Like everyone else I was appalled at the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of a US policeman, whose job was supposedly to protect life. Surely this new social momentum will now result in radical change to the attitudes of prejudiced individuals, whoever and wherever they are.
Away from the just cause pursued by those looking for justice for George Floyd, we see that across Britain age-old statues are now the hot topic of discussion. Loud voices are quick to call for the removal of the statue of anyone with the slightest link to the Eighteenth Century slave trade or involvement in European colonial expansion. It seems that many of Britain’s greatest leaders have been at fault in one way or another when judged by today’s values.
What seems to have been forgotten in the UK at this present time are the words and the efforts of those who fought to bring the Atlantic slave trade, and the owning of those slaves, to an end. William Wilberforce is probably the most well-known amongst the UK Abolitionists, but the Eighteenth Century preacher John Wesley also supported the movement. He even dared to preach against slavery in Bristol, the city where Edward Colston’s statue was torn down this week.
“Give liberty to whom liberty is due, that is, to every child of man, to every partaker of human nature. Let none serve you but by his own act and deed, by his own voluntary action. Away with all whips, all chains, all compulsion. Be gentle toward all men; and see that you invariably do with every one as you would he should do unto you.”
Our Creator’s love for mankind teaches us that we are all equal, created to love and support each other. It’s not simply about obeying the government’s current laws on racism; it’s about acknowledging that whatever our skin colour we are all human beings, and as the saying goes, “United we stand, divided we fall!”
The current campaign to show that whatever our skin colour, we are all human beings, worthy of dignity, respect and human kindness, finds echoes in another group fighting for justice here in the UK, and in particular in Northern Ireland. “Both Lives Matter” is campaigning to help people understand that an unborn baby is a human being like you and me. In fact the heart starts beating at around 16 days.
So far this year, the UK has tragically lost over 41,000 lives to Covid-19. Some medical staff have even given their own lives to save the lives of others. Yet abortion statistics released a week ago by the Department for Health show that in 2019 the lives of 207,384 unborn children in England and Wales were ended before they had a chance to breathe. As the “Both Lives Matter” website states: “Denying the humanity of the unborn person enables the taking of life.”