Admiral Raphael Semmes Camp 11 Sons of Confederate Veterans
Mobile, Alabama
A Dr. William D. McCain Old School Camp navigates by the SCV Constitutional principles of being "patriotic, historical, educational, benevolent, non-political, non-racial, non-sectarian" and, to maintain control of its own destiny and good name, adheres to a policy of non-alignment with other organizations in any form whatsoever outside of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Children of the Confederacy.
The justification for its organizational existence and the loyalty of its members mandates that an Old School Camp confines its focus to advancing only the tenets of the SCV as laid down by the Preamble and Article II of the SCV Constitution. An Old School Camp adamantly declines to allow the personal agendas and actions of individuals, both inside and outside the SCV, nor the agendas and actions of other groups to distract, divert or alter the adherence to the "letter and spirit" of the SCV Constitution.
By so saying an Old School Camp acknowledges that it is ever mindful of the basic constitutional premise of its honored Confederate ancestors, and by inference from the Preamble to the SCV Constitution as well, to practice a strict construction of constitutions and thus to hold it to be a duty and an obligation to apply a literal interpretation to the SCV Constitution in all matters and under all circumstances.
To an Old School Camp the SCV Constitution is not something to be followed only when it is convenient or expedient but rather as the paramount document to be adhered to at all times in the sphere of SCV activities. The SCV Constitution is not viewed as a stumbling block to be circumvented in order to obtain self-serving ends. Rather it is the touchstone providing the definitive principles to which SCV efforts are to be directed using only tactics compatible with the expressed Constitution and reaching
intent of the SCV Constitution. To an Old School Camp the SCV is not a block to aspirations but rather the means of defining aspirations.
In short, an Old School Camp is what the SCV Constitution calls for a Camp to be and what a fervent desire to preserve the good name of the SCV and its independent existence entreats of it in the form of policy
for prudent men to follow rather than what the whims of man would have the SCV to be. As such, striving is directed towards not being just an Old School Camp in name only but in all SCV endeavors. May those who come after find us faithful and not lead astray by self-proclaimed "friends" who come in lambskin but who are inward ravenous wolves.
Beginning in the 1990's, and unfortunately continuing to the present day, there have been those who have taken unwarranted license to misconstrue the original intent and the true meaning of two of the six principles describing the nature of the SCV as found in Article II, Section 1 of the SCV Constitution. This apparently has been done from want of perception and/or by design to advance the agenda of other -organizations. The two principles in question are "patriotic" and "non-political."
Regardless of what some may be pleased to believe the term "patriotic," ie, love of and support for the authority and interest of one's country,
as used by the SCV Constitution is specifically directed to the United States of America. That this is so is underlined by the fact that the SCV Constitution begins with the phrase "In the name of a reunited country" and goes on to declare "An unquestioned allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America..." (see the Preamble to the SCV Constitution). This focus becomes even clearer when Article II, Section 2 of the SCV Constitution states "Nothing in this Constitution... shall be construed to abridge or prohibit the adoption or advocacy of positions that are concerned with the general welfare of the United States of America or its national security...."
The only SCV members excluded from "patriotism" being directed only to
the United States of America are members who are not citizens of the USA. In Article IV, Section S of the SCV Constitution we find that "The language of the Preamble to the contrary notwithstanding, no member of
the Sons of Confederate Veterans who is not a citizen of the United States of America, shall be required to pledge or declare allegiance to the Constitution or Government of the United States of America." Note that by excluding SCV members who are not citizens of the USA from the acts
to "pledge or declare allegiance to the Constitution or Government of the United States of America" it maintains an expectation that all other SCV members are still bound to observe these acts of patriotism toward the USA. In directing SCV patriotism to the USA the SCV Constitution is but echoing and supporting the wishes of Jefferson Davis who said
"Let me beseech you to lay aside all rancor, all bitter sectional feeling, and to make your places in the ranks of those who will bring about a consummation devoutly to be wished - a reunited country" and of Robert E. Lee who stated "The war being over ...and the questions at issue ...having been decided, I believe it to be the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony."
Having so said it should also be noted that patriotism to the USA does not preclude respect for other currently existing countries, as the courteous standing at attention during the playing of the national anthem of a foreign state, or the pride in and the honoring of cherished memories of a no longer existing nation, as the singing of "Dixie" and the celebration of Confederate Memorial Day. All are noble practices and should be encouraged and supported. Indeed, the SCV was established
on the foundation that it is a worthy undertaking to remember a nation that now belongs to the ages and the heroism and sacrifices of those who lived within the boundaries of the Confederacy. At the same time it must be realized that respect, pride in and honoring of, although worthy feelings to cast upon entities, are not on an equal bases with the higher plain of patriotism. This difference is distinctly noted in the SCV rituals in which we "salute" the Confederate Flag BUT "pledge allegiance" to the United States Flag.
Regarding the "non-political" nature the SCV Constitution calls the organization to observe it is hard to understand how some could not comprehend that "non" means not, other than, reverse of thus to be "non political" is to be political in no way. Despite this there are those who clamor that the SCV must be "more political" and do all within their power to associate the SCV with political active groups and their agendas.
If the wording of Article II, Section 1 of the SCV Constitution is not specific enough in this area other parts of the SCV Constitution brings the "not" issue into even sharper focus. "Discussion of matters that appertain to a political party, whether specifically identified or identified by implication, during meetings of the Confederation or any of its subdivisions is strictly prohibited..." (Article II, Section 2). "No discussion ...of political subjects that are identifiable with a political party, nor any endorsement of aspirants for political office, nor any political action except as set forth in Article II, Section 2 (see paragraph two of this article) shall be permitted in any organization of the Sons of Confederate Veterans or the General Confederation" (Article XVI, Section 1). "Any Camp...allowing ...political ...discussions ...shall, upon order of the General Executive Council, surrender its charter..." (Article XIV, Section 3). "It is the desire and intention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to function at all times as an organization which
is approved for exemptions from Federal income taxes and which is qualified to receive donations which are deductible by the donor for income tax purposes under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954..." (Article XXV, Section 2). Note that an organization engaged in political activity cannot qualify for this exemption.
Being a "Dr. William D. McCain Old School Camp" we of Camp 11 make it a priority to be informed of what the SCV Constitution states and are not to be taken in by those inside or outside the SCV who would
assign unfounded definitions to the wording of said constitution or who would ignore it completely when it stood in the way of personal goals or the agendas of other groups. To be so informed is not to be deceived and lead astray regarding what the SCV is and is not. To not be lead astray is to remain faithful. May those who come after find us faithful.
In closing let us observe that a practical application for the information contained within this article is to see that the clamor in certain circles for the modern day secession of the South is a political statement calling for a political act and one which is definitely associated with a politically active party/organization. The SCV, by its constitution, does not engage in activities of this nature nor should its name be associated with those who do. The SCV must never forget that with us heritage preservation is an end within itself while to a modern day secession group it is only a means to an end. They use it as a magnet to draw an audience to themselves and then change the focus from preserving heritage to promoting the political agenda of secession, their real end result of choice. We recognize and acknowledge that the way of the modern day secessionists is not the way of the SCV and we, as an Old School Camp, follow the teaching of Robert E. Lee: "Don't bring up your sons to detest the United States Government. Recollect that we form but one country now. Abandon all these local animosities and make your sons Americans."

Sometimes the absence of anger is the essence of evil. Failure to be angry at the efforts of individuals and other organizations to unduly influence the SCV and to supplant the SCV Constitution as our directional compass with their personal and corporate tactics and goals is one of these times.
To counteract such efforts we must arm ourselves with a thorough knowledge of the SCV Constitution so that when our direction is recognized as being off course we can redirect our direction back to the original heading. Failure to recognize when we are off course and/or to have the resolve to bring our direction back into compliance with the Constitution of the SCV can only end with the SCV being lead astray by the voices of sirens until we crash upon the shoals and reefs in the fashion of ancient Greek mariners and thus terminate the voyage of our SCV in an ignoble manner.

It is our time to stand watch. By being a "Dr. William D. McCain Old School Camp" Camp 11 has set itself to prevent this appalling fate from becoming a reality. As a steward of the SCV what type of SCV will you pass to your posterity? The one developed and nurtured by our founders and which is grounded in the SCV Constitution or the one that is currently trying to usurp our organization to gratify the selfish interests of individuals and/or the agendas of other groups? A stance is required. Where do you stand?
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