Thursday, February 2, 2012
Black History Month: In Memory of Ota Benga (1883-1916)
Yesterday marked the beginning of Black History Month 2012. This year's Association for the Study of African American Life and History announced theme is Black Women in American Culture and History. But, since I am not much for feel good political correctness I am going to color outside of the lines on this one.
Ota Benga was a little guy at just under 5 foot. He was born into the indigenous Mbuti group of the Congo region in Africa. He was not without some strangeness for our cultural tastes no doubt. That aside, he was an old school, nature loving, wild animal hunting, tribesman. But, more than anything, he was a man. A man created in the image of God, sharing his unique oneness with his wife and children. Instead of being honored as such, he was made to submit to the forceful, survival of the fittest, doctrine of slavers.
One day, while out hunting in the wild, Benga, having left his wife and children behind in their village, learned upon his return that his entire family had been murdered along with other villagers. With little time to mourn, Benga was kidnapped and enslaved by his families murdering agents. This was the beginning of series of degrading, demoralizing, and fatal events in the life of Ota Benga.
In 1906, Ota Benga was put on display at the Bronx Zoo. Although he was permitted to move about within the zoological complex, his display area was inside the monkey house-mingling with the monkeys. People were mesmerized by the notion of a real life example of discarded human evolution trash, right in their own backyard. Tens of thousands of visitors over the course of Benga's stay all taking their turn laughing, ridiculing, and dehumanizing him as the result of blind, evolutionary development; searing emotional pain that Ota would never shake. Although he would later receive Christian influences, the constant pain and increasing despondency were too much for his mind to handle. Ota Benga killed himself with a handgun; survival of the fittest soaked in innocent blood.
Fortunately for the evolutionist, the worthless, trash that was Ota Benga was no longer needed; a higher level of primates had already evolved. But, for the ignorant people known as creationist Christians, Ota Benga was a tragic loss. Not only in his death, but his tormented soul at the hands of humanistic evolutionist who brutalized Ota because of their shared hatred of Jesus.
"The Darwinian Theory is absolutely opposed to Christianity [and] we are worthy of being considered human beings", clergyman James Gordon cried out against the propagation of evolution and the display of a human being as evidence. But, not all Christians did the same.
What is the difference between evolutionist that have advocated criminal slavery and the Christians that not only advocated it but invoked the bible to justify it? Well, let me ask you a question: which philosophy of life steered the slave abolition movement, evolution or creationism (Christianity)? Who was it that risked their lives, families, friendships, jobs, reputations, personal belongings, and freedoms to stand in the gap between slavers and the men, women, and children that lorded over them in the cruelest ways? It was not the philosophy of evolution that ended slavery; it was the philosophy of creationism- creationism that recognizes the inherent value of every single person because they are created in the image of God through His ordained natural processes. Some Christians were dreadful offenders; stripping their fellow man of his rightful status. But, Christianity never once turned on those enslaved.
The western world has followed the Christian course, not the evolutionary way when it comes to slavery. Christians, when found to be wrong, repent and adjust their ignorance. Evolution has no such justification for correction. “I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents” write C.S. Lewis. Ota Benga was no accident in a sequence of blind accidents. He was and is man.