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Thursday, February 11, 2010

the parallels are everywhere

I wrote as I did because as a woman, as a mother, I was oppressed and broken-hearted with the sorrow and injustice I saw, because as a Christian I felt the dishonor to Christianity, because as a lover of my country I trembled in the coming day of wrath. It is no merit in the sorrowful that they weep, or in the oppressed and smothering that they grasp and struggle, nor to me that I must speak for the oppressed - who cannot speak for themselves.
 - Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin

This is Black History Month. I'm not one for celebrating any particular month by government-endorsed, small interest group designation, and when I see announcements like the one I just wrote, my brain usually tunes out and says "borrrrring..." But I happened to watch one of my favorite movies at the beginning of the month and couldn't help but notice the coincidence.

I'm also not one for doing movie reviews, so stick with me here...Ever seen Amazing Grace? It came out a few years ago, and chronicles some of the efforts of William Wilberforce and his contemporaries in their work to abolish slavery. As I watched it, I could not help but notice the parallels between the previous abolition movement - that of slavery - to the current abolition movement... that of abortion.

In the abolition debate, people were reminded that God made men equal. In the abortion debate, we remind them that God made men...period. The parallels are everywhere in history. Watch with me:

Frederick Douglass:
Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave I will...dare to call into question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery - the great sin and shame of America.

The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

John Jay:
To contend for our own liberty, and to deny the blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton:
When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.

Margaret Sanger - but wait, lest you suffer intellectual whiplash, let me qualify this author by reminding you that she was the founder of a little business called Planned Parenthood, and she has been no friend of black people or women. This is what she said:
"We do not want word to get out that we want to exterminate the negro population."

Unfortunately for her, the word has gotten out. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, her business has had some success in carrying out her vision for society. Let us consider...
African-American deaths by cause, since 1973:
- AIDS - 0.2 million
- Cancer - 1.6 million
- Heart Disease - 2.25 million
- Abortion - 14 million
In short, in America, a black baby is almost as likely to be aborted as it is to be born.

Back to the movie. Remember? I was talking about Amazing Grace. There is a scene that takes place around a huge dinner table shortly after Wilberforce becomes a Christian. He is with a bunch of radical abolitionists and has been struggling with his purpose - whether he should do the work of God and focus his life on the abolition of slavery, or continue his growing career in Parliament. His friends challenge him to do both - and he does. And he succeeds. Eventually.

William Lloyd Garrison was another abolitionist who considered his purpose. Here's what he said about it:

Abolitionism is not a hobby, got up for political or associated aggrandisements; it is not a political ruse; it is not a spasm of sympathy, which lasts but for a moment, leaving the system weak and worn; it is not a fever of enthusiasm; it is not the fruit of fanaticism; it is not a spirit of faction. It is of heaven, not of men. It lies in the heart as a vital principle. It is an essential part of Christianity, and aside from it there can be no humanity. Its scope is not confined to the slave population of the United States, but embraces mankind. Opposition cannot weary it, force cannot put it down, fire cannot consume it.

In considering my own purpose...I confess I am tired of hearing those who think that doing God's work means that they can be aloof to the political scene around them. I am bored with the comfortable Christianity that challenges people only to pitiful introspection and a ten percent tithe. And I am disgusted with churches that push God's passion for the orphan and widow aside for mere discussions on doctrine.

I will speak more. I will pray more. I will give more. I will make people uncomfortable. But I will make myself uncomfortable, first...because I, too, have been shown amazing grace.


  1. Awesome post, Shannon. Thanks so much for gathering this info and speaking in truth and love. What will drive us from our complacency? Let us continue to work and pray and trust in the justice and mercy of God.

  2. Brava Shannon! Brave and brilliant post :o)
    I love your fiery passion and you boldness- Keep up the good work girl!

    And like Mellie said-"work,pray,and trust in the justice and mercy of God"

    xoxox, Daffy

  3. Bravo and Amen! *standing ovation*

  4. Shannon, courageous and powerful call out to all of us to raise the banner higher. We must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

  5. I think everyone needs to see this...



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