SLAVERY - NO GRAY AREA
My son has been studying the Civil War in his History class. This has brought on an onslaught of discussions within our family and extended family of specific battles and the “winners” and “losers”, (I think we were all losers when it came to the death of just one person to the Civil War), the North and South’s different sentiments towards the war and each other, and why each side felt the way they did, Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation and Ten Percent Plan, the Reconstruction of the South, and slavery - mostly slavery.
When it comes to slavery, it is my belief that we have to go all the way back to the origin of it and ask….what kind of evil would creep into a man’s mind that would make him think that he could justify abducting human beings from their homes and families, transfer them to a frightening and strange country, treat them like animals - sometimes worse than animals – en route, and then sell them as free labor to other “men” who’s minds were also overtaken with this same type of evil? What kind of a "man" could then act upon that evil thought? Frankly, that is something that I just cannot comprehend. The question of slavery should have been simply answered by anyone who it was proposed to with a resounding “NO” in horrified unbelief as to the audacity of the proposition, based solely upon the fact that it was fundamentally wrong, morally wrong and ethically wrong on so many different levels. Anyone who claimed belief in God should have inherently known that to try to possess another human being was, in the plainest sense of the word, WRONG and not realistically possible. To George Washington and the most devout plantation owners who professed the kindest treatment of “their” slaves….I’m sorry, there IS NO excuse, no exception, no justification for anyone to believe that “owning” another human being could ever be humane or justifiable. To me, it is plain and simple, as are most things in life that society and selfish humans have nonchalantly dragged from black or white and into the gray abyss….slavery and the suggested justifications for it were derived from evil. Evil that comes from greed and the lust for power, money and status. There is no “Well…..” or “But…..” responses that would ever vindicate slavery or anyone involved in slavery….it was a sick and despicable practice for anyone claiming to be a human being and far worse for someone who claimed belief in God. It is my humble opinion that the only way to even come close to trying to rectify the atrocities of slavery on those stolen from their lives once the Civil War ended and they were “free”, was to ask each and every one of them what THEY wanted….either to return to their homeland or be free in America ….and granting them that wish with the responsibility and cost of their decision falling on their previous “masters”.
For me, there is no gray area…. Thomas Aquinas once said “Whatever earthly government or rules bind men, he is always free in his soul since he has been created equal with all other men before God.” Man CANNOT own another man….he deceives himself into thinking he can with his chains, whips, bars or laws, but he is the fool for man is “ALWAYS FREE IN HIS SOUL” no matter what circumstance he may find himself in. Each and every man was created special by God and equal with all others and given FREEDOM, the God-given right and gift. Some choices in life ARE just plain black or white, right or wrong, moral or immoral, ethical or unethical….as with slavery....there is no gray area.
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