Welcome to another installment of the World of Good (WOG) here at The Scratching Post. Today we bring to your attention a historical figure who will be the central character in a movie opening this weekend. His name is William Wilburforce and the movie is Amazing Grace. William Wilburforce was a prime mover in the abolition of slavery in England.
The film's website has a great deal of reference material on the man, his work and the situation at the time. Here's their synopsis of his life.
William Wilberforce was first elected to the House of Commons at the age of 21 and dedicated the rest of his life to leading the fight to abolish slavery. Though he was chronically ill and his anti-slavery bills were repeatedly rejected by Parliament, his courage and passion to abolish injustice led him to be referred to asHere's the trailer for the movie.
the “conscience of Parliament.” He also worked to collect evidence of the crimes of the slave trade, collected 390,000 signatures to support his cause, and relentlessly crafted anti-slavery bills. After almost 20 years of leading the British abolitionist movement, Wilberforce wept tears of victory when the slave trade throughout the British Empire was finally abolished in 1807. Because Wilberforce also believed in reforming the larger society, his good works included prison reform, fair care for prisoners of war, improving hospitals and the lot of the poor, the prevention of cruelty to animals, and societal reforms in India and around the world. But his passion to abolish slavery always came first.
Glenn Murray, a religious blogger, points out how the song Amazing Grace came from the abolitionist movement in England.
Wilburforce became convinced that slavery was absolutely wrong in God's sight. With the support of the men he met with, Wilburforce worked for over 45 years on the abolition of slavery. First he got bills passed which made it illegal for Englishmen to engage in the slave trade; eventually, he convinced the Parliament to make it illegal to own slaves. John Newton, formerly a ship captain who hauled slaves to the New World and the writer of the hymn "Amazing Grace,” is one of the men who came out of this movement.In a world where political activists compete to turn us against their opponents through half-truths and distortions, and where religious people are sometimes painted as crazed zealots trying to create a theocracy here in America, it's worth spending some time reinforcing the great good that has come from people of faith.
It's not just activists, but the entertainment industry as well. Religious people in films are often portrayed as narrow-minded bigots, pedophiles and charlatans. Here's one where the person of faith is a flawed man striving to bring about a greater good.
The movie opens this weekend in a small number of theaters. If it does well, it will expand to more. If it does not, it will close sooner and the world will be a poorer place. Stop by their website and see if there's a theater near you.
WOG visitors come by the hundreds, but virtually no one ever leaves a comment. If you see the movie and want to drop a small note about what you thought of it, feel free to leave it in the comments here.
For a complete list of our WOGs and the reason why we WOG in the first place, please stop by this post.
H/T: Jeffrey Mark for the YouTube video link.