Friday, January 13, 2012

The Politician Behind My Dog

I'd love to introduce you to my marginally intelligent dog, Wilby.  He's an Australian Labradoodle, and one of the first animals I've grown to love.  Wilby is our first family pet we've kept. 

"Wilby"
I tell you about my dog primarily to tell you about about the man behind my dog.  Incidentally, our dog became a member of our family while I was reading a biography by Kevin Belmonte, William Wilberforce, A Hero for Humanity.  Wilby, his pet name given him by his wife, is truly one of those great men I would consider leaving my husband for!   (I'm absolutely joking!)  No man of integrity would be interested in a woman who would betray their own husband, right?  Shamefully, I confess I have a thing for dead men with accents. (Not joking:)

Since we're all gearing up and bracing ourselves for the political circus "we the people" have created and continue to feed, I thought you'd appreciate knowing a little bit about the character and integrity of one man, who happened to choose a life of civil service as a politician.  True to his position of leadership, his primary motivation was his responsibility to serve humankind for the common good.  I want to give you just enough information that you'll seek to know him better yourself!  William Wilberforce should be as familiar to us as Abraham Lincoln, and it blows me away that most history textbooks have no mention of his name.

If you're familiar with the work of Eric Metaxas, you won't be surprised that he brings William Wilberforce to life in his biography, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery An inspiring movie was based on the book in 2006.  It'll make you long for leaders such as this today.  It may even inspire you to be one. 

 
* William Wilberforce studied at Cambridge and became a member of parliament in 1780.
* His Christian faith prompted him to become interested in social reform. (He was greatly discerning...to be vicious, obnoxious, hateful, or belligerent was to him repulsive behavior. We moderns should take heed.)
* He lobbied for the abolition of the slave trade for 18 years. For the next 26 years, fought for and saw the law pass two days before his death, the law passed giving complete freedom to all slaves in the British Empire in 1833.
* Wilberforce was active in 69 philanthropic causes, including The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
* He gave one-quarter of his annual income to the poor and fought on behalf of single mothers, orphans, and juvenile delinquents.
* In early 1787, in an effort to renew society, he lobbied for the "Reformation of Manners" to encourage piety (in its original meaning) and virtue, and for the prevention of vice, profaneness, and immorality.