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Pastor At Muhammad Ali Funeral: Star Spangled Banner ‘Celebrates Slavery’

Pastor At Muhammad Ali Funeral: Star Spangled Banner ‘Celebrates Slavery’

The reference to slave in the 3rd stanza is no celebration, but rather the white man’s burden to care for the simple-minded.

Washington Examiner: A pastor speaking at Muhammad Ali’s funeral on Friday claimed the national anthem “celebrates slavery.”

Rev. Kevin Cosby, pastor of St. Stephen Church in Louisville, Ky., used the U.S. Constitution to illustrate his claim that “every sacred document in our history conspired to convince the African in America that when God made the African, God was guilty of creative maleficence.”

“And even Francis Scott Key in his writing of The Star-Spangled Banner … He celebrates slavery by saying ‘No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,” said Rev. Cosby at the Friday memorial service for the boxing great and civil rights activist.

Historian Robin Blackburn has argued “hireling and slave” in the often overlooked third stanza of the song refer to the British attackers in the War of 1812, which included many ex-slave volunteers who demanded to be placed into battle “where they might expect to meet their former masters.”

Rev. Cosby said Muhammad Ali was part of an effort to help African-Americans reclaim a sense of self-worth despite “years of nobodiness that was infused into people of color.” He said Ali achieved this in part by declaring “I’m black and I’m pretty.”

 

The Star-Spangled Banner:
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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