Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Stonewall Jackson on the Brethren

The Civil War was an issue for Brethren in all parts of the country but was perhaps more focused in the South. The 1864 Annual Meeting had said, in part, "We exhort the brethren to steadfastness in the faith, and believe that the times in which our lots are cast strongly demand of us a strict adherence to all our principles, and especially to our non-resistant principle...."

The Brethren stand against the bearing of arms brought troubles. Individual Brethren met the strain in various ways. Some went to prison. Many paid fiancial penalties, in both the North and the South. Some suffered persecution, even loss of life. Many fled to the sparsely settled parts of the country in Ohio and Indiana.

Rufus D. Bowman in his book, The Church of the Brethren and War, 1708-1941, includes the following testimony of Stonewall Jackson:

There lives a people in the Valley of Virginia that are not hard to bring to the army. While there they are obedient to their officers. Nor is it difficult to have them take aim, but it is impossible to get them to take correct aim. I, therefore, think it better to leave them at their homes that they may produce supplies for the army.

Source: Studies in Brethren History, Floyd Mallott