Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Go Down, John the Baptist

The images of slaves and the yearning of the spirituals have not left me from Ken Burns' documentary, The Civil War. We didn't watch the whole thing but those images and sounds linger yet. So mournful as they pleaded to God for freedom.

The thought struck me at the time that God could not have heard those prayers and pleas year after year, left those people in the horrors of slavery, and remained a just God. His justice, His mercy, and His love demanded an answer. That answer was a civil war in which "every drop of blood drawn with the lash ...(was) paid by another drawn by the sword."

It is the end of February, Black History month. Today when we hear those beautiful spirituals, we realize that many of them arose from broken hearts of ruptured families, broken bodies of those beaten by the lash, and courageous spirits who refused to remain slaves. They passed the messages of freedom on through spirituals. "Go Down, Moses" heralded Harriet Tubman's courageous rescues. "Follow the Drinking Gourd" guided many to freedom after they learned the song.

Yet today we look at another attack on African-Americans. However, this attack destroys the future of African-Americans by killing off future generations. It is the tragedy of abortion on the black community, expedited by Planned Parenthood and its abortion clinics conveniently placed in black communities.

Peggy Harshorn of Heartbeat International "points out that black women represent 12 percent of the female population in the country but have one-third of all abortions. For every five African American women that get pregnant three will have abortions." (Ertelt, Steven, "African-Americans Lament Lack of Blacks in Pro-Life Movement," LifeNews.com, Feb. 1, 2006)

In 2004 in New York City, over 29,000 black babies were born. In that same year,
nearly 40,000 black babies died at the hands of abortionists. I'm not a great researcher or a statistician, but I can't help wondering how that compares to the number of African-American slaves killed in any one year in the inhuman crossings from Africa or due to the whips and the lynchings.

A Moses can't go and pull those babies to life and freedom from their mother's wombs. What we need now is a John the Baptist to turn the hearts of the fathers and mothers back to their children.

A line from the film Amistad has always stood out to me. John Quincy Adams asks the young lawyer defending the Amistad Africans. "What is their story? He who tells the best story wins."

We need poets and writers who can tell the story of the unborn of every race to stir our imaginations to their plight as Harriet Beecher Stowe did for slaves with Uncle Tom's Cabin. And we need musicians to reach us with their voices and give the struggle of the unborn a voice that breaks our hearts with the yearning for life.

Debbie W. Wilson

Debbie W. Wilson is a human rights advocate, speaker, and author of Christy Award-winning thriller Tiger in the Shadows. Her weekly prayer list for the persecuted church can be found on the home page of Bound Together Ministries.

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