“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13
As I look at what is happening in our nation today, this scripture has become very personal. Also, the movie I have written, produced, and directed about slavery and the Underground Railroad has come more to the forefront to me lately. The position I had in writing the movie, “The Light of Freedom” is that slavery to me is defined within the extremist categories and still exists today within hate groups and radicals. I wanted to show the faith of the runaway and the uncompromising boldness of those who believed enough to reach out and not close the borders of their lives, their hearts, and their homes to their current problems and challenges against mankind. This was not only within our nation during the Civil War but has always been worldwide for us as a nation. The Word of God makes it clear that we are to go into all the world with the Truth of His Freedom. This has been the foundation of America.
It was extreme to treat men and women as they were treated based on culture, ethnicity, and color. It was extremists behind the selling of slaves. These were the slave traders on the Africa side. Those involved instituting this slavery were black Muslim radicals whose hate was unleashed through raids beginning in the 7th century and on. Tribal hatreds, wars, and slave trading are legacies of Islam’s slave trade against those who refused to convert and especially those who would not denounce Christianity. There are people of all color; men, women, and children, remaining enslaved today through this very same radical extremist philosophy.
As for our history in America, it took a Civil War to fight for the freedom of others to enrich this country that ‘all men are created equal’. Europe became involved in the slave trade from 1519-1815, but Britain outlawed slave trade in 1807. By 1815 The International Treaty of Europe was signed abolishing slave trade with a Parliamentary decree in 1833 to set all slaves in the British Empire free. This was 32 years before Americans decided to begin to do the same. France and the Dutch decided to do so around 1848. It was finally determined by the lives of many lost for this freedom in the United States in 1865, after our Civil War. Obviously extreme roots of prejudice, racism, slavery, and white supremacy ran deep and deserved to be uprooted.
Philosophies that put down mankind, as well as, current day extremists, have existed and been challenged throughout the ages. This includes the cruelty of antisemitism and the rise against the Jewish people. Nationalism of any kind should never be tolerated, especially when such sacrifice has been given, including the blood that has been shed for freedom. Any concept that dictates the greatness of a nation that refuses humanity and the foundation of equality of men, women, and children suffers. America was not established on its greatness. It was established on the people who wanted freedom from any and all national dictatorship and dominance. America’s greatness IS its freedom. Our freedom is what makes our country the principle democracy and superpower of the world.
Currently, radicals, extremists, and their viewpoints, say there is claimed justification that portrays there is a revival of slavery as a sign of the end of the world and it has been a vigorous movement. This religion and movement today still imprisons and holds captive many lives in bondage away from their freedom, godly faith, development, equality, life, and the pursuit of happiness.
In 2014 there was an open letter signed by extremists surging slavery to the forefront. That same year women and children were enslaved by extremists in the Middle East and Northern Nigeria. Tens of thousands of people were killed. The 2014 Chibok kidnapping in Nigeria captured 200 non-Muslim school girls stating, “Allah instructed me to sell them: they are his properties. I will sell them in the market by Allah.” Only 22 girls were freed in 2016 and now Non-Muslims have been forced to convert to Islam. It has been reported that in April 2015 around 2,000 women and children had been captured and enslaved for the purpose of selling and distributing them as sexual slaves. The United Nations received a list of prices for these captured women and children that stated and included amounts as; $165 for slaves 1-9 years old, and $41 for women 41-50 years old. Today it still stands that there are hate groups and extremists as during times past.
An extremist is defined in the dictionary as; a person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views, especially one who resorts to or advocates extreme action. Slavery was in force by an advocation of extreme political views on the part of the South. It wasn’t about money, it was about men dictating over the lives of people and taking their freedom.
It took people who would run the Underground Railroad becoming extreme against the extreme abuses of slavery, the mainstream, and the law that had been set unconstitutionally in our nation to not help and abet a slave. Bishop William Hanby was one of these men and I felt the importance to do a faith based film regarding the passion and faith of those who stood up for what they believed. It’s current relevance is clear.
The Civil War is history in our nation that is rooted in the courageous tenacity of people who fought for what they believed, including those who were enslaved. It was established and fought on the conviction that “all men are created equal”. It was also about people who had to be extreme in upholding this to the highest degree of their convictions and belief. This nation was built on the constitutional principles that declare this and there was a Civil War to uphold it.
As Christians of course we would want extreme faith and extreme commitment. The positive definition of the word extreme as defined means; reaching a high or highest degree, very great. As in the time of the Underground Railroad extreme conviction was necessary. Extreme measures took place between the North and the South for the lives of the enslaved. President Abraham Lincoln didn’t close the borders against the radical traditions of slavery, he found a way to overcome it with a nation behind him. The voice of the people still resounds in the blood that was shed for freedom.
Today, it is said that the vast majority of Muslims, around 93%, don’t support the extremist view and are real people who also suffer from this terrorism and violence. As people who need to hear the Gospel of Jesus, they are shoved to the side lines from all sides and shut out. As the Body of Christ it is absolutely imperative that we preach and bring the Gospel to these. We cannot shut our borders as the church. We see in Genesis 21:19 that God brings water that gave life to Hagar and Ishmael.
“And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” Genesis 21:19
The Lord makes it clear to us that we are to be the well of water as He says, out of your bellies shall flow living water, (John 7:38). He says we are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, (Mark 16:15). We have His water to give. It is the living waters of Jesus. He told the woman at the well, if you only knew Who I was, the gift of God, and Who is speaking to you, then you would ask Me for a drink and He would have given you living water, (John 2:10). If God gave water to Hagar and Ishmael, then there will clearly be a God given revival for the Muslim beyond anyone’s control.
As I wrote the script for our faith based film “The Light of Freedom”, (the link to the trailer is below), our voices of faith need to resound the quotes of William Hanby, the co-founder of Otterbein University.
“We may be bound by a man-made law but we are more bound by a Lord given conscious. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 is inhumane. It is absurd that giving shelter to a friendless man woman or child is a crime. I have made my voice known and shown my scorn for injustice and I will continue to stand against any law that makes it a felony to give food to a hungry slave or befriend precious men women and children who deserve freedom… When a man-made law is in conflict with God’s law there is no compromise. We choose one way or the other. It says in Joshua 24:15, “Choose you this day whom you shall serve. As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.”