Episode #265

The Lost Cause as Replacement Religion

Guest: Bryan Jarrell

Series: Crackers and Grape Juice

Host: Jason Micheli

July 3, 2020

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“The Lost Cause narrative is an attempt by modern White Southerners to distance themselves from the sins and failures of their ancestors. Lionized by movies like Gods and Generals, the narrative is an ahistorical PR move to paint the Confederacy in a sympathetic light. The myth functions as absolution; White Southerners who use the narrative avoid culpability for wounds in the black community caused by slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow. It perpetuates modern day racism under the guise of heritage and history.

Even though it was important for good virtuous Southern gentlemen to attend church, for a season of my impressionable young life, The Lost Cause served as my real religion. It was my #Seculosity, my guilt management system that claimed the virtue of my ancestors for my own. It was my attempt to align with a tradition of honor and strive for righteousness. The Lost Cause provided an unblemished family ancestry which, by extension, predestined me for a future of glory.”

Rev. Bryan Jarrell joins Jason and Teer to discuss the Lost Cause, statues in Richmond, and the moment his evangelical world was flipped upside down when he met the real-life consequences of the Stars and Bars.


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