SLAVERY AND RACISM-Slavery is a binding legal ownership of one human being by another accompanied by an obligation of the owned to work for and obey the orders of the owner. Racism is the perception that people of a certain race are inferior, in one way or another, to people of their own race. These two subjects have been the objects of ‘social division’ seemingly forever.
Slavery has its most notable roots in the book of Genesis. There, Abraham’s wife, Sarah, because she was barren, directs him to mate with her ‘slave girl’ and bring forth a child. The slave girl whose name was Hagar was noted to be Egyptian. Abraham did as directed and mated with Hagar, the slave girl. She conceived and bore a son named Ishmael—presumably, he became the progenitor of essentially all of the Arabic peoples.
It is also noteworthy that the entire Hebrew tribe eventually became enslaved by the Egyptians. That came about, as you will recall, by virtue of a famine which struck the Hebrews necessitating the purchase of grain from the prosperous Egyptians. The Hebrew leader at the time was Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, the son of Isaac who was born to Sarah, Abraham’s barren wife, after the birth of Ishmael. That ‘miraculous’ transaction was ‘arranged by God’ so that Abraham’s heir would be from a Hebrew rather than from an Egyptian. Strange, isn’t it how ‘what goes around, comes around’?
In any event, after a forty year tenure of enslavement, the Hebrews escaped from Egyptian bondage. However, along their nomadic way they developed a legal system involving slavery. Their system involved enslaving ‘their own people’ for a specified period of time as restitution for indebtedness. They had rules for enslavement of men only, women only, and, at times, entire families. Quite obviously, those rules persisted in one form or another for thousands of years because, in at least two places, we hear Paul in his epistles exhort the the slaves to be ‘respectfully subservient to their masters in all things’ (paraphrased). Paul, of course was a Jew and knew the Jewish law quite well.
Strangely, I have been unable to find any teaching of Jesus on that subject. We know that Jesus was a zealous traitor—that in itself was sufficient to get himself crucified—he needed no additional fuel for the fire. Certainly, if he had condemned slavery, it would have been tantamount to throwing gasoline on an open fire. It is reasonable to suspect (possibly assume) the writers and re-re-re-writers of the New Testament avoided that subject—they had all of the support for slavery they needed directly from Hebrew Law—no interference from Jesus needed. Maybe they assumed that ‘if Jesus didn’t address slavery through their writings, no one would notice’.
Well, as a matter of basic historical fact, no one did notice until Abraham Lincoln came along. He freed the black African slaves, and in doing so, he caused and won a civil war— got himself assassinated as a result—sounds a little like the Jesus story, doesn’t it?
Now, I would like to look each and every one of you in the face directly and ask you, individually, ‘who was responsible for the enslavement of the African people?’ I can tell you in a heartbeat, it was the Roman Catholic and European Protestant (Christian?) Churches. If any one of them ever offered a ‘word of dissent’, it was with the ‘tiny whisper voice of a mute sparrow’. You will recall that once upon a time the Pope in Rome was the most powerful person on earth—he crowned the kings. When he fell into disfavor with Martin Luther et. al., it wasn’t over the concept of slavery—they all condoned it.
I might add, that in all of my eighty seven years of attending Catholic Church, I have never to my recollection heard one single murmur suggesting the immorality of slavery. In addition, during seventeen years of Catholic education, it was never suggested that slavery might be wrong. I often wondered why—I have, on fact, asked the question often—I never got an answer—I think I know the answer. The Church stood to lose way too much power, money and control by getting involved in that fray. So they didn’t—they still haven’t. They play their same old ‘sly game’—knowing full-well that very few care and that fewer yet will research the history, they wait it out—in a few short years, those old dudes of us who do care will be dead and gone—they conveniently ‘sweep it under the carpet’ and pretend it never happened. That same old dog has been hunting for hundreds of years, but I suspect he’s getting old and tired—likely wont hunt much longer.
In my humble opinion, that immoral stance by so-called Christianity is the foundation for the civil unrest in our society today. There are many great black citizens who have risen above the foam, and ‘command the respect of all’. However, there is a ‘seething volcanic seam’ being incessantly utilized for ‘destructive political purposes’—and the Christian leaders remain silent. The ‘agitators’ continually ‘demand respect’—no one gets respect by demanding it—yes, they might get ‘attention’—respect, no.
So how does ‘racism’ play in this game. I’ll tell you how—it is perpetuated by those ill-intentioned, power-seeking individuals who have long recognized it as a ‘political weapon’. I’ll ask one more simple question; ‘do you think white, black, brown, red children are born with a racial bias?’—not the chance of a snowball in hell. Left to their own devices, their skin color would never be an issue—likely, it would never even be noticed, or if so, only as a lament—‘I wish my skin were as beautiful as yours’. No, someone has to tell them how bad that color is and how, as a consequence, the person in that color is undesirable. Our children would never in a billion years be ‘racist’—it has to be inculcated—and it continues to be on all sides. Shame on everyone.
If you would only read my two little philosophy books, Wilderness Cry and Peace in Spirituality, you would recognize the foundational basis for my understanding.