The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

We often hear the neo-fascist Left denounce the Atlantic slave trade, whilst keeping quiet about the islamic slave trade in black Africans (and the enslavement of white europeans by muslims).  The neo-fascist Left really use the slave trade as a lever in their battle against liberalism/capitalism, and are not concerned primarily with opposing slavery, but are using it in their struggle for power.  For that reason, they have to ignore the islamic slave trade, and if forced to acknowledge it, will use what-aboutery to claim that judaism and christianity were pro-slavery.

I am attaching 2 pages from the following book from 1863, which shows that not only was the chrisitan church against slavery, but that this opposition was brought the fore in English about 150 years ago. 

The pages are from Christianity and Emancipation; on, the Teachings and Influence of the Bible Against Slavery by Joseph P. Thompson, New York, 1863.

The neo-fascist Left must either accept that they are ignorant or mendacious when making these accusations against the christian church.  This is not to say that there were those who would defend the slave trade by finding justificatory statements in the Old or New Testament.  It is to say that the christian church made repeated condemnations of slavery.  I leave it up to the neo-fascists to provide evidence that the muslim hierarchy produced similar repeated denunciations of slavery.

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These are the summary of the church Councils as shown in pp.83-84 of Thompson's book.

  • Council of Orange (441 AD): condemnation of those who restrained the liberty of those enfranchised by the church.
  • Council of Orleans (549 AD): enjoined churches to protect those who were manumitted in the churches.
  • Council of Macon (585 AD): expressed displeasure with civil magistrates who interfered with those manumitted by the church.
  • Council of Toledo (633 AD): assumed the defence of the liberty and property of freed men who committed to church patronage
  • Council of London (1102 AD): pronounced the slave trade as "infamous"

Muslim apologists like to tout islam as some great step forward vis-a-vis slavery, in that it provided for (some) slaves to become manumitted, provided they converted to islam.  However, as we see, that is no more than was apparently proposed by the christian church councils in the 200 years preceding the invention of islam.  Moreover, I have yet to find information where the christian church permitted people to be taken as slaves (as they are under the "moral guidance" of islam).

That is not to say that the christian church had prohibitions against slave-taking in the first 400 years of its existence, nor is it to say that the christian church did not later make statements in favour of slavery (possibly under contamination from the influence of islam).

But it is clear a) that islam was no advancement on the christian church's position on slavery by the time islam was invented, and b) that within 400 years of the invention of islam, the christian church was condemning slavery.

I'm no expert in christian theology nor the slave trade.  But we should have expected those who are experts in christianity, or the slave trade, or those apologists for islam to have uncovered this information.

If others have information about the christian church's attitudes to slavery it would be good to keep it here in one place.

It doesn't suprise me that the church was against slavery on the whole. Its followers did seem to be from slaves, from the israelites, to the Romen slaves. Anyway it comes as no suprise, i'm no expert either. What does amaze me is how weak the church has become. When are the heads of the churches going to speak out in defence of itself.  Instead of being such dhimmis.

I did read this.Maybe it helps.

How the Bible was used to justify slavery:

The Christian church's main justification of the concept of slavery is based on Genesis 9:25-27. According to the Bible, the worldwide flood had concluded and there were only 8 humans alive on earth: Noah, his wife, their six sons and daughters in law. Noah's son Ham had seen "the nakedness of his father." So, Noah laid a curse -- not on Ham, who was guilty of some type of indiscretion. The sin was transferred to Noah's grandson Canaan. Such transference of sin from a guilty to an innocent person or persons is unusual in the world's religious and secular moral codes. It is normally considered highly unethical. However, it appears in many biblical passages. The curse extended to all of Canaan's descendants:

bullet Genesis 9:25-27: "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers. He also said, 'Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japeth live in the tents of Shem and may Canaan be his slave'. "

Christians traditionally believed that Canaan had settled in Africa. The dark skin of Africans became associated with this "curse of Ham." Thus slavery of Africans became religiously justifiable.

 

here is the beginning of a much larger essay on this topic:

How numerous the slaves were in Roman society when Christianity made its appearance, how hard was their lot, and how the competition of slave labour crushed free labour is notorious. It is the scope of this article to show what Christianity has done for slaves and against slavery, first in the Romanworld, next in that society which was the result of the barbarian invasions, and lastly in the modern world.

The Church and Roman slavery

The first missionaries of the Gospel, men of Jewish origin, came from a country where slavery existed. But it existed in Judea under a form very different from the Roman form. The Mosaic Law was merciful to the slave (Exodus 21Leviticus 25Deuteronomy 15:21) and carefully secured his fair wage to the labourer (Deuteronomy 24:15). In Jewish society the slave was not an object of contempt, because labour was not despised as it was elsewhere. No man thought it beneath him to ply a manual trade. These ideas and habits of life the Apostles brought into the new society which so rapidly grew up as the effect of their preaching. As this society included, from the first, faithful of all conditions — richand poor, slaves and freemen — the Apostles were obliged to utter their beliefs as to the socialinequalities which so profoundly divided the Roman world. "For as many of you as have been baptizedin Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:27-28; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13). From this principle St. Paul draws no political conclusions. It was not his wish, as it was not in his power, to realize Christian equality either by force or by revolt. Such revolutions are not effected of a sudden. Christianity accepts society as it is, influencing it for its transformation through, and only through, individual souls. What it demands in the first place from masters and from slaves is, to live as brethren — commanding with equity, without threatening, remembering that God is the master of all - obeying with fear, but without servile flattery, in simplicity of heart, as they would obey Christ(cf. Ephesians 6:9Colossians 3:22-44:1).

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14036a.htm

Absent in the long essay i mention above is St Paul's letter to Philemon, a slave owner.  St Paul sends back the slave Onesimus, also a Christian, so that Philemon can receive Onesimus 'Not now as a servant, but instead of a servant, a most dear brother, especially to me. But how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord? If therefore you count me a partner, receive him as myself.'

Both are Christians and St Paul encourages a radical equality of relationship which in effect negates the premise of slavery.  

http://www.newadvent.org/bible/phm001.htm

This sort of attitude or interpretation is common among the Mormon belief system.  But when one speaks of the 'the church' in this context i think it important to try to specify which church.  since there are about 30,000 denominations (and growing!) there is a wide variety of interpretations of and perceptions of the teachings of the Bible.  Of course, since the Reformation also any group of Christians can form a 'church' and say this is what the 'church' teaches on blah blah blah, whatever it is.

paul collings said:

It doesn't suprise me that the church was against slavery on the whole. Its followers did seem to be from slaves, from the israelites, to the Romen slaves. Anyway it comes as no suprise, i'm no expert either. What does amaze me is how weak the church has become. When are the heads of the churches going to speak out in defence of itself.  Instead of being such dhimmis.

I did read this.Maybe it helps.

How the Bible was used to justify slavery:

The Christian church's main justification of the concept of slavery is based on Genesis 9:25-27. According to the Bible, the worldwide flood had concluded and there were only 8 humans alive on earth: Noah, his wife, their six sons and daughters in law. Noah's son Ham had seen "the nakedness of his father." So, Noah laid a curse -- not on Ham, who was guilty of some type of indiscretion. The sin was transferred to Noah's grandson Canaan. Such transference of sin from a guilty to an innocent person or persons is unusual in the world's religious and secular moral codes. It is normally considered highly unethical. However, it appears in many biblical passages. The curse extended to all of Canaan's descendants:

bullet Genesis 9:25-27: "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers. He also said, 'Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japeth live in the tents of Shem and may Canaan be his slave'. "

Christians traditionally believed that Canaan had settled in Africa. The dark skin of Africans became associated with this "curse of Ham." Thus slavery of Africans became religiously justifiable.

 

There's some interesting things come out of that.

1. Muslims make a big thing about the idea that slavery under islam was so much more benign than other forms of slavery which came before it, claiming that a slave under islam could earn a wage.  From what you cite here, it seems that that was something to be found in judaism too.  Therefore, islam did not offer any advancement on judaism or christianity vis a vis slavery.

2. Islam was a violent revolution, therefore islamic morality was imposed on people.  If islam had considered slavery immoral, then given the way in which it used violence to transform society it was within its means to extirpate slavery.  But it didn't, it reinforced the "morality" and legality of slavery.  It is highly doubtful that european christians would ever have been involved in the Atlantic slave trade, if it wasn't for contamination with islam. 

I think we need to start to distinguish between two ways in which islam affects non-islamic societies.  One is from the inside (islamisation), the other is from the outside (islamification). I'm just choosing to align islamisation/islamification that way arbitrarily.  There could be sound reasons for reversing the choice of words.

I was watching a documentary recently where they talked about Charlemagne beheading people - where could he have learned that from but islam (it wasn't a Roman practice) by islamification.  Equally, it is highly likely that the Atlantic slave trade grew from christians in Iberia having been islamised for 700 years because of the islamic occupation of the southern part of Iberia.

Kinana said:

 The Mosaic Law was merciful to the slave (Exodus 21Leviticus 25Deuteronomy 15:21) and carefully secured his fair wage to the labourer (Deuteronomy 24:15).
[...]
 St. Paul draws no political conclusions. It was not his wish, as it was not in his power, to realize Christian equality either by force or by revolt. Such revolutions are not effected of a sudden. Christianity accepts society as it is, influencing it for its transformation through, and only through, individual souls.

Its hard to know how the Bible was interpreted 2,000 yrs ago, or how the Church would have instructed its followers. They were very different times. Having read through all this information, all i can say is the church has grown, adapted and improved in many ways. Its obvious that slavery is not condoned in modern christianity.

Its quite obvious that the Unchanging Koran did condone slavery, and as its never changing, still condones slavery.  Christianty has shown a capacity to move with the times. Sometimes slowly, but it moves all the same. The Koran sometimes moves, but is generally pulled back to its origins.

Although i have no doubt  that in the past the Church would have turned a blind eye to many practises we would not tolerate today, and i,m sure text from the bible could have been used to excuse many things, we have to accept the past was very different from today. The people of islam are still living in the past, so instead of us judging their behaviour, maybe we should build a big wall around them,(after taking back our modern toys) and wait for them to catch up.

Sorry i went of there a bit, just had to throw something in about islam, being a mad islamophobe and all that . What we have to consider it seems, is whether or not a slave at the time of canaan, was a well thought of labourer, or a slave as we understand one. Noah did say Canaan would be the slave of slaves, is that worse or better?

One thing does come to mind is the curse came from Noah, who it seems had woken from a drunken slumber with a bad head. Why he should curse Canaan is a bit of a mystery (to me)  It was ham that saw his father naked? It was not a curse from God, who had made a covenant with Noah, the Earth , all living things Ect Ect.

 I'll have to go through it all again and see what sense i can make of it.

By the way i'm reading the King James version of the Bible.       

Well what i've found out is no one can really agree on anything. There are many people who've given some explaination to the verses Genisis 9:25-27 but all are equally unsure.

Do i know any more than people like F.Keil, or F. Delitzsch, (look them up yourself its heavy going) whom i could barely understand. I don't think so.  

It all comes down to interpretation. Some people have used the Hebrew, and some the Greek. All i can do is read the verses and ask, 'do i believe verses 25-27 could be used to justify slavery' .....No. For some reason Noah has cursed Hams son canaan, because Ham saw him naked. Why? i have no idea. And it seem others that are far more knowledgeble than me don't know either.

Maybe he made a joke about his father being naked in the tent and he brought his brothers round for a good laugh. They obviously didn't find it funny because they respectfully covered him up. Who knows why  Noah cursed Canaan. Perhaps he was just mad.

Canaan along with all of noahs decendants went on to live hundreds of years and have lots of kids. If people want to use verses of the bible to justify anything evil, it says more about them than the Bible. Thats not to say there is not some terrible things in the Bible, i just can't find where it says people should carry on killing babies, or cursing whole cultures for all of time.

Slavery is a terrible thing. It should be consigned to history. We should all be working to eliminate the 'act' of slavery, that is still blighting humanity.

Something that does strike me as strange is how we in the west are continually beaten with the history of our part in slavery, dispite the fact, our part in slavery was small and short lived in the scheme of things. Slavery is still going on in the Islamic world, but barely a word is said. We have outlawed slavery and have always shown regrete for our part in the  history  of slavery, but no one is brave enough to stand up to the Islamic nations and tell them to stop, and apologise.

The Egyptians had slaves, the Romans had slaves, and Islam has always had slaves.  I have never had a slave, so i will show regrete that slavery was a part of my history, but i have never been involved in it. And it seems that the Christian church for its part has always been against it.  That'll do me.

 

 

 

 

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/newman/religion_of_death.html

Another thing i have noticed is how many verses in the Bible advocate loving and doing good. Something the Koran is sadly lacking.

There are plenty of verses early on that are violent, but not so you'd mistakenly start making slaves of others. Unless making them follow christianity is concidered slavery?

Paul: 'Well what i've found out is no one can really agree on anything.'

Hence my earlier point.  Biblical literalists and fundamentalists have a problem. But any group has some sort of theology or way of looking at the Bible which is not part of the Bible!  Hence interpretations are multiple and varied.  

The quran must be taken literally as well as the hadith.  Any contradictions found are resolved via the doctrine of Abrogation.

http://4freedoms.ning.com/group/tiles/forum/topics/02-abrogation

as regards slavery, Ibn Waraq has said:

'It was the West that took steps to abolish slavery.  The calls for the abolition of slavery did not resonate in Black Africa where rival African tribes took Black prisoners to be sold in the West.'

Black african historians researching and speaking on the involvement of Africans and muslims in the slave trade are told by other historians "shut up about this - if the christians find out about it, they may stop giving us reparations; we certainly won't get them from the muslims because they have no shame about this".

Emmet Scott in his book Mohammed and Charlemagne even argues that the Viking pillaging/slaving of northern Europe was at the behest of the muslims, to whom they sold slaves.

There must be 100 books written on the atlantic slave trade in English.  There is only two books that deal with the islamic slave trade in Africa, and no more than 3 that deal with the Barbary pirates and their slave trade.  The Muslim slaving ships attacked ports in the mediterranean for 1000 years.  The viking/muslim connection is another slave trade that needs to be researched.  The investgation of the muslim slave trade between Africa and Asia is another area that has been massively neglected.

This neglect shows that those liberals/leftists writing about slavery were not interested in slavery per se.  They were interested in castigaing the (ex)christian world for its involvement in slavery.  The much bigger, much longer, much more diverse islamic slave trade they have chosen to ignore.  And it is still going on to this day.

My point in starting this discussion was to flag up that there were moves within the christian church against slavery from before islam was invented.  That movement was pushed back by islam sanctioning and taking slaves, and islam prospering on the back of those slaves militarily.  This was a corruption that ultimately spread up via Spain, when the Atlantic slave trade began out of Portugal (southern Spain had been islamised for 700 years).  Most of the slaves in the Atlantic slave trade went to South America and the Carribbean (90% I believe).  South America was deliberately "colonised" by the Spanish and Portuguese as a way to leave Europe and escape from the Ottoman Empire.  They did not appear to have any confidence that Islam would be held back after the Reconquista.

Slavery - not a black & white issue ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLrJqes7FSQ

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Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

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An additional Freedom from Religion is deducible if the law is applied equally to everyone:

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