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I’ll admit to mixed emotions about the protests against Woodrow Wilson at Princeton University. I first read about the racism of the former president (of both Princeton and the United States) in junior high in a piece claiming he endorsed the film Birth of a Nation as being “History written in lightning.” Though I subsequently learned that the quote is dubious, Wilson’s favorable writings about the Ku Klux Klan were not, nor was his work to promote segregation in the federal government and in the armed services.
Seeing a man formerly considered a hero of liberals and the Democratic Party torn from a podium of honor like communist statues after the fall of the Wall has its appeal for me. But another part of me — a better part, I think — sees the foolishness of a cultural revolution to purify unpleasant history from our presence. I think a healthy perspective comes from my faith and knowledge of Scripture.