Perpetual Penitence

McDurmon says white people should make reparations to black people for past slavery. It should come from the “general purse.” This is a gospel-issue.

A few problems:

1) Do not black people also contribute to the public purse? Authorities would have to select whites for extra income taxes. Perhaps legislation could term it a Slave Heritage Tax or a White Tax. (Also, what about half whites such as myself? Are we half guilty or do we pay half of the White Tax based on genetic composition testing? How would this not be considered racism?)

2) McDurmon claims restoration is the biblical mandate. One commenter asks where is the “biblical case for reparation for intergenerational, broad violations of personal liberty/kidnapping/enslavement(?) All cases I recall are reparations between individuals and contemporaries. Only God has the authority to punish individuals or groups for the sins of their fathers. Furthermore, how can one be guilty of “complicity” of crimes that occurred when they weren’t alive? (Is McDurmon) saying it is a crime to not make reparations?” Further, is he saying it is a sin not to make reparations? And if it is a sin, is McDurmon willing to call for those church members – the entirety of Southern evangelicalism, according to McDurmon – to be brought under church discipline?

3) When will reparations be satisfied or fulfilled? When will McDurmon, presumably he is the arbiter, know that God’s wrath has been satisfied and cosmic justice has been finally served? And how will he know? What biblical indicators does he look to?  How does one calculate slavery into economic payment? Isn’t it a degradation of enslavement to translate it into dollar bills? Should everyone be given $50,000 per enslaved ancestor? Sustenance for life? Do we not already have these in the form of welfare, healthcare, housing, education, job hiring preferences, and so forth? And have not those adjustments proven destructive rather than helpful? One gets the impression that the only way fully to repay past wrongs is to reverse oppression, reverse slavery so that some people labor for others so that the former may sustain the latter and elevate them upon slave capital. But if it is unjust to have been elevated by slave capital, how is it just to be elevated on stolen slave capital?

4) However, McDurmon’s argument that people today benefit from the capital accumulation of slavery is false for the simple reason that slavery produced little capital accumulation and slave societies like the South were extremely impoverished societies. If slavery did make Southern society wealthy, why didn’t it prosper Africa or other slave-holding societies which had slaves for much longer than the Americas? Further, the North effectively destroyed any wealth and capital the South enjoyed, such that few if any lived off of slave wealth after the war. In fact, economically the South was utterly razed and had to industrialize in many ways to make up for their loses.

5) McDurmon’s reasoning reveals something called perpetual reparations or perpetual repentance. Let’s say every white person alive today apologized to every black person alive today. What about tomorrow? Would this racial repentance really be an end all, cease fire to the guilt accusations? Would it not be the case that, given another ten years hence, the next generation will be brought again before the tribunals of historical cosmic justice to confess their guilt, condemn their ancestors, repent of themselves and their positions in society, and hand over the labor of their hands for the sake of “finally” righting the wrongs of the past, atoning for their imputed sins, and assuaging God’s wrath? This is absurd. It seems like a repentance that brings no forgiveness – because there is no atonement.

6) Which brings us to consider what truly does assuage God’s wrath. Is it not the blood of Christ? Is his atonement not powerful enough to cover all of one’s sins? If so, why the perpetual guilt? Why must guilt be heaped upon people’s shoulders when they’ve been justified by Christ? There are only two options: Either these social-racist sins are not real sins or Christ does not atone for all sins. Either this is all fabrication or Christ’s blood does not cover social sins but only individual sins. Under either option, the class of society must make perpetual atonement through annual rituals like public confession (apologies and self-denunciations) and sacrifices (a portion of the fruit of their labor). This all smacks of a godless, christless religion and vision of the world.

Unless he expects these reparations to be freely offered, McDurmon is desiring a form of theonomic statism (the latter term being the very thing he supposedly wants to flee): He wants the South to repent and he wants the State to force the South to do penance. The State would become the priest, mediating between the South and God, or the South and blacks. The South would offer its sacrifices to the State who would then present them before the altar to be accepted by the Most Offended Party. McDurmon prophesies sins and the State exacts penance. Is such really his vision of theonomy?


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