Archive for the ‘Slavery’ Tag

Feast of John Greenleaf Whittier (December 8)   3 comments

Above:  John Greenleaf Whittier

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER (DECEMBER 7, 1807-SEPTEMBER 7, 1892)

U.S. Quaker Abolitionist, Poet, and Hymn Writer

John Greenleaf Whittier was one of the greatest American poets of the nineteenth century.

Whittier, born and raised in a Quaker family on a farm near Haverhill, Massachusetts, on December 7, 1807, worked hard as a youth.  He was a farmer, of course, but was also a cobbler.  (Farming was not his sole concern, although he remained a grounded person.)  Our saint had little formal education–a few terms at Haverhill Academy, actually.  While there, he began to write.  William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879) made Whittier a published poet in the Newburyport Free Press, in 1826.  The two men became lifelong friends in 1829.

Whittier’s friendship with Garrison advanced our saint professionally.  In 1829 Garrison helped Whittier become the editor of The American Manufacturer, Boston, Massachusetts.  This was a politically Whig publication that focused on industrial and agricultural interests.  While editor of The American Manufacturer, Whittier became involved in the abolitionist movement.  Our saint went on to edit The New England Weekly Review (1830-1832), The Pennsylvania Freeman (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1838-1840), and The Middlesex Standard (Lowell, Massachusetts, 1844-1845), as well as to join the staff of The Washington National Era (1847-1869).

Whittier put his literary skills to work in the service of abolitionism in other ways, too.  He wrote Justice and Expediency (1833), a best-selling pamphlet.  That year, as the secretary of the Anti-Slavery Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, our saint helped to draft the declaration of principles.  Four years later, he published Poems Written During the Progress of the Abolitionist Cause in the United States.

Whittier did more than write and edit.  In 1835 he won a seat in the Massachusetts legislature.  The following year, he became the secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  In 1835 and 1838 Whittier experienced pro-slavery mob violence–first in Concord, New Hampshire.  Three years later, he witnessed the burning of the offices of The Pennsylvania Freeman.

Throughout mob violence and the United States Civil War Whittier, a womb-to-tomb Quaker, remained a staunch pacifist.  Although he preferred secession to war, he welcomed Confederate defeat at the end of that war.

Whittier became more radical as he aged.  By the end of his life, he had abandoned enough of his former, traditional ideas about gender to support women’s suffrage.

Whittier also composed religious poems, some of which congregations sang as hymns, starting during his lifetime.  He denied being a hymn writer, though; his Quaker congregations did not sing hymns.  Nevertheless, generations of Christians have sung some of his texts, including “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,” as hymns.

Whittier moved in with three female cousins in Danvers, Massachusetts, in 1876.  He died in Hampton Falls, New York, on September 7, 1892.  He was 86 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD, U.S. JOURNALIST, TRANSLATOR, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDRA GIACINTO LONGHIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TREVISO

THE FEAST OF PHILIP DODDRIDGE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VIRGIL MICHEL, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ACADEMIC, AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring John Greenleaf Whittier

and all those who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Feast of Albert Barnes (December 1)   6 comments

Above:  Albert Barnes

Image in the Public Domain

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ALBERT BARNES (DECEMBER 1, 1798-DECEMBER 24, 1870)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Abolitionist, and Alleged Heretic

Public sentiment controls the land; public sentiment will ultimately control the world.  All that error, tyranny, and oppression demand is a strong public sentiment in their favor; all that is necessary to counteract their influence is that public sentiment be right.

Albert Barnes, The Church and Slavery (1857), 7

When that book rolled off the presses, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that African Americans were not citizens and therefore lacked all constitutional rights.  In 1857 vocal defenders of slavery who quoted the Bible made the authority of scripture one of the pillars of their arguments.  That year, the United States was moving toward the Civil War.

Barnes was humble yet not timid.  He, a man of this time and his Evangelical subculture in some ways, for better and worse, was also ahead of his time in other ways.  He expressed his opinions boldly and acted on them in the same manner.  Targets included dancing, saloons, slavery, and High Church Episcopalians.  Our saint counterbalanced that with a tolerant attitude regarding a range of theological opinions, however.

Barnes comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Our saint, born in Rome, New York, on December 1, 1798, was a skeptic who converted.  He became a Christian under the influence of the Second Great Awakening, while he was a student at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York.  Our saint’s original plans had been to become an attorney.  He matriculated at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1820 instead.  Barnes graduated in 1824 and became a minister the following year.

Barnes, ordained by the Presbytery of Elizabethtown in 1825, served in only two congregations.  While in Morristown, New Jersey (1825-1830), he helped to close all the taverns in town.  In 1829 our saint became both prominent and controversial in his denomination, the old Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1789-1838), with a sermon, “The Way to Salvation.”  In this sermon Barnes made a number of controversial statements, not the least of which was his rejection of Original Sin.  This position aligned him with Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy, but separated him from most of Western Christianity.

Barnes served in the First Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1830 to 1870.  With greater prominence came more theological scrutiny.  Our saint, accused of heresy, won acquittal at the General Assemblies of 1831 and 1836, both times with votes from delegates belonging to the New School wing of the denomination.  Both acquittals caused much consternation in the Old School.  During the 1830s Barnes wrote and published an internationally best-selling series of Biblical commentaries marked by both erudition and accessibility.  Ministers and Sunday School teachers were the main audiences.   In Notes on the Epistle to the Romans (1835) Barnes wrote in opposition to Original Sin (without using that term) in the note on 5:9.   The presbytery suspended our saint from his pulpit and declared the volume dangerous.  The General Assembly of 1836 not only dismissed those charges but also restored him to his pulpit.  These two acquittals hastened the Old School-New School schism of 1838.

Barnes minced no words regarding slavery, although he changed his mind.  In An Inquiry into the Scriptural Views of Slavery (1846), our saint acknowledge a range of views regarding slavery in the Bible yet concluded that the principles of Christ vis-à-vis slavery led to abolition of slavery.  Therefore, according to Barnes, all pro-slavery Biblical principles were not applicable to chattel slavery in the 1800s.  In The Church and Slavery (1857), Barnes took a harder line; those pro-slavery Biblical principles never applied in any circumstances; slavery was wrong at all times and in all places.  The 1858 schism in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (New School), resulting in the formation of the (Southern) United Synod of the Presbyterian Church, resulted from an effort by Barnes et al. to discipline slaveholders in 1856.  The consensus of the delegates to the General Assembly of 1856 was merely to express official displeasure with slavery.  Even that mild measure was too much for some.

Historical Note:  The Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Old School) divided in 1861, with the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America forming at First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia, in December 1861.  The United Synod of the Presbyterian Church merged into the Confederate Church in 1864.  The Confederate Church renamed itself the Presbyterian Church in the United States in December 1865.  The remaining, national (“Northern”) bodies reunited as the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1870.  Ultimately, the Southern and national (“Northern”) bodies wound up together again, in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1983. 

One does need far more than a flow chart to keep track of Presbyterian schisms and mergers in the United States of America.

Barnes, who served as the Moderator of the New School General Assembly in 1851 and as the President of the Pennsylvania Bible Society from 1858 to 1870, did not reject science out of hand.  Early during the controversy over Evolution our saint made a distinction between the Bible and the interpretation thereof.  He insisted that science may contradict an interpretation of scripture without running afoul of the Bible.

Our saint, open to dialogue and cooperation with others (especially Congregationalists and other Calvinists) of whom Old School Presbyterians disapproved, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 24, 1870.  He was 71 years old.

One may, of course, disagree with Barnes on more than one issue; I, an Episcopalian fond of “smells and bells,” do.  That is fine, as our saint would agree.  One ought to recognize the moral courage Barnes showed as he fought the good fight against slavery while one differs with him on other matters.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 19, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES ARTHUR MACKINNON, CANADIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

THE FEAST OF ALFRED RAMSEY, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHARITIE LEES SMITH BANCROFT DE CHENEZ, HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM PIERSON MERRILL, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SOCIAL REFORMER, AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant to us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Albert Barnes, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Martha Coffin Pelham Wright, Lucretia Coffin Mott, James Mott, Abigail Lydia Mott Moore, and Lindley Murray Moore (November 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Partial Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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MARTHA COFFIN PELHAM WRIGHT (DECEMBER 25, 1806-1875)

sister of

LUCRETIA COFFIN MOTT (JANUARY 3, 1793-NOVEMBER 11, 1880)

wife of

JAMES MOTT (JUNE 20, 1788-JANUARY 26, 1868)

brother of

ABIGAIL LYDIA MOTT MOORE (AUGUST 6, 1795-SEPTEMBER 4, 1846)

wife of

LINDLEY MURRAY MOORE (MAY 31, 1788-AUGUST 14, 1871)

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U.S. QUAKER ABOLITIONISTS AND FEMINISTS

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It is time that Christians were judged more by their likeness to Christ than their notions of Christ.  Were this sentiment generally admitted, we should see such tenacious adherence to what men deem the opinions and doctrines of Christ while at the same time in every day practice is exhibited anything but a likeness to Christ.

–Lucretia Coffin Mott, at the Cherry Street Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 30, 1849; quoted in A Year with American Saints (2006), 19

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One of my goals in renovating this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is to emphasize relationships and influences.  This post is an example of that approach.  Lucretia Coffin Mott comes to my Ecumenical Calendar via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  The other saints come to my Ecumenical Calendar via relationship to or via cooperation with her.

Lucretia and Martha Coffin were daughters of Thomas Coffin (a merchant; died in 18150 and Anna Folger.  Lucretia (born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on January 3, 1793) and Martha (born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 25, 1806) studied in Quaker schools.  Lucretia, a student then a teacher at Nine Partners Boarding School, Millbrook, New York, became an active feminist when she noticed the discrepancy in pay for men and women performing the same work.  Martha moved with her family to Philadelphia, where she attended Quaker schools.  Lucretia and her fiancé, James Mott, a former teacher at Nine Partners, joined her family in Philadelphia in 1811.  The couple had five children, all moral and social reformers.

James Mott, born in North Hampstead, Long Island, New York, on June 20, 1788, was a cradle Quaker.  He was a son of Anne Mott (née Mott; 1768-1852) and Adam Mott (1762-1839), superintendent of Nine Partners Boarding School.  He and Lucretia were teachers at Nine Partners when they fell in love.  They moved to Philadelphia in 1813.  In that city James became a partner in Thomas Coffin’s nail business.  Then, in 1822, our saint went into the textiles business.  His involvement in selling cotton gave way to selling wool, for James was an abolitionist.  He, as a conscientious merchant, joined the free produce movement, which boycotted all goods slaves produced.

James had a younger sister, Abigail Lydia Mott, born in Caw Bay, Long Island, New York, on August 6, 1795.  She studied at Nine Partners Boarding School and, in 1811, became a teacher there.  Two years later, she married fellow teacher Lindley Murray Moore.

Lindley Murray Moore hailed from Nova Scotia.  The Moores, of Rahway, New Jersey, were Loyalists during the American Revolutionary period.  They were also Quakers, so they refused to engage in violence.  They also refused to assist the rebellion against the British Empire.  With the seizure of their property in 1779, Samuel Moore (1742-1822) and his family moved to Nova Scotia.  Later they relocated to Upper Canada (Ontario).  Lindley, born in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, on May 31, 1788, bore the name of Lindley Murray (1745-1826), a Quaker, a Loyalist, and a friend of his father.

Lucretia became a Quaker minister in 1821.  Husband James supported her in her traveling and speaking.  Lucretia spoke against slavery, called for its abolition, and supported the free produce movement.  In the late 1820s, when the Hicksite Quakers broke away from the Orthodox Quakers, Lucretia and James Mott became Hicksite Quakers.

Abigail and Lindley Moore left Nine Partners Boarding School in 1813.  They settled in Rahway, New Jersey, where they opened the first of a series of schools they founded.  Over the years they had eight children, three of whom did not live to see their fourth birthday.  The most famous of the Moore children was Edward Mott Moore (1814-1902), an Episcopalian, a surgeon, a professor of surgery, and the father of the public parks system in Rochester, New York.  Abigail and Lindley moved to Flushing, New York, in 1820.  They opened a school, of course.  Eleven years later, they relocated to Rochester, New York, where they became farmers.

Martha Coffin married twice.  In 1824 she married Peter Pelham (1785-1826).  The couple moved to Tampa, Florida, where Peter died.  Martha was a nineteen-year-old widow raising an infant daughter.  The following year, Martha moved to Aurora, New York, where she taught writing and painting at a Quaker girls’ school.  Our saint became engaged to Julius Catlin, who died in 1828.  She married attorney and fellow Quaker David Wright the following year.  The couple had five children, including Ellen Wright (1840-1931), a suffragette who married William Lloyd Garrison, Jr. (1838-1909) in 1864.

Lucretia and James Mott were active abolitionists.  They helped to found both the American Anti-Slavery Society and the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833.  The latter, extant until 1870, was a multiracial organization whose members included Angelina Grimké Weld (1805-1879) and Charlotte Forten, grandmother of Charlotte Forten Grimké (1837-1914).  Lucretia managed to remain active on the lecture circuit while performing certain crucial domestic tasks.  She also resisted violence.  In 1838, at the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, a mob set the convention hall on fire.  The delegates (white and African-American) linked arms and passed through the mob.  The Motts were delegates to the World Anti-Slavery Convention (1840), in London, England.  Lucretia was one of six female delegates.  They faced exclusion, due to their gender.

Abigail and Lindley Moore were also active abolitionists.  They, active in the Farmington Annual Meeting (Orthodox), were the clerks of the women’s and men’s meetings, respectively, in 1836.  They helped to found the Rochester Anti-Slavery Society in 1838.  Furthermore, Abigail wrote novels, essays, and biographies in which she addressed slavery and the education of females.  She died in Rochester on September 4, 1846.  She was 51 years old.

Martha and David Wright moved to Auburn, New York, in 1839.  Both of them were conductors of the Underground Railroad.

The issue of rights and who should have them linked abolitionism and feminism.  Lucretia and Martha understood that connection, for they and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the Seneca Falls Convention at Seneca Falls, New York (July 19-20, 1848).  The delegates called for legal equality of men and women, as in the fields of voting and property rights.

Lindley Moore, as a widower, returned to education and continued his social activism.  He served as the President of Haverford College (1848-1850) then taught high school.  Our saint also served as the Vice President of the Rochester Temperance Society and financed the education of newly freed slaves in Upper Canada.  He died in Rochester on August 14, 1871.  He was 83 years old.

Lucretia and James Mott continued to make lasting contributions to society.  In 1864 they helped to found Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania.  Lucretia helped to found the American Equal Rights Association two years later.

James Mott died of pneumonia in Brooklyn, New York, on January 26, 1868, while visiting a daughter.  He was 79 years old.

Martha Wright died in Auburn, New York, on 1875.  She was 70 years old.

Lucretia Mott died in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, on November 11, 1880.  She was 87 years old.

These members of the Mott-Moore-Wright extended family followed a high standard of public morality.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 27, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF NICHOLAS FERRAR, ANGLICAN DEACON AND FOUNDER OF LITTLE GIDDING; GEORGE HERBERT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND METAPHYSICAL POET; AND ALL SAINTLY PARISH PRIESTS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANNE LINE AND ROGER FILCOCK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GABRIEL POSSENTI, PENITENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUIS DE LEON, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants

Martha Coffin Pelham Wright,

Lucretia Coffin Mott,

James Mott,

Abigail Lydia Mott Moore,

and Lindley Murray Moore,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Arthur Tappan, Lewis Tappan, Samuel Eli Cornish, and Theodore S. Wright (November 5)   4 comments

Above:  Emancipation, 1865

Image in the Public Domain

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ARTHUR TAPPAN (MAY 22, 1786-JULY 23, 1865)

U.S. Congregationalist Businessman and Abolitionist

brother of

LEWIS TAPPAN (1788-1873)

U.S. Congregationalist Businessman and Abolitionist

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SAMUEL ELI CORNISH (1795-NOVEMBER 6, 1858)

African-American Presbyterian Minister, Abolitionist, and Journalist

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THEODORE SEDGWICK WRIGHT (1797-MARCH 25, 1847)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist

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One of my purposes in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  That is a goal I can accomplish in more than one way.  I can, for example, write posts that link into each other.  Sometimes doing so is the option that provides the most clarity in the presentation of material.  I can also write about more than one person in one post.  This post uses both methods.

The Tappan brothers–Arthur and Lewis–were a remarkable team from a remarkable family.  They were sons of Benjamin Tappan (Sr.) and Sarah Homes, and brothers of Benjamin Tappan (Jr.) (1773-1857), a United States Senator from Ohio (1839-1845).  David Tappan (1752-1803), theologian and Hollis Chair at Harvard Divinity School, was an uncle.  Arthur (born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on May 22, 1786) and Lewis (born in Northampton in 1788) worked in the family business (a dry goods store) before blazing their own paths, mostly together.  The family was Congregationalist.  Lewis, as a young man, converted to Unitarianism, but Arthur persuaded him to return to Trinitarian faith in 1827.

Arthur and Lewis were longtime business partners.  In 1826, in New York City, they opened a silk importing business that became a victim of the Panic of 1837.  In 1827 the brothers founded The Journal of Commerce with Samuel Morse (1791-1872), the inventor of the Morse Code.  The Journal of Commerce functioned as a platform for frequently controversial social advocacy, such as appeals on behalf of the Amistad slaves in 1839-1841.  After the demise of the silk importing firm, the Tappan brothers opened the Mercantile Agency, the first commercial credit rating service, in 1840.

The Tappan brothers understood that the true value of money was what one did with it.  They used money to work for social reform and to sponsor African-American divinity students, for example.  In 1833 the brothers helped to found the American Anti-Slavery Society with William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Weld, et al.  Lewis had formerly favored emancipating the slaves then shipping all of them to overseas colonies, but had decided that the colonization movement was deficient.  Also in 1833, Arthur and Lewis helped to found Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, a school open to students regardless of race and gender.  In some ways the Tappan brothers were radical, according to the standards of their time; they favored racial mixing as a solution to racism.

Although the Tappan brothers were somewhat progressive, according to the standards of their time, regarding gender roles, they were conservative, according to the standards of their time, on the issue of women in leadership roles.  Arthur, President of the American Anti-Slavery Society from 1833 to 1840, left that organization in part over the insistence of William Lloyd Garrison, who linked the rights of African Americans to the rights of women, that women fill leadership roles.  The schism of 1840 resulted from a set of issues, including gender roles.  Other issues were institutional hostility to religion, as well as the desire of many abolitionists to focus narrowly on the abolition of slavery.  The Tappan brothers were two of the founders of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1840.

Samuel Eli Cornish and Theodore Sedgwick Wright also helped to found the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 and the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society seven years later.

Cornish was a minister and a journalist.  He, born free in Sussex County, Delaware, in 1795, studied at the Free African School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  His mentor was John Gloucester (1776-1822), the first African-American Presbyterian minister and the pastor of the First African Church, Presbyterian, Philadelphia.  Cornish, licensed to preach in 1819, assisted Gloucester and worked as a missionary to slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before he moved to New York City in 1821.  There he organized the New Demeter Presbyterian Church (later the First Colored Presbyterian Church), the first African-American Presbyterian congregation in the city and the second in the nation-state.  Cornish, ordained in 1822, led that congregation until 1828.  In 1827 he founded Freedom’s Journal, the first African-American newspaper.  Our saint used his editorial office to advocate for the abolition of slavery, as well as for the improvement of living conditions and educational opportunities for African Americans.  Cornish, editor in 1827 and 1829-1830, changed the name of the newspaper to Rights of All in 1829.  The publication ceased to exist in 1830.  Our saint returned to journalist in 1837, when he founded and began to edit Colored American (extant until 1839), which Arthur Tappan subsidized.

(Aside:  I have added John Gloucester to my list of people to consider for addition to this Ecumenical Calendar.)

Theodore Sedgwick Wright was a colleague of Cornish.  Wright, born free in New Jersey circa 1797, attended the African Free School in New York City.  He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary (Class of 1829); Arthur Tappan was one of his sponsors.  With Arthur Tappan’s help, Wright became the first African-American man to graduate from a theological seminary in the United States.  Wright followed in Cornish’s footsteps as the pastor of the First Colored Presbyterian Church, New York City, from 1833 to 1847.  Wright also worked as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, of which Cornish was a pioneer.  Both ministers were members of the New York Committee on Vigilance, associated with the Underground Railroad.  Wright, who also worked with James Pennington (1897-1870), an African-American Congregationalist then Presbyterian minister, and an abolitionist, once opposed the use of violence as an antislavery tactic.  In 1843, however, Wright called for slave insurrection.  The slaves were never going to gain by freedom by asking for it politely, after all.

Wright, who married Adeine Turpin in 1837, died in 1847.  He was about 50 years old.

Cornish married Jane Livingston in 1824.  The couple had three children.  Jane (the wife) died in 1844.  Two daughters died at the age of 22 years–Sarah in 1846 and Jane in 1855.  Perhaps William, the son, survived his father.

Cornish remained active until the end of his life.  He, a missionary in New York City, Philadelphia, and Newark, helped Lewis Tappan et al found the American Missionary Society in 1846.  Cornish also founded Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, New York City, that year.  Our saint, an opponent of both the colonization movement and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, moved to Brooklyn in 1855.  There he died, aged about 63 years, on November 6, 1858.

The Tappan brothers lived long enough to see the end of race-based slavery in the United States.  Arthur, aged 79 years, died on July 23, 1865.  Lewis, aged about 85 years, died in 1873.

Had the derogatory and socially and politically regressive term “Social Justice Warrior” existed during the lifetimes of these saints, many would have accused Arthur Tappan, Lewis Tappan, Samuel Eli Cornish, and Theodore Sedgwick Wright of being Social Justice Warriors.  Certainly many would have accused William Lloyd Garrison and members of the Weld-Grimké family of being Social Justice Warriors.  These saints were actually moral giants who got more right than they got wrong, and who left the United States and the world better than they found both.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants

Arthur Tappan,

Lewis Tappan,

Samuel Eli Cornish, and

Theodore Sedgwick Wright,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Theodore Weld, Angelina Grimke Weld, Sarah Grimke, Francis J. Grimke, and Charlotte Grimke (November 4)   4 comments

Above:  A Partial Grimké-Weld Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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THEODORE DWIGHT WELD (NOVEMBER 23, 1803-FEBRUARY 3, 1895)

U.S. Congregationalist then Quaker Abolitionist and Educator

husband of

ANGELINA EMILY GRIMKÉ WELD (FEBRUARY 20, 1805-OCTOBER 26, 1879)

U.S. Presbyterian then Quaker Abolitionist and Feminist

sister of

SARAH MOORE GRIMKÉ (NOVEMBER 26, 1792-DECEMBER 23, 1873)

U.S. Episcopalian then Quaker Abolitionist and Feminist

aunt of

FRANCIS JAMES GRIMKÉ (NOVEMBER 4, 1852-OCTOBER 11, 1937)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Civil Rights Activist

husband of

CHARLOTTE LOUISE BRIDGES FORTEN GRIMKÉ (AUGUST 17, 1837-JULY 23, 1914)

African-American Abolitionist and Educator

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Lawless ruffians may keep the Negro away from the polls by shotguns; and by unrighteous laws and intimidation may shut him out of first-class cars, but there is no power by which all the combined forces of evil in the South can keep him from approaching the throne of grace.  Here is one thing, thank God, that this Negro-hating spirit cannot do,–it cannot prevent him from praying.

–Francis James Grimké, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (New York:  Church Publishing, 2006), 349

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The Weld-Grimkés, a remarkable family, did much for the cause of social justice.

MEET THEODORE WELD

Theodore Dwight Weld, born in Hampton, Connecticut, on November 23, 1803, was an abolitionist and an educator.  He, raised a Congregationalist, studied at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, from 1820 to 1822.  He had to leave the school because of bad eyesight, however.  Our saint, a son of Elizabeth Clark (Weld) and the Reverend Ludovicus Weld, came from a socially conscious family.  Brother Ezra Greenleaf Weld (1801-1874), a daguerreotype photographer by profession, was also an abolitionist.  Young Theodore traveled in the United States for several years after leaving Phillips Academy; he witnessed slavery in the South.  In 1825 he moved with his family to Pompey, in upstate New York.

Weld became an abolitionist.  This transformation occurred during his time as a student at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York.  Influential figures in our saint’s life included William Wilberforce (a British politician largely responsible for the abolition of slavery in that empire) and Charles Finney (1792-1875), a prominent American evangelist and abolitionist, who, unfortunately, considered the bulk of the classics of English literature, from William Shakespeare to Sir Walter Scott, blasphemous.  After Hamilton College young Theodore left for Oneida, New York, and for the Oneida Manual Labor Institute, specifically.  In 1831 brothers Arthur Tappan (1786-1865) and Lewis Tappan (1788-1873), businessmen, abolitionists, and socially conscious philanthropists, hired our saint as an agent for the Society for Promoting Manual Labor in Literary Institutions.  In that capacity he traveled widely and spoke regarding manual labor and moral reform.

Later, as a student at Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, Weld continued his abolitionist activism.  He led the “Lane Rebels,” a group of pupils who openly discussed the abolition of slavery and helped to liberate 1,500 slaves in that city.  In 1834, when the trustees of the seminary imposed a gag rule regarding slavery, Weld and the bulk of the student body transferred to the Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.  Our saint left Oberlin College later that year, however, and became an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, founded the previous year.  People he converted to the cause included Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) and Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887).  Weld lectured until 1836.  That year he shifted his focus to writing.  Weld edited The Emancipator until 1840.  In 1836 he also met Angelina Emily Grimké, whom he married two years later.

MEET SARAH AND ANGELINA GRIMKÉ

Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Emily Grimké were two of the most remarkable women of the nineteenth century.  They, born in Charleston, South Carolina, came from a large, prominent, and wealthy family.  The Grimkés, of Huguenot ancestry, belonged to the planter class; they owned slaves.  The father, John Grimké (1752-1819), held various statewide political offices.  The mother, Mary Smith (Grimké), guided the daughters’ educations according to gender norms, meaning a narrower curriculum for young women.  Sarah, born in 1792, manifested her revolutionary tendencies starting in childhood; she, in violation of state law, taught slaves to read.  Angelina, also rebellious, refused confirmation in The Episcopal Church when, at the age of 13 years, she refused to recite the creed.  She became a Presbyterian eight years later.

Sarah left The Episcopal Church and converted to Quakerism.  In 1819 she accompanied her dying father to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to consult Dr. Philip Syng Physick (1768-1837), “the Father of American Surgery.”  She remained in the City of Brotherly Love for several months after the father died.  During that sojourn Sarah became a Quaker.  She returned to Charleston briefly before going back to Philadelphia.

Angelina was a devout Presbyterian for a few years.  She taught Sunday School at her church and offered worship services for the family’s slaves.  Our saint also opposed the Peculiar Institution of the South.  Chattel slavery was, she insisted, contrary to Biblical ethics and human rights.  Angelina’s open abolitionism led to her expulsion from her congregation in 1829.  She, already under the influence to join Sarah in Philadelphia and become a Quaker, did so.

The Grimké sisters were radical, even relative to the standards of other radicals of their time.  The sisters, suffragettes who sought gender equality in the Religious Society of Friends, where they should have found it, given the doctrine of the Inner Light, were too revolutionary for the leaders of the Orthodox Quakers in Philadelphia.  When the sisters addressed audiences of men and women, Angelina and Sarah violated deeply held social mores and gender norms.  When the sisters criticized Northern allies of Southern slaveholders and of slavery in general, Angelina and Sarah offended many.  When the sisters addressed the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1838, they linked the rights to women to the rights of African Americans.  In so doing, the sisters contributed to a controversy that divided the abolitionist movement.

Angelina and Sarah wrote against slavery, too.  Angelina wrote for The Liberator, founded and edited by fellow abolitionist and feminist William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879).  One of her major works was “An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South” (1836.  Another important work was Letters to Catharine Beecher (1838).  Catharine Esther Beecher (1800-1878), sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1812-1896), was an educator who pioneered kindergarten in the United States.  Catharine Beecher. despite her progressiveness vis-à-vis early childhood education, was conservative in other ways.  She, for example, opposed the participation of women in the abolitionist movement, for she accepted female subordination to males.  Angelina disagreed strongly.  Sarah’s works included the Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States (1836) and Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women (1838).

WELD-GRIMKÉ FAMILY ACTIVITIES

The Grimké sisters met Theodore Weld in 1836.  Sarah and Angelina were in New York City for a training conference for antislavery agents.  Weld married Angelina and converted to Quakerism in 1838.  The couple and Sarah moved to a farm in Bellville, New Jersey, and became a team.  All three published American Slavery As It Is:  Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses (1839), a work that influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852).

Angelina and Theodore had three children:  Charles Stuart Weld, Theodore Grimké Weld, and Sarah Grimké Weld.

Theodore continued his abolitionist activities until about 1844.  He helped to found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1840, became active with the Liberty Party, and advised the antislavery wing of the Whig Party.  He also helped Representative (and former President of the United States) John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) resist the antislavery gag rule (1836-1844) in effect in Congress.

Theodore, Angelina, and Sarah devoted much of their lives to education.  Theodore and Angelina opened to schools–one in Eagleswood, Perth Amboy, New York (1854), and the other in their new home, Hyde Park, Boston, Massachusetts (1864).  These schools were open to students regardless of race or gender.

When ill health forced Angelina into domestic life, Sarah served as her primary caregiver.

THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN BRANCH OF THE HENRY GRIMKÉ FAMILY

Henry Grimké (1801-1852), a brother of Angelina and Sarah, had two families.  After his wife, Selina Simmons (Grimké) died in 1843, Henry started a second family with slave Nancy Weston (1810-1895), who was, in all ways except the legal one, his second wife.  They had three children:  Archibald Henry Grimké (1849-1930), John Grimké (1852-1918), and Francis James Grimké (1852-1937).  Henry’s dying instruction to his son and heir, E. Montague Grimké (1832-1896), was to treat Nancy, Archibald, John, and Francis like family.  Montague did the opposite.  In 1860 he claimed them as slaves–his property.  He never provided sufficient financial support for them, but he did sell Francis.  Archibald had to hide from his half-brother during the Civil War.  After the war, the three brothers studied in schools the Freedmen’s Bureau operated.

Theodore, Angelina, and Sarah learned of the existence of the African-American cousins in the late 1860s.  The Weld-Grimkés recognized their newly found relatives and offered education to the three sons, their nephews.  Archibald and Francis accepted; they graduated from Lincoln University in 1870 then continued their educations.  John, however, remained in Charleston with his mother.

Archibald eventually became an attorney, diplomat, journalist, and intellectual.  In 1909 he and brother Francis helped to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).  Archibald’s daughter, Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958), became an educator, a playwright, a journalist, and a figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

EXUENT

Sarah died on December 23, 1873.  She was 81 years old.

Angelina died on October 26, 1879.  She was 74 years old.

Theodore died on February 3, 1895.  He was 91 years old.

FRANCIS JAMES GRIMKÉ AND CHARLOTTE LOUISE BRIDGES FORTEN GRIMKÉ

Francis James Grimké graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1878 and became a Presbyterian minister.  That year he also married Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten.

Charlotte Forten was one of the great women of history.  She, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 17, 1837, came from a prominent African-American family involved in the abolitionist movement.  Her parents were Robert Forten and Virginia Wood (Forten).  Our saint, educated in Salem, Massachusetts, joined the female Anti-Slavery Society there.  She spoke in public and met famous abolitionists, such as William Lloyd Garrison.  Charlotte made history in 1856; she became the first African-American hired to teach white pupils in Salem’s public schools.  She returned to Philadelphia two years later.  While there, Garrison published some of her poetry in The Liberator.  Charlotte taught freedmen on St. Helena’s Island, South Carolina, as part of the Port Royal Experiment, during the Civil War.  After the war she worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.  After 1873, she was a clerk, until she married Francis.  Their only child, Theodora Cornelia Grimké, lived for about five months in 1880.

Francis was the pastor of two congregations.  He spent 1886-1889 at Laura Street Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Florida, a tenure preceded and succeeded at Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.  He, minister there for more than half a century, retired in 1928.  Charlotte worked in her husband’s churches.

Francis was also active beyond the parish level.  He worked with Alexander Crummell (1819-1898), with whom he helped to found the American Negro Academy in 1897.  Francis also opposed Booker T. Washington‘s gradualist approach to ending segregation, sought to end lynching, advocated for African Americans’ full suffrage, and worked for educational equality of access for African Americans.

Charlotte died on July 23, 1914.  She was 78 years old.

Francis brought his widowed brother, Archibald, and his niece, Angelina, into his household.  Angelina and her uncle were caregivers to Archibald, who died in 1930.

Francis died in Washington, D.C., on October 11, 1937.  He was 85 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 24, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ORDINATION OF FLORENCE LI-TIM-OI, FIRST FEMALE PRIEST IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANGELA MERICI, FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY OF SAINT URSULA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF PODLASIE, 1874

THE FEAST OF SAINT SURANUS OF SORA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants

Theodore Dwight Weld,

Angelina Grimké Weld,

Sarah Moore Grimké,

Francis James Grimké, and

Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten Grimké,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of James W. C. Pennington (October 21)   1 comment

Above:  James William Charles Pennington

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES WILLIAM CHARLES PENNINGTON (1807-OCTOBER 20, 1870)

African-American Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, Educator, and Abolitionist

Born James Pembroke

James W. C. Pennington comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (New York:  Church Publishing, 2006), the most recent addition to my library.

James Pembroke was a slave in Maryland.  Initially his father (Brazil Pembroke) and mother belonged to different masters.  Then the family became the property of just one of the two masters, until another slave owner purchased our saint’s brother.  Young James, trained as a stone mason then as a blacksmith, received many beatings as he grew up.  At the age of 20 years our saint escaped to freedom in Pennsylvania.

Quakers–namely William Wright–helped our saint for six months in Pennsylvania.  Wright took the fugitive slave into his home.  Quakers educated our saint, influenced him to convert to Christianity, and helped him to move farther north, first to the Brooklyn-Long Island area, via the Underground Railroad.

Our saint, who assumed the name “James William Charles Pennington,” taught school on Long Island before moving to New Haven, Connecticut.   He worked toward becoming a minister while auditing courses at Yale College, which, due to a racist admission policy, never admitted him as a student.  Pennington, ordained a minister, accepted a call in 1838; he became the pastor of a Congregational church in New Town, on Long Island.  That year he also presided at the wedding ceremony of Frederick Douglass and Anna Murray.

From 1840 to 1848 Pennington served as the pastor of the Talcott Street Congregational Church, Hartford, Connecticut.  It was a congregation of African Americans, most of whom were active in the community.  Our saint opened a parochial school, for local public schools did not admit African Americans.  Pennington, active in efforts to help the slaves aboard the Amistad, also worked against racism domestically.  He advocated for opportunities for African Americans to improve their economic opportunities.  Our saint also spoke out for the right of African-American men to vote in Connecticut.  Furthermore, he condemned racism within the abolitionist movement, to which he belonged.  That criticism changed the minds of some white people for, starting, in the 1840s, Pennington received and accepted invitations to preach in white churches.  Our saint also wrote the Textbook of the Origin and History, Etc., Etc. of the Colored People (1841), which countered racist claims and justifications for chattel slavery.  The friend of William Lloyd Garrison served as the President of the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Convention (1840f) and as a delegate to the global anti-slavery convention in 1843.  Our saint, who wrote for abolitionist newspapers and edited and published two such newspapers, also advocated for moral character and conduct, especially as part of the temperance movement.

Penningon continued to serve God and work for social improvement during his final years.  He, pastor of the First Colored Presbyterian Church, New York, New York (1848-1856), returned to Hartford (1856-1857) before spending years as a traveling minister.  The Civil War compelled him to abandon his pacifism and recruit African-American soldiers for the United States Army.  After the Civil War our saint ministered among former slaves in the Presbytery of Florida.  He, aged about 63 years, died in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 20, 1870.

Pennington spent most of his life serving God, challenging social injustice, and attempting (with some success) to change the minds of racists.  The main obstacle with which he had to contend was the truth of the punchline from an anachronistic joke about the number of psychiatrists necessary to change a light bulb:  only one person is necessary, but the light bulb must want to change.  Those who did not desire to abandon their racism remained entrenched in it.  Pennington, however, presented the counter-argument effectively.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE TWELFTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHNSON, “THE GREAT MORALIST”

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN FURCHTEGOTT GELLERT, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, EDUCATOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELLA J. BAKER, WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF PAUL SPERATUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN BISHOP, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant James William Charles Pennington,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-26

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Legislating Morality   2 comments

Above:  Principles of the Prohibition Party, 1888

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-07977

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You can’t legislate morality.

That argument is objectively false.  First, a review of law-making reveals many examples of explicit appeals to morality in legislative proposals, many of which have become laws.  I argue that if someone has done something, doing it must be possible.  Second, all acts of legislation are examples of legislating morality.  One might legitimately question many of the moral codes informing much legislation, but the existence of those moral codes is objective reality.

In the United States of America perhaps the example most frequently cited to support the objectively false claim that one cannot legislate morality is the prohibition of liquor (1920-1933).  (Interestingly, the Eighteenth Amendment (1920) to the Constitution barred the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor, but not the consumption of it.  One could theoretically drink it legally so long as one did not purchase, manufacture, or transport it.  There were also exceptions in the law for sacramental wine, a large loophole.)  The failed experiment of Prohibition, rooted in morality, nativism, and xenophobia, actually serves best as an example of the law of unexpected consequences more than anything else.  I posit that, in the 1920s and 1930s, the most enthusiastic supporters of Prohibition were the bosses of organized crime, men profiting beyond the most extravagant dreams of avarice from opportunities the law created.

The real questions, then, are when legislating morality is more effective, when it is less effective, and when it is ineffective.  One might point (correctly) to the formal end of race-based chattel slavery via the Thirteenth Amendment (1865) to the Constitution of the United States of America as both necessary and morally correct.  Likewise, one might also point to all expansions of civil rights, from women’s suffrage to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the Voting Rights Act (1965) to fair housing laws and beyond.  Whenever discrimination is part of the law, part of the remedy must also be part of the law.  But to what extent?  The answer to that question can be difficult to discern.  Furthermore, although laws by themselves cannot change attitudes, they can change actions.  The change in actions can alter attitudes eventually.

Ultimately we in our societies–especially in the global West–need what the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking on April 4, 1967, called

a radical revolution of values.

We need to value people more than property, wealth, and, for lack of a better word, things.  We need to move beyond lip service to that proposition and change attitudes for the better, and therefore improve society.  If we do that, the need to legislate morality will decrease.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 29, 2018 COMMON ERA

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