Essay on Christianity and American Slavery
Number of words: 593
Since time immemorial, Christianity has been listed as one of the main frontiers of American slavery. This can be explained from the various texts detailing how the Bible expressly created and allowed the slavery institution. As an example it is stated that Abraham had a retinue of servants whose conditions replicated that of the American slavery period, which showcases how Christianity might have encouraged the practice. That said; Christianity was utilized to justify slavery in various ways during the 17th century. First, almost all the proslavery speakers, articles, or pamphlets used some form of reference that biblically sanctioned slavery. For instance, “and at another point he spoke about a servant shall be beaten with many stripes (Morrison 23)”; Furthermore, slave owners utilized Christianity to convince Africans and other minority groups into submission (Walker 436). On the other hand, those opposed to slavery biblically claimed that it was a sin to allow slavery from a moral perspective.
Accordingly, Christianity and slavery went hand in hand or supported each other significantly. This stems from the fact that the early Christians–who had the greatest earthly desires– utilized Christianity to keep the colored minority in abject wretchedness and ignorance. According to him, slave owners hard “the firm conviction that Heaven has designed us and our children to be slaves and beasts of burden them and their children (Walker 436).” Besides that, Christianity brought about racist ideologies that made African Americans to suffer a lot under enslavement. For instance, Walker believed that many Christians who believed God to be a God of justice believed in slavery as the principal cause.
Other than that, Morrison (17) observes that the slave-owning class has consistently defended its actions from their literal reading of the Bible. To them, the Bible showcases God’s willingness and mind fullness concerning slavery. For example, he says that “slaveholding was not only justified but also moral because it was recognized as such in Holy Scripture (Morrison 16). Consequently, the slave-owning class depended on this literal reading to respond to those opposed to the practice of slavery based on the principles of Christianity. Another example is the 1820’s Richmond Enquirer response regarding the Bible’s literal truth and acceptance of slavery compromising of five propositions (Morrison 17).
In my opinion, individuals still utilize religious ideas in supporting or opposing certain social or political positions. This stems from the fact that religious faith often determines or impacts how communities and individuals perceive their world, feel about themselves, and act. For instance, a particular group of people (for example, Christians) can be opposed to a specific political candidate due to their “anti-religious actions.” Similarly, one of the leading national conversation problems having religious components is gender issues. This is informed by the fact that some religious orders advocate for respect and cooperation for women over hierarchy. On the other hand, others might emphasize male leadership while indirectly providing women with different spiritual positions and ethical identities that give women positions to practice their own forms of power and agency.
In summary, Christianity has generally been identified as one of the significant contributors to American Slavery by the various authors in the text. It has been used as a propagation avenue for the practice among the Africans by the slave traders and owners. For instance, as a pacification means.
Hinks, Peter P., ed. David Walker’s appeal to the coloured citizens of the world. Penn State Press, 2010.
Morrison, Larry R. “The religious defense of American slavery before 1830.” Journal of Religious Thought 37 (1980): 16-29.