I am going to try very hard to say these things without offending anyone. The subject of slavery has been in the news a lot. I actually studied this subject in 1978 at U.C. Berkeley.
The problem with slavery for Christians is that it is rooted in the love of money, which the Bible tells us is the root of all evil.
In parts of this country, when it first came into existence, making money, by making a profit, depended on the labor of slaves. These slaves were not friends with their owners like slavery in the Bible. They were property. They were bought and sold. To save as much money as possible, they were not fed properly and it was against the law for them to learn to read and write.
The other problem with slavery was that to rationalize owning people, the slaves were said to be inferior, less intelligent, and (despite their labor) lazy.
I could write a lot about this but my focus is now is how slavery affects Christians.
I was a Quaker for years. They are known for their position on non-violence. They owned slaves when they first came to America. However, they recognized that it was not a Christian thing to do so they freed their slaves, and gave them wages, a hundred years before the thirteenth amendment freed the slaves. They went on to be Christian abolitionists.
Money is not necessarily a bad thing if used in the interest of others. Christians often have money because God knows they will share it with the less fortunate. But money has its dark side. It can take over ones interest in loving our neighbor, and sometimes people will go against their Christian values to get and maintain money.
The problem of slavery is also a problem of control. After the slaves were freed, they were incarcerated for petty crimes and put in a chain gangs. They lost the right to vote. Share cropping has been referred to as a form of slavery. Jim Crow was another way to control former slaves. Today, mass incarceration of blacks is a problem of control. God does not want us to control each other. He wants us to get to know each other. To respect each other. To love each other.
Between the commandment to “love thy neighbor” and money sometimes being a problem, I think we can all agree that slavery was not a good thing and is not what God wants.
As a Christian this is where I stand. I am 71 and I have seen a lot in my time here on earth. Most of all I have seen progress, albeit slow sometimes. I am hopeful that things will improve and I know it will be Christians who will lead the way. Why? Because God is behind us. He knows where this is all going to end up and he will give is the wisdom, discernment and strength to make a difference. And when people ask who are those courageous people out there helping improve things we will be proud to say we are Christians. Come join us.
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