The Washington Post recently mentioned the melting down of a bronze statue of Robert E. Lee, highlighting that while many Confederate monuments have been toppled, others have been left in storage or placed on Civil War battlefields that honor the “Lost Cause.” If you haven’t visited battlefields like Gettysburg, Manassas, or Chickamauga yet, it might be a good time to go, as there is speculation that these sites could be paved over and turned into skate parks exclusively for minority youth.
Unfortunately, it seems that any version of American history that promotes patriotism is now considered a lost cause. It’s important to remember that even figures like Lee and Stonewall Jackson were once celebrated in stained glass panels at the National Cathedral, but those panels and many other pieces of our nation’s history have been removed. Films, TV shows, history books, streets, schools, military bases, flags, and monuments have all been impacted by this cultural shift.
There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for this iconoclasm. Those on the Left will continue to assert their power, as each assertion solidifies their position and humiliates their opponents. This strategy also helps them win over the next generation, who are likely to view the past in a negative light and reject it.
To the Left, nothing is more deserving of criticism and rejection than Christianity, especially Catholicism, which they see as a reactionary stronghold that needs to be overcome. Every Catholic church, statue of a saint, and Marian sanctuary represents a moral lost cause to them, reminiscent of the bigoted past and now destined to be vandalized, destroyed, and desecrated.
We can already see this happening. In recent years, government authorities have approved the removal of Confederate and other patriotic monuments, while federal law enforcement has shown more interest in targeting conservative Catholics and pro-life protestors than protecting Catholic churches from vandalism at the hands of pro-abortion activists and others. It won’t be long before attacks on churches are justified on civil rights grounds. The Left and those influenced by an increasingly anti-Christian popular culture will show no sympathy for the moral principles upheld by the Catholic Church.
Confederate statues managed to survive the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, being viewed as tourist attractions and historical landmarks well into the twenty-first century. Most Americans believed that memorials, monuments, art, and history deserved respect, and regional differences were something to be celebrated. Defeated heroes could be treated with magnanimity by the victors.
But things have changed. The war on Confederate heritage has expanded to include statues honoring figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Christopher Columbus, Juan de Oñate, Father Junipero Serra, and many others. Children are no longer taught to admire the character of Robert E. Lee; instead, they are encouraged to admire the sexual immorality of Harvey Milk. Battle maps of Gettysburg have been replaced with pie charts of “genders.”
The Left wants to erase our entire history and turn it into something vile. Their deep hatred for the West and the so-called “colonizers” is evident in their fierce anti-Zionism, which promotes terrorism and violence against Jews.
Many Americans tend to believe that such things could never happen here. However, it is happening, and Catholic men must consider what they will do when our churches are targeted with spray paint, fire, and violence, when our schools are shut down, when we are denied entry to institutions and employment by corporations. We may find ourselves with nowhere to turn.
These words from Cardinal George, who passed away in 2015, have been quoted often but bear repeating, especially for those who have dismissed them. Speaking to a group of priests, he said, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
That is where our hope lies. In the meantime, we must be prepared to endure, persevere, and save what we can, as we face a long and challenging road of darkness and suffering that will eventually lead us back to the light.