The latest Hollywood blockbuster about the insect-bitten adolescent wearing a mask and red tights while climbing tall buildings includes a reference to slavery. As Peter, I mean Spider-Man, attempts a physics-defying rescue at the Washington Monument, doing all he can to enter the building, a student stands below refusing to go in because the monument was built by slaves. This article in Slate Magazine does a little fact checking on the Spider-Man slavery reference.

Was it built by slaves? Probably. Do we have any evidence? No. Is it highly likely? Survey says yes.

The movie introduces this in a comical way but it serves as a reminder that even a stroll through our nation’s capital offers visible reminders of a painful and sinful past. While we might not have evidence of the use of slaves to build the Washington Memorial, we do have ample evidence that slaves were used to build the White House and the Capitol building. In D.C. some see might see only photo opportunities and tourist activities, others, perhaps more now thanks to even a brief reference in a movie like Spider-Man, will see beyond the national displays to a history tainted by discrimination, inequality, and oppression.

May we continue to press on towards our creed that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Far from being self-evident, as our nation’s history demonstrates, this truth is grounded in a biblical understanding of who we are in light of who God is. Christians above all people should understand, cherish, and defend the beautiful truth that all humans are made in the image of God, and for that reason endowed with intrinsic worth and dignity.