Individuals from the political echelons of the United States of America have continually offered condemnation of the lot of Irish republicans at the hands of the British Government and criticised the Protestant and Unionist people of Northern Ireland as being guilty of this wrong-doing.
I believe that it may honestly be said that of all the nations that have directed their anti-British ire toward us, the USA has less room to talk than any!
This article was prompted by the playing of a very stirring ‘Negro Spiritual’ a few minutes ago on a US Christian radio station that I tune into constantly. It was the very well known and much loved, ‘Deep River’. Such is the pathos aroused in my heart by the words and the tune that I have never listened to it without thinking of the dreadful treatment many black people suffered during the centuries of slavery enforced upon them within the USA.
We may learn from various sources that ‘Deep River’ is a traditional African American spiritual which Henry Burleigh arranged along with many others in his collection of Jubilee Songs of the USA of 1916.
My home is over Jordan.
Deep River, Lord.
I want to cross over into campground.
my home is over Jordan.
I want to cross over into campground.
Oh, don’t you want to go,
To the Gospel feast;
That Promised Land,
Where all is peace?
Oh, deep River, Lord,
I want to cross over into campground.
As I listened to the song, I envisaged the longing of the converted slave for the rest and peace of heaven over on the other side of the deep river of death. Heaven was symbolised I believe by the campground of a revival gospel gathering which often times the slaves were allowed to attend. The rest from the forced labour, that was their life, must have been ‘heaven like’ for those that were allowed to join in the singing and worship.
Whatever images of lawlessness and antisocial behaviour that may be linked to elements of the black community in the USA, such as may be found amongst all the diverse racial groupings in the USA, indeed the world generally, the story of the enslaved members of the black races is a heart-breaking one.
Irrespective of whose account of the history of slavery you heed, the liberal ‘do-gooder’ who uses the sad era only to castigate all things American, or the denials and prevarications of some ‘conservative radicals’, whose purpose is to ‘whitewash’ that very degrading period of American history.
There are verses in God’s Word which I feel are central to this matter.
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring,” Acts 17:24-28.
The words, God “hath made of one blood all nations of men”, must condemn the act of bringing a fellow man into bondage and slavery. For my part, these words colour my view of the issue of the equality of men generally and the many years of slavery in the USA.
I would readily acknowledge that there would have been many slaves ‘owned’ by Christians, and that they would have endeavoured to make life as easy and happy as was possible under the sad circumstances endured by the slave. Such efforts by Christians, if they did take place, could not ease the distress suffered by those bought and sold as mere property, mere animals and daily treated as such. Such was this human slavery that it should have prompted such Christians to take whatever steps were necessary to liberate the slaves they ‘owned’!
It is this dark spot on American history that makes so offensive the arrival on our shores by the Kennedys and the Bidens and the Mitchells and the Clintons to lecture us and bombard us, as has been the case in recent days, on the faults and ills of Unionists and Protestants as recorded, blatantly but nevertheless falsely, in the many editions of Irish Republican ‘versions’ of Irish history!
A comparison of the history of black slavery in the USA and the controversy between Roman Catholic nationalists and Protestant unionists in Ireland, serves to underscore the hypocrisy of the criticism directed again Protestants by those Americans who side with Irish Nationalism and Republicans. Biden has given expression to the Irish Republican lie while speaking at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem. “My background — the background of my family is Irish American.” “And we have a long history not fundamentally unlike the Palestinian people, with Great Britain and their attitude toward Irish Catholics over the years, for 400 years.” (New York Post, 15th July 2022. https://rb.gy/ka3dd)
This is not only a lie but he makes the country of which he is the President guilty of persecution since it has aided Israel in its battle against Palestinian terror!
It is little wonder he stumbles a lot. He has ever his foot in his mouth!!
Let me begin by saying:
THE ATTITUDE OF AMERICANS TOWARD BLACK PEOPLE THAT GAVE RISE TO SLAVERY HAD NO JUSTIFICATION WHATEVER.
Here in Ireland, where animosity is found to exist amongst Protestants toward the Roman Catholic community, which was almost completely pro-republican and anti-British, there is a JUSTIFIABLE ground for such feelings of distrust and anger.
Irish Nationalism and republicanism is synonymous with rebellion and murder. The records of 40+ years of terrorism here in Ulster confirm the findings of the historical records of previous periods of terror and rebellion. The number of the innocent victims of the Irish terrorist far outnumber those killed on the Republican side. In the vaults of Trinity College Dublin there are records of the testimonies of those who experienced the terror of Irish Nationalist ‘insurrectionists’ in the rebellion of 1641. Those statements make clear the satanic nature of the outrages carried out against innocent Protestant families, men, woman and children. I don’t need to cite examples, the records are everywhere to be found on the Internet.
Yes, counter accusations may be rightly laid against the pro-British citizens but these are mitigated by the facts they happened amidst legitimate ‘defensive’ actions against the rebels.
The habit of Irish historians to promote propaganda as history may be evidenced in the rebuttal of the manifold criticism of Oliver Cromwell’s attack on Drogheda, the common and oft-repeated report of which has long blighted the ‘Irish’ mind against all things British. (See – “Irish amateur historian on lonely mission to save ‘bogeyman’ Cromwell from genocide charges. As scholars gather in Dublin to debate the Puritan’s life, one man is insisting Ireland must apologise for blackening the Lord Protector’s name”— https://rb.gy/z472d).
Even with the events of Irish terrorism within living memory, such as been the effectiveness of propagandists on both sides of the Atlantic, that the true nature of the Roman Catholic support for the IRA campaign is commonly seen as a legitimate struggle against oppression rather than, as it was in outbreaks of savagery such as 1641, yet another example of genocide waged against the Ulster Protestant.
EVERY BLACK PERSON WAS DEEMED A PERSON FIT ONLY FOR SLAVERY
I may be wrong, but if I am I am only very slightly wrong, when I say that during the years that slavery was deemed legal and acceptable amongst many US citizens, very few black people were deemed eligible for freedom and even those who were so deemed, their freedom was not that enjoyed by the white man!
Whatever opposition the Irish Republican and Nationalist may have encountered over the years of conflict was not utterly universal and indiscriminate. Suspicions my have filled many a Protestant mind but in very few cases was that deemed grounds for any retaliatory action to be taken. It should be remembered that when ‘loyalist paramilitaries’ ventured into the realm of politics, the support they received at the polls was virtually ‘zero’, in sharp contrast to the support given to Sinn Fein/IRA canidates by the Roman Catholic populace!
It is hard for those feeding on a diet of press reports of ‘the troubles’ in Ulster to understand that during all the times of terrorism, Roman Catholics and Protestant, to a very great degree, existed peacefully beside each in the work places, centres for socialising and homes and dwellings. I think this was especially seen in rural areas where to a great extent the citizenry lived cheek by jowl without open and personal confrontation!
That was not the case in the USA during the long years of legal enslavement. The white and the black citizens did not intermingle. Indeed, black people were not deemed ‘citizens’! The black people owned no property, possessed no rights, could play no part in the social, business or political life of the nation.
There is not the merest semblance of such being a parallel with the experience of Roman Catholics in our land. The depravity of our society is that supporters of IRA terrorism are not merely allowed to engage in politics but the British Government goes out of its way to ignore the crimes of the IRA and to promote and aid the advance of the politics of the terrorist to the length of discriminating against all who hold truth and righteousness dear!
So when the Bidens and the Clintons and the Mitchels and the Kennedys come over with Irish bias and patronisingly speak down to us who have not swallowed the BIG LIE proffered about the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ by the American ‘chorus line’! One freelance writer here in Ulster said of the recent visitors gathering to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the GFA, “Unionists had to listen to a chorus of patronising rubbish during the Belfast Agreement 25th anniversary celebrations”.
That gives the sums of the counselling poured upon us here over recent days of lying hype!
Sadly, such ‘political puffery’ will continue and we shall see and hear more of it. There is a spiritual reason for this.
Religious and political turpitude is marked on every side and that being so, the cause of truth and righteousness will play second fiddle to the lies of London, Dublin and Washington. You would think that Biden has enough on his plate as Russia and China reach forth to ‘unhorse’ the USA from its position of power for him not to get involved in UKI national affairs.
But that is not the case. He imbibed from his bigoted Irish-American mother, the ancient bitterness that is an inalienable part of the Roman Catholic Irish man’s make-up.
As well as that, I wonder does ‘poor old Joe’ have enough of his wits about him to see the threat arising from the East. I believe that it seems inevitable that he will have his hands full, coping with the rising threat of increasing self-assured and ‘in your face’ aggressiveness of ‘super-power’ China and the recalcitrance of Russia.
Neither men, nor nations can pursue a path of defiance of God and a trampling underfoot His laws without, in God’s time, them encountering Him in His wrath.
There is a very well known verse which likely has the distinction of being the most misinterpreted and misunderstood verse in the Bible, and it reads: “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel,” Amos 4:12.
This verse has been widely preached as a warning to sinners to get right with God by receiving the Saviour offered to them in the gospel. The context shows that this not what the Lord is saying here.
The phrase, “yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD”, appears five times in this passage, verses 6, 8, 9, 10, 11. That was the response of the people to the chastenings and judgments which befell them from the Lord. The verse 12 informs the people that these unheeded warnings are now to be followed by an encounter with the Lord on the BATTLEFIELD. As one commentator said of these words: ‘The Lord was coming “In judgment, face to face, final to them. All the judgments which had been sent hitherto were but heralds, forerunners of the judgment to come.’
Such is the unavoidable, inevitable outcome of a defying of God. It has been going on since Calvary on an international level. There has been a remnant who have heeded the gospel amongst the multitudes of the nations but it has only been a small remnant. Yes, as was reported by Paul and Barnabas on their return from their first missionary journey, “God . . . . had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles,” Acts 14:27. But since that time, only a small minority of mankind has passed through that door.
The rest have only, as a result of their “hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up . . . . . wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” Romans 2:5.
The day of that wrath, the day of the Saviour’s return to claim the Kingship of this world draws very near. It is a day when men will cry “to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:16-17.
Who indeed? The answer is foreshadowed in that night in ancient Egypt when the avenging angel passed though the land. “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt,” Exodus 12:12-13.
Only those under the ‘blood of the Lamb’ will escape eternal punishment. Remember: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1John 1:9 and that cleansing comes only from the blood of Christ’s atoning death at the cross. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” 1 John 1:7.
Amidst all the confusion and controversy that surrounds us here in Ulster, do not miss this most vital of all truths and seek the Lord for mercy!
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon,” Isaiah 55:6-7.
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
27th April 2023