Anne (netmouse) wrote,

On the Hypocrisy of Racist Christianity

...I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show ... which everywhere surround me. We have man-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. The man who robs me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me ... the path to salvation. He who sells my sister for the purpose of prostitution, stands forth as the pious advocate of purity. He who claims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of the God who made me.
He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions of its sacred influence, and leaves them to the ravages of wholesale pollution. The warm defender of the sacredness of the family relation is the same that scatters whole families ... leaving the hut vacant, and the hearth desolate. We see the thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery. ... The slave auctioneer's bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master ... Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other--devils dressed in angel's robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.

--Frederick Douglas, Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas (1845), as quoted in Black Profiles in Courage: a Legacy of African American Achievement, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Alan Steinberg

This seems to me a bold and honest description of the moral degradation caused by, and intrinsic to, the institution of slavery as it was practiced here in the United States and justified in many churches as the divine right of Whites, and as it has been extended through Jim Crow laws and their successors - a legacy we see in full force in some of the political plays being acted out this election year. A situation I believe every truly moral person in this country should be ashamed and outraged by.

Douglas fought for the civil rights of all people; it is his legacy we should honor, not that of the slave-holder-descendants trying to hold onto what was never theirs by right, and promising to deny rights to others based on their prejudiced, hypocritical interpretations of religious guidance.

(Side note: I do not believe all Christians are racists, nor that all racists are Christian. But many of the prominent sexist, racist, homophobic politicians and business people in this country do attribute their views of the world to the bible and to their religious upbringing, and so far as I know, a "Christian" position is the one held by all the ones I particularly deplore. In quotes because many other Christians also denounce it.)

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