Wilberforce Inspires Political Activists

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Feb 25, 2007 9:02 AM

I had the pleasure of seeing Amazing Grace the other night, and wanted to give you a few of my thoughts.

First, the movie is inspiring.  Those of us in the Pro-Life camp can find common ground with the British Parliamentarian who, for so long, failed to abolish a brutal practice.  His perseverance in the face of almost unanimous opposition emboldens us to fight on.

Sadly, I have been unable to track down my favorite line from the movie.  Everybody cites this line:

"You found God, sir?" inquires a butler. "I think He found me," replies the reinvigorated Wilberforce. 

While that is a fine line, my favorite bit of dialogue (which I'll have to paraphrase), occurs when anti-slave activists are trying to convince Wilberforce to remain an MP, and fight the slave trade (rather than joining the ministry):

"You have to choose between being a political activist or following God.  We submit to you that you can do both."

While I definitely think conservatives will appreciate this movie on a certain level, any political activist could probably derive validation from seeing it.  In fact, the Colorado Springs Gazette opines:

"But the film shows Wilberforce as more Barack Obama than Jerry Falwell. He’s an animal-rights activist and antiwar advocate. In one early scene, he demands that Britain extricate itself from “the American War,” citing the war’s high human cost. And, when Wilberforce champions abolition during wartime — this time with the French — he’s decried as unpatriotic."

From a marketing perspective, it's not a bad thing to have everybody thinking the movie validates their point of view.  At the end of the day, I think we're all better for having seen it, so I'm not to worried about that (on an indivisual basis).

But conservatives should work to make sure Wilberforce's legacy isn't co-opted by the Left.

If you've seen the movie, let us know your thoughts ...