Prayer Targets: Frederick Douglass; Black Pro-Lifers; Boy Scouts; Plymouth Vandals; Bethel Academy
February 19, 2020
Dear Praying Friends,
FRC's Senior Fellow for African American Affairs, Rev. Dean Nelson, is Executive Director of Human Coalition Action. An ordained minister, Dean is Chairman of the Douglass Leadership Institute and co-founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation. He was a Vice President at CareNet, led Global Outreach Campus Ministries, and served on Wellington Boone Ministries' strategic planning team, planting ministries in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and greater Washington, D.C. He and his wife Julia have raised three remarkable children. Dean writes and speaks often about Mr. Douglass and human life. Here is an article he wrote entitled, "Black History Heroes: Frederick Douglass on Life and Liberty":
Frederick Douglass, born this month in 1818, escaped slavery to become a leading abolitionist, writer and statesman. A captivating orator, Douglass told a crowd in his famous 1852 speech "What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?"
"I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation's destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes and at whatever cost."
Unlike too many social agitators today, Douglass recognized that the principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence could be both an extraordinary accomplishment and imperfectly implemented. An avid student of history and political science, Douglass knew that it would take time for America to live up to its own ideals and that the challenges to the principles of the Declaration would change with the times.
An ordained minister in the African American Episcopal denomination, Douglass understood that the ideas that all human beings were created with equal worth, and that all were endowed by God with the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" were indeed saving principles. He was true to those principles in his generation, defending them against the foes of life and liberty.
In his book My Bondage and My Freedom, Douglass explains what it is like when one's right to life and liberty are not respected in the law: "When I was treated exceedingly ill, when my back was being scourged daily; when I was whipped within an inch of my life-life was all I cared for. 'Spare my life' was my continual prayer." Might the children we allow to be slaughtered in the womb be praying similar prayers?
Slavery is no longer legal in America, but have we allowed confusion over the meaning of liberty to cloud our judgment regarding life? For Douglass, the ideals of life and liberty were not separated. Human life was special, and all innocent human lives deserved to be protected.
His powerful words in the face of such horrible suffering continue to inspire Americans today to end crimes against most vulnerable humans. A new generation of activists and statesmen now pick up that mantle in a 21st century abolition movement to end abortion. Not long ago, Arizona passed the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011, banning abortions based on race or gender. The law appropriately draws attention to the disproportionate numbers of black children killed by abortion.
While slavery was still the law of the land, Douglass called his fellow Americans to a higher standard: "In a composite nation like ours, as before the law, there should be no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no white, no black, but common country, common citizenship, equal rights and a common destiny." Today, we might well add that there should be no born and unborn. May the courage and tenacity of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass remind us to stand by our principles, to be true to them on all occasions, in all places, and against all foes at whatever our cost. (Dean Nelson, "Black History Heroes: Frederick Douglass on Life and Liberty," Human Coalition; view Dean's FRC Speaker Series event: Frederick Douglass: His Faith, His Family, Our Future; view Dean speaking at the Heritage Foundation's Race and America's Founding Principles: A Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Celebration)
In 1976, President Gerald Ford became the first American president to proclaim February "Black History Month," a practice followed by every president since. Its purpose is to highlight the amazing contributions that African American men and women have made to America, despite the enslavement, discrimination, civil rights violations, and many other challenges they have faced throughout America's history. While the political Left claims credit for the advancement of black Americans, a growing number of African American leaders point to liberal policies as having done more harm to American minorities than whatever good they have done. They point, instead, to faith, family, freedom, hard work, creativity, and character as the motivations and means for success no matter what one's skin color. Many black leaders and laymen are rethinking what they have been taught by the liberal Left. Many black Christians see the ravages of abortion and the horrors of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger's eugenics program and the Left's political support for the abortion of millions of black babies since 1973 (see last week's Prayer Targets). More and more Americans are re-examining their political, cultural, and economic convictions when they come face to face with the moral and spiritual implications of the abortion massacre that has taken place in America since Roe v. Wade. They seek to know their personal, moral, and spiritual responsibility. The political warfare we see in Washington and the states, is, at its core, moral and spiritual.
Black conservative Christians like Rev. Dean Nelson and others are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ or the principles of the Declaration or the character and leadership of so many great and successful black Christian leaders and former slaves like Mr. Frederick Douglass, who emerged from the civil war era to build their lives and families on biblical and economic principles far more like those enunciated by Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation rather than the socialistic ideas of the political Left. This growing movement of African American ministers, scholars, and activists -- men and women awed by the eternal truth the Word of God and the principles in the Declaration of Independence -- are the ones who will lead future generations of Americans into faith and godly success.
- Lord, thank you for the vast body of African American men and women, boys and girls who, through a history of pain and tears, are an essential, important, and integral part of our great nation today. We grieve over the history of slavery. Please move mountains to end every form of racism and unite us as Americans. Forgive us for the sins of our forefathers and the sins of racism that continue until this day. May the black man forgive the white man, and may all Americans be a united people. Stir your church to model the unity that every believer, whatever his or her race, color, and ethnicity has through the person of Jesus Christ and the truths of the gospel. Draw all men to Christ, who alone can produce that kind unity. Bless and help the growing movement among black American Christians who are informing and winning over their black brothers and sisters who profess the Christian faith but vote "pro-choice," to have a change of mind and heart. May every church in America hold fast to the sanctity of human life, knowing that every human being is knit together in his mother's womb, created in the very image of God. May Christians of all races champion the right to life for people, in and outside the womb. Just as the daughter of Baptist minister A.D. King, and her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, led the struggle for civil rights for all people in the 60's, may Dr. Alveda King, Rev. Dean Nelson, and the great movement of black leaders too numerous to name, prevail to win the struggle for the lives of all unborn children, whatever their color -- but especially for the unborn black babies who are disproportionately and systematically aborted by the likes of Planned Parenthood. Oh God, how long must this go on? Let no American say, "but I did not know!" (Pr 24:11-12; Jn 10:10; 13:34-35; Ch. 17; all; Rev 5:9; 7:9)
- May every individual, church, and denomination take on the cause of life in one way or another. May the majority black Christian denominations embrace the pro-life cause as did the Church of God in Christ (see COGIC). (1 Cor 15:58; 2 Cor 6:1-3)
Finally, please pray and promote prayer over these matters: 1) With local residents and God-fearing Americans preparing to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, the Mayflower Compact, and the colony that would become Massachusetts, vandals spray-painted the town Monday night, targeting important places including the famous Plymouth Rock. The vandals have not yet been caught; 2) Reports are that the Nashville Awakening is still widening across the state. This is what we need across America!; 3) Pray for our Stand Courageous Men's Conference in Naples, Florida on March 6 and 7; 4) "It's one of the saddest, most predictable 'I-told-you-so' moments of our generation. The Boy Scouts, where future moon walkers and presidents learned the virtues and value of leadership, has finally collapsed. Turns out, the decade of compromise hasn't been kind to the Scouts, who turned in their moral compass seven years ago to chase the approval of critics it could never win. Now, deep into the BSA's self-imposed identity crisis, the group is filing for bankruptcy -- an unhappy ending we all warned was coming." -- from Tony Perkins' Washington Update; 5) Bethel Christian Academy, which was denied participation in the Maryland school voucher program because it held to Christian values regarding sexual conduct and identity, has sued the state. They had not only been denied participation for their biblical beliefs but ordered to repay the state for vouchers used by needy, mostly minority students who had attended the school the previous year. U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Gallagher sided with the state by denying a motion filed on behalf of Bethel in Savage, Md. asking the court to allow the school to continue participating in Maryland's Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today program. Christian schools that hold to biblical norms have become the new target of the LGBT left.
So much more to pray about. Thank you for reading the Targets and taking time to pray!