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Ironies of the Civil War


Civil War history is littered with ironies. Some are light and humorous; others dark and ominous. Consider the fate of poor Wilmer McLean. Prior to the first major battle of the Civil War, First Bull Run (known as First Manassas in the South, but that's another story for another time), Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard established his headquarters in McLean's home. Portions of the battle raged across McLean's property and an artillery shell came down a kitchen chimney! This was more than McLean could tolerate so he moved his family far away from the war, or so he thought, to a quiet location called Appomattox Court House in central Virginia. It was there, almost 4 years later, that the U.S. Army of the Potomac and Confederate Army of Northern Virginia squared off for the last time. And it was there, in McLean's front parlor, that Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.


Speaking of Gen. Lee, his 1,100 acre estate and home in Arlington, Virginia (directly across from Washington D.C. on the banks of the Potomac River) was occupied by federal soldiers early in the war and was later confiscated by the federal government for failure to pay property taxes. In June 1864, with federal military cemeteries nearly filled, the entire estate was appropriated for a new military cemetery by Quartermaster Gen. Montgomery Meigs. To spite Lee, Meigs ordered the first graves to be put close to the house so that it could never be lived in again. And so the Union soldiers that Lee's Army of Northern Virginia were killing were being buried in his own front yard! Thus, Arlington National Cemetery was born.


As ironic as these stories are, nothing prepared me for the irony of the following Reuters headlines of April 16, 2002:

"Sex Scandal Brings U.S. Cardinals to Rome"

"Supreme Court Strikes Down Child Pornography Law"

Like I said, some ironies of the Civil War were dark and ominous. The same can be said for the spiritual civil war for our families, values, and freedoms as evidenced from these headlines.


We have become a nation of people who cannot think straight! We stand in shock at the perversion of trusted and respected men preying upon young boys to satisfy their sexual appetites. Then, we turn around the next minute to defend the "rights" of those who create the materials to feed those appetites! We want it both ways but this can never be. "For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:7-8. Either we get rid of the pornography, or we'll continue to suffer under the scourge of its evil abuses of women and children.


But we can't have victory in the courts until we have victory in the hearts of men. Men need to understand the folly of pornography and the seriousness of its consequences. There is no "harmless" imagery. It ALL leads down the same road to destruction -- from Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue to the most explicit hardcore perversion.


I fully understand the First Amendment issues raised in the child pornography case. Virtual child pornography or not, there is no doubt in my mind that not one of our Founding Fathers would agree with this ruling nor would they tolerate our country's hypocrisy in condemning child sexual abuse on the one hand while permitting publication of the "how to" manuals for child molesters on the other. They did not pledge their "Lives, Fortunes, and Sacred Honor" for this! Those who fought and died for our freedoms in the Civil War certainly didn't trade their blood and young lives for this kind of nation either. We owe them a far better country than where we are headed. Isn't it ironic that we won the Civil War for physical freedom from the bondage of slavery but are losing the spiritual civil war for our souls in bondage to sin? May God help us all.


Steve Braun

 April 22, 2002





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