Sunday, April 01, 2007

Amazing Grace


"So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the [slave] trade's wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition."--William Wilberforce

If you don't go see any other movie this year you must see this one. Last night I saw the best movie I've seen in over 12 years (and you know how much I love movies).

My favorite movie is Braveheart because it inspires me and describes my philosophy and passion for life and politics. Amazing Grace is the only movie I've ever seen that comes close. It has passion and inspires one to pursue a just cause at all costs. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't like this movie. I doubt it will but it should sweep all the awards at The Oscars.

When Wordsmith started talking about this movie I knew I had to see it. It is the true story of William Wilberforce and his fight to end slavery in Britain. His love for God and his hatred for slavery caused him to persevere in his fight to end it.

I knew that John Newton wrote the hymn Amazing Grace but I had no idea that there was all this history behind it and that Newton was such a passionate abolitionist:
"John Newton (played by Albert Finney in Amazing Grace) wrote the words to one of the most beloved hymns of all time between 1760 and 1770, while working as an evangelical pastor. Son of the commander of a merchant ship, Newton was captain of a slave ship for many years, until he underwent a dramatic religious conversion while steering his vessel through a storm.

Repenting and regretting the misery he had inflicted on the thousands of human cargo he had transported across the Middle Passage for many years, he devoted his life to the Church, and wrote the lyrics to many hymns which are still popular today.

In 1780 Newton left Olney to become rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, St. Mary Woolchurch, in London. There he drew large congregations and influenced many, among them William Wilberforce. Newton continued to preach until the last year of life, although he was blind by that time. He died in London December 21, 1807."

When you look back at history and the fight for so many just causes you see the tenets of Christianity throughout many of them. Our founding fathers fight for America's freedom was grounded in Christianity despite the efforts by many to rewrite history. Recently when I wrote my glowing review of the suffragist movie, Iron Jawed Angels I had a liberal howl about how hypocritical I was to do this because liberals were the ones behind the women's suffrage movement. What cracked me up was that one of his own buddies pointed out that many of the people behind both the suffragist & abolitionist movements were Christians. Those who enjoy re-writing history may claim otherwise, but it is true.

After seeing both Amazing Grace and Iron Jawed Angels I am so inspired to fight for what is right with passion. It makes me think of the pro-life movement and how maybe the time has come for us to be like William Wilberforce and "not rest until the killing of innocent babies has ended".

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