The current wave of toppling public statues can be a good teaching moment.
When teaching sacramental theology, e.g. unpacking Real Presence, it’s a challenge to explain to students that symbols are real, that “just a symbol” is an impoverished worldview that does not do justice to what human beings are, to how we think and perceive and value and relate to one another.
Statues are symbols. And they’re real. Try saying, in this overheated moment, that “it’s just a statue” and it “doesn’t matter” whether he owned slaves or mistreated natives, that “the reality is the same” whether the “mere statue” remains or not.