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Come, let’s reason…

Posted by Popular Ombudsman on July 18, 2009

I truly believe that inquisitive minds are a time-honored treasure for any society. Recall that it is Reagan who opined thus: TRUST, BUT VERIFY, a maxim that has gradually acquired iconic status – severally assuming multiple and transitive interpretations. Naturally therefore it follows that any intellectual who has an analytical frame of mind would wish – more often than not, out of curiosity – to challenge any set of assumptions underpinning emergent ideas. And not entirely without well grounded merit.

Allow me to underscore by point with an illustration. You see, for reasons that range from shared ties to the state of Illinois to personal character – aka, charisma; Obama has demonstrated enduring admiration for Abraham Lincoln – the 16th president. In fact CNN highlighted the curious prominence of the Lincoln legacy in Obama’s administration – including the very bible used during the inauguration ceremony as documented here.

Logically therefore it follows that Obama has a deep rooted admiration for what he may believe are forthright attributes of Lincoln . However, did Lincoln actually personify the angelic attributes – passionately projected by Obama? And especially to people of his (Obama’s) colour?

Witness the following: In a debate – paradoxically conducted in Illinois in 1858 between one Justice Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln is reported to have eloquently argued thus: “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the 2 races living together on terms of social or political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion that I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position that the Negro should be denied everything

“. . . Notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the Negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence -the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects-certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man.”

Surely, if an abolitionist as passionate as Lincoln espoused views as demeaning and condescending as this, who else one may ask could afford to completely disentangle himself/herself from the rampart prejudices against slaves that informed Caucasian opinions and world outlook? Thus, for instance, judging from these sentiments, one could argue that if Lincoln and Douglas arose today and proceeded with their debate – in Illinois for that, they could be deeply shocked to see a black man in the White House!

It is statements like these that have led many into believing that Ellen white borrowed into this philosophy, nay, aided it either by omission or commission. But is that justified at all? Indeed racism and slavery were as much a scourge in America then as was idolatry in Israel during Ahab’s reign. Yet Elijah, in reporting the enormity of the problem, proceeds to tell the Lord that all Israelis – without exception have sunk into Idolatry and that they were attempting to kill him in order to silence the last and only voice of moral integrity. To this, the Lord tells him that a whole 7000 have not engaged in Idolatry at all. Surely, in good old America , could there have been our metaphorical seven thousand who never bowed their knees to the idol of slavery?

Let the statements of one of them bear her out. Ellen White, unlike our iconic Lincoln , spoke eloquently against slavery – and most importantly, about the equality of humanity in the eyes of God. Read the quotations below.

“Much might have been accomplished by the people of America if adequate efforts in behalf of the freedmen had been put forth by the Government and by the Christian churches immediately after the emancipation of the slaves. Money should have been used freely to care for and educate them at the time they were so greatly in need of help. But the Government, after a little effort, left the Negro to struggle, unaided, with his burden of difficulties. Some of the strong Christian churches began a good work, but sadly failed to reach more than a comparatively few; and the Seventh-day Adventist Church has failed to act its part…”

This is from Testimonies 9:205


“We have no time to build up walls of distinction between the white and the black race. The white people who embrace the truth in the Southern field, if converted to God, will discern the fact that the plan of redemption embraces every soul that God has created. The walls of sectarianism and caste and race will fall down when the true missionary spirit enters the hearts of men. Prejudice is melted away by the love of God. All will realize that they are to become laborers together with God. Both the Ethiopian and the white race are God’s purchased possession . . .”

In view of this and many other similar statements that singularly stand out against slavery, it is logical to conclude that Ellen White did not condone, ignore or overlook slavery.The condemnations of the vice were strong, pointed and on target.
Guest contributor
(Quoted from an internet discussion group)


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