Recent letters to the editor have shown either a genuine misunderstanding or an intentional misrepresentation of my comments at the Confederate Memorial Day service in Beaufort, unfortunately by those not in attendance. It disturbs me greatly, but I have no illusions about changing the minds of individuals who seek to deliberately put a biased slant on my comments.
My greater concern is the assumption that in my address I attempted to defend the reprehensible institution of slavery. My opening remarks made plain that I had no wish to rehash the old debate over the political causes of the Civil War, including slavery, which incidentally, I do believe to be one of the causes of the war.
However, my address was concerned with a comparison and contrast of an agrarian society (the South) and a society marked by industrialization (the North). The "cause" of which I spoke was this agrarian way of life, which is marked by a person's sense of place and purpose in life. This cause transcends race, time and even place.
May we all have hearts and minds liberal enough to ask difficult questions and the courage and care to put forward answers in the face of opposition for, as Jefferson reminds us, "We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it."
The Rev. Andrew C. Pearson Jr.