Nov 28, 2012

Bottomless cup

Twenty eight years ago today, November 28th, 1984, I drank from a cup that quenched my thirst, a cup that is never empty and always flowing. It caused my hair to stand on end.

It remains a big deal.

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet.  That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me.  In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.  I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms.  The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet.  But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape?  The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy.  The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.
C.S. Lewis

Nov 8, 2012

"You don't own my body."

Slaves as Property

Plantation owners in the Americas were dependent upon slaves to ensure high profitability. In Britain, 18th-century laws were designed to support a trade in slaves that was sanctioned by the king and parliament. A decision by the Solicitor General stated that 'Negroes' ought to be 'esteemed goods and commodities within the Trade and Navigation Acts'. Such a ruling permitted slave owners to use property law with regard to their slaves 'to recover goods wrongfully detained, lost or damaged' as they would any other property.

The use of property law meant that the enslaved were considered not humans, but commodities. This view of Africans would have a detrimental and lasting effect on the Black community well into the 20th century. The historian James Walvin concludes that 'the State, as an institution, dehumanized African men, women and children for its own ends'.

During the recent foolishness that passed as a national campaign for the Politics of the United States, the claim of a "War on Women" came to the front. Among those claims was that the Republicans wanted to interfere with a woman's "right" to destroy a life in her womb, a right essentially because it was "her body" and what was in it was "her property."

I was struck by how similar the language used by an anti-GOP woman was, who posted a video on YouTube called "You Don't Own My Body," to the language used by English slave traders regarding their property, and their right to destroy it if it was inconvenient to them.

Liberalism has come a long way since the likes of giants like William Wilberforce.