"Would any one believe that I am master of slaves by my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not -- I cannot justify it, however culpable my conduct. I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and to lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be afforded to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we can do, is to improve it, if It happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and an abhorrence of Slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished-for reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity. It is the furthest advancement we can make toward justice. It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants Slavery".
What a fascinating quote. Thank you for sharing. It clearly creates a portrait of a conflicted man.
Of course slavery was eventually abolished with the help of Christians who claimed the right of freedom came from God and not men.
You know, I am always baffled when Christians speak about Christians as if you were a monolithic bunch, who all share the same values and belief systems.
Indeed, the Quakers, (who are my very favorite Christians) led the abolitionist movement by establishing and maintaining the underground railroad. Members of the Quaker community continue to be active today in efforts to combat human trafficking, and I have had the honor of working side by side with members of the Quaker community in these efforts.
But not all Christians were opposed to slavery in the Americas in the 19th century. And not all Christians are opposed to human trafficking in the 21st century. In the 19th century, Christian proponents of slavery cited the bible as a justification for their position. They pointed to Colossians 3:22 “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord” and 1 Timothy 6:1-2 “Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.”
Even today, many who embrace Jesus do not have a problem with human trafficking. In Uganda, the devout practice the death penalty against those who engage in homosexual behavior, while at the same time promoting the trafficking of children as forced labor to work in the mining industry. In Guatemala, one of the nations in the world with the highest concentration of Christians, the child sx industry is booming. And in Detroit, Ariel Castro, who imprisoned, raped and tortured three women for more than a decade, made sure to attend church every Sunday.
So again I ask, was slavery ever wrong? Was it ok, in the past, but not ok now? Is human trafficking a sin? Can someone embrace Jesus, and still be a trafficker in human flesh and labor? Do real Christians
who engage in human trafficking get to spend eternity in heaven, while atheists who fight against human trafficking are damned for all of eternity? How does this all work?