My Turn, Steve Poteat: Open letter to Faith Fourth sponsors

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 21, 2023

In recent years, the town of Faith has come under fire from a hostile “cancel culture” group peddling an anti-Southern heritage campaign. The campaign was and is aimed mainly at citizens who are descendants of North Carolina veterans and the nationally recognized nonprofit civic group Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). In response, other nationally recognized veterans’ organizations and the town of Faith stood up and said all upstanding citizens and groups are welcome. The Faith Fourth events continue to stand steadfast and inclusive to all by allowing the full and legal participation of the SCV and many diverse groups from the Rowan County area.

Not getting the response that “cancel culture” demands, the hate group then aimed at the sponsors of the Faith Fourth events. Using the same tired tropes, they seek to label or threaten anyone who does not bow to their demands as a racist or white supremacist. Some sponsors ran scared, and at least one withdrew sponsorship while claiming inclusion as one of their values. Ironically, one of those sponsors has already been found guilty of illegally firing an employee simply because of the color of his skin; the employee was white. One doesn’t successfully end real or imaginary discrimination with more prejudice and eliminating people and free speech from the public square.

The SCV is a hereditary civic organization open to all male descendants of Confederate veterans who served honorably regardless of ethnicity, race, or religious creed. We reject hate of any kind. The SCV has consistently opposed the use of the Confederate Battle Flag by individuals and organizations pursuing political agendas or seeking to discriminate against individuals or groups.

The SCV raises money for the conservation and preservation of historical artifacts; identifies, preserves and marks the graves of Confederate veterans; preserves memorials to veterans and military units; supports museums; preserves battlefields threatened by development; and educates children and adults about the life of the everyday soldier. All of these activities ensure that the history of our ancestors and their lives from 1861-1865 is preserved.

Although you are welcome to, we’re not asking you to support our mission. We want to thank you for continuing to use your money and power to promote community events that are indeed welcoming and inclusive of diversity in the community. There is room in the Faith Fourth for citizens of all backgrounds, as no one is excluded from legally participating in the Faith Fourth events.

May the example set in Faith be a shining example for other Southern community events that society can only achieve actual diversity, inclusion and tolerance by allowing the entire community to participate regardless of one’s differences in culture and opinions.

Again, thank you for supporting the town of Faith and the Faith Fourth community events, where all upstanding citizens and groups are welcome.

Steve Poteat is commander of the Rowan Rifles Camp 405 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.