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February 19, 2020

Let the revolution begin                                                    By Leo Chappelle


“During the times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
That quote above is generally attributed to George Orwell, author of the classic dystopian novel, 1984. The quote isn’t from that book, published in 1949, but the book has been seen ever since as an unusually prescient vision of the future and the attributed quote has a powerful resonance with conservatives concerned today with the gradual encroachment of socialism.
The future that Orwell predicted in his novel has rushed upon us almost as quickly as he anticipated.
Despite the fall of the old Soviet Union and the admixture of a capitalist oligarchy in post-Maoist China, there has been a subtle but pervasive influence of “cultural Marxism” that has crept into our own fundamental institutions: marriage, education, government bureaucracy, the media, the entertainment industry, and even our religious institutions. 
Of all the changes, it is this last one, the churches, which should concern us the most. The reason is that in the West it has been the authority of the Judeo-Christian tradition respecting marriage, family, and the overarching allegiance first to God that has represented the chief competitor and counterbalance to the authoritarian state.
The radical difference between the Judeo-Christian worldview and that of the cultural Marxists comes into focus in the dispute over the existence of God, the ultimate authority figure. It’s God versus state.
Our chests swell with pride at the National Anthem and we are properly grateful and respectful of the heroism and sacrifice of our veterans. The issue, however, is whether we will be able to maintain within our own borders the very freedom and values for which our veterans sacrificed their selves in foreign lands. 
Now the front in that struggle is the church pew. It will be up to the faithful to guard the pulpit from heresy and false doctrine.
And ultimately, it must be the faithful who turn the tide of cultural Marxism by the revolutionary act of telling the truth.
As far as I know the Pentecostals haven’t had to deal with this turn into postmodernism yet (if anyone knows otherwise, I would love to hear from you). However, all of the “mainline” denominations have and now it has begun in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), a denomination of about fourteen million members.
The reaction of some in the SBC has been relatively swift. An article on reports that a group called the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) should have a five year program to announce at the SBC Executive Committee meeting in Nashville February 17 and 18. On their web site they profess their dedication “to fulfill the Great Commission and to influence culture.” They are advertising a “launch event” scheduled for June 8, of this year.
Most significantly perhaps, the ideological propositions that the CBN rejects are Critical Race Theory, intersectionality and “social justice” as “unbiblical ideologies”.
“Social justice” has for a long time been a political blank check that can refer to almost anything useful to the Left. “Intersectionality” refers to the so-called intersection of grievances such as might apply to a black, lesbian, female business executive who is a mother. 
Critical Race Theory is perhaps the most pernicious of all. It is a development inspired by Marxist “critical theory” which is a sort of socio-political analysis aimed at overthrowing the social structures that it purports to analyze. The Encyclopedia Britannica calls it “the view that race, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is socially constructed and that race as a socially constructed concept functions as a means to maintain the interests of the white population that constructed it.” Such thinking is what makes it possible to dismiss as “inauthentically black” conservative American black men such as Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley and author Thomas Sowell.
We understand that such thinking in the aforesaid areas has gained a foothold with certain elements in SBC leadership. Unfortunately our press deadline doesn’t permit my reporting on the outcome of the SBC Executive Committee meeting, but I look forward to being able to provide that information soon.
In the meanwhile, we must, as the radicals say, “Stay woke”.


Black River Lagniappe                              By Alma Womack


In 2001, I wrote an article about “letters versus email” and sent it to Mr. Jim Minter, the editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He liked it and used parts of it in his national column for that week. I was famous for a few days, but always grateful that THE Jim Minter had liked what I wrote. Mr. Minter didn’t write for Progressive Farmer, so Buster wasn’t too impressed when I told him what had happened. “Look at like this,” I said. “It’s like Elvis telling someone that they can sing.” Buster said, “Well, I never liked Elvis.”
Anyway, I was reading something on our beloved Lewis Grizzard the other day and saw this headline Looking Back at Jim Hurt’s Life in Journalism, but had no idea who Jim Hurt was. Whoever edited this article really messed up, for the article was on Jim Minter, who was “hurt about the state of journalism today.” A real screw-up in the headline, but a good story on the marvelous Mr. Minter.
I was so glad to read that he is alive and well in Fayetteville, Georgia, for he will be 90 this year, and I wasn’t certain he was still living. Well, he is, so I wrote another letter to him, nineteen years later, just mostly telling him that I’m glad he’s well. I drug out the old article I had sent him from 2001, and decided to use it again this week. After nineteen years, my sentiments really haven’t changed where communication is concerned.
The original “Letters versus Email:”
I received an antique form of correspondence last week. It was a real letter, handwritten, put in an envelope, stamped, and mailed.
The letter was from my Aunt Jessie Patterson, Mama’s sister, who lives in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Her letters are always fun to read, filled with family news and witty comments. For instance, “Something happens to grandsons when they get to be thirteen. Their heads get hot, and the only place they can cool them off is in the refrigerator. By the time they leave, the refrigerator and the cupboards are as bare as Mother Hubbard’s.”
Besides the pleasure of hearing from my aunt, I derived a true satisfaction from receiving a personal letter.
Oh, I get letters addressed to me all the time, “Dear Alma Womack,” they’ll say. “you are a valued customer,” or “We want you to take our credit card and run up two thousand dollars of debt, for which we will happily charge you Mafia interest rates.”
Then there are those that warn me that the Religious Right is about to snuff out my last bit of freedom if I don’t send twenty-five dollars to help fight their mind control tactics. Why, Bill and Hillary send letters, too, asking for my help and money to defeat the conservative forces that are bent on sending the Clintons into oblivion.
And, of course, like everyone else in the United States, I get at least one letter a week advising me that I have become a millionaire. These letters make good kindling.
Holly will still send me articles through the mail, things that she can’t send on a computer, I mean, E-mail. But my friends with whom I’ve corresponded since school days, rarely write anymore. They all want to E-mail me, which had been impossible until the last few months, since I had nothing to E-mail to.
Now that I do have access to E-mail, I still forget to check it more than once a week, if then. There will be a list of unopened letters, waiting for when I do get around to looking. But they aren’t real letters. They are pictures of an envelope that pop open when you click on their line.
Stored in my cabinets are letters from Mama and Mimi from when I was at LSU and couldn’t come home often. I have letters from my friends dating back to when we were fresh out of school, with new babies and new anxieties.
The letters continue through the years of child rearing, to teenage angst years, facing the loss of beloved parents, the loss of idealism, the gaining of maturity.
If those letters had been E-mails back then, they’d be lost now, deleted to make room for more E-mail. The messages would have been the same, but in letter-form they are concrete reminders of the times we went through, the joys and sorrows we shared. And I can read them over and over, then put them back in their box for another day
I reckon a process that was simple, cheap and personal just had to be replaced by a machine that is neither simple, cheap, nor even remotely personal.
I have a copy of a letter that my great-grandmother Dowdy wrote to relatives in Virginia, back when Huey Long was in power in Louisiana. In the letter, she laments the death of a neighbor’s son (another relative of mine, the youngest son of grandfather Ed McClure’s first family), the hard times in the country, the fact that all politicians are greedy and pretty much all the same to have to vote for. It is signed by her own hand.
The late Mr. Carroll Eubanks found a collection of letters in a trunk, typed them and put them in book form for his family. One of the letters was written by Buster’s grandmother Richardson to a cousin. She was a young mother at the time (late 1800’s), and her letter was filled with pride over her new baby boy. Because it was written and saved, I could read it one hundred years later and note that the concerns and feelings of a new mother then are exactly the same as now.
With E-mail, we are losing not only our personal touches with each other, but we are also depriving future generations of the pleasure of finding a trunk filled with missives from another time.
E-mail may be fast and efficient, but like instant coffee and instant grits, goodness has been sacrificed for speed.