Gold out of Dross

  While there's little of redeeming value on TV these days, there was a bright moment for those who watched CBS's "Touched by an Angel" on Sunday night. The program, the re-broadcast of a show first aired last fall, dealt with a topic that deeply concerns us here at BreakPoint—slavery in the Sudan. For some reason, this subject is taboo in the halls of power. And the media, often identified as bleeding-heart liberal, don't seem to bleed for these black Africans who are being sold into slavery for a few dollars, or bombed and starved to death by the millions. Maybe it's because the slave traders are also black, or maybe it's because the victims are Christians. For whatever reason, the Sudanese Holocaust doesn't generate much sympathy. Well, Martha Williamson—the woman who produces "Touched by an Angel"—does care, and she's a good example of how Christians can infiltrate even Hollywood and make a difference. Sunday's program depicted a female Senator running for reelection, who is visited by a Sudanese asking for help to stop the atrocities. She says she's too busy but does take an envelope filled with graphic photos and stories home with her. When her young son discovers the packet, he is horrified and decides to take the pictures to school for Show-and-Tell. He tells his classmates that when they studied slavery and learned that it was abolished 150 years ago, that wasn't true. He shows them pictures slaves in Sudan today, including a boy about their own age, and he adds, "He's for sale, for fifty dollars." Shocked, the kids raise the funds to buy the boy his freedom. When their story hits the TV news, the Senator is pressured to stop the slave trade in Africa. But she's in a tight reelection campaign, and her backers threaten to withdraw their support if she takes up the cause. They're afraid, of course, their businesses will be hurt by trade sanctions -- which is precisely the issue in real life, by the way. In the TV drama, the angel Monica tells the senator she has been chosen by God to go and bring back proof of the slave trade, and she reminds her of the Bible story of Esther, who was called for such a time as this. In the end, the senator does go, and she gets dramatic proof and leads the campaign to help the Sudanese Christians. Last month, we here at Prison Fellowship gave our annual Wilberforce Award, named for the man who abolished slavery in England, to a Sudanese clergyman—Bishop Macram Max Gassis—a modern-day saint who risks his life daily to stop the evil in his homeland. The same day, Michael Horowitz, the Jewish activist who has thrown his life into the campaign to awaken the world to the persecution of Christians, was arrested by D.C. police. He blocked entrance to the State Department to protest our government's indifference to Sudan. These men are putting their lives on the line, crying out, but is anyone listening? Well, there's reason to hope that some who tuned in for "Touched by an Angel" and found a nugget of gold will be willing to stand up and speak out. Yes, we, too, have been called for such a time as this.


Chuck Colson


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