A Warning to the Many Considerate, Humane Men
A while back I finally read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a remarkable novel from the 1800’s, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, that painfully captures the plight of a people trapped in the cruel slavery of the southern colonies of North America. Thank God for this courageous, Presbyterian, White Woman of Privilege, if you’ll pardon the sarcasm, who so brilliantly penned this most influential exposé of the evils of slavery. Only the bold, impactful ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ (PDF), written by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. can hold a candle to it. While these works are famous in name, they are mostly unknown or ignored, as ‘modern man’ generally has no time or use for classical or historical literature, and little understanding of its timeless relevance.
The African slave, stolen from all he knew and loved, was not by any means the only human being so abused by his fellow man, his treatment as a ‘non-person’ having also been experienced in the unequal treatment of women, and the cruel slavery imposed on the Chinese, the Irish and many other minority ethnic groups throughout history. How about the helpless and innocent unborn who, in Canada alone, account for over 4,000,000 missing and murdered persons? Yes, FOUR MILLION! The in-borne potential for inhumanity is indisputable. When the underpinnings of civilisation, of freedom, of democracy, or of religion are taken for granted and left unguarded, the ambitious, the powerful, the greedy and the cruel arise to quench what is good. And those who stand against the evil will be hated and maligned, and sometimes perish for it. Much easier to just keep your head down and do the expedient.
As we ponder what we can do about the terrible things happening around us in our day, consider the deep insight of Harriet Beecher Stowe through some of her characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, as free men travel down the Red River with a cargo of slaves. In a casual conversation between a stranger and a particularly evil planter named Legree, the stranger is subjected to the planter’s boasts of his brutality and lack of conscience as a sick, murderous, totally reprobate slave owner. Everyone around hears Legree’s disgusting rant. The stranger turns from the evil spew, and “seated himself beside a gentleman who had been listening to the conversation with repressed uneasiness.” The rather embarrassed gentleman tells the stranger he shouldn’t think all Southern planters are like that terrible specimen. “There are also many considerate and humane men among the planters (unlike that low and brutal fellow).”
“Granted”, said the stranger, “but in my opinion, it is you considerate, humane men that are responsible for all the brutality and outrage wrought by these wretches; because, if it were not for your sanction and influence, the whole system could not keep foothold for an hour. If there were no planters except such as that one,” said he, pointing with his finger to Legree, who stood with his back to them, “the whole thing would go down like a millstone. It is your respectability and humanity that licences and protects his brutality.”
Ouch! Perhaps, in our day, we can start by examining our own culpability in every issue that is tearing our country apart. This covert Abolitionist makes clear that while moral compromise may be upheld by the law, it is, nonetheless, moral compromise, despite all the justifications we may offer. The unborn have been, as the slaves were then, abandoned and are being led away to the slaughter. Who will rescue them?
Canada’s most prominent abortionist, Henry Morgentaler, was awarded the Order of Canada, a most prestigious award, under a Conservative government and under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the man in whom so many fine, small-c conservative Christians put their unflagging hope of rescuing the Nation’s progeny doomed to the slaughter. Can a salt spring bring forth pure water? Does anyone believe that avowedly pro-abortionist, Pierre Poilievre, is any more apt to support pro-life legislation than PM Harper who—although considered a moderate—actively blocked every bill presented in defence of the unborn? These “considerate, humane men are responsible for all the brutality and outrage wrought by these wretches (like Morgentaler); because, if it were not for (their) sanction and influence, the whole system could not keep foothold for an hour…. It is your respectability and humanity that licences and protects (their) brutality.” Death by a butcher like Gosnell or a ‘hero’ like Morgantaler or a caring, motherly ob gyn; the result is the same. Supporting the “lesser of two evils” still results in evil.
The author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, with her heartbreaking depiction of Man’s inhumanity to Man (published in 1852), set the stage for the Civil War. Slavery was the main issue; it was an albatross around the necks of a free people and their land was polluted by it. But Southerners believed their prosperity depended on it. 1861 saw the Union States elect an anti-slavery President, Abraham Lincoln, and shortly after, the Union was at war with the Confederate slave States.
President Lincoln was an unlikely choice, by today’s standards, to win the election that preceded the start of the war. Surely his propensity for losing elections itself would have earned him today’s title of “Loser.” He had lost eight elections, twice failed in business, suffered a nervous breakdown and experienced deep personal losses along the way. He would not have made much of an impression in our day; he was not dynamic, or charismatic, or handsome. He would be totally ignored by today’s media or profiled as a ‘non-starter.’ But Lincoln believed, as I do, that we are in a spiritual battle: his land was polluted with the murders and abuses of slavery – all within the law, of course; while our land cries out with the blood of our legally aborted, innocent, voiceless baby Canadians. Abraham Lincoln believed that God would not – indeed, according to his Character, could not – bless a nation that accepted the inhumanity of slavery.
In his ‘Second Inaugural Address,’ given while the war still raged, he said, “Fondly do we hope – fervently do we pray – that this scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn from the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so it still must be said, ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether’ . . . with malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Are we any less a nation than our neighbour to the South? Or do we consider our ‘greatness’ above reproach, or our people less in need of repentance, or the blood of our murdered, little Canadians less apt to bring judgment? Might the troubles of our time be certain to continue until we are brought to our knees in penury and shame for our compromise and lukewarm response to this National Outrage of more than 50 years?
I challenge you to thoughtfully read the unabridged version of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s lengthy ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ (PDF) – to the very end. It was written to pastors in 1963, 102 years after Lincoln was elected President. King was jailed for his non-violent protests against segregation of the descendants of the slaves Lincoln emancipated. Reverend King was assassinated shortly after he was freed from jail. Freedom fighters picked up the baton and ran ’til integration was won. President Lincoln was assassinated very shortly after the Civil War ended, freeing the slaves. The abolition movement saw Christian “extremists” (Puritans, Quakers, Presbyterians and others), wage a two hundred-year effort to end slavery and the slave-trade in England and America, before God raised up William Wilberforce for a lonely, 40-year fight in the British Parliament to outlaw slavery in England and the Colonies. Wilberforce died three days after achieving that seemingly impossible victory. The battle is not for the faint of heart.
John Wesley, preacher extraordinaire of his day and an abolitionist, was greatly influenced by an account of slavery in Guinea, written by a Quaker abolitionist. In his own ‘Thoughts upon Slavery’, he admonished the slave owners in words that reiterate President Lincoln’s words on the judgment of God and are clearly relevant to us today on the issue of abortion. This leader of the Methodist movement within the Church of England speaks across the bloody centuries to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “considerate and humane men” [and women] of today who justify cruel carnage by the pseudo-compassion that reaches out a bloody ‘helping-hand’ and breaks a woman’s heart. Wesley pleads – and warns:
“Are you a man? Then you should have an human heart. But have you indeed? What is your heart made of? Is there no such principle as compassion there? Do you never feel another’s pain? Have you no sympathy? No sense of human woe? No pity for the miserable? Do you feel no relenting now? If you do not, you must go on, till the measure of your iniquities is full. Then will the Great GOD deal with You, as you have dealt with them, and require all their blood at your hands.”
The consequences of greed, selfishness and wrong thinking are blatant; and the righteous judgments of God should be obvious: our Nation is disintegrating before our eyes. Complacence and misplaced optimism spawn and sustain the moral compromise that pollutes our land. Will you invite God to rule unhindered in your life and in your nation?
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Other Commentary by Elaine Taylor:
- Un avertissement aux nombreux hommes attentionnés et humains
- A Warning to the Many Considerate, Humane Men
- Pourquoi s’inquiéter du Canada?
- Why Worry About Canada?
- Freedom to Read Week Feb 23-Mar 1
- It Is What It Is: the New “Whatever”
- Shattering Arguments: The Myths of Overpopulation, Grey Tsunami, & Survival of the Fittest, Part 2
- Shattering Arguments: The Myths of Overpopulation, Grey Tsunami, & Survival of the Fittest Part 1