I feel compelled to write this piece in light of the conversations I've had with a few of my friends whom I know to be sensible, grounded and good people, regarding Senate Resolution 28, introduced by State Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, of the 14th District. While there are actually only a handful of basic arguments being presented in opposition, the thing I find most amazing is the number of detractors who haven't even bothered to take two minutes to actually read the resolution. This list includes party officials, TV hosts and even a few elected officials, which I guess shouldn't surprise me since we already know that many of them don't even read the bills they vote on most of the time. What's just as baffling to me however, is to hear politically active and astute friends, whom I know are well aware of the miserable failure of the mainstream media to report accurately, take the media narrative regarding this resolution and accept it as the foundation for opposing it.
What I would like to do here, if you will grace me with just a few minutes of your time and attention, is very briefly touch on the history of this issue and then respond to each of the basic objections from detractors. The text of the resolution is at the end so you may ponder my points in context.
In Thomas Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration of Independence he included a 28th grievance. Here is the first passage of that 28th grievance; "He [the king of Britain] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither." America's opposition to the King's support of slavery was part of that original document. It was removed to appease Georgia and South Carolina. So one could deduce that because of our two states' opposition, slavery was perpetuated another eighty seven years. Since the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the war, the state of Georgia, despite several attempts to do so by both parties, has failed to acknowledge this fact or make any official statement on the subject. For the vast majority of that time, all the way up until 2006, our state was controlled by the Democratic Party, but has been under Republican control since that time.
Argument One - I didn't own slaves, so I have nothing to apologize for!
While there are always crazy people out there, you would be hard pressed to find any sane Georgian today who would support slavery, but the sanctioning of it was the State of Georgia's official position at one time. I think we all agree that no one living in Georgia today owned a slave nor was a slave. So then, we can also agree that any apology by a living person would be worthless because we did not commit the sins of slavery and furthermore, we could not apologize to the people on which the sins were committed. Even more profound is the fact that man cannot apologize to man for sin. Man can only repent to God for sin and then only if he himself has committed that sin. The sin of slavery was committed on humans, but the sin itself was against God. That's exactly why this resolution states that "Whereas, while even the most abject apology cannot right the transgressions, injustices and oppressive acts of the past, the spirit of true repentance can promote reconciliation among all people and avert the repetition of past injustices for future generations;" Note that it states "the spirit of true repentance" and not actual repentance because we cannot repent of sins we did not commit. The spirit of repentance though, is humility. In 2nd Chonicles 7:14 it says "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." - This does not imply that all of the people committed a particular sin, but it does mean that a people can seek to do what is right in the eyes of God and restore his favor. Our state has long since turned from the wicked practice of slavery, but never has "the State," which previously sanctioned and condoned it, gone on record for all of posterity to proudly know that we do not and never will again, condone the enslavement or oppression of any race for any reason because we the people of this state truly believe that all men are created equal and no government has the authority to supersede our God given liberty.
Argument Two - How many times do we have to do this?
This one is pretty easy to answer. ONCE if we pass this resolution! As previously stated, despite several attempts in our history, some of which failed because they were not done in a spirit of healing and some of which failed, I believe, because of the people who were in power at the time. As recently as 2007, and the only time under Republican control, then State Senator, Eric Johnson lead the charge, but that attempt died for lack of support. We have an opportunity to put the issue to rest once and for all.
Argument Three - Why are we wasting time on this with more pressing issues at hand?
Another really easy one to answer. If we all agree with the words of this resolution, then it would take a total of 120 seconds to get it passed. That's 60 seconds for the Senate vote and 60 seconds for the House vote. That's it. The time being spent on this issue is being spent debating detractors, most of which have not even bothered to read the document.
Argument Four - What about the Cherokee, who else should we address?
That's the beauty of this resolution. Opposing enslavement, tyranny and oppression in all of their forms pretty well covers all of the past wrongs of governments run amok over the rights on man and harkens to future generations to heed the lessons of history. A reading of the resolution should eliminate this objection.
Argument Five - It's just a resolution, what difference does it make?
So was the Declaration of Independence.
So let's ask ourselves this simple question; Do we abhor enslavement and oppression of any kind, against any race, at any time, by anyone? That's what this resolution is and that's why I believe it is aptly named "The Freedom Resolution."
I also feel compelled to include in this article two endorsements of S.R.28 that I find particularly important and refreshing. One is the only announced candidate for Georgia Republican Party Chairman, BJ Van Gundy, whom I spoke with on Saturday. BJ asked me to include his name in the list of endorsements (which will be released by the end of the week here on this post.) The second endorsement is the Forsyth County Tea Party, which is in support of the resolution. They have sent an action item to their members encouraging them to contact legislators to voice their support.
Here is actual text of the resolution verbatim. Judge for yourself.
Freedom Resolution of 2013
Whereas, the United States of America was founded upon the self evident truth that all men are created equal and they are endowed, by God, with unalienable rights, and these rights are given equally to all men; and
Whereas, the Founding Fathers of this nation firmly held to the principle that these rights are to be exercised freely by all men, only abridged or constrained as necessary to protect these rights, according to the “laws of nature and of nature's God;” and
Whereas, any restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient to the preservation of these rights is an act of tyranny or oppression; and
Whereas, according to the Declaration of Independence, “governments are instituted among men to preserve these rights,” which include the right to live in liberty and free from oppression, and the right to pursue happiness; and
Whereas, according to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Georgia, it is the responsibility of our government to “secure the blessings of liberty” and “by relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God,” this government shall “transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty;” and
Whereas, our Founding Fathers recognized, through the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution, that our rights are given, not by the state, but by God and, although certain rights may not be enumerated in the Constitution of the United States, they belong to the people and are to be duly protected; and
Whereas, James Oglethorpe, who founded the colony of Georgia in 1732, recognized these universal truths and therefore banned the practice of slavery in that colony; and
Whereas, Georgia remained a free colony until 1751 when, under royal decree, the government departed from the long recognized principles of liberty and justice for all men and, under the growing pressure of plantation owners in other Southern colonies, legalized the involuntary servitude of certain races of humans; and
Whereas, during the convening of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates from Georgia opposed the condemnation of slavery, included in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, which was thereafter removed; and
Whereas, the practice of slavery was sanctioned, condoned and perpetuated through the laws of this state until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution on December 18, 1865; and
Whereas, while even the most abject apology cannot right the transgressions, injustices and oppressive acts of the past, the spirit of true repentance can promote reconciliation among all people and avert the repetition of past injustices for future generations;
Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED BY THE GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY that the State of Georgia hereby acknowledges, as was written in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, that the act of slavery is a “cruel warfare against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty,” and; therefore, this state expresses profound remorse and lamentations for the past practice of involuntary servitude instituted, condoned and maintained through the laws of this state; and
Be it further RESOLVED, that through the spirit of repentance and reconciliation “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom,” and the government of this state shall hitherto commit itself to the preservation and protection of the natural rights of all people, and to the propagation of the ideals of liberty and justice for all mankind.
Please join me in calling on your legislators to vote for S.R. 28.
I have prayerfully considered this and firmly believe it is right in the eyes of God.
Find your state senator HERE.
Hear the author of the resolution discuss it HERE.