Here is a short history lesson in response to Frank Lovell’s letter on Dec. 3. The United States did not “lead the way” on the abolition of slavery. In one form or degree, slavery, and its abolition, has existed for thousands of years. In the Old Testament, even Moses in Deuteronomy gave a formal decree to set Hebrew slaves free after six years of labor.
From 1574 to 1863, the slave trade, slavery and/or serfdom was abolished in the Philippines, Spain, Lithuania, Japan, France, Malta, Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, the United Kingdom, Moldavia, Denmark, Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Belize, Guyana, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Austria.
By 1804, all northern U.S. states had abolished slavery. None of the border or southern states abolished slavery before the Civil War. Slavery was not officially banned until the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1865 — although Mississippi didn’t formally ratify it until 2013. Today, vestiges of slavery continue in this country through poverty, geography or the color of one’s skin.
Like Mr. Lovell, I too, remember when God was in our schools. I remember when Luke 2:1-20 was read in December over morning announcements. We stood and recited the Lord’s Prayer (a different version from the Catholic version of the prayer), even though our Jewish, Mormon, and Jehovah Witness classmates remained silent or left the room.
We stood and pledged allegiance to the flag, even though our Quaker and Mennonite neighbors did not say the pledge.
The U.S. is still a beacon of hope for millions around the world, but they will only be admitted if they are white enough, smart enough and rich enough.
Yes, let’s make American great again and exclude all those who don’t look like us, worship like us, talk like us, or think like us. Is that truly what will make America great?