We should help others in need
By the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, Congress required that the states, and citizens in them, cooperate in the return of runaway slaves, and criminalized giving such fugitives any assistance or comfort.
In “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Mary Bird, wife of an Ohio state senator, after being told that providing a meal to “poor colored folks that come along” would be illegal aiding and abetting, states: “Poor, homeless, houseless creatures! It’s a shameful, wicked, abominable law … Things have got to a pretty pass, if a woman can’t give a warm supper and a bed to poor starving creatures, just because they are slaves, and have been abused and oppressed all their lives, poor things!”
Answering her husband’s comment that “there are great public interests involved,” she retorts, “Now, John, I don’t know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow.”
So, what exactly were the weighty excuses for Hawaii’s recent refusal to become a sanctuary state for immigrants, and Kauai’s representatives Tokioka’s and Morikawa’s failure to endorse the legislation?
Jed Somit, Kapaa