8/29/17

Why Start With the South?

By: Jonathan Harris

"We are superior to them! Those old Americans condoned slavery!" whines the modern American as he (or she?) dawns his foreign slave-made hipster clothing. "I mean, they hated black people!" the non-binary humanoid continues, stepping into a vehicle with a Planned Parenthood bumper sticker. "I heard my professor quote some old thing from somewhere that proved it, and I know what I'm saying!" the 35 year old basement dweller exclaimed as he passed a marker describing the monument he was about to protest, without reading it.

This is the attitude of many modern millennials. Today we've seen more monuments coming down. At least one reenactment cancelled. Last night I made the case that the motivation behind much of this stems from a willfully ignorant pride. In general museums are closing. People just won't come anymore. The past is filled with hateful, racist, homophobic bigots who might "trigger" the more "fragile" feelings of the modern American, who has enough trouble already navigating the dangerous world of perpetual adolescence.

Here's a second point I'd like to make. The South is the low-hanging fruit. They are picked because they are easily accessible. American "education" has made possible what would have been impossible only 15 years ago (long after the War Between the States or the Civil Right's movement). American indoctrinators, lead by Foner and McPherson especially have literally rewritten Southern history. They exclusively focus on and misinterpret in many cases people and events associated with the South while all but ignoring sins of equal or greater intensity in the North. Why is this? Why are the SJWs so angry at the South whilst the North gets a free pass?

THREE POINTS.

1) The South is traditionally Christian. Modern millennials are secularists having rejected their parent's or grandparent's faith. They are continuing to rebel against a faith represented very tangibly in a region known as the "Bible Belt." They may not be able to attack God directly or storm into a local church (at least yet), but they can protest Christian culture and heritage in a very tangible way and have the media support them when they attack Confederate monuments, symbols, people, activities, etc. It's the safest path for them to go if they want to get their rage out. The reason I say this is an attack on Christianity is because we do not see equal attacks on Northern monuments, symbols, people, etc. that are associated with slavery and/or racism to an equal or greater degree. The thing that separates the two regions the most is their religion. Secularists love to spot hypocrisy in the lives of Christians and capitalize on it. What better and easier way to do this than to attack the more Christian culture with the charge of racism. It makes modern people feel good about themselves because, "At least they're not like that!" It also gives a valid reason to reject the faith of the supposed racists. "They were hypocrites and their religion is evil!" Make no mistake, this is an attack on Christianity. The church should care. Sadly, many in conservative evangelicalism are the first in line to condone the removal of monuments because they think somehow it will gain them acceptance with the world. It will not. They are ignorantly walking into the very trap they are setting for themselves.

2) This is just the beginning. Already suggestions have been made of taking the Founding Fathers out of public life, including taking down monuments dedicated to them. Other statues such as a peace monument and a soldier's monument have been vandalized. There are even reports of statues of Theodore Roosevelt and a Lincoln bust being targeted. This is an attack on tradition itself, especially Christian tradition, and the tree will be picked clean eventually if it's allowed to continue. Confederates are just the first in line.

3) This has nothing to do with a kind-spirit toward minorities or the disenfranchised. Many of the same people taking part in destroying monuments that supposedly stand for slavery (though you will not find one marker on a monument saying that, and many markers saying the opposite) are the same people that support planned parenthood which slaughters black children by design, don't shine a light on modern slavery (there are more slaves today than at any time in human history), and purchase clothing and materials made by slaves in many cases. If the protestors truly cared about slavery and racism they would be fighting modern examples of slavery and racism, but there seems to be silence on this front. I have not seen a protest outside a Planned Parenthood facility led by SJWs. If the real motivation is not supporting the down-trodden, what is it then? It IS an attack on Christianity. The reason I know this is because those who are not Christian--Muslims in the case of modern slavery, secularists in the case of abortions--get a pass.

Conclusion: If you love Jesus, this is the time to be fighting against the whitewashing of history for FOUR REASONS.

1) The church's symbols are next.
2) The slander of men and women who lived before us is still sin according to God.
3) Honoring father and mother which extends over generations is a command of God.
4) The sovereignty of God is showcased through history. It is "His-story." Learning about history tells us something about God.

Christians who don't care or think they are somehow gaining points by supporting the attack on our heritage are only gaining points with a world that will turn on them at the soonest available opportunity.

8/28/17

Evangelicals With Social Justice Warriors?

By: Jonathan Harris

If we're going to demonize hate crimes we may want to start with the countless examples of graffiti sprayed on veteran's gravestones, destruction of gravestones and monuments, and the digging up of bodies. In one instance a CNN reporter literally spray painted a monument himself and then proceeded to do a story on its vandalization. In an other, a Continental soldier statue was decapitated. I can't even keep up with the amount of stories similar to these at this point. People have literally been murdered in the past few weeks simply because they had a Southern Cross outside their home. The ironic thing about all this is an infinitesimally small amount of Neo-Nazis whose political philosophy could not be more different than the C.S.A.---except for the fact that like the Left, they bought into the same lie that Lee was a white nationalist, when the exact opposite is true---have been successfully used by the media to create a false narrative that has lead to this disgrace. Some young Evangelical leaders are even signing meaningless, lopsided, inaccurate, futile pledges for the purpose of virtue signaling to each other about their bravery for opposing racism, not the kind of racism displayed from BLM, JUST the kind seen in Charlottesville from the much smaller group. If we can see confused National Socialists and get angry, but we cannot see this and get angry, we have a very big problem. Is it the media that has blinded us, or do we simply WANT to be willfully blind? This is a question I've been pondering and don't have a good answer to. I really don't want to believe educated young Reformed evangelicals can be this blind or hypocritical, but I'm running out of options.

8/1/17

Dunkirk: A Departure from Standard WWII Film Fare


       You sit down in the theater. The film begins. Scene one: A young man in a British Infantry uniform stares across the room of a busy health clinic at a pretty young nurse with auburn hair, bright red lipstick and perfectly styled hair, giving inoculations to other young soldiers. When the young man finally arrives at the nurse’s station, he starts flirting with her in an innocent and adorable fashion. She is annoyed at first, but her defenses slowly start to fall until she gradually gives into his charms. The film then spends about 20 minutes telling how the two young people fall in love, making allusions through flashbacks to the young man’s difficult childhood. After a brief training montage where we learn the quarks and characters of five or six other young soldiers in the young man’s division (plus a salty old sergeant who treats the men roughly in their presence but talks fondly of them to superior officers), the two lovers get married in a rush, as the division is shipping out to fight Germany in the morning. Once the enemy has been properly demonized through a brief scene depicting a particular war crime (executing prisoners, civilians, etc.), we engage in the second half of the film, a series of gratuitously violent sequences where one after another, the main characters of the division meeting grizzly ends, one-by-one until an expected “last stand” sequence where the young man proves his bravery.
    There are a plethora of war films of various settings and periods that fit the above archetypal format – Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is not one of them. Instead we get a film where there is minimal character development, little melodramatic, inspirational speech and no comprehensive explanation of the historical event being portrayed. Dunkirk is a stark departure from the typical Hollywood formula for World War II movies. Instead of we get a riveting picture of several perspectives from inside the event, one from the beachhead where the British soldiers await rescue, one from the air above the battle where two pilots battle enemy bombers and fighters, and one from the English channel where a father, son and another young man seek to rescue the stranded soldiers from Dunkirk.
     Before getting into some of the meat of the film, it’s important to review some of the historical details, especially since the film doesn’t really do this. The Battle of Dunkirk (26 May- 4 June, 1940) was fought well into the second year of World War Two. Dunkirk marked a dramatic end to what is now called the “phony war” – referring to the first year or so of officially declared conflict between Germany, France and England where there was a state of war but little open warfare, each side waiting for the other make a move. Eventually in early May of 1940, Germany invaded France, quickly moving past France’s Maginot Line through the “Impenetrable” Ardennes Forest, quickly defeating most of the French Military and cornering the British Army and Navy at Dunkirk. It was there that a perimeter was established and the conjoined forces of the English and French held on for nearly 10 days, awaiting a miracle to evacuate.
     In many ways, the Battle of Dunkirk wasn’t much of a win. Thousands of British soldiers lost their lives on the beaches and in the English Channel. As Winston Churchill famously declared afterward, “wars are not won by evacuations.” What made Dunkirk a miracle was that so many – in fact, the majority of British troops were saved – and then could be utilized for the long years ahead in fighting the battle that would ultimately topple Hitler’s war machine. The drama of the situation of Dunkirk is one thing on the IMAX screen (absolutely, positively the best way to see this film), but it’s even more remarkable when one considers that Britain was more or less alone – the US had not entered the war, France was virtually defeated and Russia would be at peace with Germany for the next two years. It’s probable that Hitler wanted to sign a deal with England, but the British weren’t so ready to give in. Their tenacity and stalwartness at hanging on through the storm that was to come is nothing short of epic, and it started with Dunkirk.
    The film starts with several British soldiers making their way through the deserted streets of Dunkirk. Shots suddenly ring out, striking the men down one by one. However, unlike most contemporary war films, there is little to no gore – the stress is actually put on the sound of the shots rather than the damage of impact. If you’re watching the film in an IMAX theater then you just about jump out of your chair. This sets much of the tone for the rest of the film – falling bombs, torpedoes, and bullets with nary a warning. This creates a tension that you can feel quite profoundly – as if you were aboard a vessel, sitting on a beach, trying to get home along with the soldiers. The sound mixing is vital to the story – added to it by the resolute, foreboding, almost terrifying Hans Zimmer score. These combined qualities make Dunkirk one of the most suspenseful war films ever made. You can feel the terror of a torpedo into the side of your ship, knowing that unless you have a quick exit, you will be sucked under with the ship. As we follow several individuals from shore to ship to sea, the tension grows ever more severe.
    With minimal character development, Dunkirk relies mostly on visual storytelling to attach us to the main characters. We learn a little bit about some characters at the end of the film, but by and large we don’t who any of these people are beyond the fact that they are all either evacuees, evacuators or defenders of both. But somehow our heartstrings are pulled for them – we can appreciate the desperation of the situation, though most approach it with a typically British emotional dryness.  We are scared for each person because they are individually valuable – the pictures of individuals give faces not only to themselves, but to the countless men who are meeting eternity over the course of the battle. An important message is to be taken away – each man is individually valuable, not a mere cog in a machine. Though it’s tempting to think in numbers (as nearly half a million men need evacuation) we’re reminded that the battle is fought by individuals, and each live is significant and valuable because each bears the image of God.
   Another departure from the expected is the lack of Nazi demonization. As if Nazi Germany needed any more vilification than naturally due, often World War II films will go out of their way (even if completely irreverent to the storyline) to dehumanize Nazi antagonists (think Inglorious Bastards, even Saving Private Ryan to a degree). Dunkirk takes a wholly different approach. Instead, we never really hear who the enemy is – they are referred to as “jerries” once, but never called “Germans” or “Nazis”, instead being referred to consistently as “the enemy”. We actually never really get a good look at any of the “enemy” either. This is an important aspect of the film. Without relying on the demonization/dehumanization of the “enemy”, the film relies on the drama of the situation at Dunkirk. The German Military is the enemy, but they almost become merely an agent of the truly terrifying antagonist: the water. As torpedoes slam into ships and bullets fly into the beach, they become a prod, pushing the soldiers into the water – a cold, faceless, merciless and indifferent enemy, far more terrifying than Germans in trench coats.

    The message of Dunkirk is mainly what you see – ordinary men placed in extraordinary circumstances – in many ways, horrific situations where their strength, endurance and for many, their faith was put to the test. But it’s also what you don’t see. With almost no contextual historical information given in the film beyond the year and the location of the events, someone who has no familiarity with the events of Dunkirk and the following “Battle of Britain” is hopefully inspired upon its viewing to educate themselves on them. Exiting the theater, I heard a number of people saying things like, “Wow, I can’t believe I never knew about this” and “what war was this again?” This highlights the importance of a film like Dunkirk - not only generating renewed interest in a crucial time in history, but preserving and memorializing in our collective memory the sacrifice of the English (and French) soldiers that eventually made possible the eventual liberation of Europe – all due to a “miracle” of Divine Providence in the salvation of the British Army at Dunkirk.
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