Insights from a Redeemed Revolutionary
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
In the midst of the current George Floyd protests and riots, it might be helpful to put them into a little perspective that is removed from the yellow journalism of fear.
Throughout history, there have been culture-changing riots, not the least of which was the Communist revolution in Russia. Riots in the Roman republic and in Athens hundreds of years before Jesus Christ resulted in radical government changes. The explosion of the volcano Krakatoa in 535 AD caused the riots in Teotihuacán, Mexico, where poor people burned the rich in their homes, and that evidence can still be seen today in the ruins of the once great city. Throughout history, there were riots in Constantinople, Rome, Paris, and the list continues.
From 1968 to around 1973, there were peaceful and not so peaceful Vietnam protests. I was a participant observer of the takeover of the administration building at Dartmouth which made national news. I was intrigued that although Dartmouth is in a tiny isolated hamlet in the middle of New Hampshire, where only a few people were actually involved in the takeover at the crack of dawn, the TV news scenes were shot with such tight angles that the occupation looked much bigger than it was.
When I went to NYU Law, I became more radicalized than I was as a Hollywood Broadway brat: I started working with the National Lawyers Guild, a Marxist legal organization that represented the Chicago Seven, which violently disrupted the Democrat Convention in Chicago; I headed up the law school coalition against the bombing of Cambodia in the Vietnam War; and, traveled with some far leftist law school student leaders to confront Congress and the Nixon administration.
One of the many protests that turned ugly occurred two months before graduation from NYU School of Law where a group of us decided to take over the law school library and chants were soon heard to burn it down. My best friend and I were at the head of the march and going up the steps of the library. Suddenly, I reflected on what we were doing and told my friend that if we burned the library, we probably wouldn’t graduate. So, we turned around to talk down the rioters. To our surprise, the initial group of youthful law students were now replaced by hardcore, tough-looking longshoremen and teamsters who clearly were paid Marxist provocateurs.
I continued to be opposed to all things patriotic and Christian until four wonderful women, who had come to Christ through the Billy Graham Association and were friends of my handsome Broadway and Hollywood movie star father, started witnessing to both of us. I told them that I thought Christians were crazy, and used my presumed intellectual superiority, having graduated summa cum laude in my major at a prestigious Ivy League College, to challenge them at every opportunity.
One of them meekly asked, “Why don’t you read the Bible and tell me what is wrong with it?”
I refused for months, but when I started reading the New Testament, God changed my life and turned me right-side up in a most wonderful, gracious, loving way. I repented of and stopped drugs, promiscuity, Marxism, and all my other many, many pagan ways, when Jesus came into my life. I was transformed completely.
Years later, when I was asked to shoot four films during the apartheid battles in South Africa, I mentioned to everybody, including the English, the Afrikaans, the Zulu, and the Xhosa that the only solution was Jesus Christ.
Now, we witness the same drumbeats of revolution and violence in the streets of the United States of America because of the murder of a black man by a white police officer.
People have a lot of bad and good ideas about how to solve the problem. A few of the good ideas should be implemented, but the only thing that can actually solve the problem is Jesus Christ, the Author of love, who sets us free from hate, envy, revenge, anger, self-destruction, rioting. A few apostles in the early Christian church turned the debauched, cruel Roman Empire right-side up, empowered by loving their neighbor and loving God… the power that can only come from God’s Holy Spirit when we know Jesus Christ personally.