When I saw the movie Twelve Years A Slave yesterday, I re-learned something I already knew: Christian Conservatives have used the Bible/religious doctrine to justify their Godless acts for a long, long time.
In scene after scene in the film--which is truly magnificent--white slave owners and overseers quoted Biblical scripture as they treated black slaves like animals. In a couple of scenes, the slave owner read from the Bible to his slaves in plantation church services. In essence, cherry picking scriptures that made the slaves believe God wants them to be obedient and subservient to their masters. Disgusting.
I was reminded of how Republicans in power today use the same "mind-control" technique to control the millions of misguided voters who often vote GOP against their own best interests and justify much of their hateful agenda against minorities, women, gays, science and the poor.
I'm a Christian and will continue to be one, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it sometimes weighs on me the way plantation Christianity was forced on my ancestors. Likewise, it weighs on me seeing how today's Republicans use religion to manipulate and control the willfully ignorant who make up a lot of their base. And those who use religion to manipulate their base includes black Republicans like Dr. Ben Carson.
On the way out of the theater after seeing Twelve Years A Slave, my 18-year-old son said to me: "White people who see that movie have got to feel very awkward."
I replied, "Can't see how they couldn't." But I was thinking, "Awkward doesn't begin to express how they should feel about the horrors slavery."
To be fair, however, there were quite a few whites in the theater with us. And frankly, as we were leaving, many of them were teary eyed and looking at us sheepishly, as though they felt guilty and wanted to reach out to us and say, "Sorry."
I highly recommend this powerful, highly-emotionally charged and factual film. But don't take young kids, there are scenes of graphic violence and rape...not to mention an abundance of foul language including the "N" word.
In my opinion, Twelve Years A Slave edges The Butler as Movie of the Year--but just barely. Both films are far more than just movies. They are "educational events" that remind us of extremely painful periods in American history, but also remind us that progress has been made on the race issue, although not nearly as much as we'd like to believe.
Go see this movie and say a prayer for those who mistreat others and abuse their rights in the name of God.