The “Anglosphere” has recently taken a big hit as the world has become enthralled with theories of wokeness, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and pushers of Critical Theory (CRT) like Ibrim X. Kendi have raged this weekend on numerous progressive platforms and networks at the news of Claudine Gay resigning from her position as president of Harvard. Her equivocation and ambivalence regarding the antisemitism that has been uncovered on college campuses and the revelations surrounding alleged plagiarism on her doctrinal thesis is what led to her forced resignation. Her humanistic political philosophical agnosticism, her uncapacious and unpredicted signaling of virtue, and finally her inability to stand up to evil are what led to her resignation. Race had nothing to do with it. A fellow president of The University of Pennsylvania Elizabeth Magill was also reprimanded and then resigned because of a similar response before a Congressional Committee, and she was white!
I was given a book as a Christmas Gift by a dear friend about the life of William Wilberforce entitled AMAZING GRACE by William Metataxas. What William Wilberforce did is known by almost anyone who has taken a Western History Course. Unfortunately, many college students’ core curriculum history requirements are filled by courses that emphasize gender and race studies and do not give the student the perspective of true history. I venture to say that college professors like Ibrim X. Kendi, Claudine Gay, and maybe even Cornell West, also formally of Harvard, have about as much knowledge of Western Civilization as a 12th Grader graduating from an Idaho high school. I bet the average pious patriot has more of an understanding of Biblical and Enlightenment- Natural Law Principles than the average college social science professor. Such academic grounding is no longer required and is even frowned upon in academia today.
Here are some pertinent facts that need to be understood before we enter into any discussion about the inequities of history and life. Slavery, indentured hood, and political imprisonment have existed since the beginning of modern time—place that time at 10000-15000 years ago. All cultures participated. Today there are more people enslaved than at the time of Wilberforce—estimated to be over 80 million souls, counting political and religious prisoners in China. Slavery, human chattel, and political imprisonment are the “WHAT” of what Wilberforce, many of our founding Fathers who were themselves abolitionists, Abraham Lincoln and the early Republican Party fought against, and in our country’s case, 600,000 soldiers who died in our great emancipating Civil War died for.
Wilberforce understood the “WHAT”. Most importantly he understood the “HOW” and “WHY” of the issue. It took him almost 50 years in Parliament to win his battle. He was ostracized, dehumanized, and vilified by the corporate collusion between many members of Parliament and the East and West Indian trade companies during his half a century campaign. He never entered into their economic arguments of the value of an enslaved life to an economy based on triangular trade. His argument was simple. We are told in the Old Testament and by Jesus in the New Testament that all men are made in the image of God, and how we treat the least amongst us is how we will be judged. He believed this from the bottom of his heart and soul and at a time when British Institutions were becoming increasingly secularized including The Anglican Church of England.
Wilberforce was a Methodist Evangelical who followed in the footsteps of his friends Jonathan Edwards and John Newton who started in England and transported to America the Second Great Awakening. Benjamen Franklin, John Adams, and George Washington read his speeches before Parliament and corresponded with him. The fight in Parliament for abolition and emancipation continued from the time of the French Revolution, Napoleon and the French-Spanish defeat by Lord Nelson at Trafalgar, and finally the defeat of Napolean by Wellington at Waterloo. He never lost sight of his great fight against slavery. His bills were defeated in Parliament over 30 times. In 1807 he won a bill Prohibiting the transport of slaves on the high seas. Though out of Parliament for almost 10 years he was invited to come to the floor to give his final speech in 1833, that proceeded the final vote to end slavery in the British empire. Abraham Lincoln read and quoted from that speech many times as did Fredrick Douglas.
The “HOW” that took 30 years to win was the fight for men’s souls and their belief in the predicate and promise of Christianity. “When Wilberforce entered Parliament in the late 1780’s there were three members of the British Parliament who identified as “Christian”, but half a century later there were over two hundred. — Matataxis
The “WHY” is because we have a covenant relationship with God to love and be loved and to love our fellow man. It takes just a few good men to believe that, and the world can be changed forever.
I believe regarding the issue of abortion and the life of the unborn child we are at a place in our country and state where Wilberforce was in England at the beginning of his parliamentary service. Biblical and Natural Law principles speak directly to the value of life and the temporal spiritual nature of man. To not recognize these realities is to dehumanize not only the life of the unborn child, but the life of any human being who is not seen as being “of value”. People with congenital abnormalities, the mentally ill, Jewish People in Nazi Germany or even on our own college campuses, and the elderly all then become fair game.
I for one am in this fight for the long haul. We must change the hearts and souls of men, then change the moral predicate, and then win the fight for the unborn child and every human being. A fight I am sure Wilberforce would feel would be a worthy one.
We need another GREAT AWAKENING: Will it be in 2024?