Darrell Huckaby: 'Two Nations; One God' A personal view of the War Between the States

Darrell Huckaby

Darrell Huckaby

A few years ago -- well, I suppose it was more than a few years ago, now -- a lady called into the late Ludlow Porch's radio show inquiring as to the value of a piece of furniture in her house. "Daddy always told me he got it before the war," the lady explained. "I thought it might be valuable.

"Which war was that, sugar?" Ludlow, always the gentleman, asked.

The lady on the other end of the line acted as if that were the silliest question she'd ever been asked.

"Why," she explained, indignantly, "the one where we fought the Yankees."

The War. Of course. When I was growing up in the 1950s and '60s, the century-old wounds were still fresh. In the American South, we referenced time against it.

I was only two years into my formal education when America began commemorating the centennial of The War. Don't call it the Civil War. There was nothing civil about it. It was more a test of whether the states of the Union were sovereign. In the minds of the Southerners they were simply following the advice of Thomas Jefferson who wrote in the Declaration of Independence that -- referring to the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- "governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Of course, the fact that the happiness and economic prosperity of the South were built on the foundation of slave labor made things very complicated -- and let's not forget that the North's prosperity was just as dependent on that slave labor, for the Northeastern cotton mills were misusing Irish immigrants and turning cheap Southern cotton into an enormous profit.

I didn't know any of that stuff when I was a kid. I just knew that I was a Rebel and my people had worn gray and butternut and fought for the South. My Christmas list, in those days, was laden with requests for War Between the States play sets from the Sears-Roebuck catalogue. One year, I got a Johnny Reb cannon and for my eighth birthday I got a complete Confederate uniform -- just like the real Confederate soldiers did -- and wore it until the material fell apart.

I read "Gone with the Wind" for the first time when I was in the fourth grade. I incurred the wrath of my mother when I tacked a Rebel flag to her freshly painted Bibb ivory walls. A portrait of Robert E. Lee, a Christmas gift from Sam Ramsey in 1968, hung in a place of honor in our home. In 1989, I named my only son Jackson Lee -- after THAT Jackson and THAT Lee.

Over the years I have come to study The War with a more open mind and while I have lost no respect for my brave Southern ancestors, I have learned that the "other side" had their own reasons for fighting. I have also learned that Abraham Lincoln, through sheer force of will, was determined to save the Union. The abolition of slavery was not his motivation. Preserving the Union was. He said many times, "If I could save the Union by freeing all the slaves, I would do that; If I could save the Union without freeing a single slave, I would do that; If I could save the Union by freeing half the slaves and keeping the other half, I would do that. I mean, however, to save the Union."

Our house, much to the dismay of my lovely wife, Lisa, resembles a history museum. Robert E. Lee still gazes down through sad eyes from our fireplace and there are fine prints and sculptures of Lee and Jackson and others throughout the house. That is my heritage. One print shows Lee and Jackson, shoulder to shoulder, in church -- praying that God's will be done over the nation.

That painting always makes me think, because I know that Abraham Lincoln and many of the Union generals spent a lot of time praying for victory to the same God. Like I said, it was very, very complicated.

I told you all that to tell you this. Next Thursday, Dec. 13, I will celebrate my return from my most recent visit to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, by presenting my own personal take on the War Between the States. I will present "Two Nations; One God," at 11:30 a.m. at Conyers First United Methodist Church. It will be worth hearing -- for Northerners and Southerners, Yankees and Rebels and everyone in between, if I do say so myself.

Lunch will be served and books will be signed, regardless of political affiliation, but you'll need a ticket. You can get one of those by calling 770-483-4236. Better hurry, though. Space is limited.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, we will delve into the most complicated era in the history of this great God-fearing nation.

Darrell Huckaby will be signing his new book, "Yea Though I Walk," at Henderson's in Covington Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and at Evans Market in Conyers, Saturday from 10 am to 3 p.m.


RetiredGuy 2 years, 12 months ago

I think Mr. Huckaby needs to go further on several points in his discussion of the Civil War. It was not just "The War", nor was it "The War of Northern Aggression". Brother fought brother or father fought son or relatives fought relatives. That is a Civil War.

Slaves were brought to the South by Christian businessmen. It was apparently easy for them and their pastors to declare blacks to be subhumans, except when it came to buying and selling them. It didn't matter how much brutality was given those blacks. They were not full human beings. The result was that these Christian businessmen got rich by abusing other people. Makes one wonder what their common Redeemer thought.

Mr. Huckaby mentions the abuse of the Irish (Catholics) by the Northern (Christian) businessmen. Very true, but it was just not in the North. The Southern Christian businessmen also abused the Irish (Catholic) immigrants. In a situation where there was a dangerous job to do the Christian businessmen would not send their slaves to perform that job. They hired the Irish. Why? Irish Catholic men had no monetary value. The slaves were worth the price that the slaveholder businessman paid for the slave. Why would one group of Christian people hate, really hate another group of Christian (Catholic) people?

Then there is the War itself. At least 650,000 men from both sides lost their lives, the number could be even higher. Many hundreds of thousands on both sides were wounded, maimed and disfigured for life. And for what? For an economic system created by Christian businessmen on the backs of fellow human beings they used as slaves.

What sort of person, Christian person, would send 10, 20, 30 thousand men to their death in one day or three days? And in the end it that fight was a draw. And they did this war of attrition day after day for five years.


dennistay53 2 years, 12 months ago

Somewhere down the line we have to get past the slavery issue. There is not a single person alive in the US that has owned a slave. There is not a single person alive in the US who has been a slave. Laws are in place so this shouldn't ever happen again. It was wrong but it is over. There were other issues in this war that the South had every reason to fight for and that the North did a very poor job of dealing with.


RetiredGuy 2 years, 11 months ago

Please enumerate all of those issues. I can't think of anything, any issue(s) worth 650,000 young lives.


dennistay53 2 years, 11 months ago

States Rights, Election of Lincoln. It's bad when people die in war but i am not going to disgrace them by saying they died for nothing. Once the south succeeded they became a country, If you refuse to fight for your country in times of war when called on you are a traitor. Before you go lay slavery completely on Southern Christians you should research how they got here, who loaded them on the ships. I agree with you that it was about money as all things were and still are today. Where did a lot of the cotton that slaves pick go? To the northern factories. And to the ones that believe that Lincoln was such a anti-slave believer needs to read his history. More than once he stated that if he could keep the union together by keeping slavery that he would do it. States rights- that is what this country was based on when the British were defeated. Now we see it slipping away again as Arizona has to try and protect their people by coming up with their own imigration laws as the federal government refuses to do their jobs, but instead sues the states.


RichGSr 2 years, 11 months ago

I missed sending this on Thanksgiving this year, but maybe Mr. Huckaby, you can put this to use with another perspective; you see I think there were other reasons for our American Revolution and …well, compare how God watched over us as a nation, and how He may be a little discouraged with our other actions since just before the Korean war:

Today is Thanks Giving day, November 25, 2010 and Thanksgiving is almost here tomorrow; I am thankful for the nation I live in. I am thankful that we can still do what Dr Martin Luther King did; I only wish he had lived to see how we are progressing toward his dream; we are not there yet, but we are on the way. Yes, I am thankful that God is as forgiving as He is. He forgave me of much; a great deal of sin when I started; I thought I was a goody-two-shoe. I wasn’t; I was despicable! Then, after almost 30 years (1969) God saved me. Then I found that my thoughts were getting rather conservative, and clean. Now, I find that I want to do something good for the country that I live in, the one I was born into. He could have had me born to a Communist, or a Muslim nation or a woman in a Muslim country. But He gave me grace instead.

Others created my country, and when I realize the blood sweat and grief that went into creating this country; WOW! This nation was created with the help of God. How else can it be! Can you see His hand in that? Our forefathers fought against one of the greatest and strongest nations in the known world; and WON! Then, again I believe with the help of God, we fought a war against ourselves; brother against brother; son against father in what is called a Civil War; or the War Between The States, which IF the south had won; we would be speaking a different language. Think on that! These are facts.

Again, approaching the twentieth century we were in another two wars. Both of these latter wars were against the Germans. The second one, they were allied with the Japanese. You can say what you want; He was with us. Even the secular people will have to agree, there were so many coincidences, and they could not have all been coincidences. Consider; General Patten asked his Chaplain to write a prayer for him as he was socked in with a pea soup fog and could not get the planes off to fight. The Chaplain wrote, Gen Patten prayed and the events moved in the battle to win that battle.


RichGSr 2 years, 11 months ago

Can we say that today? Will He be willing to save us from what we are facing today? Evil is in high places; homosexuals in high places running our military. We have another time when we need Spiritual help; will He be with us? Well, we need His help now; for sure. I think He left Scriptural Prophecy in such a way for U.S. to have a choice to do something about it. I wonder are we seeing the hand of God in the next phase of His Story? After WWII, what started happening? Did we start kicking God out of the public sector? Korea; what happened in that country? Was there something He wants us to not do? How about Viet Nam? Or maybe it could possibly be …something of the unions we are involved with? Like the United Nations? Even our money…and now we have a problem with our politics…we are not calling for the crucifixions to stop.

You see I do not see anything about America there; I see Russia (Magog), I see Israel (Israel), I see the East (China, with trouble on the horizon) I see the Med, Look in Daniel and Revelation, See? I think He left something for U.S. to fight for as well. He protected U.S. for hundreds of years; I just KNOW He is going to help, at least I pray He does. I am grateful that He allowed me to live and be born here, at the close of the age when I will hear Him call “COME UP HERE”! like Scripture says.

That is when you start to understand Christianity, but then will it be too late? To whom much is given, much is required; that is us! We were living large in America.

I think HE has placed U.S. in THIS position to say I am here for such a time as this! I think He has given U.S. this bastion of freedom to fight for; the persecuted can have somewhere to run to? But there may be a price we do not want to pay. My question is; can we do it? Will we do it? The youth of America has to do it; I’m too old. I can only watch and try to write.

Richard Gregory Sr ( the Sr denotes anti abortion)


Sign in to comment