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on legacies and lessons [Mar. 25th, 2007|12:20 pm]
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"By their works call him not heretic whose works attest
His faith in goodness by no creed confessed.
Whatever in love's name is truly done
To free the bound and lift the fallen one
Is done to Christ".--John Greenleaf Whittier

Today I am touring through the on-line sources to understand more about Methodist abolitionists in Texas. Not many took an active role. A schism over the issue of slavery created a "southern" Methodist Episcopal Church to which most Texans, being pro-slavery, flocked. During the Civil War, a Texas Confederate regiment was named the "Methodist Bulls".

Fear of abolitionism did play one part in a sordid chapter in local history. A probably-forged letter published in a Texas newspaper in 1860 sought to attribute john-brown-like insurrectionist tendencies to an abolitionist minister west of Fort Worth. Public fear ensued from the local "righteous populace". The minister, Anthony Bewley, had the wisdom to flee, but a posse caught him to the north and lynched him. Although most Texans were not slave-holders, few, including very few church folk, stood against slavery.

I think it's a good thing to remember these flaws in those who have gone before, as it is to remember the good things. I think it's also a good reminder that while we all examine the specks in one another's eyes, large logs can often go unremedied in the civic fabric. Heaven save us from debate over angels, when there are fairly palpable injustices to address before us.
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