We would like to imagine that all questions have easy answers. This is not usually the case. I could argue either side of this. On the one hand, if we tear down every statue of every imperfect person, there would be no statues left. Many of our founding fathers were slave owners. And, if we found a statue that was 2000 years old of a slave owner, we would surely preserve it for the sake of history. There is just something about something that is old that feels like it needs to be preserved.
On the other hand, to celebrate the life of someone whose main accomplishment—the thing he is remembered for—is fighting for the right to own slaves… this is obviously offensive. (As I understand the Civil War story, there is actually more to it than the right to own slaves. I do think that was a strong driving force.)
Perhaps a compromise would be to move statues to a museum. Advocates of preserving the statues might be pleased that in this way, the statues would be protected. And, they could be given context. An explanation of this person’s life as a historical figure—not a hero could be provided.
I think I could benefit from the thoughtful consideration of thinking people on this one.
I have a prepared a small group Bible study on racism in America. See http://mybiblestudylessons.com/racism