Great Hero or Evil Villain?

This weekend America celebrates Memorial Day. A time in our country to remember the men and women who bravely stood for freedom in order to keep America great in its founding virtues.

How can we not think of George Washington as someone who stands tall in American history? But sadly today, a twisted thought has wrapped itself around the thinking of a growing number in our country – that Washington was racist to the core and that he should be removed from America’s history.

Let me expose this lie!

Was George Washington a great hero or an evil villain? Well, consider this, William Wilberforce was often called, “The George Washington of humanity.”

Sadly, many don’t know who Wilberforce was. But he was a committed Christian who served as a member of England’s Parliament for years. With a team of friends, he persistently fought against slavery in the British Empire and triumphed. It took him more than 50 years to accomplish this. And he did it in two stages.

First, he fought against the slave trade. This stopped British ships from going to Africa and paying for slaves from Muslim slave-traders, who got them from other conquering African tribes.

Secondly, Wilberforce was eventually able to get all the slaves in the British Empire to be set free. It was on his deathbed, in 1833, when Wilberforce found out that all slaves in the British Empire were free.

Many people don’t realize that two people inspired William Wilberforce the most during his battle to end slavery – John Newton, a former slave ship captain, turned pastor, who wrote the song Amazing Grace. And George Washington, America’s great founding father.

Here’s a powerful fact. Our founding fathers actually beat Britain in passing a law that stopped the import of slaves. As part of the original Constitution, it stipulated that in 20 years (1808) from the document being ratified (1788), there would be no more slaves brought into the United States.

The Constitution that Washington helped create contained in it the seeds to one day overthrow slavery. And it happened in less than 80 years at the cost of 700,000 men losing their live during our bloody Civil War.

George Washington was a fourth-generation Virginia farmer and slavery was built into that way of life. Washington inherited slaves by birth and later by marriage, but did you know that when he died, he freed all of his slaves and even provided for them the rest of their lives? He truly broke the slavery cycle!

Did Washington take too long to change his views on slavery? I think so! But we can admire a man who overcame several generations of wrong behavior, and his actions proved it.

Over the years, the evidence strongly shows that Washington came to the verdict that slavery was wrong. It is well documented that a group of Methodist bishops came to visit Washington after the Revolutionary War and they recorded Washington’s own words, “I am not in public office, so I have no power to change the law of the land. But I have become convinced that we must now work to end slavery.”

So in closing, they are rewriting America’s history, they are removing Washington's murals, they are destroying his statues, and now they want to rename the university named after him. What’s next? Rename our capital city?

God bless America as we stand together!

Pastor Dave

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