Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Slavery Handbook

I've almost finished "Bound For Canaan" and I have a few thoughts I'd like to share with you.  First, the more I learn, the more I realize how much more I have yet to learn.  Each book I read leads to at least two or three more books that I want to read.  And that's in addition to the half dozen books I have in my line-up!  I hope I never lose my desire for knowledge and I hope Josiah grows up with the same insatiable desire.  'Tis a sad thing when a person neither wants to learn nor cares about learning. 

Second, I have a hard time trying to wrap my mind around the fact that, a mere 150 years ago, there was slavery in this country.  Slavery in one form or another has always existed and will always exist.  It's one of the horrible evils that will always exist because of the evilness of men's hearts.  But what I don't get is that America was supposed to be different.  We were founded on the principles of all men being created equal.  Most of the people who first came to America were deeply religious and were escaping religious persecution in Europe.  There was a wide-spread knowledge of and submission to the Bible.  Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not one of those people who thinks that everyone was "good" back then, that there wasn't immorality or sin.  But Americans had just fought a revolution to declare themselves free of tyranny.  And yet, they were tyrants to an entire race of people.  So much principle and so little practice. 

It's interesting to see the ways proslavery people justified slavery.  One way was to dehumanize black people, to assert that they were an inferior race or condemned (as descendants of Ham) to perpetual slavery or even created at a different time than white people.  And isn't it interesting that the same thing is done today when it comes to babies in the womb.  "They aren't babies!" abortionists scream.  "They aren't humans!  They're blobs of tissue!"  Or how about this.  Slave owners purchased their slaves for a price and because they owned them, they could do with them what they pleased.  Sound familiar?  "It's my body!  I can do whatever I want with it!"  Seems like abortionists have taken a page from the slavery handbook.

And then there's this.  When abolitionsts started to gain ground in the north and more and more people started condemning slavery, laws were passed to try to punish and silence abolitionists.  In fact, during a trial for a white man who had been caught trying to help some slaves escape, the judge told the man's defense attorney that he couldn't say anything negative about slavery during the trial.  The attorney was not allowed to say that the reason the man was trying to help slaves escape was because slavery was a horrible evil and all people had a right to be free.  Abolitionists were driven out of towns, banned from southern states, frequently in danger, and sometimes killed, all because they wanted to speak about the horrors of slavery.  And again, the same thing happens today.  Anyone who speaks out against abortion or homosexuality is punished in an attempt to silence them. 

If the only way you can win an argument is by silencing your opponent, you've just lost.  If your argument is reasonable, it will stand up to criticism.  It's only when the arguments are ridiculous and contemptable that the critics have to be silenced. 

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