I just spent two years living on a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina. It was a life changing experience for me. I lived about thirty minutes from Charleston. A gracious, beautiful city steeped in history. No buiding in Charleston is taller than the church steeples that make for a glorious backdrop from the Charleston Harbour. The Holy City has moved forward from its past, and yet reminders remain of its torrid history. In fact, in the middle of town is The Market. Today, craftsmen sell their work to the many tourists that visit every day. But one must imagine what it was like before Confederate soldiers bombarded Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.
Imagine leaving the plantation with the family, in your best clothes, and heading into town for the arrival of a ship from Africa. As you walk into The Market, the ship’s captain is leading “negroes” in chains to be bought. These humans were ripped from their families, thrown on a ship for a faraway land, to be sold to the highest bidder. I imagine the menfolk looked for strong, young men to work in the hot Charleston sun, picking cotton from sunup till sundown without pay. This was not a job, no, this was kidnapping. The woman folk looked at women to cook and clean their homes, and to care for their children. It was basically robbing these slaves of a life. They were owned. Think about this. Owned.
Let me tell you, if you see nothing wrong with this…then something is missing from your abilty to differentiate the basic understanding of good and evil. Let me remind you…these men and women were not volunteers for this enterprise. After the Civil War, it was difficult for the slaves…wow…to use the word slave…to start a life with nothing. For many years, African-Americans struggled to lift themselves out of poverty. They may have been free, but they were considered second-class. When I was a little girl in the South, there were separate water fountains for blacks and whites in the JC Penney store in my hometown. I found it deplorable as a very young girl. What is happening in our country today is also incomprehensible.
Let’s look at Germany. Imagine having a thriving business in Berlin. Suddenly, the leader of Germany forbade non-Jews from interacting with the Jewish community. Many had been friends, but suddenly, sides were drawn. Hitler played his cards to create an atmosphere to purposely rid his country of Jewish people. As the German people began to accept this as a new normal, Hitler’s plan became more sinister. Families were separated and hauled off to camps with horrid conditions. Eventually, these poor souls were walked into a mass shower only to be gassed to death. Finally, the evil became more than the world could take. My dad, a captain of a wing in the Air Force, completed twenty-eight missions from England to Germany to help end this horror. He was so proud to play a part in freeing the Jewish people. Nothing gave him more satisfaction. Ironically, he also helped to free African-Americans from desegregation in public schools in the South as superintendent of my hometown’s school system. That, too, was one of his finest days. So what has happened to us?
Our country is filled with hopeless people filled with hate. A country that many claim to be a Christian nation. How can that be? They, in no way, follow the teachings of Christ.
Matthew 5–7King James Version (KJV)
5 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Something is very wrong. If you do not feel it, you are part of the problem. We should be striving to unite humanity. The United States should be the leader of this noble effort. For the world to survive, we must recognize all of humanity. Why are we even having this conversation? If you are appalled, please be a voice. Today, we must react in union for all Americans. History shows us what can happen. Tomorrow may be too late.