Living Life with a Social Conscience

William Wilberforce, had two main goals:  

“God Almighty has set before me two great objects:  the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners (morality)”

Wilberforce set out to inform and shape the social conscience of society in an effort he called “the reformation of manners” which meant the reformation of morality or the social conscience.  This complemented his work of abolishing the slave trade.  He went after reforming hearts and minds in order to ensure that social evils like slavery would become intolerable not just to legislators, but to society as a whole. 

Wilberforce tackled other social ills of the time as well, including child labour abuses, street prostitution which involved the prostitution of children, and even founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  He certainly was not a single-issue politician.  

As a multi-faceted social campaigner, Wilberforce did not accept the status quo.  He did not accept that slavery or child abuse or prostitution or mistreatment of animals were permanently entwined into the fabric of society.  He believe they could – and should - be challenged; and he pursued this agenda with dogged determination for two decades.

In the same way today we do not need to accept the status quo.  We do not need to accept that abortion-to-birth is here to stay, that euthanasia is inevitable, that transgenderism will be accepted in the long term and taught to our children, or that sexualisation of children is a permanent part of our culture.  We do not need to accept the maltreatment of our children both born and unborn, the denigration of our families (aided by Family Court in too many instances) or the multitude of violent acts we observe close to home.

Like Wilberforce, we must challenge the social ills we see around us.  We must not accept those parts of our society which demean the dignity and worth of human beings; and we must refocus our efforts on upholding human dignity and the common good.

This week let us each contemplate how we can use our own social conscience to fight for a better future for our children.  Let us be encouraged that while it may take decades, it is possible to change the fabric of our society.

Until next time,


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  • Rachel Carling
    published this page in Blog 2019-03-19 13:01:09 +1100