I’m going to go out on a limb today and hope that the branch is strong enough for my thoughts and opinions.
There’s a lot going on in our community right now about monuments and whether or not they should be removed or remain. I pray that I am not going to be considered a racist or prejudicial person when I write: these monuments of the past need to remain.
Majoring in history in college, one of the issues we discussed was how to assess the past based on what we know now. My professor, Katie Etienne, was adamant that we cannot. People who lived in the past did so with a very different set of values, obligations and ethics than we do today. Therefore, it would be wrong to judge them by the standards that are outside of the context of their lives. Some have come to call such things as “anachronistic judgments” or “historical relativism.” Even as we try to grapple not only with our own thoughts, but try to place ourselves in their lives (which is difficult to do), we cannot reach back and recreate the dynamics of their cultural experience in order to fully understand the decisions that were made.
Know that the Cathedral Parish was approached by officials from the City of St. Augustine and asked to “take” the Confederate monument that is in the Plaza for placement on one of our properties. After long and prayerful discussions with Bishop Estevez, he and I determined that what is needed is not monument moving, but a move to end all racism, prejudice and division – no matter what its source. This, we believe, is how Christ and the Gospel would have us move forward. Let’s pray and work together to make it happen.