The Hitlerian race theory bit isn’t really hyperbole. The entire book is a peaen to white identity politics, albeit a backhanded one. DiAngelo, who is white, insists that for white people to address racism they have to accept their identity as a white person and constantly be aware of how the mere fact of their skin color defines interactions with others. Once they’ve done that, only then can they begin to shed their racist behaviors but LOL JK you can’t really stop being racist because you’re still white and “anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities.”

Now obviously there are lots of historical examples of why encouraging white people to find solidarity in their skin color could backfire. In that respect, the colorblind attitudes preached by Martin Luther King Jr. and his acolytes were successful in advancing civil rights,  and not just because they encouraged white people to see black people as their brothers and sisters made in the image of the same God and therefore deserving of the same personal respect and political rights. Emphasizing the “content of their character” over the color of their skin made it clear just how superficial race-based solidarity of white culture is and why it was worth rejecting. In fact, DiAngelo makes a point of explicitly rejecting the “content of their character” argument, arrogantly oblivious to the hubris involved in a white lady dismissing MLK’s civil rights legacy.

While frustration over perceived lack of racial progress since the MLK era is understandable, it beggars belief that anyone, let alone someone who professes to oppose racism, would look at the last 70 or so years of American history and say, “I think we need to get white people to start thinking about how their skin color unites them.” But here we are.

Taibbi righteously identifies problems with DiAngelo, but skirts around the fact that DiAngelo’s desire to harden racial identities is just a set-up for something even more troubling. Should you resist accepting your white identity or otherwise deny how an accident of your birth makes you complicit in systemic evils regardless of your intent and behavior, well, DiAngelo’s pat response is kind of astonishing: The fact you are insecure and “fragile” when confronted with what your white identity means is just further proof that you are, in fact, racist.

This is a rhetorical device known as a “Kafka trap,” where the more you deny something, the more it’s proof of your guilt. Suffice to say, this is both illogical and manipulative by design. It’s not just that DiAngelo’s book is premised on a fallacy; that fallacy is so prominent it’s explained in the title of the book.

This brings us to Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist, which kicks Kafka-trapping up to a whole new level. Like DiAngelo, Kendi’s vision of being “anti-racist” means coding every interaction with people in terms of some sort of complex hierarchy of identity that you’re supposed to innately understand. (Note that the epistemology of various identarian ideologies are at odds with each other. Skin color may be an observable fact to some extent, but “race” is largely a cultural construct, hence why so many people agree to pretend Shaun King is black.)

Again, Kendi is creating a closed loop. Agree to situate yourself in the hierarchy, or you’re racist. And once you’ve situated yourself in the hierarchy, that’s when “doing the work” begins.

Even if you as an individual have done nothing wrong, you’re still benefitting from a racist system just by virtue of your skin color. Merely not being racist and confronting racist behavior when you see it isn’t enough to dismantle racism. Instead, you have to be “anti-racist.”

That means you are constantly combatting systemic racism by, in effect, attacking and remaking the system itself. What does this look like? Well, I’ll let Kendi explain:

To fix the original sin of racism, Americans should pass an anti-racist amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines two guiding anti-racist principals: Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals. The amendment would make unconstitutional racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials (with ‘racist ideas’ and ‘public official’ clearly defined). It would establish and permanently fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.

All we have to do is “clearly define” racism and make it illegal? Why didn’t we think of that earlier! And a federal cabinet agency that goes around investigating “private” accusations of racism and disciplining public officials for expressions of racist ideas? Just ignore the amusing suggestion that this agency be referred to as “DOA,” let’s just call it the federal Department of What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

These ideas are especially insidious because they exploit the goodwill of people and institutions earnestly seeking to not be racist, and who come into these discussions with their guards down and willing to change their behavior if they think it will help make the world a less racist place.

Ironically, the supposed solutions coming from DiAngelo and Kendi in any other context would be called racist. They perpetuate a worldview that asks people to accept that they are forever defined by skin color, and refute attempts to question this understanding with nonfalsifiable logic that requires permanent subjugation. But you are not racist for disagreeing with this stuff — it’s anti-American, and designed to create more unhappiness and racial strife.

The Use and Abuse of History

So how do you fight this? Well, to start you should, in fact, “do the work.” But acquainting yourself with the more current and pernicious stains of thinking on racial politics isn’t enough.

You may have noticed that DiAngelo, Kendi, and most of their fellow travelers are obsessed with history as of late. They justify their urgency and radicalism by citing historical narratives divorced from reality, one where racism and slavery aren’t a betrayal of American ideals, but the fulfillment of them.

This mythmaking bulldozes over historical and present reality. There are plenty of criticisms of this country’s political and cultural handling of race that can and should be made, but it’s frankly embarrassing how ignorant and misleading about history so many of the people leading our national conversation on race really are. The people yelling “do the work!” haven’t actually done the work.

For instance, this past Fourth of July, Kendi tweeted an abbreviated version of  Frederick Douglass’s famous speech, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July.” Written in 1852, it is a scathing indictment of the hypocrisies of American founding ideals at time slavery was still legal.

Douglass, a former slave, abolitionist, and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, is truly great and underappreciated American. But for all his righteous anger over slavery, he still believed in his country. In the speech, Douglass praises the Constitution as “saving principles,” and he’s quite explicit in his belief that it’s “slander on [the founders’] memory” to believe the foundational document was part of a plan to perpetuate slavery rather than end it.

At a time people are toppling statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, anyone quoting Douglass’s speech should probably not omit where Douglass says, “the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep the corner-stone of the national superstructure” and that he will “unite with you to honor their memory.”

However, if you just read Kendi’s abbreviated version of the speech, you’d get a very different idea of what Douglass actually said. The use and abuse of Douglass is a recurring theme. Last year, Colin Kaepernick quoted the Douglass speech for his own ends; this year he rejected the holiday outright, and simply referred to the Fourth of July as “your celebration of white supremacy.” Surely it says something that a millionaire athlete’s hatred of his country far eclipses that of Douglass, a former slave writing while slavery was still being practiced.

It’s simply becoming impossible to deny that the goal here is to rewrite history. The New York Times’ much-discussed 1619 Project explicitly aims to make America’s true founding date the arrival of the first slave ship in 1619, not 1776. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the leader of the 1619 Project, is a little more than an embarrassing and conspiracy-minded provocateur who has endorsed violence.

Her historical ignorance is such that she recently defended the toppling of a statue of noted racist Ulysses S. Grant and compared him to Hitler and Osama bin Laden because Grant “owned another human being.” For the record, Grant, who abhorred slavery and defeated the Confederate Army, inherited a single slave from his father-in-law and then manumitted him within a year or so because that’s about how long the legal process took.

Despite the fact that Hannah-Jones is a charlatan, The New York Times has had to issue a correction on the 1619 Project, and there have been howls of protests from America’s most eminent historians about the project’s “displacement of historical understanding by ideology,” the 1619 Project won a Pulitzer Prize, is coming to a school curriculum near you, and Oprah Winfrey has a series of film projects planned.

This false narrative that places slavery at the center of American history, rather than our imperfect struggle to realize our founding ideals, will be cemented unless people speak out. In addition to brushing up on the insidious logic behind critical race theory, it’s going to be necessary to improve our historical understanding to fight these attempts to tear the country down.

Doing the Real Work

With that in mind, here’s a list of books and other resources that will help put race and American history in their proper perspective. This list of books will not be comforting to contemporary conservative or Christian worldviews. Even if historical truths generally vindicate American ideals, that doesn’t excuse the blood-soaked betrayal of those ideas that have occurred in the nearly 250 years since. Part of the reason these ahistorical narratives about race are taking hold so swiftly is that most of the country has only confronted the horrors of slavery and racism in the abstract.

As James Baldwin has observed, “the reason for this ignorance is that a knowledge of the role these people [African-Americans] played—and play—in American life would reveal more about America to Americans than Americans wish to know.” Prepare to be uncomfortable and remember that you can handle challenging facts, ideas, and opinions. Remember you’re not the one asking people to join a cult — the goal is to be more empathetic and informed, and you should be prepared to change your mind about some things.

Slavery: Historically, America’s educational system has given the black experience short shrift, and it’s important to understand just how horrifying the practice of chattel slavery was in terms of the torture, abuse, and tearing apart of families. The low-impact book here is Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which was a mega-bestseller when it came out in the 1970s, won a Pulitzer, and prompted a hugely successful TV miniseries.

It follows the story of Kunta Kinte, an African kidnapped and sold into slavery and transported to America, and the generations of his family on down to Alex Haley himself. Roots is imperfect, or at the very least the fact a large chunk of it was apparently plagiarized from another novel about the slave experience written by a white guy should provide some interesting fodder for those who think “cultural appropriation” is a legitimate complaint. Still, the historical sweep of Roots puts slavery into perspective, it’s a cultural landmark, and it’s very readable.

It’s more imperative to read the first-hand 19th-century slave narratives. They are amazing documents. The most famous is, of course, the eponymous Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, which should be required reading for all Americans. Just the mere facts recounted about what the slaves were given to eat and wear should shock the conscience, never mind what Douglass has to say about the deliberate denial of slaves’ humanity.

“I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; He must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man,” Douglass writes. The Library of America also has an excellent single volume of slave narratives that includes Douglass, as well as writings from Nat Turner, Sojourner Truth, and others.

Finally, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World The Slaves Made by Eugene D. Genovese is considered a classic history of slavery — the book won the Bancroft Prize when it came out in 1972 — and is fairly unique in that it uses Marxist critiques to show how slaves worked within the oppressive system to find ways to maintain their dignity.

Genovese was a sincere Marxist at the time he wrote it, but by the 1990s identified himself as a social conservative who founded the Historical Society to combat the “totalitarian assault” of political correctness and ideological history coming from the academy. The book’s use of Marxist theories is confounding, and even infuriating, to contemporary left-wing academics.

The Civil War: Since Confederate monuments and the legacy of the Civil War are at the heart of many of the current debates, it’s worth getting familiar with this pivotal event and its causes. A leading contender for best single-volume history of the conflict is James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom, which has been endorsed by Ta-Nehisi Coates for offering “a catalogue of evidence, making it clear not just that the white South went to war for the right to own people, but that it warred for the right to expand the right to own people.”

Relating to the Civil War, it’s important to also get familiar with the rhetoric of the leader who won it. The Portable Lincoln and Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America, the latter by the terrific historian Allen C. Guelzo, make it clear that Lincoln’s political success and his justifications for waging war rested on convincing the country slavery was incompatible with our cherished founding documents. Anyone who’s read The Gettysburg Address knows Lincoln was a brilliant writer, but he’s the rare figure, let alone politician, who only seems to grow in your estimation as you read more of his work.

Frederick Douglass: While Douglass’s autobiography is essential, that doesn’t begin to explain his political and cultural influence — and he was an influential political figure until his death 30 years after the end of the Civil War. The Portable Frederick Douglass, edited by John Stauffer and Henry Louis Gates Jr., provides not just selections from his autobiographical works, but a good selection of his speeches and journalism that show how America was continuing to wrestle with race in the decades following the end of slavery.

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois: Born in 1856, Booker T. Washington’s 1901 autobiography Up From Slavery tells the story of the famous educator’s life and how he attributes his success to education, self-reliance, and industriousness. He urges this path for his fellow African-Americans.

It’s impossible to overstate the positive impact this book had on the country and race relations. For decades after it came out, Washington’s book was the only touchstone for race relations many white Americans had, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. (My grandmother, who was raised in rural Idaho and died pushing 100, used to approvingly quote the book’s nuggets of wisdom for my benefit.)

On the other hand, Washington’s popularity and the simplicity of his message were also resented by other 20th-century black writers who were both in his shadow and still dealing with pronounced racism. In W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk, published just two years after Up From Slavery, DuBois tackles Washington head-on.

He praises Washington for lifting up the image of black people and engendering sympathy to the plight of black people from whites, but counters that there were plenty of educated and industrious black Americans in Jim Crow America finding that Washington’s prescriptions weren’t enough to overcome racism. DuBois’ thinking eventually lead to the creation of the NAACP and more African-American political engagement.

It’s worth weighing DuBois and Washington’s arguments against each other in light of the ways political engagement has clearly benefited black Americans, versus creating dependencies that have eroded self-reliance and weakened black families and communities. There are points in favor of both arguments, and finding the right balance between the two is key to improving the lives of black Americans.

James Baldwin: Baldwin is just a stunning writer almost in the literal sense of the word, and he’s almost worth reading just to appreciate his mastery of the written word. The two essays contained in The Fire Next Time manage to say as much or more about the problems of race in just 120 pages than almost anyone before or since.

The Fire Next Time contains multitudes; Baldwin speaks of sincerely wanting vengeance for the treatment of black Americans and his thoughts on the potential for improving race relations drip with cynicism. A former preacher in his youth, he excoriates American Christianity for its inadequacies and hypocrisies on race.

But he always manages to leave the door open just enough so hope can creep in, writing of the need for a “love [that] takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” And he worryingly observes that “glorification of one race and the consequent debasement of another—or others—always has been and always will be a recipe for murder.”

It’s all the more interesting that the book was written in 1963. Baldwin’s asides on communism and imperialism, along with his dismissal of Bobby Kennedy’s surprisingly accurate prediction there would be a black president in 40 years, haven’t aged well.

But it’s also a real indictment so many of his universal observations about racial injustice, including his repeated complaints about the police treatment of black people, remain shockingly relevant. As a bonus, Baldwin astutely dissects the appeal of the Nation of Islam to black Americans — a topic that’s suddenly become relevant again.

Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele: Sowell might be one of the smartest Americans who has ever lived, and his contributions to economics are undeniably momentous. Any other black intellectual of his stature would be much more famous, but Sowell’s conservatism means his extensive writings on race are ignored because they don’t advance the political causes of the left.

But that doesn’t make them any less worthy. Books such as Intellectuals and RaceDiscrimination and DisparitiesBlack Rednecks and White Liberals, and Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? are all impeccably argued and buttressed with research. (Sowell has also done important work on education, the big civil rights issue that doesn’t get discussed because it indicts the left.)

Similarly, Shelby Steele is another unjustly ignored conservative black intellectual whose writing on race is essential. White GuiltShameThe Content of Our Character, and A Dream Deferred all challenge accepted liberal racial and political narratives adroitly.

DiAngelo and Kendi: Yes, it will be painful, but you should absolutely try and read DiAngelo and Kendi’s books, because a lot of the people waving them around as anti-racist talisman might have picked up on a few ideas from an NPR interview, but odds are good they haven’t really read them.

Both books are full of academic jargon are somewhat inscrutable by design. But if you read them, that affords you a powerful opportunity when someone is, oh say, inexplicably offended by you bouncing a child of a different skin color on your lap and yells at you to read White Fragility.

At that point you can say, “Actually, I have read that book. And I think that anyone who actually cares about racism should be very wary of it. Do you really think ‘White people’s moral objection to racism increases their resistance to acknowledging their complicity with it’? Why does DiAngelo encourage white people to be obsessively aware of their racial identity when she also says ‘a positive white identity is an impossible goal’?” If nothing else, the results will be amusing.

James Lindsay and New Discourses: Lindsay and his cohorts at the New Discourses website have emerged as leading and fearless critics of the hordes of critical theorists trying to shove social justice down our throats, particularly as it intersects with real-world occupations and concerns. (See, for instance, this article on how woke politics are making it harder for mental health professionals to do their job.)

If you need a plain English explanation for the latest social justice fad and why it’s corrosive to free speech and other American values, there’s a good chance you’ll find something useful on their comprehensive website. Lindsay is also excellent at exposing just how far gone adherents of “critical social justice” are – see this video where someone tries to explain that determining whether the number of candies in a box is even or odd isn’t just a matter of counting them; it depends on your cultural understanding of “math.”

What’s interesting is that Lindsay is an atheist and a rationalist. Not that long ago, people with Lindsay’s sympathies were predominantly focused on critiquing the religious right. But Lindsay and the New Discourses crew seem to have recognized the seriousness of threat coming from the zealous enforcement of the far-left’s woke doctrines, which have all the problems of religion but offer none of the forgiveness and redemption. To that end, Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose have a book coming out in late August, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody, which promises to be insightful.

Putting Your Knowledge to Work

If you become acquainted with even a small fraction of the work above, you should be well-equipped to hold your own in a conversation about race. Unfortunately, these days entering into any public fray about race is fraught with the danger for reputational harm, no matter how well-intentioned you are.

Discussing race, particularly as a white person, should always be done cautiously, and emphasize empathy and humility. In that respect, I hardly pretend to know everything about race in America; everything I’ve written here should just be viewed as one concerned man offering his opinions and making an effort. I’m keeping an open mind about police reform and many other topics these days.

However, not that long ago, running around fretting about “cultural Marxism” was a sure way to announce you were a right-wing nut job. Now one glance at the bestsellers list suggests that such concerns are perfectly valid. There’s still plenty of room for the right and earnest liberals to discuss solutions to racial injustice, but ceding the discussion to the new clerisy of “anti-racists” is not really an option when they don’t offer participatory solutions so much as issue demands.

Again, it’s worth repeating Kendi and DiAngelo are not fringe figures — people pay thousands of dollars to attend seminars with them, their bestselling books are being assigned in schools, and corporate H.R. departments are writing diversity policies based on their work. It’s important you be aware of what they’re doing and refuse to let you, your children, or your organization be baited into one of their logical cul-de-sacs.

Sooner or later you’re going to encounter these anti-American ideas about addressing racism in your workplace, on kids’ homework, or in the faculty lounge – and you can’t be fragile when confronting it. You need to have a base of knowledge about race in America that demonstrates an understanding of the enormity of the country’s sins, as well as demonstrating you’ve made an effort to inform yourself about overcoming them. You need to understand that your opponents might be employing manipulative logic to make their arguments – arguments that are fast becoming so pervasive that many people making them might readily revise their opinions once you confront them with your concerns.

Already there are stories circulating that people have successfully challenged the woke racial thought police in the office and at professional organizations by arming themselves with some basic knowledge. But we can’t stop there.

If we inform ourselves about the real history of race in America and engage with the good-faith arguments on both sides, we might be able coalesce around solutions and come together as Americans. It won’t be easy, but if this is what it means to “do the work” rather than simply let ourselves be told what to think, the effort will be worth it.

Mark Hemingway is the Book Editor at The Federalist, and was formerly a senior writer at The Weekly Standard. Follow him on Twitter at @heminator

‘It is the soldier, not the politician, who …’

Bill Federer recalls sacrifices of those who gave their life for their country


cemetary military graves

Southern women scattered spring flowers on graves of both northern Union and southern Confederate soldiers of the Civil War in which over a half-million died. Many places claimed to have held the original Memorial Day, such as:

  • Warrenton, Virginia
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • Boalsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Waterloo, New York

One such place was Charleston, South Carolina, where a mass grave was uncovered of 257 Union soldiers who had died in a prison camp. On May 1, 1865, former slaves organized a parade, led by 2,800 singing black children, and reburied the soldiers with honor as an act of reparation and gratitude for their ultimate sacrifice which gave slaves freedom.

In 1868, General John A. Logan, commander of the Civil War veterans’ organization “The Grand Army of the Republic,” called for a Decoration Day to be observed annually on May 30.

President James Garfield’s only executive order was in 1881 where he gave government workers May 30 off so they could decorate the graves of those who died in the Civil War.

During World War I, a Canadian Expeditionary gunner and medical officer, John McCrae, fought in the Second Battle of Ypres near Flanders, Belgium. Describing the battle as a “nightmare,” as the enemy made one of the first chlorine gas attacks, John McCrae wrote: “For seventeen days and seventeen nights none of us have had our clothes off, nor our boots even, except occasionally. In all that time while I was awake, gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for sixty seconds. … And behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the line should give way.”

Finding one of his friends killed, John McCrae helped bury him along with the other dead in a field. Noticing the field covered with poppy flowers, he composed the famous Memorial Day poem, “In Flanders Fields”:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Notables who fought in World War I include:

  • John J. Pershing, general of the armies
  • Douglas MacArthur, brigadier general
  • George S. Patton, tank commander
  • Leonard Wood, future Army Chief of Staff
  • Harry S Truman, artillery officer and future 33rd president
  • Eddie Rickenbacker, commander of 94th Aero Squadron
  • Quentin Roosevelt, shot down, son of President Theodore Roosevelt
  • Alvin York, took out 35 machine guns and captured 132 enemy
  • Charles Whittlesey, commander of the “Lost Battalion” behind lines
  • Frank Luke – “balloon buster”
  • Edouard Izac, naval office captured on U-Boat, who escaped
  • Henry Johnson of the “Harlem Hellfighters”
  • Dan Daly, Marine Sergeant charged and captured machine gun nests
  • Ernest Hemingway, author of “A Farewell to Arms”
  • J.R.R. Tolken, British author of “The Lord of the Rings”
  • C.S. Lewis, British author of “The Chronicles of Narnia”

Also, Orval William Epperson, born on a rugged Ozark farm near Anderson, Missouri, fought in France during World War I, assigned to the 338th Machine Gun Battalion 88th Division. He is the grandfather of the author of this article.

After World War I, in 1921, President Warren Harding had the remains of an unknown soldier killed in France buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. Inscribed on the Tomb is the phrase: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

Since 1921, it has been the tradition for presidents to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The number 21 being the highest salute, the sentry takes 21 steps, faces the tomb for 21 seconds, turns and pauses 21 seconds, then retraces his steps.

Memorial Day grew to honor all who gave their lives defending America’s freedom in every war, including:

  • Revolutionary War: 1775-1783 – 25,000
  • War of 1812: – 20,000
  • Mexican-American War: 1846-1848 – 13,283
  • Civil War: 1861-1865 – 625,000
  • Spanish-American War: 1898 – 2,446
  • World War 1: 1917-1918 – 116,516
  • World War 2: 1941-1945 – 405,399
  • Korean War: 1950-1953 – 36,516
  • Vietnam War: 1955-1975 – 58,209
  • Persian Gulf War: 1990-1991 – 258
  • Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan): 2001-2014 – 2,356
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom: 2003-2012 – 4,489
  • Ongoing wars against Islamic terrorism and extremism

In 1968, Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday in May.

At the Memorial Day Ceremony, May 31, 1993, President Bill Clinton remarked: “The inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier says that he is ‘Known only to God.’ But that is only partly true. While the soldier’s name is known only to God, we know a lot about him. We know he served his country, honored his community, and died for the cause of freedom. And we know that no higher praise can be assigned to any human being than those simple words. … In the presence of those buried all around us, we ask the support of all Americans in the aid and blessing of God Almighty.”

In 1958, President Eisenhower placed soldiers in the tomb from WWII and the Korean War.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan placed a soldier from the Vietnam War in the tomb. DNA test later identified him as pilot Michael Blassie, a graduate of St. Louis University High School, 1966 and the U.S. Air Force Academy, 1970, whose A-37B Dragonfly was shot down near An Loc, South Vietnam. In 1998, Michael Blassie was reburied at Jefferson Memorial Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.

In his 1923 Memorial address, President Calvin Coolidge stated: “There can be no peace with the forces of evil. Peace comes only through the establishment of the supremacy of the forces of good. That way lies through sacrifice … ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’”

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army, wrote the poem:

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

In his Memorial Day address, May 31, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge said: “Settlers came here from mixed motives. … Generally defined, they were seeking a broader freedom. They were intent upon establishing a Christian commonwealth in accordance to the principle of self-government. … It has been said that God sifted the nations that He might send choice grain into the wilderness. …”

Coolidge was citing an election sermon by Judge William Stoughton, a Puritan leader in colonial Boston, April 29, 1669: “God sifted a whole nation that he might send choice grain over into this wilderness.”

Henry W. Longfellow used a similar line in his classic “Courtship of Miles Standish”: “God had sifted three kingdoms to find the wheat for this planting.”

This was explained further in Benjamin Franklin Morris’ classic “The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of The United States” (1864): “The persecutions of the Puritans in England for non-conformity, and the religious agitations and conflicts in Germany by Luther, in Geneva by Calvin, and in Scotland by Knox, were the preparatory ordeals for qualifying Christian men for the work of establishing the civil institutions on the American continent. ‘God sifted’ in these conflicts ‘a whole nation that He might send choice grain over into the wilderness’; and the blood and persecution of martyrs became the seed of both the church and the state. … It was in these schools of fiery trial that the founders of the American republic were educated and prepared for their grand Christian mission. … They were trained in stormy times, in order to prepare them to … establish the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty and of just systems of civil government.”

President Calvin Coolidge continued his Memorial Day address, May 31, 1923: “They had a genius for organized society on the foundations of piety, righteousness, liberty, and obedience of the law. … Who can fail to see in it the hand of destiny? Who can doubt that it has been guided by a Divine Providence?”

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