Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction

By Euan Hague; Edward H. Sebesta et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
The U.S. Civil War as a Theological War:
Neo-Confederacy, Christian Nationalism,
and Theology

EDWARD H. SEBESTA AND EUAN HAGUE

Religion is central to current invocations of neo-Confederacy. The New Dixie Manifesto, outlined in the introduction, represents the public articulation of neo-Confederacy's central tenets as put forward by two of its major proponents, James Michael Hill and Thomas Fleming:

On a spiritual level, we take our stand squarely within the tradition of Chris-
tianity. This historic faith, though everywhere attacked by the hollow men of
modernity, has always been central to the pursuit of personal honor, political
liberty and human charity. Asking for only the religious freedoms guaran-
teed in the Bill of Rights, we oppose the government's campaign against our
Christian traditions.1

It is not, however, a simple faith in Christianity that neo-Confederacy incorporates. As we have outlined, neo-Confederacy typically looks to the Civil War for lessons and explanations. According to neo-Confederates and their understanding of Christianity, the Civil War was a theological war over the future of the religion, pitting the heretical Union states against the pious, devout Christians of the Confederacy. When intertwined with the separatist positions articulated by groups such as the League of the South (ls), much of neo-Confederacy articulates a commitment to constructing a new Confederation of Southern States based on a reading of Christianity and the Bible that can be identified as Christian nationalist. This is centered upon a theological assessment that interprets the nineteenth-century Confederate States of America (csa) as having been an orthodox Christian nation. Such reasoning leads to current neo-Confederate claims that the battle fag and other Confederate icons are fundamentally Christian symbols and the as-

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