Predictably, the religious right is shocked — shocked I say! — at Obama’s recitation of the many sins committed by Christianity over the centuries. And it has nothing to do with politics! It just happens that one of the more recent sins, slavery, was egged on precisely by the very confederacy that now makes up an inordinate amount of right-wing opposition to progressive policies and is whining about this. Can someone please assume the martyr position?
Crooks and Liars — Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Sunday declared that all slavery in the world had been eradicated thanks to the Christian faith.
At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, conservatives accused President Barack Obama of comparing Christianity to the Islamic terrorist group ISIS when he observed that many religions had been used to justify violence throughout history.
“So we’re responsible for the Crusades a thousand years ago?” Carlson complained. “Who’s ‘us’ anyway? And by the way, who ended slavery and Jim Crow? Christians. The Rev. Martin Luther King. Christians.” “Christianity is the reason we don’t have slavery in the world today,” he added. “I mean, talk about ahistorical.”
Yes, many abolitionists were motivated in part by their faith. Which is a perfectly fair point to make — and in fact that’s the whole point Obama was making. That there were and are powerful, moderate factions within Christianity, that one of these factions prevailed in the US over southern extremists and sympathizers — who went on to drag the entire nation into a bloody, horrible Civil War in their fruitless quest to preserve slavery, but that’s a story for another day. And that maybe, we can all hope, similar moderate factions will prevail in Islam, preferably with even less senseless slaughter and misery than the Inquisition and Crusades and the antebellum south and whatever else I’m missing. Although imo, hoping Islam will pull that off with even less bloodshed is quite a lot to hope for at this point. But I guess putting those comments in context would screw up a perfectly good chance to fan the flames of Obama hatred, and we can’t have that.
The fact is, slavery was an honorable trade in the ancient near east back when the Bible was written. There’s little in the Bible explicitly condoning slavery, but there’s plenty that seems to just assume it exists and nothing should be done about it beyond calling for a little humane treatment. The Old Testament sure sounds comfortable with the idea, and that fact didn’t escape the notice of some southern preachers back in the say who justified slavery right from the pulpit.