“The Sisters Of Selma”

“The Sisters Of Selma”

I watched “The Sisters Of Selma, Bearing Witness For Change” the other night on PBS and was just blown away by it. It chronicles the nuns of the Catholic church who came supported, and marched with the blacks in Selma. Many people don’t realize that there were several marches for several weeks leading up to the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. They were trying to reach the courthouse in Selma to pray on the front lawn. They eventually did get a court order and were allowed to do just that. Then it was on to Montgomery.

One of the aspects of the civil rights movement that seems to be getting lost in the history telling is the extreme religious nature of it. The nuns who spoke in this documentary felt called by God to participate. As did the most of the black pastors and people who marched. At one point in the documentary, thousands get down on their needs in the middle of Selma to pray out loud the Lord’s prayer. This was as much of a religious fight as it was a human rights fight. We need to remember to teach our children that.

It was amazing, considering the murders, beatings, and lynchings that occurred, that the call from Dr. King for non violence was strictly adhered to by those fighting for the rights of blacks. One sister says that as they were discussing the marches, they were told that under no circumstances were they to fight back. One person in the crowd asked, “What if we can’t help but fight back?” They answered, “Then don’t march.”

This dedication to non-violence gave the civil rights movement blessings. I have no doubt of it. In this amazing story there is footage of one black leader in a face to face confrontation with a white bigoted sheriff. During the entire discussion the black leader only asks if they can come to the courthouse to pray. He is denigrated by the white sheriff. But he only says that he will pray for him. It’s an illustration of the power of the Christian faith in the face of bigotry.

I urge of you to watch this documentary. It has amazing footage that you have probably never seen before. It especially important during black history month to remember the sacrifices so many made so that blacks could have equal rights and equal opportunity. It’s clear in watching this that the Christian faith led this movement. God called, and the faithful followed.

Let us teach our children this history of God’s love and faithfulness in the face of such odds. Let us teach our children that Dr. King would be the first to tell you that the Holy Spirit led this movement.

Many now deride Christian faith in the public square. But they forget it was that faith, the faith of Dr. King and so many others, that led this country to right this wrong, and bring blacks and whites together in love and communion.

May we never forget.

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