Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wilberforce Kept Pressing the Conscience of the British People

In a release today from Christian Newswire, it is reported that IRD endorses the new film about the life of William Wilberforce.

IRD President Jim Tonkowich commented:

The story of William Wilberforce speaks loudly to Christians today. First, this movie could not have been made at a better time as we continue to fight modern slavery in the form of sex trafficking, indentured servitude, and forced labor.

Second, Wilberforce’s successful effort to end the slave trade in the midst of intense opposition points to a truth about cultural and social renewal: it takes many years. William Wilberforce made change possible by forging a social witness that connected orthodox Christian faith with public policy and cultural renewal.

Now this is an important point for the pro-life movement in Canada. If we have not been effective in Canada in advancing the cause of the unborn, it is probably because we have failed as a movement to forge “a social witness that connected orthodox Christian faith with public policy and cultural renewal.” Perhaps there are some (maybe many?) in our movement who do not see this as an important element of our pro-life strategy. If so, could it be that explains much of our failure?

Some see it as a mystery that a group of upper-class white men in the early 1800s would choose to abolish a trade that financially benefited the interests in the British Empire. The truth is that the orthodox Christian faith of men like Wilberforce and his associates compelled them to keep pressing the conscience of the British people and this ultimately led to political change.

Like the reformers of Wilberforce’s day, orthodox Christians have a place in today’s public policy arena. Their faith is what moves them to speak out against modern day slavery, the genocides in Darfur and southern
Sudan, the AIDS pandemic, and the right to life.


We should take note of Wilberforce’s convictions, approach and success and be sure to apply that wherever possible to our pro-life efforts in Canada. We must identify and employ the most effective means at pressing the conscience of the Canadian people.

Vote Life, Canada! says we must undertake a comprehensive and exhaustive strategy to engage church leaders.

This seems obvious….yet foundational.


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