I know many Christians who are amazing people, who love deeply and cherish life and seek to end suffering caused by evil in the world. In fact, tomorrow there is a day of solidarity in which many evangelicals will be absent from social media in solidarity with those trapped in the sexual slave trade.There was a problem with the blakbirdpie shortcode
The irony of this undertaking is that the Christian scriptures do not provide a sensible basis for the abolition of slavery. They never have, and in the schema of modern fundamentalism they never will, as the scriptures cannot be altered. The only way to make sense of abolition is through metaphoric reinterpretation, cherry picking, and wanton disrespect for the text of the scriptures, all of which run contrary to an interpretation of the scriptures as the revealed truth of God.
To explain this point, I turn to Dr. Richard Furman, who was the founder of Furman University and the first president of the Southern Baptist convention. The convention was originally formed over this theological point, and he gives a very strong defense of slavery itself:
“…for the right of holding slaves is clearly established by the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example. In the Old Testament, the Isrealites were directed to purchase their bond-men and bond-maids of the Heathen nations; except they were of the Canaanites, for these were to be destroyed. And it is declared, that the persons purchased were to be their “bond-men forever;” and an “inheritance for them and their children.” They were not to go out free in the year of jubilee, as the Hebrews, who had been purchased, were: the line being clearly drawn between them.*[See Leviticus XXV. 44, 45, 46, &c.] In example, they are presented to our view as existing in the families of the Hebrews as servants, or slaves, born in the house, or bought with money: so that the children born of slaves are here considered slaves as well as their parents. And to this well known state of things, as to its reason and order, as well as to special privileges, St. Paul appears to refer, when he says, “But I was free born.”
“…[Had the holding of slaves been a moral evil, it cannot be supposed, that the inspired Apostles, who feared not the faces of men, and were ready to lay down their lives in the cause of their God, would have tolerated it, for a moment, in the Christian Church. If they had done so on a principle of accommodation, in cases where the masters remained heathen, to avoid offences and civil commotion; yet, surely, where both master and servant were Christian, as in the case before us, they would have enforced the law of Christ, and required, that the master should liberate his slave in the first instance. But, instead of this, they let the relationship remain untouched, as being lawful and right, and insist on the relative duties.
In proving this subject justifiable by Scriptural authority, its morality is also proved; for the Divine Law never sanctions immoral actions.
The Christian golden rule, of doing to others, as we would they should do to us, has been urged as an unanswerable argument against holding slaves. But surely this rule is never to be urged against that order of things, which the Divine government has established; nor do our desires become a standard to us, under this rule, unless they have a due regard to justice, propriety and the general good.
“…Magistrates, husbands, and fathers, have proved tyrants. This does not prove, that magistracy, the husband’s right to govern, and parental authority, are unlawful and wicked. The individual who abuses his authority, and acts with cruelty, must answer for it at the Divine tribunal; and civil authority should interpose to prevent or punish it; but neither civil nor ecclesiastical authority can consistently interfere with the possession and legitimate exercise of a right given by the Divine Law.”
I will also quickly note that Exodus 21 gives instructions for selling daughters into sex slavery, the very thing that is being railed against.
If any Christians are offended, I praise them for recognizing such a despicable stance for what it is. Please, I implore them to understand that I am not the object of your offense. I am not the culprit in their anger.
I am a mirror of Christian beliefs, Christian scriptures, and what the Christian God has said according to holy texts.
Every Christian I know is better than this, and is capable of making a better moral judgement than God or Richard Furman, and I can only hope that more Christians will realize the other ways that god has been terribly, terribly wrong.
I’m not creating a straw man, and I’m not misrepresenting Christianity at all: I am pointing it out for what it truly is, and the reason Christians are offended is simply because they are better than their God.
And the truth is, they wish I weren’t right.