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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: SF Bay Area
Member since: Sun Jul 19, 2009, 02:14 PM
Number of posts: 5,533

About Me

Former political cartoonist of little renown. Advocate for peace, atheism, and comics. Likes listening to music when high and low.

Journal Archives

Oh, that explains it.

How Antebellum Christians Justified Slavery


Baptist and Methodist churches had opposed slaveholding members in the early years of the Republic. These denominations’ rapid expansion in the South, however, meant abandoning this position “in recognition that upwardly mobile members increasingly included slaveholders.” Justification for slavery came with this growth and found its parallels in the biblical subordination of women.

“Southern ministers had written the majority of all published defenses of slavery,” Jemison reminds us. For these ministers, slavery not only had divine sanction, it was a necessary part of Christianity. This was because slavery was defined as akin to a marriage: the “power of slave owners over slaves paralleled the power of husbands over wives and of parents over children.”

The father/master was supposed to be a benevolent and paternalistic overseer of all family (and property) members. After all, the New Testament’s “injunctions for slaves to obey their masters appeared alongside instructions for wives to obey their husbands.”

This hierarchy placed white men (including ministers) at the top, because slaves (and white women and children) were incapable of ordering themselves. Even northern theologians agreed on the necessary subordination of women: Charles Hodge, who held an influential position at Princeton Theological Seminary, wrote “We believe that the general good requires us to deprive the whole female sex of the right of self-government.”

Interesting article. The Civil War ended slavery, but it didn't end religion. Too bad.


Long ago, I attended a showing of Gumby cartoons at which the creator, Art Clokey, did a talk and fielded questions.

The most interesting thing that came up was the origin of two characters, the Blockheads. See if you can guess why I post this in the religion forum.

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