While my wife and I were on a cruise for a little vacation, I was sitting in a comfortable chair reading while the parade of people went by me from one part of the ship to another.
The book I was reading was “Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life – How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew”, by Steve Stewart-Williams.
It is a good book dealing with some difficult questions and some serious stuff. A passing gentleman saw the book cover and commented to me his thoughts.
“That looks like an interesting book,” he said. “You must be a minister.” Well, not exactly, which I briefly explained to him. But I suggested to him that he must be a minister to make such a remark. He admitted as much.
A few minutes later, we were having a discussion about religion, atheism, the meaning of life, etc. A day later on the same trip, we had another longer discussion. In this, I brought up to him (he is black) my incredulity that so many blacks are Christian, considering the constant references to slavery in the Bible.
I pointed out to him that there are references to making slaves of thieves if they cannot make restitution of stolen goods, how to treat slaves, how to buy slaves from foreign countries, etc.
“There are even instructions on how to sell your daughter into slavery,” I stated. The minister’s comment, before I could continue on, was “Wait a minute, wait a minute –you said ‘sell your daughter into slavery?’ That’s in the Bible? I never saw that in the Bible.”
Yep, that reference is in there – in Exodus 21:7 of the King James Version edition as follows. “If a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.” There is more, but that is the gist of the message of selling your progeny. There is no reference that I know of about selling sons, but then daughters and women in general were second class citizens anyway.
But Christians, known for fudging the facts, changing the rules, moving the chess pieces and cherry picking their Bible and faith, have an answer for this. The answer is simple – just change the words in the next translation. Thus, the New International Version reads as follows: “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do.”
Servant, slave, indentured servant, chattel slave, serf, property, etc. The terminology might be different, but the effect and meaning is the same. It is a human owned totally or for a time by another. Thus, a daughter with no resources or other options is controlled by her father who may, if he wishes, sell her or “bond” her to another person for life or a period of time.
Really – look it up. It is in the Bible, the ultimate (for some people) rule for morality and justice. But can there be any justice, any morality, any fairness when one person is allowed to own another and sell, “rent” or bond that person out – male or female, black or white to another?
Again, my question to this or any black minister or anyone of any faith interested in morality and justice remains the same. How can blacks even consider an acceptance of or belief in Christianity considering the horrible history of slavery in this country and the pejorative connotation that such has for any reasonable person?