Posts tagged “slavery”

Freedom

January 31, 2018   5:32 pm

My family is traveling, with our home base in Cincinnati, Ohio this week. Yesterday, we got the opportunity to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, located on the riverfront here in Cincinnati. It was sobering, uncomfortable, and inspiring - all at the same time.

Our 20/20 hindsight makes it difficult to understand how slavery was defended. Politicians defended it as right and necessary (and we think that awful politicians are a new invention…). Businessmen claimed it fueled the economy; and, in large part, they were correct. Scientists claimed that people of African descent were inferior; while they were often stronger and more resilient, they drew the short straw when it came to intelligence. That’s why owning them is OK. (Beware of “settled science”…) Even Africans themselves would raid other villages and tribes, capture people to sell to the white man, for their own financial gain.

That being said - the most uncomfortable part of this was how the preachers provided supposedly biblically-based cover for all this. Sermons were preached about the inferiority of those with darker skin, and how they are ordained by God to be subservient to the white man. (This was throughout North, Central, and South America - this isn’t just a U-S-of-A sin.)

Why was that uncomfortable? It’s no secret that I’m a Christian, recently coming on staff with my church. We, as Christians, must be sure that we faithfully divide the Word of Truth so that our ancestors do not look back on us with the same shame I felt when I heard my ancestors. They got it wrong - from the bottom to the top, point-blank, wrong. We are all made in the image of God, not a one of us more or less valuable or worthwhile than another. This does not mean that we completely capitulate to the current cultural zeitgiest, deciding that abortion is A-OK or that the clear prohibition of homosexual behaviors were somehow misconstrued. It means that we, as people of the Word, must make sure that when we stand up and say “thus saith the Lord,” that we’re correct.

The most sobering part of the museum had to be the “modern day slavery” section. I knew that slavery still existed under different names, but the prevalence statistics were quite sobering. (I didn’t memorize them, so I can’t quote them; suffice it to say, unless you’ve looked into it, it’s higher than you think.) We must ensure that, while we’re looking for the best deal, or the least expensive way to get something, that we’re not enabling modern-day slavery. From unfair labor practices (a big reason I’m against illegal immigration, BTW), to excessively cheap textiles, to service staff, to prostitution and pornography - the market for these things are the current demands that run the engine of modern-day slavery.

Now, apart from the statistics I mentioned in the last paragraph (and some of the details of the “regulated” slave trade), none of what I’ve mentioned above was new to me; it was just sobering (and good) to be reminded of it. I was also impressed with the even-handed display explaining the 3/5 compromise. (For those unaware, it was Southerners who wanted slaves counted as whole people; Northerners didn’t want them counted at all, but agreed to 3/5 to placate the South. It was about apportionment of seats as it related to proportional representation, not an indication of one’s humanity.) As with anything, there were a few places where this language was inappropriately applied, but all in all, I was greatly enriched from our visit there.

Let freedom ring; let us Christians amplify the sound, whether others use that freedom to choose the way we hope they would - or not.

On the Eve of the Anniversary

August 27, 2013   10:17 pm

Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech he delivered as part of the March on Washington. Plans have been made to observe it, but I don’t see how Dr. King’s dream will be furthered by someone else’s narcissistic speech. I also find it highly unlikely that the people who are actually working to further Dr. King’s dream will even be represented tomorrow. Why have we allowed “content of their character” to be replaced by bean-counters and diversity czars?

I heard someone on the radio this afternoon saying that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were consummate capitalists, becoming wealthy off racial agitation because that’s what the free market will support. The more I think, the less I think I can come up with a convincing argument against that view. As such, they should be subject to at least as much derision as those evil CEOs that the left routinely decries. I would suggest they be held in even more derision, as the CEOs generally produce products and jobs that improve people’s lives, not foment racial anger that turns one tragedy into many more.

The wrongs of the past have, for the most part, been righted, at least as much as can be expected from people who have owned no slaves, nor ever consumed water from fountains adorned with “whites only” and “coloreds only” signs. The only people even thinking about race, it seems, are those who continually obsess over it, hurling charges of racism so far and wide that the charge is now more often the punchline of a joke than a substantiated claim. These same people abide racism among their own supporters, many of whom have cross the line of equal rights a long time ago.

For those of you, like me, who believed what you were taught growing up; who believe that when the Declaration of Independence said “all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights;” who believe that the biggest “affirmative” action we can take is leveling the playing field, not tilting it in the other direction; who believe that Jesus died for all mankind, thus demonstrating God’s view of importance - for you, congratulations. You are exactly those of whom Dr. King was dreaming.

For everyone else - just stop. We are the United States of America, but you have been doing your best to make us the Divided States of America. How about expending that energy helping people focus on the opportunity they do have, rather than stirring up anger and rage against perceived* injustices? God has blessed America, and your efforts are keeping people from recognizing and enjoying that blessing for themselves, just so you can look good to the outside world because “you care” and “you’re doing something.” Shame on you.

* I’m being generous; here lately, a better word would be “fabricated”.