Are you an extremist?
We are indebted to Shirley Moore of Knoxville for this excellent essay.
They were accused of disturbing the peace in the churches, a peace [William Lloyd] Garrison did not believe they were entitled to enjoy.
Are you an extremist?
Extremists, self-righteous, judgmental, violent (or the cause of violence). These terms, familiar to pro-lifers, were also applied to the 19th Century abolitionists, and most particularly to William Lloyd Garrison, the editor of the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator. He renewed an anti-slavery movement that had languished during the first part of the 19th Century and agitated against slavery from 1829 until it was abolished at the time of the Civil War.
Because he challenged the core morality of the US and because he never lost sight of the moral issues (the sanctity of life, the equality of the races, and the obligation of Christians to oppose slavery), he was hated, mocked in newspapers, and persecuted throughout his life. However, he had a loving family and loyal circle of friends.
After a century and half, at least one book has given him his just due: All On Fire by Henry Mayer. Mayer is a veteran of the 60s-era Civil Rights Movement. Few books have been written about Garrison because the image of him as a “holier-than-thou nut” has persisted to this day. He put justice above peace and has never been forgiven by the culture he challenged.
As many pro-lifers experience today, the churches of the 19th Century despised abolitionists. They were perhaps “too” Christian for the men and women in the pews. They were accused of disturbing the peace in the churches, a peace Garrison did not believe they were entitled to enjoy. Like many pro-lifers, they were “outsiders” in their own congregations and parishes.
Sometimes, being effective and being liked are incompatible. In social reform movements, this is almost always the case. Which will you choose?
This entry was posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010 at 8:03 am and is filed under Pro Life Activism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.