What do Lars Levi Laestadius and Martin Luther King, Jr. have in common? They were both Christian preachers of subject races. Yet their legacies could hardly be more dissimilar. Can one dream that someday, tolerance and inclusion will be the hallmarks of Laestadianism?
Some interesting quotes:
"The Lapps have had the ordinary fate of a subject and defenceless people; they have been utilized with little regard to their own interest or inclinations . . . the Birkarlians began in the 13th century to farm the Lapps . . . they are regularly spoken of as having or owning Lapps, whom they dispose of as any other piece of property. In Russian Lapland matters followed much the same course . . . monks are declared masters of the Lapps . . . and they soon sought to extend their control over those not legally assigned to them. Other monasteries were gifted with similar proprietary rights." (http://66.1911encyclopedia.org/L/LA/LAPLAND.htm)
". . . .the invisible gods are innumerable, and the heathen serve them the most, such as the devil of fornication, the devil of honor, the devil of greed, the devil of anger, the devil of drunkenness, the devil of arrogance, the devil of deceit and the devil of envy, which all rule in the hearts of the heathen. The drunkard’s favorite god is the visible flowing liquor, rum, or whatever his name may be, which we call the devil’s shit, for the devil teaches people to ruin God’s grain and to make it harmful to body and soul. The people who drink it become animals. And what is the favorite god of the liquor merchant? Why, nothing other than that round liquor barrel, on which the liquor devil sits astride, as the heathen have painted him in their pictures. What is the whore’s favorite god? That which she loves the most, some whoremonger, who deceives her and makes her an animal. What is the favorite god of the slave of the world? Moolah or money, objects, possessions, beautiful buildings, beautiful horses or other worldly vanity, which are of no avail in death. All these transient things are the gods of the heathen. Some also have their belly for their god. Gluttons and drinkers are servants of idols, for they view their belly as their god." (Lars Levi Laestadius)
"When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" (Martin Luther King, Jr.)