There is violence throughout our land, and most of it in the name of eradicating racism. Any statue with the slightest perception of some racist association or history is either spray-painted with profane graffiti or pulled to the ground. Public buildings and businesses have been ransacked, looted, or burned. A Black Lives Matter leader from New York declares on national television that if the U.S. “doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system.”
Is this the way to advance racial justice in America? Not according to two of the most iconic black leaders of the past.
Frederick Douglas, a former slave who became a commanding abolitionist, had a profound influence in moving the nation away from slavery.
One night as a young slave boy, he heard the mistress of the house, a woman who was a devout Methodist, reading aloud from the book of Job. Douglas was captivated by this biblical story of a man who suffered supremely — a man who lost everything — his livestock, his servants, and his children — but despite all his sufferings still trusted in God.
The mistress discreetly started teaching Douglas the alphabet, but the master of the house forbade it. So Douglas secretly taught himself from old hidden copies of Webster’s spelling book and Methodist hymnals. Over time, from his exposure to various sources of Christian materials, he came to understand the Gospel, his sin, and his need of Christ.
Douglas said that after his conversion to Christ: “I loved all mankind, slaveholder not excepted, though I abhorred slavery more than ever. I saw the world in a new light… I gathered scattered pages of the Bible from the filthy street gutters and washed and dried them, that in moments of leisure, I might get a word or two of wisdom from them.”
As he advanced in the faith by various means, Douglas became a prophet to his time with unquestionably the most eloquent voice against the wrongful subjugation of black people.
History tells us that Douglas believed that violence was proper under certain circumstances to end slavery because this was a state of war. Slavery, he thought, was the most grievous violation of humanity’s natural and God-given rights.
However, as historian Leslie Friedman Goldstein states it, Douglas considered “revolt was inappropriate once blacks had been brought under the protecting wing of the national government, made citizens, and given the precious power of suffrage [voting]…He acknowledged repeatedly that black retaliation by massive violence would be ‘madness.’ He advocated that they should turn to what was now their government and seek to persuade it to “work in defense of their lives, limbs, liberties, and properties.”
Although often a critic of his own country, Douglas still was a patriot.
What made Frederick Douglas a great emancipator was he had met the Great Emancipator, Jesus Christ. He might have rejected the Christian faith with bitterness because of the unfaithful witness of professing Christians who covered the infernal business of slavery under “the garb of Christianity.” Yet he said that he believed in redemption and rested on “the broad foundation laid by the Bible itself, that God has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rev. Mark H. Creech