This post will be a bit different that what I normally write about here on Cosmopolitan Cornbread. To be honest, I hadn’t even intended to write about it. You’ll probably be able to tell, because I mostly took these photos with my iPhone, with no intention of ever posting them. But I thought long and hard about it, and decided to simply share it anyways.
Over the weekend I attended a huge event here in Alabama. An event called “Restoring Unity.”
I woke up at 4 am, got ready, filled my travel mug with coffee and headed south to Birmingham. I parked my truck in a parking garage near the Jackson Center, and started walking towards the 16th Street Baptist Church where we were meeting. As I walked there, I first took a moment to walk through Kelly Ingram park with all of the meaningful monuments. It was barely 7 am and I was already having a hard time holding my emotions together.
After taking some time in the park, I walked across the street to the church. If you aren’t aware of history – the 16th Street Baptist Church was site of a bombing in 1963 and four precious little girls were killed. This later led to Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights march in Birmingham.
On this day, we started our march here and walked the same route that MLK marched all those years ago.
We were marching for LIFE. All lives. Black, white, young, old, born, unborn, all lives.
Some of the signs for the march.
The march drew somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people, depending upon the source.
After the march we headed to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex for the Restoring Unity event.
The event began with singing from choir of Guiding Light Church in Birmingham. The first song had barely ended when John Voight (you know…Angelina Jolie’s dad) came up on the stage and decided to join the choir, as well as Alveda King and Glenn Beck.
The incredible historian David Barton spoke – it is always fascinating to listen to him. As a history buff, I would love to have a quarter of the knowledge this man has.
Other speakers included Rafael Cruz, Bishop Lowe, Alveda King and others, including Glenn Beck who organized this event. Any time he speaks, he brings things of historical significance to share. Today, he brought Schindler’s List. Yes, the actual list. It isn’t just a movie. He went on to speak a message of unity. Unity against evil. No longer should we allow the world to divide us. Dividing us by race, dividing us by religion or denomination, dividing us by political affiliation. But it is time to look past our differences and stand together, uniting in our mutual causes.
Mercury One, the charity organization is launching something called the Nazarene Fund. I’ll share more about that in a moment.
After the Restoring Unity event itself, there was a little break, and then the evening was finished off with the red carpet premiere of the movie Woodlawn, which will release in October.
Now, I am not a football person, but I have to say, this was a fantastic movie – and even better – it is the true story of what happened at the Woodlawn High School there in Birmingham, Alabama. A school that was riddled with violence and racial struggles, on the verge of being closed down. This is the true story of what literally saved the school. You have to see this movie when it comes out.
Before we watched the movie, there was of course many of the actors there to discuss their thoughts on the movie and the process of its creation. Those on stage included John Voight (who plays Bear Bryant), Nic Bishop, Sean Astin, Kevin Sizemore and newcomer Caleb Castille.
So what was this all about? Why was it so important to me to go?
Honestly, the reasons were so many that it is hard to know where to even begin, but I will focus on two major points.
I’m a Christian and I am an American.
Those two things sum of the myriad of reasons for what went on this weekend.
My faith is a huge part of who I am. I can not separate it from my very being. It defines me. It guides my choices, it makes me who I am.
Have you ever done that Myers-Briggs personality test?
I did it many years ago, and I am an “INTJ” which stands for “Introvert, Intuitive, Thinker, Judge.”
It really does say a lot about me. I am very much an analytical, pragmatic and studious person. I have little patience for things that I find pointless or silly. People being overly emotional annoy me. I know, I know – I’m baring it all here today.
I also have a creative, artistic side – which is why I love blogging and photography. It is my outlet for the creative part of me. It’s that part of me that the public generally sees, though it is something that the MB test doesn’t seem to pick up on for me. (Don’t put me in a box!)
I do tend to lean toward the serious. I’m always analyzing things and studying. If someone tells me about a story they heard, I want to know the source. The bible says something? Where? You heard a news story? From whom? An expert said something? What makes them an expert? Share a shocking story on Facebook? I always used to fact-check the stories….and shared when they were wrong. Yeah…I don’t post or comment on many things on facebook anymore. I kind of figured I was annoying everyone. I’m that person. I love to read, but almost never read fiction, because I think it is a fluffy waste of time. My apologies to all the fiction writers and readers out there.
The “J” part which indicates”Judgement” for me, really comes out as “Justice.”
I have always had a deep sense of right and wrong. When I was a kid, and I learned about history, I always felt an intense passion for those who had been wronged or victimized. When we learned about Harriot Tubman, I imaged myself hiding runaway slaves and being part of the underground railroad. It would have been the right thing to do!
As I got older and studied World War II, the Nazis and the Holocaust, it effected me greatly. How could people just sit there and let it happen?! If I had been there, I would have done something! I would not have just sat idly by. I would have fought back. I would have hidden Jews, Christians, Gypsies, anyone that Evil was hunting.
That is a little insight as to who I am and what makes me tick.
And that brings us to today.
Today, Evil is raising its ugly head and boldly beating down our doors while it laughs in our faces and dares us to do something.
Evil says some lives are worthless and have no value.
But Jesus came to save ALL our LIVES.
Evil says they aren’t babies – they don’t mean anything. Just cut them up into pieces and sell them to the highest bidder.
God says “I knew you before you were born.”
Evil says, “I will slaughter, rape and enslave and what will you do about it?”
So the question is, “What will we do about it?”
That’s what Restoring Unity was about. It is standing against Evil, where ever and how ever it raises it’s ugly head. It was about not letting the world and society divide us by race, creed, religion or anything else. Divide and conquer, but Unite and have Victory! It was about standing up against Evil. All Evil. Standing for life. All Lives.
Black lives. White lives. Blue lives. Old lives. Young lives. Unborn lives. Straight lives. Gay Lives. Jewish Lives. Christian Lives. ALL LIVES.
Remember how I said that if I had been alive during WWII I would have done something? I wouldn’t have just let the holocaust happen and me be silent?
Well, it is happening. Today.
In the 1940’s the Jews had the Star of David or “Jude” painted on their homes and businesses – marking them as less than human. When a group of people are deemed worthless and “less than human” it leads to unbelievable and unspeakable horror, death and destruction.
Today another mark is being painted on the homes and businesses of “undesirable” people. All over the middle-east an Arabic letter “N” is being painted, marking the inhabitants for death. It looks like a “U” with a dot over it. It stands for “Followers of the Nazarene.” You know. Christians.
Churches and homes are burned, fathers are beheaded, brothers gunned down, children killed (some literally crucified in front of their mothers), little girls sold as slaves in the market. On the day our Supreme Court passed the Gay Marriage ruling – ISIS threw several gay men off of a building to their death. They posted the photos and videos on social media with the hashtag #LoveWins. Where was the outrage?
Little babies being ripped from their mothers, butchered and sold like firewood.
It is almost overwhelming how brazen Evil has become.
This is our holocaust. It is happening in our time. What are we doing about it?
The World is a Dangerous Place to live; Not because of the People who are Evil, but because of the people who won’t do anything about it.” ~ Albert Einstein
A couple weeks ago I got a tattoo. If you follow me on Instagram or YouTube, you already know about it. I got the “mark of the Nazarene.” There will never be any doubt as to where I stand.
That brings me to the Nazarene Fund. Back in the 40’s when we stopped Hitler and we halted evil in its tracks, we said “Never Again.” Never again would we allow such things to happen.
Never Again is Now.
Now is the time to stand against the Evil that is being done.
People like Johnnie Moore are dedicating their very lives to helping the persecuted. Mercury One has launched a campaign to raise money to help get Christians out of the middle east and into countries that will give them sanctuary; countries like Poland, Germany and others. The United States until this past week, refused to allow any of the persecuted Christians to come here. They have since changed their tune and said they will allow 1,000 of them to come. Next year. If your family was in danger, would next year be soon enough? The need is NOW. They are in danger NOW. We’re not waiting for the government to help. People like you and me, people like Johnnie Moore and Glenn Beck are doing something about it.
When the Nazarene Fund was announced, the plan was to raise $1 Million. It was met in a weekend. This wasn’t big corporations making donations. This was normal people like me and you. The average donation was $100. That’s it! And yet look how much was raised! In just a few days, the amount had reached 2.7 Million. Now the goal is 10 Million before Christmas.
We may not be able to do a lot on our own. But together, we can create a force to do great things!
If you would like to help, please pray for the persecuted, call or write to your representatives and encourage them to put pressure on the state department to help, now not later.
Would you like to donate to the Nazarene Fund?
GO HERE to make a donation.
If you like, you could also visit my Etsy shop, where I have dedicated all of the profits to the Nazarene Fund.
Get your church involved, have a bake sale. Get together with your neighbors and have a yard sale. Every penny adds up and you can make a difference.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Christian Minister, assassinated by Nazis for standing against evil.
My video of highlights from the day: