Baptists and the American Civil War: December 15, 1865

Map of Virginia 1860sAs the year draws to a close and a week following the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery, few white Southern Baptists in state newspapers bother to discuss the advance of freedom in America.

Rather, today’s Virginia Baptist Religious Herald contains articles about a variety of other items and issues.

Temperance is of concern to one writer. Most temperance organizations thus far, he ascertains, have been ineffective. He hopes for the establishment of a more effective temperance movement.

Another writer encourages white Baptists to be more faithful to their denominational institutions, including educational institutions.

White Alabama Baptists are praised by another. They have decided to remain Southern Baptists (to the surprise of no one).

Sunday Schools, especially, are greatly needed. The proper religious education of today’s white children is imperative for bringing prosperity back to the South.

And revival meetings currently taking place in Richmond are spoken of glowingly. Therein eternal, individual salvation is found.

The tragic, earthly plight of impoverished and abused freedmen, enslaved for generations wherein enormous wealth in the form of labor was stolen from them, is of no concern.

The self-serving religion of the white South, although shaken by the war, remains undaunted.

Sources: “Temperance,” The Sayings of a Rambler,” “Letter from Baltimore,” “The Alabama Baptist State Convention,” and “An Outpouring of God’s Spirit,” Religious Herald, December 14, 1865