How Serious Are We About Black History?
Last weekend (Feb. 23rd) saw the release of the film Amazing Grace. Amazing Grace was released last weekend to coincide with black History month, and just ahead of the 200th anniversary of the landmark vote in the British Parliament that abolished the "Trans Atlantic" slave trade on February 27th, 1807. Was this film met with great pomp and celebration in the black media? Were black school children encouraged to miss school on opening day of the film? No! In fact, I would dare say that 99% of Black America did not and does not yet know the film exists.
My wife & I went to see the film last weekend and as we were leaving the theater we ran into a black pastor friend, his wife & another couple in the lobby. They asked what we had seen & I said Amazing Grace. They said, "really? What is that about?" Without expressing how I was feeling inside (saddened), I told them that it was about William Wilberforce and the abolition of the slave trade. They said, "Oh, we may need to see that some time," and ran off to see Tyler Perry's latest offering. Now, please do not get me wrong, I like Tyler Perry and feel he does a great service, however, how often do we see a major motion picture dealing with the subject of slavery, and the role of the church in its eradication? Every black person, and especially every black Christian, should be lined up around the block to see that, if for no other reason that to encourage future films of that type.
But that is just a portion of the story. Why did we not hear any hype for this film? Let me give you my thoughts. A few years ago on my spiritual blog, I posted a 3 part essay on Holy War. In this piece I stated that there is a continuing Holy War going on and has been for some time. This war is a war between Christianity and 3 separate but aligned forces. These three forces are Secular Humanism, Islam, and Syncretism (mixing elements of various faiths into one religious world view while denying the core elements of true faith). You may ask, what in the world does this have to do with Amazing Grace? It has everything to do with it. There has been a concerted effort over the past 100 years or more to discredit the Judeo-Christian contribution to the building of this nation and the good in its core beliefs. Christianity in particular has been demonized to an ever increasing degree as time has passed. The great prevailing lie has been put forth that Christianity is not only not responsible for the abolition of slavery, but was in fact responsible for it. Depictions of bible reading, bible quoting, slave owners and traders are prevalent. "Roots" depicted such a slave trader. While these images are drawn from some truth, what is left out is the greater truth that the majority of "devout," bible practicing, not just professing, Christians sacrificed and fought tirelessly for the eradication of slavery. In fact the main slave trader from whom the negative depiction is taken was John Newton, who is a key figure in the film Amazing Grace. John Newton was confronted by the Holy Spirit with the evil of the practice and his role in it. Newton was haunted by what he called his "1000 ghosts." These were the ghosts of slaves that died on ships he captained in the "Middle Passage." This confrontation led to a true and life changing conversion and Newton's working to the end of his life to see slavery ended. Newton's conviction of this great sin also led to his writing the hymn Amazing Grace to express his understanding of the weight of his sin and the immense, unmerited favor he received. The line "I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see" refers to his blindness to the sin of slavery and his role in it.
The knowledge of these facts poses a great danger to the 3 allies, Secular Humanism, Islam and Syncretism. That danger is that people may see and understand the power of a faith that can soften the hardest of hearts, turn someone from the wrongest of directions, and change the course those lives and entire nations. That truth is dangerous and must be kept hidden. It cannot be kept hidden, however, despite those who will try. I hope you will help get the truth out.