Has Bryan Fischer Read His Own Bible?

Bryan Fischer actually manages to out-stupid even himself in a blog post on the AFA site where he says that Islam is to blame for slavery, while Christianity has always been opposed to it. Seriously.

But making concessions to Sharia law over against the moral code of the Judeo-Christian tradition is nothing new for America. We started doing it in 1619 when we began to tolerate the slave trade, as the first shipment of 30 African slaves arrived on the shores of Virginia….

The slaves who were brought here in chains in 1619 were Africans who had been kidnapped by other Africans and sold to slave traders who in turn brought them to America. The kidnappers, the ones who went into the interior of Africa to capture their fellow Africans to sell them into bondage, were predominantly Muslims…

Now, in contrast to Islam and Sharia, the Judeo-Christian tradition from day one has been adamantly opposed to the slave trade.

The civil code of ancient Israel did provide, as America did, for indentured servitude, which was voluntary and had statutory limits after which emancipation was required. As many as two-thirds of the English settlers who came to America in the 17th century came as indentured servants…

But Moses flatly prohibited the slave trade under penalty of death. “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death” (Exodus 21:16). In other words, if a strictly biblical code had been followed in 1619, the slave trader who brought that ship to Virginia would have been arrested the moment he landed, prosecuted and hung by the neck until dead. The slaves on board would have been returned to their families and their homelands, and slavery would never have gained a foothold in the United States.

But sadly, we made our first concession to Sharia law in 1619 instead of being guided by the wisdom of Scripture, and we have paid a terrible price for it. Slavery became our first national sin, as abortion is today.

Wow. Talk about dishonest. Moses not only did not prohibit slavery — that verse is actually referring to kidnapping — he explicitly commanded it. Here’s how that very chapter, Exodus 21, begins:

2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3 If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.

5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges.[a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.

The Mosaic law sets up a two-tiered system, one for indentured servants, which were their fellow Hebrews, and one for foreigners, who were actual slaves. This is set out quite clearly in Leviticus 25:

35 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. 36 Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. 37 You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit. 38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

39 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. 42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.

44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

It’s also true, of course, that the overwhelming majority of slaveowners in this country were Christian and they justified their ownership of slaves by reference to these verses.

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • Michael Heath

    What other American groups violate biblical admonitions on how to treat others attributed to Jesus more than American conservative Christians?

  • wscott

    I think his dishonesty is a little more subtle than that. (Tho no less stupid.) It sounds like he’s trying to draw a distinction between the slave trade (which is basically kidnapping, and therefore condemned by the bible) and slavery itself (which is condoned by scripture). Even many 18th & 19th Century slavery apologists agreed that the slave trade itself was horrific and should be stopped – which is was, decades before slavery itself was outlawed.

    Like I said, no less stupid…

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    It looks like we finally found some aspect of our legal system that was based on the Bible.

  • http://rockstarramblings.blogspot.com/ Bronze Dog

    I wonder if he’s afraid to read the Bible because doing so will turn him in an atheist. That’s how I got started on that road.

  • raven

    Bryan Fischer, evil or crazy?

    When does continual, habitual, pathological lying tip over into a sign of mental illness?

    OTOH, whatever is wrong with Fishcher’s brain, the people who employ him, the fundie xians don’t have an excuse.

  • http://blogingproject.blogspot.com/ Ing: Od Wet Rust

    I think his dishonesty is a little more subtle than that. (Tho no less stupid.) It sounds like he’s trying to draw a distinction between the slave trade (which is basically kidnapping, and therefore condemned by the bible) and slavery itself (which is condoned by scripture)

    Except it isn’t….for example the areas where God orders them to enslave their enemies.

  • anandine

    And since the first state to legalize slavery (of Indians) was Massachussetts, I guess those pesky but entreprenurial Muslim slave traders must have had a branch office in Boston.

  • arakasi

    Does he even bother to address the years 1493-1620 when there was a thriving trade in native slaves? Or would he claim that this was the Moorish influence on the Spanish? IIRC, the Afican slave trade only really picked up because they were less trouble than Native Americans, since they didn’t have the opportunity to escape and return to their tribes

  • alanb

    From Wikipedia (emphasis added):

    Dum Diversas is a papal bull issued on June 18, 1452 by Pope Nicholas V, that is credited by some with “ushering in the West African slave trade.” It authorized Afonso V of Portugal to conquer Saracens and pagans and consign them to indefinite slavery. Pope Calixtus III reiterated the bull in 1456 with Etsi cuncti, renewed by Pope Sixtus IV in 1481 and Pope Leo X in 1514 with Precelse denotionis.

    Or is Fischer one of those fundies who thinks that Catholics aren’t Real True Christians™?

  • Aquaria

    He’s probably read it. That doesn’t mean the dolt understood it.

  • davidcbrayton

    Is there companion to the Bible that explains what sections should be ignored and which ones are to be followed?

  • heddle

    davidcbrayton,

    Is there companion to the Bible that explains what sections should be ignored and which ones are to be followed?

    I can provide one:

    1) You can almost certainly ignore the Marcan Appendix (Mark 16:9-20). This bizarre passage did not appear in the earliest manuscripts and appears to be an addition.

    2) You can (alas) almost certainly ignore the wonderful story of the woman caught in adultery John 7-8, with the mysterious writing of Jesus on the ground. It is not in the earliest manuscripts.

    3) You can (alas) absolutely ignore 1 John 5:7-8, int the King James Version, the forged “proof text” of the Trinity.

    4) You can probably ignore Acts 8:37 (Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch: “And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.””) It is not in the earliest manuscripts.

    That’s about it.

  • d cwilson

    IIRC, the Afican slave trade only really picked up because they were less trouble than Native Americans, since they didn’t have the opportunity to escape and return to their tribes

    Well, that and the devastating effort diseases like smallpox had on the native populations.

  • grumpyoldfart

    He’s toying with everyone for his own amusement. He deliberately makes the “no slavery” comment and then sits back to watch the fun. He laughs at the atheists for getting their knickers in a knot, and he laughs at the Christians for accepting every lie he tells them.

  • wscott

    @ Ing: Od Wet Rust – I didn’t claim his argument made sense…. 😉

  • Chiroptera

    We started doing it in 1619 when we began to tolerate the slave trade, as the first shipment of 30 African slaves arrived on the shores of Virginia….

    Yeah, Americans merely tolerated the slave trade, and merely tolerated forcing people to work on their plantations and merely tolerated whipping the slaves themselves. Let’s hear it for the true victims of slavery: white Americans!

    The kidnappers, the ones who went into the interior of Africa to capture their fellow Africans to sell them into bondage, were predominantly Muslims…

    I have never understood how this is supposed to ameliorate the guilt of Europeans (and European settlers in the Americas) for buying, owning, and totally abusing slaves.

  • Draken

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you. The implication that we, the Dutch, favoured slave merchant of both the honourable British Empire and the later brave United States; that we should be heretic moezelman while we are, in fact, followers of the wise words of Luther and Calvin!

    Do please ignore this Fischer person, he is clearly speaking from his German catholic roots and still angry about the Dutch shedding the Spanish shackles to be become free tradesmen between the world’s colonies. Buy our ebony, the best in the world, shipped to you directly from the African coast!

  • raven

    Jesus:

    The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

    Jesus the god-man himself gives instructions on how to beat your slaves.

    Paul has lots of great advice for slaves. All along the lines of; sit down, shut up, and work.

  • davidcbrayton

    heddle

    So, all that stuff about slavery, genocide, killing babies, turning wLot’s wife into stone because she looked at a burning village, and convincing a true believer that he must kill his son in order to prove his devotion…all of that is good stuff, huh?

    I can’t wait to re-read Leviticus!

  • Who Knows?

    Raven @18.

    The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

    I don’t think this is talking about how to treat slaves. Luke 12 is discussing how God’s people on earth are act and be ready for God’s return.

    In the parable the servants are Gods people here on earth. Those who know God and refuse to do his work will be punished. Those who did do not know God will be punished lightly due to their ignorance. The more knowledge of God you are given, the more is expected of you.

    Kind of a warning for people like Fischer. Rather than an instruction guide for slave owners.

    That is, if you believe that stuff.

  • slc1

    Re davedebrayton @ #19

    Actually, Prof. Heddle’s position is that the Christian bible supersedes the Hebrew bible so that the latter is no longer operative, if I under his position correctly. Thus, what’s in Leviticus is no longer relevant. Of course, anything that Yeshua of Nazareth is reputed to have said, is very much operative.

  • raven

    I don’t think this is talking about how to treat slaves. Luke 12 is discussing how God’s people on earth are act and be ready for God’s return.

    This is jesus speaking. It is exactly what he is talking about.

    He uses the example of how you treat slaves as an example of how he will treat YOU when he comes back.

    Jesus clearly doesn’t have a problem with beating slaves.

    He doesn’t have a problem with beating up on you or anyone else either. Remember that whole hell thing? Getting beaten up by the godman is the least of your future problems.

    BTW, while the NIV uses the word “servant” in their translation, the Greek word means…slave.

  • raven

    Luke 12 is discussing how God’s people on earth are act and be ready for God’s return.

    Not quite. Jesus is telling people what will happen to them when he shows up again.

    If you screwed up unintentionally, you will only be punished a little.

    If you screwed up and knew you were screwing up, you will get the snot beat out of you.

    The jesus of the NT isn’t always a nice guy. Sometimes he takes after his father, the Invisible Sky Monster of the OT.

  • raven

    It looks like Bryan Fischer is doing what David Barton is doing.

    Barton rewrites history and makes up whatever he feels like to do it.

    Fischer is rewriting the bible. And making up whatever he wants to.

    It’s no big deal. We know the bible has been written and rewritten so many times by hacks with axes to grind that there is no such thing as an original version.

    In another century or two, jesus will be wandering around the southeast USA with his gang of 12, his 6 shooter “peacemaker”, and his horse “Holy Ghost” looking for gays, atheists, Democrats, and Moslems to kill.

  • Musca Domestica

    So, without Sharia law (on a different continent), you wouldn’t have all those pesky negroes (all secret Muslims, of course) roaming around and claiming equal rights?

  • wheatdogg

    Does anyone here know enough history of the slave trade to confirm or deny Fischer’s contention it was Muslim Africans who were trading in slaves? My feeble knowledge of the trade suggests Muslims were not the primary source, but the many non-Muslim kingdoms and other communities in West Africa.

    Granted, there were probably Muslims trading in slaves with buyers in the North and East, but most of the slaves in the New World (I believe) came from the Atlantic trade routes with West Africa.

  • heironymous

    @wheatdogg

    I know enough history to know that slavery predates both Christianity and Islam. Tribal war in Africa where slightly more “advanced” tribes raided less advanced tribes for slaves happened between christian and christian, muslim and muslim and all the permutations thereof. It was part of the spoils of war. The Romans did it. The Spartans did it. The Babylonians did it.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    wheatdogg @ # 26 – I think your surmise is, with possible minor exceptions, correct. Muslim slavers worked the northern and eastern African populations; Western slavers hired/threatened locals to do their raiding along the Atlantic coastal regions, reaching ever further inland in a chain reaction of cultural disruption.

    The Spanish and Portuguese did the most damage, followed by the English and, trailing, the French. Certain demagogues claim “the Jews” were behind it all, and a few cases of Jewish-financed slave ships can be found, but the prime movers were the European monarchs and their favored cronies – all professing Christians accepted among the faithful by their respective churches.