Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Emanicpation Act - 1819

One of my favorite blogs is the Times Archive blog. Rose Wild goes through the archives of The Times (this is London, folks) and finds interesting, sometimes topical news reports from the past. Today the topic is - the emancipation act of 1819. This act of Parliament emancipated the Catholics. Here is what the Times had to say:

" The people of England - the intelligent, the reflecting, the mind-gifted majority of the people of England - have, through their representatives in Parliament, passed the great Bill for Catholic emancipation."

So began The Times's leading article on April 1, 1829. The historic vote had gone through Parliament on the Bill's third reading, with a majority of 320 to 142.

The Times went on to describe the dissenters in Parliament and in the general population.

"The out-of-doors resistance to this masterpiece of state policy may be resolved into two descriptions of men - whatever was least conversant with the living world, among the clergy; and of the laity, whatever was most ignorant, low, and brutal."

This seems to be so odd for us because we in the US think of emancipation as a slavery issue.We see that word - emancipation - and think of our own Civil War and the social struggles that we continue to battle today. Unfortunately this emancipation did not come in time to circumvent the strife this land still battles with between Catholic and Protestant believers.

Is it just the nature of the human existence that we must feel superior to those who do not look like us, or think like us, or believe like us? We see this on so many levels. In politics, our newspapers are full of the battles going on right now between those who sit on the left side of the aisle and those on the right - those who are trying to do something and those whose only response is "No". In our churches, we hear of division about so many issues. Those who like the traditional service and those who want a service more relevant to today's world. Those who struggle with beliefs that aren't exactly like their own.

All over the globe we have one local group trying to overcome their neighbor. I started to list some examples but there are so many and in every corner. In the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, South and Central America, Asia, Indonesia - it doesn't matter where you look. Sure, you might say that Europe and North America are exempt today because there is not open "warfare" going on but anyone living in these regions knows that the battles are just suppressed - under the surface.

Enough of this rant. I don't know the answers, I just wish it didn't have to be this way.

Spring has arrived to the heartland. I'm going out today to enjoy the sun and warmth. And to all, I bid you
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