Bachmann’s must read list

One of Michele Bachmann’s favorite books is a 1997 biography of Robert E. Lee by J. Steven Wilkins.

Wilkins is the leading proponent of the theory that the South was an orthodox  Christian nation unjustly attacked by the godless North. This revisionist take  on the Civil War, known as the “theological war” thesis, had little resonance  outside a small group of Southern historians until the mid-twentieth century,  when Rushdoony and others began to popularize it in evangelical circles.

I did not know this. Really. “The godless North”? That’s a bit of a flub, for a start – the North was hardly godless. And as for the South as a Christian nation, aren’t we always being told – we atheists – that we stupidly overlook the wonderful wonderfulness of religion for instance its vital role in the abolition of slavery? Yes, we are. So if the South was “a Christian nation” what becomes of that claim?

More Wilkins:

Slavery, as it operated in the pervasively Christian society  which was the old South, was not an adversarial relationship founded upon racial  animosity. In fact, it bred on the whole, not contempt, but, over time, mutual  respect. This produced a mutual esteem of the sort that always results when men  give themselves to a common cause. The credit for this startling reality must go  to the Christian faith. . . . The unity and companionship that existed between  the races in the South prior to the war was the fruit of a common faith.

Slavery was a matter of “men  giv[ing] themselves to a common cause”? (Where did the women go?) What would that have been then? The enrichment of white men who owned fertile land for growing cotton? The preservation of white people from hard labor in a hot humid malarial climate? Funny idea of a common cause.

For several years, the book, which Bachmann’s campaign declined to discuss with  me, was listed on her Web site, under the heading “Michele’s Must Read List.”

I keep hearing people say “I hope she’s nominated.” Don’t do that. Don’t ever do that. Don’t think she couldn’t win.

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