In preparing to navigate what will surely be the sometimes invigorating, sometimes dark and murky waters of 2013, let us prepare for war and peace, joy and challenge, love and forgiveness.
The year 2013 marks several significant landmark anniversaries including 150 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, 100 years since the formation of the Federal Reserve System, 50 years since my uncle, Martin Luther King Jr., gave his game-changing “I Have a Dream Speech,” and 40 years of legal abortion in America with the passage of Roe vs. Wade.
This will surely be a year of transition. And we should all pray that the country receives a much-needed spiritual awakening before the next descent of the crystal-laden ball atop One Times Square.
|Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson attend a screening of "Django Unchained."
As we neared the end of the complex yet remarkable 2012, two highly anticipated movies emerged.
While on the surface these two films appear to be polar opposites they actually have a lot in common. Both films address the atrocities and pending demise of slavery in America. The star studded “Lincoln” by cinematic genius Steven Spielberg garnered high ratings and surely pierced the coldest hearts frozen by the aegis of racism.
The second film, "Django Unchained" by master of gratuitous violence Quentin Tarantino was shockingly offensive in its array of profanity, nudity and blood-curdling violence, with popular black actors Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and teen favorite Leonardo DeCaprio. It is the kind of movie I generally would never reward with the price of a ticket. Surprisingly, I’m glad my son offered to take me to see it.
I found “Lincoln” to be remarkably refreshing even in the midst of the stoicism and what could have been just another boring historical annal in the tomb of media wannabes. Yet, it wasn’t. There was humor and there was insight, and I learned to love Mary Todd Lincoln who has often been misunderstood by historians.
This movie came just at the right time in history to serve as a bridge between America’s disenfranchised in the horrible 17th-Century flesh peddling business that landed on our shores, and the inhumanity that continues to exist in 21st-Century America.
How can this be you might ask?
Well, one of the earliest American records of selling humans in exchange for goods and services reportedly occurred in 1619 when John Rolfe penned a letter to Virginia Company treasurer Edwin Sandys that the trade of 20 African slaves would be available for food and supplies. These types of exchanges occurred and lasted until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.
The act came in response to efforts by Wilbur Wilberforce, William Penn, and other European abolitionists to end the sanctioned slave trade over the waters. This act was followed by the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, abolishing most legal slavery in the British Empire.
However, these actions in Europe didn’t end slavery in America, because slave owners came up with the brilliant idea, possibly aided by Wille Lynch, to breed slaves on American shores since offshore flesh peddling was curtailed. Thank goodness that the American abolitionist movement, inspired by brothers' and sisters’ success in Europe, was alive and well in America.
Thank God for the American Anti-Slavery Society which started in 1833. The white abolitionists and Black Freedom Fighters were the forerunners of what is known as the pro-life movement of today.
People like Susan B. Anthony, William Lloyd Garrison, Arthur Tappen, Lewis Tappen, Fredrick Douglass, John Brown, Wendell Phillips, Lydia Maria Child, Henry Ward Beecher, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Garrett Smith, Elizabeth Stanton (they had a daughter named Elizabeth Smith), Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Calvin Stow understood the sanctity of human existence and that all people are created equal.
Then too, President Lincoln had the courage to fight the battle and ultimately give his life for the cause. The portrayal of Lincoln’s struggles and victories was duly portrayed in "Lincoln." for which I am grateful.
Now, "Django Unchained" was more vulgar, in your face and disgustingly violent. But remember, so was slavery!
For years I have been struggling with how to explain how much the slave masters lusted after the bodies of the black and beautiful slave women; how the slave masters’ wives and female relatives hated the black slave women for their beauty and sex appeal; how the black slave women were beaten and brutalized by lustful slave masters and their women; and how the black slave men were castigated and castrated for trying to be men rather than animals — and for trying to have families with wives and children.
Wow! "Django Unchained" definitely portrayed the violent and inhumane treatment of black slaves in America.
Now I know that women can hate their husbands’ mistresses, and hate their husbands for having mistresses. We even see that in the Bible with Sarah and Hagar and Abraham. And the same thing happens in every society where there are social class issues and people are taken advantage of by their masters for various inhumane purposes.
But the atrocities of slavery in America just go beyond the pale. All too often there is absolutely no value of human life where sex and money are involved, and that has been the case from the beginning of time, spreading into America’s history; manifesting in the slave trade market and more recently in the abortion market. The things that were done to these unfortunate human beings called slaves is terrible.
One can’t help but consider that the same disregard for the value of women and children is at the root of abortion in today's America.
Many — if not all of the women abolitionists — should have been the forerunners of the pro-life movement. Instead, we have a counterfeit womens' rights movement, which supports abortion and harmful contraceptive drugs.
How in the world could this be?
Remember, both women and men were allowed to be involved with the Slavery Abolition Act. But, women could only go so far because they couldn’t vote, and many could not own property.
Non-African women and all slaves were considered to be chattel, or property, back then. So, it was hard for white and black women to be involved as abolitionists because white women were treated in a very similar manner to African-Americans. And most black women were slaves.
Unfortunately, the same thing was happening to the native American Population. They were all considered to be chattels.
Frustrated slave women often aborted their babies (pure breed and mulatto) voluntarily as an act against sustaining future oppression. Angry caucasian wives often coerced or forced abortion on their husband's "black beauties" as a means of retaliation against their own brand of experienced oppression.
If you think about it, the same issues are at the heart of the Middle East Conflict. Sarah's and Hagar's sons are brothers with Abraham's seed, yet their bitter battle still rages. My, what a bitter root of judgment in all these situations!
While many women abolitionists ended up becoming women rights activists, bitterness caused them to adopt a contraceptive — and finally an abortion agenda — to exercise what they considered to be rights over wombs.
Now we have a war on babies and wombs often led by women and men controlled by a desire for revenge and avarice.
The movie “Django Unchained” clearly shows the atrocities that black women had to suffer during slavery. The pain and indignities to the men is clear as well. The film opens two years before the beginning of the Civil War. I’m not recommending that anyone see this film, just telling you that I found it to be an eye-opening experience.
So different — yet remarkably connected — these two very different films make me want to issue a challenge to directors Spielberg, Tarantino and any others who want to deliver startling and or compelling messages. Why not make a movie that shows the plight of today’s unborn babies, who are being treated like property, like slaves. Why not show the horrors that these babies are subjected to in the wombs of their mothers?
My friends, it is the beginning of 2013. We are closer to being “free at last,” but we are not yet in the promised land.
Let 2013 mark a period of enlightenment where change can ignite in every heart. Let this be a time when the reality of the beauty of natural life, natural marriage and natural family will no longer be considered a hopeless dream, but a reality of a promise of divine love and grace.
Dr. Alveda C. King grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is a pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Her family home in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Ky. Alveda herself was jailed during the open housing movement. Read more reports from Dr. Alveda C. King — Click Here Now.
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