Another Robert Lee says it’s time for Confederates to surrender to the Union again.
The Rev. Robert E. Lee IV, the great-great-great grandnephew of Civil War general Robert E. Lee, told ABC News that statues of rebel leader like his late uncle are worshipped like “idols of white supremacy and racism” and they need to go.
“This is a no-brainer,” Lee said.
The Methodist reverend admits that he grew up with a Confederate flag on his bedroom wall and celebrated his namesake’s place in history. Now, Lee says, the stars and bars that represent the Confederacy — which Mississippi’s governor committed to remove from his state’s flag Tuesday — simply represent racist ideology.
“White supremacy and racism have been the basis of the celebration of that flag for a long time,” Lee said.
NASCAR also banned the Confederate flag from its events on June 10.
“I didn’t see this happening in my lifetime,” Lee said. “This is an incredible opportunity to seek justice, to try to right the wrongs of the past by seeking redemption and atonement for all of these things that have been wrong.”
Though he grew up proud of his family name, Lee said he came to realize that at the end of the day, his great-great-great granduncle was fighting for the preservation of slavery and chose to side with the Confederacy against the Union.
“He became a traitor to the United States,” Lee said.
As for Southerners who remain loyal to Confederate statues and iconography, Lee says it’s time to put that war to rest.
“If I can change, you can, too,” he said. “The time of lying about our history is past and a new cause is upon us.”
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