Slavery is defined as a system by which African Americans where owned by whites and made slaves. Slavery was disgusting, heart breaking, and degrading. I personally believe morality did play a role in the debate of slavery and I believe religion played a big role in the debate as well. The debate over slavery always tends to bring both of those things into it the argument. One thing that is known is that there is no direct scripture in the bible that teaches about slavery being morally right. As stated by Debow “… that the bible teaches nothing directly upon the subject. But, that it establishes rules and principles of action, from which they infer, that in holding slaves, we are guilty of a moral wrong. The mode of reasoning would be perfectly fair, if the bible really taught nothing directly upon the subject of slavery” (DeBow’s Review- “Slavery and the Bible”).
What I interpret from this review is that people cannot say slavery is morally wrong if the bible permits it, not saying it morally okay but permits it. Religion can cause a debate in discussing slavery because people can bring up that there were slaves in the bible but will fail to read its entirety and see that the slaves were treated right unlike the slaves in later time. Religion played a huge role in the debates over slavery because of how it breaks down the permitted slavery versus the morally wrong. Now DeBow also states that “We find, then, that both the Old and New Testaments speak of slavery—that they do not condemn the relation, but, on the contrary, expressly allow it or create it; and they give commands and exhortations, which are based upon its legality and propriety. It cannot, then, be wrong” (DeBow’s Review- “Slavery and the Bible”).
This continues to express how God doesn’t say slavery is morally right but it’s permitted, they did not condemn it but they simply allowed it if the slaves were treated right. Now compared to the issues we face today I think this document would be great to bring up to give a clearer meaning to how religion tied up with slavery. Now with everything happening today and how unarmed black men are more likely to die than an armed white man and it is morally wrong but to a police officer what they did was morally right, but in the Bible it states “thou shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13 KJV) so I’m not trying to say every cop that has killed somebody has broken that commandment but if there was hatred in their heart in the result of killing someone they are a murderer. Due to all the racial issues going on today people can express how the way an African American male feels today reminds them exactly of slavery. The racial slurs and acts will never go away but religion continues to show the acts of wrong doings go against God’s words.
Another thing that was stated by Stephen that helps my argument was “We demonstrate, beyond the possibility of doubt, that he who enslaves another—that is, robs him of his right to himself, to his own hands, and head, and feet, and transforms him from a free moral agent into a mere bride, to obey, not the commands of God, but his claimant—is guilty of every one of these atrocious crimes” (Stephen Symonds Foster, The Brotherhood of Thieves). This quote goes to show my point on how religion continued to play a role in slavery and how it was morally wrong, I know it might sound like a broken record repeating how slavery was morally wrong but it is something that is needed to be known. We have to look at the text of the scripture and actually know the meaning of what is being said before we try to throw it out into an argument because people tend to throw out a scripture but give the wrong meaning behind it. If I haven’t quite made my argument clear, the argument I’m trying to make is that slavery was not morally right because the way slaves were treated in the bible was way different than how they were treated in later times. The Stephen Symonds Foster document gives so many different contexts as to why slavery in later time was morally wrong and how religion proves that. Now also with this discussion of the racial issues we face today we can always still tie religion into it. In our past discussions people discuss how wrong slavery was and how it was degrading and I’ve also seen how people also tie religion into it. We see ourselves how religion is discussed through slavery, we see on the news how religion and morality is debated upon during racial issues.
I believe these two documents really helped answer these two questions both documents express religion and its role and how morality was entered. Although the religious and moral arguments in these documents may be a little different from the issues we face today they are still valid. We don’t currently have slavery in 2019 but, any African American can still feel like we are because of racial issues and feel like they always have a target on their back. Another issue we are facing today is the way immigrants are currently being treated by people of higher power. Let’s take a look back at what Stephen stated in his document “God has given to every man an inalienable right to himself, —a right of which no conceivable circumstance of birth, or forms of law, can divest him; and he who interferes with the free and unrestricted exercise of that right, who, not content with the proprietorship of his own body, claims the body of his neighbor, is a man-stealer” (Stephen Symonds Foster, The Brotherhood of Thieves). Locking up innocent kids and adults is cruel and ungodly. Robbing someone of their rights and telling them they don’t belong shows an example of how this ties into morality. How immigrants are being treated right now is morally wrong. They are being held just like slaves did and aren’t being treated right but once again we see it as being morally wrong but the higher power view it as being morally right because they are trying to keep danger out but a lot of the things that have been happening in this country are not by immigrants but by people of a certain color who are currently known as U.S. citizens. When will we make a change and realize that everything always traces back to the past and that something we don’t want to bring back. People might not want to tie religion into things but religion is the way of life.