Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: The Devil Made Me Do It Edition

I was planning on posting about something else this week, but since PZ has a troll with ideas like "Christianity never supported slavery", I figured I had to post about religious support of slavery. So I'm going to share with you excerpts from a pamphlet with the best title ever: A Dialogue Between an Abolition Croaker, A Citizen of Boston, and the Prince of Darkness. You can read it yourself here.

And yes, all those italics were really in pamphlet. The jerk.

Citizen. Very well; let us see as to that; you consider servitude or slavery to be a sin, I suppose.

[Abolitionist Croaker.] Yes, we do; and one of the most odious sins of the times: yes, one of the greatest curses and calamities that ever came upon our country or on mankind.

Citizen. Will you please to give me chapter and verse in the Bible that calls servitude, bondage or slavery a sin? Now I insist upon your answering this question fairly; do not try to evade it; but give me the language of the Bible on that subject.

A. C. I admit you have taken me by surprise on this point; and I confess I am not prepared at this moment to do it ... .

That's only page 2, and it already reads like a Chick tract dealing with evolution or something. "People who disagree with me couldn't possibly have well-reasoned arguments, so I'd better not include any in my propaganda piece."
Citizen. ... The Bible does not say [slavery] is a sin; therefore the mistake under which you are laboring so hard, is that you have, some how or other, "got the cart before the horse," and have mistaken the punishment for the sin itself; for the Bible informs us, in the case of Canaan and his posterity, that their punishment or condition ever afterwards should be that of servants of servants, the lowest grade of all; and this phrase, in the modern acceptation of the words, means slaves; and this condition was to be their punishment; yet their owners or masters may make themselves very guilty and odious in the sight of God, by their cruel and abusive treatment of their slaves; but in this matter those owners and masters are answerable to God for this their sin, and not to us.

I understand form the reading of my Bible that the decalogue does not call slavery a sin, although it was in existence at the time that ordinance was given to Moses, and promulgated among the Israelites; neither do I find it recorded as a sin by Moses, or either of the phrophets [sic], or the writers of the Old Testament afterwards; neither did the Lord Jesus when on the earth, or either of his Apostles, give any account or make any record of it as a sin; and the Bible nowhere, as I can find, says servitude, or slavery, is a sin; but it does say that it is a punishment for sin; yes, one of the most loathsome of all sins, which began in the unclean curiosity of Canaan, and in which his father Ham also participated; and which grew worse and worse in the successive generations, down to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, when a pure and holy God could endure it no longer; then, as the Bible says, he rained brimstone and fire out of heaven, and overthrew all the cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

Now, let's have a big hand for... Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness!
Citizen. I repeat it, where is the man that would be guilty of such impiety? I venture to say there is not one, except he be found among the abolitionists and freesoilers of your stamp and character; and I believe that all this folly and iniquity on your part, is really a stratagem of the Prince of Darkness to bring about a civil war in our country; and as he has been waiting several minutes to say a word or two, in order to set us both right on this perplexing subject, if you please, I will ask him to tell us what he knows about it; and I hope you will give attention to what he has to say; for he is an old and experienced hand in things of this kind; and I think he will entertain us a few minutes very well.

Prince of Darkness. Gentlemen, I thank you for this opportunity now given me of saying a few words on this occasion; my privilege has always been to rule in darkness; to make men blind to their own best interests, and to the interests of all others, and then to tickle their imaginations with lying vanities, make them wise in their own conceits, proud of their own acquirements, full of self-esteem, and full of vain glory; get them to take evil for good, and good for evil, and always to "put the cart before the horse," in everything they do; this I always contrive to do with the abolitionists and freesoilers, which are some of my best friends, and have been so for many years. They have rendered me very important service in several particular cases; such as trying to make null and void some of God's decrees and ordinances concerning slavery and other things; and in order to have them continue to do thus, it is my policy to keep them, as much as possible, in darkness, on all subjects of this kind, and then to tickle and please their imagination with the idea that they are going to produce a wonderful revolution in our country in regard to the subject of slavery; afterwards I make them wise in their own conceits and very ambitious to accomplish the work of emancipating all the slaves in our states and territories [Apparently Satan's a citizen of the U.S. -- Ske]; having done this, I feel as if I had got them all well harnessed and ready for the great work ... .


Citizen. ... And now, Mr. Abolitionists, as I was saying, slavery is nowhere denounced in the Bible as a sin, but is represented as a punishment for sin, I will just call your attention to the days of Ezekiel, about four hundred and eighty years before Christ, where it is stated as a fact, that Javan, Tubal, and Mesheck, sons of Japheth, "were merchants and traded in the persons of men and vessels of brass in the city of Tyrus." Here the Prophet Ezekiel says not a word about slavery being a sin, any more than the trading in vessels of brass was a sin. And one of the commentators on the same portion of Scripture informs us that at that time the price of slaves was four drachms each. So you must see, I think, that you are working with the cart before the horse in this business, by taking slavery to be one of the most cursed and crying sins of the day, when in fact it is only the punishment for sin, and not the sin itself.


Citizen. I say nothing in favor of [slavery] but what the Bible says; I take my stand on the truths and declarations of that holy book; and it would be well if you and all other abolitionists and freesoilers had done the same; but no, it appears you had much rather flounder about in the darkness created by the Prince of Darkness, than accept of the plain Scriptural manner authorized by Christ and his Apostles for mitigating the sufferings of the poor degraded slaves; but these means are, in your approbation, and in your opinion are only fit for some superannuated old men or women to make us of. You would give freedom to the persons of the slaves only, and take them--body, mind and soul--into the same darkness in which most you abolitionists have been enshrouded by your dear Prince for many years past.

Here we see that slavery was defended as not only allowed by Christianity, but as a moral imperative. The reasons that this man considered it so may be unique to him, but you can find the same sorts of considerations among a lot of defenders of slavery. Slavery, they reasoned, was a way to convert the heathens to Christianity and hence save them. Thus it was not only allowable, but a moral good! In fact, on a much later page the pamphleteer makes his Mary-Sue slaveholder say, "[Saint Paul] shows us, most clearly, that nothing but their conversion to Christianity in connection with that of their masters and owners, will in any way mitigate their sufferings or make them a contented and tolerably happy people... ."
A. C. One thing is certain; I do not believe that the negroes of Africa and those of America ever were the descendants of Canaan or ever were in slavery until brought into this country.

Citizen. Why not? The Bible gives no account of any other family, people or nation, that were doomed to perpetual servitude or slavery to their brethren, and through them to all other people and nations who chose to possess them; now whoever endeavors to make them a free people, undertakes to counteract one of God's decrees and ordinances, just as much as he would if he undertook to change the color of their skin from black to white.

Here also we see that, though they claimed that slavery was moral and good, it still only applied to black people. The reasons for this were varied, but one of the main ones was that blacks were the descendants of Ham and/or Canaan, and hence God himself had made them perpetual servants to the descendants of Shem and/or Japheth, whichever it was decided white people were.

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