June 9, 2009

One Voice that Changed the Lives of Millions

About a week ago, my family and i watched the film "Amazing Grace", and tonight i watched it again. I'd heard about it from friends of mine, and after hearing about it enough times i actually went and got it from the library, where it so conveniently happened to be sitting on the shelf during one trip where i was told to "go find a movie for us to watch tonight". I can't believe i hadn't taken the initiative to get it before.

"Amazing Grace" was truly, amazing. There was a preview for the movie before the movie (where all the rest of the previews are) and while waiting for my mom to come we watched the preview and i fell in love with "Amazing Grace" right then and there. I loved it even more after i actually watched the film.

"Amazing Grace" is the story of William Wilberforce, a Member of Parliament for 45 years and a tireless advocate of abolition, better education, the poor and countless other social reforms. The movie mentions 'Wilber's' other causes, but focuses on his goal of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. In fact, the release was planned to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the passing of the Parliamentary Bill banning the slave trade.

My mother was wondering why, given the amazing accomplishments that Wilberforce achieved, we had never heard a bit about him before, but a biography on Wilberforce that i just finished reading gives a good analogy. It's a bit like when there is a dreadful disease, the book said. It consumes the populace, destroying the nation, but then a wonderful cure is invented that so totally wipes out the disease that people no longer remember there was a disease, or even a cure for it.

I was and am very inspired by the story of William Wilberforce. He worked tirelessly and doggedly for the end of slavery, even to the point of ruining his health. never giving up, supported by a slow growing group of like-minded people and in the end was able to rid the Empire of slavery.

Of course, after watching "Amazing Grace", i naturally thought of the parallels between slavery and abortion. Abortion is a more silent issue than slavery in the US was, but in England during Wilberforce's time slavery was a 'silent issue' as well. Slaves had previously been emancipated in England, so most people had no idea what slavery was really like. Slaves were in the West Indies, far across the Atlantic Ocean and far removed from public knowledge. The average Englishman had no concept of the cruilties and the horrors of slavery. They were told that the Africans were far better off as slaves, much like we are told that women are far better off without "unplanned pregnancies".

It gives me hope; if one man in Parliment could bring a "silent issue" to the attention of the government and the public, eventually winning over opposition and ridding the empire of a 'peculiar insitution'... could we be rid of abortion by having at least one or two politicians dedicated to the pro-life cause in our government?

With amazing grace, i think we could.


  1. Great review Amanda! I knew you would enjoy the movie. Very inspiring.

  2. Something else i forgot to mention in my post that i read in the biography (also called Amazing Grace, i don't recall the author though).

    The author demonstrated that how at the time all this was going on, England was at a very, very low point morally speaking. Hardly anyone was religious, there was widespread drunkenness and consumption of gin - particularly amongst the poor - and the upper classes general attitude towards the poor was to ignore them.

    Wilberforce as i said in my post was concerned with more issues than just slavery, he called them "the reformation of manners", by that meaning habits. What i found fascinating is that the book i read said that Wilberforce is credited with making Victorian England what it was in terms of charity and good manners by bringing attention to the issues of child labor, poor working conditions, drunkenness, education of the poor and so on. By bringing attention and importance to those issues, he paved the way for the reformation of England's moral character.

    Just thought i'd mention that. ;)

  3. Wow, what an *amazing* post Rose! In all seriousness, Wilberforce's story is very inspiring, and it gives one so much hope for our own country. They say that it's not legislation that's going to end abortion, it has to be a change of heart in the people, which I think is happening. Apparently, 51% of Americans consider themselves pro-life. Huzzah! I hope we will be blessed with politicians like Wilberforce, who are bold enough to speak the truth, and stick to their beliefs.
    I think I'm going to have to read Wilberforce's biography! It sounds awesome.


  4. Yes, isn't that movie awesome! I just love it! Great review, and now I want to get that book! :)
    Very interesting about his improving manners. That is something I did not know. I wonder if we'd have books like "Pride and Prejudice" or "Emma" if it wasn't for that?

  5. Oh I love this movie! :) Very good review.

  6. For anyone interested, the biography i read is called Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the heroic campaign to end slavery by Eric Metaxas.

    @ Jo - Jane Austen lived from 1775 to 1817, while Wilberforece lived 1759 to 1833, so yes, we still would have Pride and Prejudice and Emma. ;)

  7. Actually what I meant was, I wonder if we would have them if he hadn't worked to improve manners in England. Perhaps they wouldn't be as refined and elegant if it wasn't for that. Do you know what I mean?


  8. That sounds like a great movie! I hope they have it at out library.

  9. All it takes is for someone to rise up and do something.


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