An Unholy Alliance: Christianity and Slavery In Birth of a Nation (2016)

An Unholy Alliance: Christianity and Slavery In Birth of a Nation (2016) October 6, 2016

image001.jpg-p_2016It is a common assumption in modern Western society that Christianity and the Bible endorse slavery. Certainly, the concept of slavery is found in the Bible and historically it has been true that one of the main institutions perpetuating slavery in America and other countries was the church. However, when you study the writings and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, the voice of the civil rights movement in America, you find that, rather than encouraging people to leave Christianity and the Bible behind, Dr. King actually called people to a deeper understanding and commitment to Biblical justice and he used the prophets of the Old Testament to shape His message of freedom.

In the new film Birth of a Nation, based on the real life story of Nat Turner, we see both sides of the coin. In the film, starring, produced, and directed by Nate Parker, we see young Nat being taught to read by his master’s daughter. He grows up to be a preacher, which is good when he is able to minister to his people, but is damaging when he is made to preach obedience to other slaves by his master and a conniving white preacher. One of the film’s most chilling reminders about the power of religion as a tool for the wicked is spoken by a slaveholder, “Even the meanest (N word) are fearful of the gospel. A good word from (the preacher) is better than my pistol.” After Nat’s wife is raped by a slave tracker and Nat himself is savagely beaten for little reason, he realizes he must fight for justice. His decision is made sitting in front of a Bible.

Turner’s film does not shy away from controversial material and difficult questions. It is very well made and does not deconstruct history by minimizing Turner’s faith (although one possible deviation from history was making his motive about his wife’s assault rather than the real Turner’s own written statement that he had a vision about a holy war in which he was called by God to take up arms). The film stresses not so much what Scripture teaches concerning slavery, but rather how Scripture was used by both blacks and whites to both support and undermine the institution of slavery in the South. As Nat tells his fellows insurrectionists, “For every verse they use to support our bondage, there’s another demanding our freedom. For every verse they use to justify torture, there’s another damning them to hell for their actions.”

So, what gives? Is Christianity pro-slavery or anti-slavery (or just ambivalent)? Regarding what the Bible says, it is obvious that slavery in Israel in the Old Testament was different from modern slavery, much more like indentured servitude, as Exodus 21:16 makes clear, “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.” The defining event of the Old Testament was God delivering His people out of slavery in Egypt in the book of Exodus. Indeed, many negro spirituals used those images of the Exodus as lyrics of hope in the midst of similar horrific oppression.

In the New Testament, the slavery that is addressed is basically Roman slavery of Jews and other subjugated people. Of course, it’s jarring to hear Nat Turner be forced to read passages from the New Testament like 1 Peter 2:18-19, “Servants [‘Slaves’ in the King James], be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” That sounds terrible, like it is justifying slavery, but you really need to read the rest of the passage in verses 20-21 to see what Peter is getting at, “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” Clearly Peter is not approving of slavery, but rather showing how suffering slaves/servants are like Christ who died an unjust death on the cross to redeem (literally ‘buy out of slavery’) His people.

Ultimately, we see God’s desire for all people to be free in the book of Philemon, where Paul pleads with Philemon to give his slave Onesimus his freedom. And his great cry of freedom and equality is in Galatians 3, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” There is no biblical warrant for subjugating or dehumanizing another person based on their race, for we are all made in the image of God and are made brothers and sisters when we are adopted into His family.  The journey of salvation in the Bible is one from slavery to sin and death to freedom in Christ, and the ultimate picture of the church is not one that is divided, but one that is united with people from every nation, people group, and language (Revelation 5).

Birth of a Nation redeems a title that was used back in 1915 with a movie that depicted the Ku Klux Klan as the heroes of America. Whereas the 1915 film perpetuated white supremacy, this film laments it and calls us to acknowledge the parts of our history that are stained with blood and injustice, calling into question the very notion of America as a land of the free. And as we who claim the name of Christ engage this film, we of all people should grieve and repent over the way the church perpetuated slavery in America, and we should search our hearts to expose other ways that we may be perverting God’s Word and grieving His heart.


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  • Raymond

    The most you can really say is that the Bible is indifferent toward slavery. In the OT, there are rules about kidnapping Jews and enslaving them, but Gentiles can be marked and beaten to within an inch of their lives without penalty.

    The NT references to slavery talk about enduring slavery and how it benefits the slave in his relationship to God, but says to be accepting of your slavery. Many Bible scholars take the position that Philemon is not necessarily about slavery at all.

    • bumbutcha

      If you’re going to cite the scriptures for support, at least cite the references so others can follow your argument.

  • Gregory Peterson

    This essay was going nicely until you became a slavery apologist with “Regarding what the Bible says, it is obvious that slavery in Israel in the Old Testament was different from modern slavery, much more like indentured servitude…”

    Biblical slavery and American slavery had much in common.

    Here is a little meme ready thing I developed.

    Ancient non-Jews = Could be permanent chattel slaves and inheritable property.

    American non-whites = Could be permanent chattel slaves and inheritable property.
    Ancient Jews = Could be indentured servants but not chattel slaves to other Jews.

    American whites = Could be indentured servants but not chattel slaves to other whites.

    See Leviticus 25:44-46 for starters.

    Kidnapping someone and enslaving them was a different thing than buying non-Jewish slaves or enslaving war captives. So Exodus 21:16 does not apply to buying foreigners who are already slaves or with enslaving war captives.

    As for “Paul pleads with Philemon to give his slave Onesimus his freedom,” that Paul returned Onesimus to Philemon was used by defenders of the Fugitive Slave Act as proof that the act was sanctioned by inerrant scripture, and therefore, to oppose it was to oppose God.

    It’s also possible to read the as Paul asking Philemon to send Onesimus to be Paul’s slave and aid Paul in his work, rather than manumitting him.. “Put the cost on my tab.” There those who argue that Onesimus was never a slave, but something else to Philemon. A thief of Philemon’s money? An estranged brother?

    You might want to read some proslavery Antebellum writers, such as one of the founding fathers of the Southern Baptist Convention with the Dickensian name of Thornton Stringfellow. His work is easy to bring up on the internet.

    Or closer to the Reform movement, Presbyterian minister and college president. James Henley Thornwell, who had an interesting take the master/slave relationship.

    This is an interesting overview of Thornwell.

    James Henley Thornwell and the Biblical Defense of Slavery
    Erik Grayson
    History 447F Senior Seminar
    Professor Robert Weyeneth
    Fall 2010

    • Major Major

      You forgot the part where you could trick Jewish slaves into serving you for life by giving them a wife. Their wife and any children they had would then be the property of the slave owner.

      • Gregory Peterson

        I did forget that.

    • Greg G.

      It seems to me that slavery and indentured servitude in the colonies was initially based on the biblical model.

  • parquet

    Christianity is the only religion on earth to END slavery. That is our God-driven legacy to the world.

    • Gregory Peterson

      It was Civil War that ended slavery in America… a war started by an Evangelical and Episcopalian slave owning plutocracy that pulled non-slave owning men along with dreams of owning such status symbols, and promises to protect white supremacy.

    • Mike

      After almost 2,000 years of the continuous practice of slavery in Christian nations around the world, and you expect that it should be credited with finally ending it?


  • Monique Lynn

    The other MASSIVE issue w/this movie at all is that the writer is a convicted rapist whose victim eventually committed suicide.

    • Mike

      The accusations are disturbing, but it doesn’t help when you get the facts wrong. One of the writers was convicted of rape, but the case was overturned on appeal and the prosecution declined to retry the case, so neither of the writers is a convicted rapist.

      • Monique Lynn

        He was convicted. That is a fact. But eeafqrdless of an overturn or appeal the most damning evidence in real life is this victim. She took her life bc of what these men did to her. The justice system finds the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent everyday. It is not without some very epic flaws and the some of those largest flaws have lied in cases of sexual assault. Your correction of my statement and the need to make it shows you truly have no real idea of the magnitude of this issue and in a note simply invalidated the victim you know bc well t got overturned on appeal so it didn’t really happen. Your perpetuation of rape culture is truly heartbreaking. And I know you’ll read this and just see some buzzwords from another angry woman. but I ask you to realize more than that. Realize that you can’t possibly understand why your blithe comment about guilt or lack there of hurts and angers me as a woman. Realize that one in four women you will meet are victims of assault. Realize that the hashtag your first assault is trending right now bc most of us have more than one assault story regardless of convictions of our perpetrators.

  • Monique Lynn

    Why is it that all discussions on slavery end up becoming some kind of justification of “well it used to be ok” and “that was a different time” when discussing Slavery in the Biblical context. As if we are afraid to say owning a human is never ok b/c the Bible not only doesn’t come right out and say that but goes so far as to give “rules” for slaves and their owners. I’d like to see something that REALLY addresses the moral implication of these passages in the bible.

    • Agabu

      The above article points to a Biblical passage that militates against slavery as it existed in Roman times without needlessly turning Christians into some kind of social justice warriors going to war with the Roman legions over slavery as it was then sanctioned according to Roman law. In effect the Bible does indeed come right out and undermine slavery by declaring the equality of Christian people from all backgrounds before God irrespective of their gender or station in life (Galatians 3:20) and giving “rules” for the proper treatment of people whether one was the slave owner or the slave so that their freedom in Christ could be enhanced rather than hindered (Ephesians 6:6-9). With respect to “rules” for slaves and their owners the Bible makes it very clear that God doesn’t play favourites. It was in the best interest of a Christian slave for instance to obey his or her master/owner in order to avoid being severely beaten or just plain executed if the master claimed his rights to do so under then Roman law.

      The New Testament reflects the realities of the times it was written in, yes, even harsh realities like slavery, without candy coating anything. Owning any person as chattel on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender is no where advocated in the Bible. Those that owned black slaves in Europe and the Americas two centuries ago, for instance, simply because they were black and regarded as three fifths of a person, well, no such such support exists for them in the Bible. Slaves and their masters are given equal standing before God who is both their true Master and insists they act justly and love mercy even in that slave/master relationship. With such in mind my question to you is, “what makes you think the Bible actually condones the kind of slavery as was practiced in the 18th and 19th century?”

      • Monique Lynn

        Owning humans is not ok. Period.

        • Agabu

          You haven’t answered my question though. What makes you think the Bible advocates owning anyone as a slave in view of what I laid out?

          • Greg G.

            Exodus 12:43-45 (NRSV)43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: This is the ordinance for the passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, 44 but any slave who has been purchased may eat of it after he has been circumcised; 45 no bound or hired servant may eat of it.

            Leviticus 22:10-11 (NRSV)10 No lay person shall eat of the sacred donations. No bound or hired servant of the priest shall eat of the sacred donations; 11 but if a priest acquires anyone by purchase, the person may eat of them; and those that are born in his house may eat of his food.

            These passages show that there is a difference between someone who is hired, someone who is a bonded servant, and someone who is bought, paid for, and owned. These are laws for priests. If the Bible had a problem with people owning other people, why couldn’t it at least ban the priesthood from owning slaves?

          • Agabu

            Of course there’s a difference between someone who is hired, and someone who is a bonded servant. One’s a hired gun so to speak to do standard work in the course of a day for a wage, while the other is contracted to servitude all day everyday for a specified length of time over the course of year(s) for often social safety reasons. The person isn’t owned, their servitude is what’s at issue.

          • Greg G.

            Did you read the verses? The “hired guns” and the bonded servants are not permitted to eat the sacred donations but a person who has been acquired by purchase may eat them. IOW, employees cannot be fed from the offerings but chattel slaves can eat them.

        • Status Cymbals

          Wow, how astute.

      • Raymond

        This seems to be support for the statement that the Bible is indifferent toward slavery. From Exodus to Deuteronomy, the story changes from “let my people go” to “mark your slaves on the ear and don’t beat them so hard that they die”. And slaves in Roman times should accept their captivity because you don’t want to upset the status quo and maybe get yourself killed. The Bible’s “teaching” on slavery changes based on social context. This is how Civil War slaveholders and abolitionists could use the Bible to argue for both sides of the issue.

        • Agabu

          My contention is that the Bible neither advocates nor condones slavery. Contrary to your assertion there’s no change from Exodus to Deuteronomy from liberating slaves to subjugating other people for enslavement. The issues you speak of are really cases of indentured servitude. With respect to Roman times, the Bible admonishes to do good under any circumstances. The admonishment for Christians who happened to be slaves to obey their masters wasn’t an endorsement of slavery at all but rather an encouragement to do good even under such trying circumstances. It really isn’t about accepting the enslavement status quo but about doing good to such an extent that they make the teaching about God attractive in every way (Titus 2:10), and of course, if at all possible, a Christian could legitimately win their freedom through proper channels rather than through acts of civil discord that could put them in the cross hairs of the wrath of the Roman Empire (1 Corinthians 7:21).

          The simple fact is that biblical teaching sought to give practical ways of dealing with the realities of the day so the Gospel of Christ could reach people rather than be needlessly hindered. The Bible’s teaching on slavery doesn’t change based on social context. Rather, people’s interpretations change given their own social context and cultural leanings. The Bible’s teaching remains the same in context. Each generation has to grapple with how to apply its unchanging truths to their particular social context.

          • Apostalypse

            However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

            That’s not indentured servitude. Buying and selling people, and passing them on as inherited property, is chattel slavery by definition.

          • Agabu

            Leviticus 25 is regulating servitude in view of one’s living situation. Read in context purchasing male or female “slaves” wasn’t about subjugating any person. Contracted servanthood rather than chattel slavery is the point. Now because the Bible here says the Israelites may treat “slaves” they purchase from among non-Israelites as their property, your assumption here is that this is chattel slavery. It isn’t. There are a number of reasons why this sort of thing isn’t the case. First, “purchasing slaves” presumed the “slave” person’s own willingness to enter into this arrangement often for reasons of escaping poverty or a great personal debt. Second, this isn’t forcible enslavement. There’s no injunction here about owning a person like cattle and forcing them to work without pay or benefit. Third, one could never own a person the same way you own a piece of real estate or other standard properties like domesticated animals. Fourth, the master/slave arrangement placed obligations on either party only for a fixed period of time. The year of Jubilee made sure of that especially if you read the first dozen verses of Leviticus 25. Contrary to your assumption, this is why it is really indentured servitude still rather than chattel slavery.

            At the end of the day, It isn’t so much the person you purchased as it was their servitude. Notice that the Bible elsewhere gives rules as to the treatment of “slaves” (Exodus 21). Why? Because “slaves” are still people and not mere expendable property. There are prohibitions against kidnapping people in order to sell them as slaves, assaulting and killing “slaves” with appropriate punishment that establishes their status as people with an equal standing before God and in civil society. There are provisions for their redemption from the “slave” arrangement (Leviticus 25:10).

          • Apostalypse

            Now you’re just making things up. There are clear differences between how Hebrew and foreign slaves are to be treated.
            “”purchasing slaves” presumed the “slave” person’s own willingness to enter into this arrangement often for reasons of escaping poverty or a great personal debt”
            It simply doesn’t say that. the compulsion is implicit in the word “slave”.
            When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)
            PROPERTY. Which can be beaten to the brink of death with IMPUNITY.

          • Agabu

            I didn’t make anything up here.I dealt with the text in context. You on the other hand are dealing with texts without regard for context and using them as a pretext to bolster the unwarranted claim that it is forced enslavement. A case in point is imbuing the word “slave” with a tone of compulsion from the outset, even though servitude freely entered into as per agreement not subjugation is in view. The Hebrew word translated “slave” “ebed” can also be rendered as “servant.” which some English Bible translations actually do. The differences in treatment between a Hebrew “slave” and a non-Hebrew “slave” relates to status within the Hebrew nation, and not to their status as human beings. The “slave” is a foreign resident, who could legitimately seek to be an israelite, if they wanted to or else return to their homeland in the year of jubilee when they got their freedom.

            Secondly, the idea that you can beat a “slave” to the brink of death with impunity and get away with it is ridiculous. Do you really think you can beat up someone to within an inch of his or her life and they get up in a day or two as if nothing happened? Please! Exodus 21:20-21 is case law relating to personal injuries without malice aforethought. It isn’t at all sanctioning hurting other people with impunity, let alone reducing people to the level of expendable property with no rights equal to anyone else, even though those people may happen to be contracted to you as servants.

            It would seem you’re hang up on the word “property” and anachronistically reading it as a 21st century person would in view of what we consider property today. This isn’t a good way to read the Good Book. You certainly wouldn’t want to be read according to someone else’s standard so that what you mean is dispensed with in favour of the assumptions the reader prefers. Please, read the Bible on it’s terms, and not yours.

          • Apostalypse

            “Do you really think you can beat up someone to within an inch of his or her life and they get up in a day or two as if nothing happened?”

            No, but that’s not what it says, is it? “It says If, however, the slave survives for a day or two” . That means they are simply not dead, it says nothing about getting up “as if nothing happened.” They die of internal bleeding on day 3 and you’re off the hook. You are making it say something it does not – the sin you level at me.

            “It would seem you’re hang up on the word “property” and anachronistically reading it as a 21st century person would in view of what we consider property today.”

            I would say property is something that I can buy, sell or leave to my kids. As is stated explicitly in the text. This is how you treat livestock, not people. NOWHERE does it say they are to be paid, and the jubliee only applied to Hebrew male slaves (“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are”), and then only if they were prepared to be parted from their family.

            “Please, read the Bible on it’s terms, and not yours.”
            Sage advice, you might want to heed it, instead of trying to wrestle slavery to mean something other than it explicitly does. “Property” and “inheritance” mean exactly as they do today. For the best part of 2000 years, people understood this to mean chattel. You’re the one interpreting it in the light of 21st century morality.

          • Agabu

            Your assumptions are really getting in the way of what the Bible actually says. You read what the Bible says that “if, however, the slave survives for a day or two” means they are simply not dead. The thing is, that’s not the case at all. The issue is that they survived a potentially serious injury recovering from it. You add to the issue that if they die of internal bleeding on day 3 they’re off the hook. Where does the passage say anything of the sort? All it says is that they won’t be avenged. In any case, the same passage of chapter 21 of Exodus in verses 26 and 27 says a “slave” can earn his or her freedom if they lose an eye or have a tooth knocked out, which is a humane application of the law of retaliation. This militates against your assertion that if they die on day three they’re off the hook. No they are not “off the hook.” The text works with the assumption that if they survive for a day or two, they are well on their way to full recovery. Tacking on a “they die on day three because of internal bleeding” insinuation is reading this into the text thereby making it say more than it does instead of sticking with what it just says. To further impose a sort of “get out of jail free card” to this assumption is a product of your own imagination. Sorry but this is an unwarranted bias that is nothing but pure speculation than sound reasoning from the Scriptures.

            You further betray reading the Bible on its terms by providing your own definition of property rather than drawing on how the word is used especially with respect to “slaves” in biblical literature. This is the anachronism wedded to your approach to the Bible, I warned you about. The “slaves” are provided with food, clothing and shelter as benefits or “pay” if you will. The year of jubilee applies to “slaves” of foreign descent as well, as Leviticus 25:10 makes abundantly clear. The seven year cycles aren’t the year of jubilee but Sabbath years that are groups of seven leading to the fiftieth year which is the jubilee year when liberty is declared to ALL inhabitants in the land. Of course God sets a distinction between a Hebrew national and a foreigner here. Citizens often have certain other privileges in their own country that foreign residents do not.

            Finally, in the Bible, a “slave” as property and livestock or real estate as property don’t mean exactly the same thing. That could only be the case if the Bible equivocated them, and imposed similar or identical punishment if one suffered loss of any of these categories of property. The thing is, it doesn’t. The rules regarding how “slaves” are to be treated surely distinguishes them even from how livestock is treated. You kill a bull and such, you are required to make restitution to the owner. You deliberately kill a “slave,” you’ve killed another human being, which is an offense punishable by death as Exodus 21:12-14 makes ever so clear. Your case is thus riddled with reading into the Bible modern moral concerns that make biblical morality subservient to it on the basis of your peculiar assumptions foreign to the biblical text.

          • Apostalypse

            So we’ve gone from “get up in a day or two as if nothing happened to “survived a potentially serious injury”. Both of which are not in the text. It stems from your own modern distaste of slavery and your cognitive dissonance about your favourite book’s endorsement of it (a fact that was used to justify slavery in Christendom for 1800 years).

            “The ‘slaves’ are provided with food, clothing and shelter as benefits or “pay” if you will”

            A horse gets as much, so what?

            “The year of jubilee applies to “slaves” of foreign descent as well”

            They can be slaves for only up to 50 years, no problem then!

            “Citizens often have certain other privileges in their own country that foreign residents do not.”

            Like not being chattel slaves, to be BOUGHT AND SOLD.
            Passing something on as inheritance identifies it as property.

          • Agabu

            We didn’t go from “get up in a day or two as if nothing happened” to “survived a potentially serious injury.” You jumped to that conclusion. The first was a rhetorical question directed at the nonsense you read into the text that if the person dies on day three they’re “off the hook,” The second is an inference drawn from the text suggesting RECOVERY from being hit with a rod. There’s no cognitive dissonance on my part relating to having a distaste for the Bible’s alleged endorsement of chattel slavery. You’re the one railing against chattel slavery, and then assuming the Bible’s form of “slavery” is the same as that embraced in colonial era Europe and the Americas. It isn’t.

            The fact that colonial era people in the name of biblical Christianity tried to justify chattel slavery isn’t an example of the Bible justifying their brand of slavery but rather their own wretched attempt to use the Bible to justify it. This is a point that dawned on Christian abolitionists like William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln, and of course the many black slaves who ended up finding hope for liberation in the pages of the Bible itself as some of the old so-called “negro spirituals” show. Colonial era slavery was largely predicated on enslaving people on the basis of race/ethnicity, and was inevitably dehumanizing in the process. Black Americans as slaves were once counted as three-fifths of a person for instance. This is something you just don’t find anywhere in the Bible. “Slaves” in the Bible were never regarded as less than any other persons or regarded as a fraction of a full human being. They were always full human beings entitled to life and due process in case they were mistreated, assaulted, maimed or flat out murdered. The issue is that their servitude was a pecuniary matter rather than their being chattel with no gain or legal recourse whatsoever.

            The use of words like “property” and “inheritance,” which you’ve made much of related to their obligation to servitude as entered into for financial purposes or advantages both to the “master/owner” and the “slave/servant.” In other words, their servitude obligated them and was really what was passed on as an “inheritance.” Since the person in his or her own right is the one under obligation to servitude, the Bible uses words like “property” or “inheritance” for the person him/herself as shorthand.

            Your ‘quipy’ responses didn’t substantively deal with anything in my delineation of the biblical material on indentured servitude as opposed to chattel slavery. The only thing I gather is that you seem to have an axe to grind with some stuff in the Bible without giving it any benefit of the doubt when reading and studying it. Not surprising, since it’s clearly not your favourite book. This makes you an unreliable interpreter of it seeing as you’re not really going to treat it fairly due to your seeming antipathy towards it.

  • Gregory Peterson

    Well… pro-slavery Evangelicals said that anti-slavery Evangelicals were not true Bible Believers as they were against God’s clear and inerrant word. Abolitionists therefore were claiming that they knew better than God, and were going against God’s clear, inerrant and perfect design for the races.

    Since the aboltionists were not Bible Believers and scorned God’s inerrant word, they were anti-God… a-theists who hated God. Not only that, they were advocating for unnatural, therefor sinful, relationships between the races. So, Abolitionists obviously couldn’t possibly be “real” Christians in any sense of the word, unlike the pious, Bible Believing Evangelical slave masters and their God approved patriarchal care for the spiritual and material well being of their “servants.”

  • If your argument is essentially ‘Slavery is okay as long as there’s specific conditions applied to it’, then that’s barely an argument at all. Or, if you really intend on pursuing it, the logical knots that you must twist yourself into is horrifying. Is it really so hard to just proclaim that the ‘you are all one’ positive message should apply to everyone, for all time?