Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Confederate Soldiers in a Mennonite Church

This is Weavers Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Because of its history, I had to stop by and take a picture of it for my students while we were there.
During the Civil War,  two uniformed Confederate officers entered the church (an earlier log version which stood near the spot of the current church).  After the sermon, one of the officers stood up and ordered every man between the ages of 18 and 45 to report for military training.  The officers marched out; some of the people in the shocked congregation sobbed and the final hymn was not sung.

Some of the men went north to stay with relatives in Pennsylvania, and some hid in their houses to avoid being forcibly taken.  

Two of my students did research papers on this topic after we discussed this church and the plight of conscientious objectors in the Confederacy during the Civil War.  Thankfully, the Union was a little more gracious.  In fact, a few years later President Ulysses Grant specifically told a group of inquiring Mennonite scouts from Russia that America would not force anyone to fight if they did not want to do so because of their religious beliefs.  

This stuff is important, and we need to keep teaching the history of it and the Biblical reasoning for it today.