Letters to the Editor

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RELIGION: Bible cited in support of slavery

Letter by David A. Lupher, Tacoma on March 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm | 27 Comments »
March 8, 2012 2:07 pm

According to the March 7 editorial, “Rick Santorum and the wall of church-state separation”: “Liberal secularists who think religious convictions have no place in politics should remember the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and the abolitionists, whose passion for social equality was often rooted in a profound sense of divine justice.”

Leaving aside the extent to which abolitionists had a “passion for social equality” (Abraham Lincoln, for one, certainly did not), I would point out that we “liberal secularists” do indeed remember the role of religious people (most notably “Nonconformists” like the Quakers) in the abolition movement in the U.S. (and, earlier, in Britain).

But we also remember the pro-slavery advocates’ fervent appeals to biblical authority and their perfectly correct assertion that the New Testament nowhere challenges the institution of slavery. Indeed, Paul writes: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, single-mindedly, as serving Christ” (Ephesians 6:5) — only one of many injunctions to slaves to rest content with their status.

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