The Past is Never Dead . . . Religious Leaders in Virginia on Local Tribes

Randall Stephens

I was just thinking about a new idea for the blog. Maybe a series of posts? "The Past is Never Dead . . ." It could entail news items or books that deal with contemporaries who are wrestling with history. To paraphrase Carl Becker "everyman/woman his/her own religious historian." Many Americans come to grips with the nation's religious identity be resorting to the past. (Isn't this Glenn Beck's big campaign?) Perhaps history has a greater resonance right now. Some questions: How do believers and non-believers use history to describe what America is or has been? Who owns American religious history? Why is it so important for citizens to put religious history, or just American history in general, to use for the present?

Robert Dilday, "Baptist executives urge federal recognition of Virginia tribes," Associated Baptist Press, 19 August 2010.

RICHMOND, Va. (ABP) -- The top executives of two Virginia Baptist groups have joined other religious leaders in calling for federal recognition of six Native American tribes in the state.

In an open letter released Aug. 17, about 30 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders asked Virginia’s Republican governor and two Democratic senators to support congressional legislation giving to Virginia’s tribes the same status held by more than 560 other Native American tribes across the United States.

Among the signers were John Upton, executive director of the predominantly white Baptist General Association of Virginia, who also was recently elected president of the Baptist World Alliance, and Cessar Scott, executive minister of the historically black Baptist General Convention of Virginia. . . .

History erased by racist official

Walter Plecker, registrar of Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics from 1912-1946, replaced “Indian” with “black” on every birth and death certificate in his office. Plecker, a white supremacist, said Native Americans had become a “mongrel” mixture. >>>


Joshua Paddison said…
Tribal recognition is a particularly fascinating meeting point of politics, race, and history, where bookkeeping decisions, individuals' choices whether to enroll or not, and straight-up randomness from decades ago have incredibly tangible effects on people in the present.

Popular Posts