Submitted by Terence Blackett
Bibliolatry, Literalism & Culturism – How Exegetical Abuses of Scripture Justified Slavery Giving Anglo-Saxons Licensed Tyranny to Trade in the Souls of Men
“The Black man will enter modern civilisation on the basis of perfect equality with any white man, or he will not enter at all . . . This is the last great battle of the West.” – W.E.B. Du Bois
Today, “RACE” is the most divisive factor on our tiny planet. On the streets of #AmeriKKKa, the seeds of modern protest & possible revolution will be fought again over this said issue – seeds sown some 398 years ago – as the depths of the controversy lies quagmired within the bowels of primitive theology and the myriad exegetical and eisegetical interpretations that men have lumbered on to Sacred Scripture.
Every nation, kindred, tongue and people have at one time or another been enslaved or ruled over by those whose mastery of conquest & domination placed them at the top of the predatory food chain. If history has taught us anything, the fall, demise & rise of any nation since antiquity, has been fundamentally based on war, conquest, subjugation & eventual servitude.
Yet, the myriad of flawed arguments in support of slavery goes back to a period in antiquity even before forcible Arab Islamization of Africans of the Maghreb – around 639 AD. Then in the 11th century, as Islam reached into West Africa under an Almoravid Black Berber named King Abu Bakr (a radical Islamic Jihadist title carried by many), came to destroy what was then the “PEARL” of the African continent – the vitalist empire of what is known as “Ghana” today – from here, the germinated seeds of the future Atlantic Slave Trade was to take root.
As Islamized Black Berbers from N. Africa created the inroads needed for Arabs to come into West Africa and to ply their trade in human cargo – this collaboration lasted until the dynasty of Mansa Musa (the greatest of all Black Muslim Kings of antiquity) who during his reign stopped the trade in African human cargo, ( if only temporarily).
Again, in the 14th century, the phantom of Black human enslavement took on new paradigms as the war for conquest & subjugation continued. It cannot be understated the horrors meted out by Arab enslavers who took (according to some estimates) between 11 million to 15 million souls in the space of 400 years – most having suffered rape, pillage, forced labour, castration & often times, utter deprivation. A holocaust hardly ever mentioned!
This was the 1st dimension of evil in recorded history! This is the 1st legacy of the demolition and decimation of African history, culture & the ultimate social sodomization & brutal dispersion of a people from their lands, traditions & empires!
In equal measure, complicitous Arabs, fake Jews & white Europeans began the barter in African slaves with the blessing of the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. With such potentate backing & blessings for the trade in human life, Spain, Portugal, France, England & the Netherlands took to the forefront in this capitalist endeavour. Spain took up the challenge as an empire because of its ruthless approach to indigenous people given its so-called “NEW WORLD” possessions (i.e. gold, etc.). The Catholic king of Spain & his Imperial Ministers regarded the primitive, indigenous people of Latin America as the Biblical Canaanites to be exterminated or forcibly enslaved. Their lands were seen as a gift from God to the Spanish king – in the same breath that the land of Canaan was bequeathed as the “PROMISED LAND” to the Israelites under Joshua (Moses’ servant).
The Torah (the Books of Moses) had provided every justification for the enslavement of these heathen people. So the Iberian conquest became a collaborative effort between Spain & Portugal to save these benighted lands & wretched of the earth for Christ, the king & the Catholic Church. So in 1452 Pope Nicholas V issued the Papal Bull “Dum Diversas” on 18th June, 1452 authorizing (King) Alfonso V of Portugal to reduce any “Saracens” (Muslims), Pagans and any other UNBELIEVERS to perpetual slavery.
Then in 1493, Pope Alexander VI authorized the King of Spain to enslave any & all non-Christians of the Americas who are at war with Christian powers and by 1494 Pope Alexander VI, in the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, divided the then known (so-called) New World between the 2 countries. As there was a need to locate a group to work in areas where the supply of indigenous labor was insufficient, to sustain the commerce of their colonies, Spain & Portugal imported African slave labour to fill the deficit (the 1st exercise in explosive European capitalist, commercial intrigue & exploitation).
Then between 1500- 1850, 12 Million African slaves arrived in the Americas to toil in building & financing the European Project through it colonies – most notably, the Caribbean, Latin AmeriKKKa & the (DIS) United States. The vast majority of these slaves worked in the Catholic colonies of Spain & Portugal. And by 1866, Pope Pius IX in a Papal Bull earmarked that “Slavery itself, as such in its essential nature, is not all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the scared canons… it is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given”.
So during the 15th & 16th centuries, all kinds of European commercial traders started to get involve in the lucrative African Slave Trade. Over the period, from 1526 to 1867, some 13 million slaves had been shipped from Africa and another 12 million arrived in the Americas. These European traders had previously been interested in African nations & kingdoms, such as Ghana & Mali because of their sophisticated trading networks established over 1000 years earlier. Traders then wanted to trade in human beings as they were viable chattel labor. The first African slaves were then brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco, sugar cane, cotton & other export-based cash crops.
So began the “TYRANNICAL” commodification of human life on a scale that is still unprecedented in all of human history.
The Bible & Slavery
The Bible is a book written for the future, about the eschatological ramifications of Divine Intervention, pointing to a future time where there will be no neutrality on either side of the great divide. For the Manifest Destiny of all will be decided! In between all that is history.
In 1995, 132 years after the Emancipation Proclamation; 130 years after the American Civil War, fought as a harbinger against Southern Slavery; 27 years after the death Dr Martin Luther King Jr – The SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION (America’s largest evangelical, Protestant body) apologised for its role in slavery. For them, this was their time for NATIONAL REPENTANCE!
However, repentance as most Christians understand it, is more than saying you’re sorry but demands confession, asking for forgiveness & an express intent at AMENDING for PAST TRANSGRESSIONS which may include reparatory justice & compensation for known egregious acts. Only in this methodological sequence of actions can true forgiveness be found. The Bible points us clearly to the maxim that says – “As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual sense.
Britain, AmeriKKKa, Spain or any of the other European nations that were involved in the trade in the souls of men have never apologized for their so-called Christian Imperialism. Even with the SBC apology of sorts, one has to wonder if the moral consensus has changed without changing the Biblical exegesis, as espoused through Moses & Paul.
In the book of Joshua 9:23 are these words spoken over the Canaanite people (sons of Ham) – “Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.” This was already portentous given the words of Noah over Ham’s transgression: “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren” knowing that the curse did not fall directly at Ham but at his son (Noah’s grandson) and this has been used as a pretext for servitude, social abnegation & every known evil that has been meted out to Blacks & to people of colour.
In Genesis 21 & in Joshua 9, we read of the destruction of the Canaanites in the land & those who escaped the sword were doomed to a life of perpetual slavery. So since the very beginning, the seeds of racism were sown which resulted in slavery, segregation, apartheid & even genocide. With some neo-Nazis now calling for another mass genocide of Blacks & Jews!
Genesis 47:21-24 tells how Prince Joseph (Israelite Patriarch) bought both the Egyptians & their lands for the Pharaoh in a time of severe hardship & famine – who then had to labor & pay the state 20% of whatever it earned in the form of a tax to Pharaoh. This borrowed wealth strategy from Egypt has become the ethos of democratic capitalism & it variants amongst all industrialised nations of the world – and is getting worst.
In New Testament theological circles (past & present), 1 Corinthians 7:24 is quoted where Paul argues that whatever condition you find yourself in this life – let him remain with God…” So whether slave or free – acceptance is key! In his letter to Philemon, Paul asks that he treat his slave Onesimus no longer as a slave but as a beloved brother in the Lord. In a similar letter to Timothy, Paul tells his son in the Lord: “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed…” (1 Tim 6:1-2: citing the first part of vs 1). Also in Titus 2:9-10, Paul admonishes: “Bid slaves to be submissive to their masters & to give satisfaction in every respect …” (citing the first part of vs 9)
These references & many others were quickly pounced on by Southern white slave owners to justify & endorse what was proscribed in Scripture – demanding that they be judged on the basis of their conformity to the spirit & letter of the Word which regulated their relationship between slaves & their masters.
It was only after the war of succession with the South, in the aftermath of that bloody, violent Revolution, that major evangelicals like the Calvinists decided that slavery was incompatible with the Biblical principles of justice & mercy as vouchsafed by the other Biblical prophets. The momentum of this radical change in mindset towards slavery resulted in Quakers like Wilberforce pushing for Abolition in the parliamentary House of Commons – bring to an end (somewhat) the violent institution of slavery (abolished) by 1833.
Then from 1833 to 2017, the 184-year-old struggle for true “EMANCIPATION” from overt, inert & subliminal imperialist domination has resulted in what we see on the streets of the #AmeriKKKa, Britain & across Europe based on the backlash we call the “Age of Terror”.
The old adage – “what you sow is what you reap” speak volumes today. For although AmeriKKKa was founded on the principles of religious liberty by men called Puritans Fathers – many of these historically challenged founders, held slaves based on entrenched racist beliefs posited from their skewed exegesis of Bible doctrine (suggesting on one hand that “ALL” men were created equal”) – counter-intuitively applying to those of European descent. For clearly, the positions they held when interpreting controversial Biblical doctrine, used non contextualised Scriptural references to justify the iconography of slavery. So now, even in the aftermath of the antebellum period, what we are seeing in the Southern historical debacle currently splashed across mass/social media in places like Charlottesville, Boston & across the (DIS) United States is really unfinished business.
Slavery was based on Bibliolatry and the veneration of the Good Book taken as literalism by its expositors & apologists whose “LOVE OF MONEY” was at the root of all the EVIL perpetrated against African people. The Good Book then became their “Icon” of enculturation (Culture War) especially to justify the abominable institution of slavery as they assert, the Bible never condemned it but rather gave credence to those who held slaves.
America today is in a culture war based on the antecedents of virulent racist, social policy & the engineered politics of subjugation of African people & people of colour – seen only as objects of capitalist commodification, in the same way, you saw a horse or a donkey cart. The backlash of that culture shock being witnessed across AmeriKKKa is an epiphenomenon based on the spirit of Abolitionism, the diminution of white domination, the cathartic need for reparatory justice and the levelling of an unjust playing field of white privilege.
The open, visceral angst & anger being witnessed on the street of AmeriKKKa is a symptomatic reaction to the historic corollary of events which have been mired in a more profound theological & teleological debate which the country refuses to have with itself. It was best said by Russel Baker, back in a 1994 NY Times OpEd piece entitled: “God’s Angry Land” – where he cites:
“America is angry at Washington, angry at the press, angry at immigrants, angry at television, angry at traffic, angry at people who are well off and angry at people who are poor, angry at Blacks and angry at whites. The old are angry at the young, the young angry at the old. Suburbs are angry at cities, cities are angry at suburbs, and rustic America is angry at both whenever urban and suburban intruders threaten the peaceful rustic sense of having escaped from God’s Angry Land…”
This “national habit” as Baker calls it, sees angry Southern, white (so-called) Christians – many of whom were cited as ALT-RIGHT, NEO-NAZIS who feel cheated after 8 years of Obama’s social policies that saw jobs move abroad, incomes lost, poverty become more entrenched – while a cross-section of Black folks became uber-rich, famous & are running things. On the other hand, is the ALT-LEFT, as Trump calls them, who are disproportionately Black social activists (apparently supported & funded by billionaire George Soros), who believe they are a “BUFFER” to a growing class of CONFEDERATE-minded racists, who long for the good old days of the 1950’s (Leave It To Beaver/Little House On the Prairie) type of social setting – where white America was to them “GREAT BACK THEN” – something Donald Trump exploited heavily, as he socially engineered protest with the catchy slogan: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”.
Sadly, after almost 1800 years of Anglo-Saxon global rule, it is patently clear that white domination & white privilege have painted itself into a corner from which it may never emerge. The backlash we are seeing is based on the fact that the handwriting is on the wall given that Caucasian stewardship of the earth & its resources have been nothing short of an abysmal failure. For no other group of people who have ever lived on the earth have created the volume of chaos, apathy, tyranny, war, bloodshed & destruction as these folks have done – yet without any real accountability.
Sadly, brevity will only a kid’s glove handling of this topic & the issues we’re facing in 2017 & beyond. If Scripture is to be understood, believed & lived especially by those of us who hang on its every word – just as every other empire or kingdom have fallen & imploded, so too will the pillars of Western, imperialist democracy collapse & implode in a matter of a very short time. For what was built on the backs of slaves, the oppressed, the marginalised, the robbed, pillaged, raped & destroyed – for no other reason, than for filthy gain, will have its day of restitution knowing that Divine Justice is not a porridge served cold but the fiery wrath of God will be poured out undiluted upon the children of disobedience.