Harriet, the Movie (2019)

When we got this movie I thought it was a western with a woman heroine, like most of the movies today, that seek to replace the notion of male leadership with a maternal hegemony. When I saw that it was about Harriet Tubman, I wasn’t sure whether I could endure another suggestion that it is 1962, or worse 1862, in America and all white people are inherently racist and essentially equivalent to slave owners. Nevertheless, it was purportedly based on historic facts and that is usually better than fiction, so I gave it a chance.

I knew about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, but what I didn’t know was the underlying theme of this movie. The movie is rated 6.5 on IMDB which is lower than I would rate it. The one review they posted was vague in its criticism of lead actors, but I do not believe Hollywood will give a fair rating to any movie that accurately and positively portrays Christian virtue. It is a fact that before and during the Civil War there was a national revival of Christian faith. This movie depicts and credits God’s providence, intervention, and answer to prayer as an integral part of the motivation, success, and purpose behind Harriet Tubman’s heroism, bravery, courage and guiding purpose. 

The black ethnicity has a marvelous history of Christian foundation and faith. Even today, amidst the crime, corruption and violence so often highlighted in the media regarding the so called black community, it is the Church that anchors and sustains virtuous endeavor, hope, and success, in any ethnic category. In my experience, even those who are not devoted in the Christian lifestyle, among my black friends and acquaintances there is an acknowledgment of the foundations of faith, the Bible, Creator God, and Jesus Christ because these truths are rooted in generations of ancestors who experienced and shared the evidence for their faith to the next generations. A personal testimony of God’s faithfulness during difficulties or in the face of injustice is more powerful and enduring than mere words.

When I first read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, at the recommendation of my pastor, I knew it was about slavery and had tremendous influence upon the Civil War. What I was surprised to discover is that this book is a testimony to the virtue of Christian principles, practice and faith. Rather than Uncle Tom being a symbol of cowardice and subservience, as the world has labeled him; this character is an image of Jesus, whose kingdom was not of this world and whose message and life changed history. No one, even across the deep South, thinks slavery or racism is good; slavery was eliminated in 1865, (via civil war), racism was eliminated in 1964, (via legislation and court precedent). Martin Luther King Jr. was a devout Christian minister who prevailed through the practice of Christian faith and virtue. Perhaps it is time for a renewal of Christian faith and virtue to awaken those who do not understand that the year is 2020.

Critical Mass

There seems to be a Cold war being waged in America today. It’s a Cold Civil war over the destiny of America. The tensions are high and the offensive and defensive weapons buildup may become an arms race. Is it possible to end the madness and restore peace with unity? Where will this division in America lead? What lies ahead for both sides who seem locked in bitter conflict? History is a good predictor, because the fallen human nature of mankind is permanently bent toward selfishness and pride. We reap that which we sow, it’s true for both sides in this conflict.

However, approximately two thousand years ago a child was born who was Messiah, Christ, Savior, Redeemer, Yeshua, Jesus of Nazareth, prophecied ages before by the Hebrew prophets. He brought hope, truth, light, the word of God and new life to mankind. He said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” (Matt. 10: 34-36). This is the essence of this current Cold Civil war, generational and inter-family. Its interesting that there is no equivalent secular term for Christ or Messiah, but the secular Humanists will solve their own problems and need no Divine assistance. Nothing feeds the rage of the secular humanistic Socialists as their contempt and distain for Christians and their Christ. Yet, the “land of the free and home of the brave” was born of Judeo-Christian faith. The founders clearly established America “under God,” the God of the Bible and it has been so until just recently.

The American Civil War was fought over states rights, more specifically whether slavery was an issue to be decided by each state, as the constitution provides for matters not otherwise addressed therein. Slavery is an abomination that had been outlawed in England and was slowly being eliminated elsewhere at that time in history, but great division existed in America. There was no single event that actually brought about hostilities. South Carolina succeeded from the Union and shots were fired at Fort Sumter, but these were not events that caused war, but rather, effects of another deeper cause. The cause of the Civil war (and if the Cold Civil war that exists today in America becomes deadly) is like a nuclear reaction. The elements triggered in a nuclear reaction collide with each other releasing energy. If “Critical Mass” is reached there is an instantaneous sustained atomic reaction resulting is an explosion. This critical mass is a size, number, or amount large enough to produce a particular result. If and when the size and amount of division in America reaches critical mass, war may begin. This seems to be the intent and purpose of secular humanist socialist forces embedded in the media, government, and democrat party. They exaggerate their numbers, strength, influence and momentum in an effort to garner followers and attention. They stage events to showcase their ability and attempt to gain power and influence. Do the American people want a socialist revolution? Of course not, but the enemies of freedom do.

Fortunately, there is a loving God in Heaven who’s will is immutable and He has provided salvation to all who seek Him through Yeshua Messiah. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3: 16-18).

Casting the First Stone

“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’ ” John 8:7.

Several years ago a commercial ran for a cruise line where the Father said to his family that for their vacation he had decided to take them to all of the Civil War battlefields.  The wife and children, who had been excited at the impending announcement, gave a bored, depressed look.  The advertisement went on to suggest to give your family an exciting cruise vacation instead.  Ironically, when I was a boy and my Father asked me what I might want to do for vacation, I always said “Tour a Civil War battlefield”.  I loved to drive around and view the cannons and study the battlefields and generals and have ever since.

I was dismayed, but not surprised, to read in a recent Wall Street Journal article how much visitation of civil war battlefields has declined in recent years, from about 10.2 million visitors in 1970 to 3.1 million in 2018.  Much of it is attributable to young people not having as much interest in history compared to my and previous generations.  However, more recently the controversies over Confederate statutes has also hurt attendance as people are shying swaying from anything related to the Confederacy.

I do not understand the extreme backlash against the Confederacy and Confederate statutes.  Yes, slavery was evil and the Confederacy was a slave republic, but so was America.  Yes, many of the persons for which statutes were erected were slaveholders or at least racists, but so were George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and General Grant, yet there is little objection to their statutes.  Almost everyone, North and South, were racists in the 1860s. Abraham Lincoln made it clear he considered the black man inferior to the white man and, although he did not feel this fact gave someone the right to enslave them, regularly used slurs to describe them.  Why is there only agitation to take down Southern symbols when America itself had the same sins of slavery and racism?

None of the objected to statutes were erected because of the persons participation in slavery (that I am aware of), but because of great deeds they accomplished – General, Statesman, etc. Most were good Christian men, to one degree or another, who did many notable deeds but lived at a time where slavery was the system in place and were caught up in that system. They sinned indeed, but all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Based on this standard we could not have statutes erected to anyone, and no good or great deeds could be celebrated in this way due to the fallen nature of man.  Perhaps this would be best but I think not.  It is a good thing to look at statutes and reflect on great deeds.  It is inspiring.  This is true even of men and women who had some faults and sins, we all do.

The South, both then and today, is filled with mostly decent people. Many who owned slaves treated them reasonably well at a time when there was really no alternative available to individual slaveholders to release them en mass. With little resources and education, all the slaves could have done is gone back to work in the field at slave wages with as hard or harder lives than they had as slaves.  This was mostly what happened after the war, after they were emancipated.  This is not a justification of slavery, as a system of gradual emancipation, including education, should have been implemented by the South that would have ensured a successful transition to freedom.  That the South refused to do this, freeing the slaves on their own, brought God’s judgment on them along with much destruction and death and ruin, and a loss of their Antebellum society which (even apart from slavery) they loved and cherished.

The South has paid a steep price for its sins. Let us quit casting stones at the South and instead allow it to honor its heroes and the good in its past while acknowledging its sins.  Visit a Civil War battlefield this summer and learn of the great military deeds that were performed on those fields by both North and South.  While there, contemplate their sins if you wish and your own as well.

 

Men Created Equal

These famous words from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America were written by Thomas Jefferson.  John Adams and others certainly had significant influence in its creation, but his choice of words stand upon a greater premise of the hand of Providence at work.  I watched part of Ken Burns film, “Thomas Jefferson”, wherein these words within the larger phrase beginning, “We bear these truths to be self-evident…” were repeated over and over and contrasted against Jefferson’s personal life, most particularly as a slave owner.  First Burns, through the mouths of various “historians”, says his life as a slave owner was a contradiction to the belief that all men are created equal, then describes it closer to hypocrisy and finally, after pointing out that Jefferson had drafted and sponsored over thirty bills in the Virginia legislature that would have done away with slavery, concludes he was too weak to act personally by freeing his own slaves. This characterization is very subtlety done in the film and in such a way as to ignore alternatives that might lead to other interpretations.  Yes, slavery is abhorrent, but is the topic linked directly to the proposition that all men are created equal as Burns suggests?

Do all men remain equal today, once born, following their own choices, and in light of God’s providence?  Isn’t the variety and diversity of culture, individual characteristics, and preference a virtue as to the whole of the human race?  Does God’s creative action compel the conclusion that all men will remain equal as Burn’s posits?  No, this declaration is about freedom and liberty from tyranny, despotism, and injustice by Government.  By parsing the phrases some might suggest that these words actually support the ideal that all people should remain equal, that the government should be the arbitrator and dispenser of education, healthcare, status, wealth, and whatever may be necessary to maintain equality among people.  This would appear to eliminate poverty; oppression of the poor by the rich, inequality between all the six or so genders recognized by some today; and sharing of the nation’s wealth among all.

Yeshua said, “You will always have the poor among you.” (John 12: 8).  Yet, He was always an advocate for the poor and gave away all He had to them, advising others to do likewise.  What is the cause of poverty: catastrophic events, circumstances, bad choices, bad behavior, poor education, innate character flaws, laziness, thieves, etc.  Inevitably there are distinctions among people and only a great fool would think these are subject to the control of man and only a wicked man would think they are subject to the control of government.  History has yet to finish the great experiment that is a representative republic by the people and for the people, but complete socialism has been shown to be an utter disaster full of tyranny, oppression, injustice, neediness, and captivity.  Many historians agree that the American experience is unique, not in its objective of liberty or goal for equality of justice for all, but by a people who subjected their will and government to the Creator God.

Alignment under God’s authority is a foundation of security.  Daniel, the Hebrew prophet saw it very clearly.  “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.  He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Dan. 7: 13-14, see also Eph. 1: 18-23).

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  When humanists lay hold of our founding documents they only can pervert them, revise history, and separate the clear overriding importance of “one nation under God”.  As believers in God we maintain their right to free speech and offer tolerance, because the light of truth will reveal the folly of their aims, and in God’s abundant overflowing mercy they may yet come to faith.

 

Take Down All Racists Symbols on Public Grounds

slide_436620_5720398_free.jpgIf our country is going to take down all Confederate symbols from public grounds due to its past association with slavery and racism we should not stop there but take down all racist symbols on public grounds.  This would include the American flag, the Washington Monument, as well as the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slaveholders and Lincoln was an avowed racist holding the opinion that white people where superior to black people Continue reading

Outstanding Hypocrisy

neh9-2Chicago’s Governor announced recently that his city’s law enforcement officers would not enforce federal Immigration laws.  Other cities in California had previously refused to recognize federal Immigration law, proclaiming themselves cities of refuge.  This rebellion has a historical precedent, in Civil war times.  The southern States believed the constitution left matters that were not specifically addressed in the Constitution to the states.  When compelled to follow certain federal law, considered unauthorized specifically by the constitution, South Carolina seceded… Continue reading