The More You Know

I grew up in North Carolina knowing virtually nothing about Native American history except that the first English settlers disappeared (i.e. The Lost Colony) and they most likely connected with a tribe of natives along the coast of North Carolina or died of a virulent disease.  I’ve learned in only the past several years that White People reportedly gave small pox infected blankets to Native Americans in the 1700s causing widespread epidemics.  One of the surest stories is that Lord Jeffrey Amherst (for whom Amherst College is named) promoted the idea.  He personally mentioned what a great idea it was in a letter to British Captain Simeon Ecuyer.

I grew up “knowing” that General Robert E. Lee was an honorable man who hated slavery and  loved the Commonwealth of Virginia more than he loved his country.  The truth – according to this firsthand account by an enslaved person named Wesley Norris – is that he was a particularly brutal slaveholder.  Turns out he was not the benevolent plantation owner many have called him, although his portrait still hangs proudly in many White fraternities throughout the South.

I grew up admiring Josephus Daniels, the longtime publisher and editor of the Raleigh News and Observer and the namesake of The Student Stores building on my college campus.  I bought my textbooks in the Daniels Building.  He was considered an honorable man, a teetotaler who forbid work on the Sabbath. (What a good Christian.)  The truth, though, also includes the fact that he was a White Supremacist who helped lead the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898 which resulted in a bloody attack on Black residents and Black-owned businesses.  Just yesterday, the UNC Board of Trustees voted to remove the name of Josephus Daniels and three other White Supremacists from campus buildings.  This was the right decision.

I share these stories not because I hate my country or my Southern heritage.  I love my country and my Southern roots, and because I love my country and my roots, I want us to be better.  I want us to do better.

The more we know, the better the world can be.  (Note: My grandmother used to say, “It’s amazing what the LORD has let us learn.”  I agree.  God makes learning possible.)

There are Church People who “know” that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.  (Not true.)  There are people who believe that there was a literal “Good Samaritan” and a literally “Prodigal Son” even though the Bible clearly says that Jesus was telling parables (not sharing a news report.)  Jesus told parables to jolt us into understanding the depth and breadth of God’s love for us and God’s expectations of us.  Rabbis tend to answer questions with stories and with more questions. Jesus was a rabbi.

Someone told me recently that Tucker Carlson had been doxxed by a New York Times reporter and that his family was forced to move because of the protesters who showed up at his house.  Actually, the opposite is true.  Mr. Carlson’s address was not shared but the reporter’s address was leaked and protesters showed up at his house.

We need to do our research.

I learned in seminary to dig deep and seek out original sources like Josephus and Tacitus.  I learned in college to seek scholarly articles and to find multiple sources for my “facts.”  There is indeed a lot of fake news out there.  And there is misinformation about what’s in the Bible as well.

We can do better because we love God and we love our country and we love our heritage.  AND we have quite of bit of corporate confession and reparations to make.  The Bible calls it repentance.

The more we know, the more we realize that we have work to do to make things right, in the name of Jesus.  

4 responses to “The More You Know

  1. KATHERINE H MAYNARD

    Thanks, Janice. I too carried some of these NC impressions about our “revered” southern leaders for quite a while. And how our teachers denied that the Civil War was about slavery, but “State’s Rights” instead.
    In addition, we were exposed to many more toxic falsehoods. Just this morning I recalled (for the first time in years) being taught at a Vacation Bible School (VBS) that black people were dark because they had been cursed. It was termed the “curse of Ham”. Thankfully my own parents never taught us this but when we would stay a few summer weeks with my grandparents, they’d enroll us in their country church’s VBS. And that lesson was included. Even though we’d also sing “Jesus loves the little children”, it seemed evident to 6 year-old me that just maybe He loved the darker children a bit less since they were “cursed”. I also remember worrying that if I was bad, I’d wake up one morning with dark skin as punishment. It absolutely horrifies me today to recall that.
    So much we must actively unlearn! And even repudiate. Thanks for the message.

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  2. One of the best of her recent blogs.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Harry Pettit

    >

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  3. Keith W Tellinghuisen

    Your story about Tucker Carlson is incomplete. Months ago Tucker Carlson was indeed doxxed. Numerous Antifa members or sympathizers showed up at his previous home and pounded on the door and terrorized his wife. They did this while Tucker was on the air, when they knew he wouldn’t be home. His wife hid in the closet in fear. They have been harassed in many other ways as well.
    When Tucker got wind that the New York Times was planning to run a story about his new house, he got understandably concerned. While they did not threaten to give out the address, he was convinced that they had a enough information to where his new house could be readily identified.
    He named the names of the reporters who planned to do this. He never gave out their addresses. That other people found where they lived is both sad and predictable, but I find it completely understandable. He has a right to protect his family
    It would not have been hard to find Tucker’s side of the story. A simple Internet or YouTube search could have helped you give a more accurate accounting. Your statement about always searching for “multiple sources” rings hollow, at least in my view.

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    • Thanks for this comment. My point was that the NYT is not who doxxed Tucker Carlson. My point was not whether or not this has ever happened to him. We can agree or disagree that the NYT leans liberal and I believe they have made journalistic mistakes, but their writers are trained journalists who are not the kind of professionals who release private information like home addresses. I’m sorry for any public person who gets doxxed. But the NYT doesn’t do that and spreading rumors that they do is divisive.

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