"What I have said respecting and against religion, I mean strictly to apply to the —slaveholding religion— of this land, and with no possible reference to Christianity proper; for, between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of “stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.” I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me." 1Douglass was a radical in his day dealing with the issues of his day by confronting a faux Christianity of his day. It was not necessary that he peer ever backward to the days of old to dredge up a bases for his complaint, indeed, as a man born a slave he lived it.
But what has happened to the issue of Douglass's radical stance? Slavery has been outlawed and anti-racism amendments have been incorporated into our constitution. Racism against those with black skin is no longer instituted by the laws of the land. Since then it has become a conservative, as in a desire to conserve those laws. To be sure, there are politically based assertions that "political conservatism" is racist, but America's stance against racism is as American and conservative as apple pie. The fact that politicians are so ready to level the charge against their opponent in order to hurt their election chances is a testament to that fact. If we were a nation of racist, it would seem to me that such charges would bolster their standing in the land of racism. But it doesn't.
This is not to say that racism is dead. No, it is alive, and given the sinfulness of man, like all other sins that plague man, it always will be. But corporately, and institutionally, the racism against which Douglass fought is on life support at best; kept alive by the likes of the Reverends, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Jim Wallis, whose victim-factory enterprises have built a profitable industry of the sin.
But the conservativeness of standing against racism makes it safe, acceptable, and even popular to do so. In the day of Douglass it was not unifying nor popular to stand in the midst of a pew filled church and decry slavery and racism. Douglass is a historical figure because he did just that. Now Douglass is dead as is the slavery and racism against which he, and his brothers of every skin color, took their valiant stands. It is now warm, cozy and safe to stand in their shoes and decry what they decried.
But this raises another question. Where is the battle being waged today? What is the Devil up to these days against which the Christian must make that unpopular stand? The modern radical knows that the answer is to stand against the slaughter of the unborn. The conservative clings to the glory days of former radicals as he safely rails against the straw men of slavery and racism while remaining silent on the less safe but current issues.
Try this. Go back and reread the words of Douglass. Except this time exchange "slave holding" with "abortion defending". This should cause a light to come on. Liberal, or progressive Christianity, such as that preached by the Rev. Jim Wallis and other progressives, is becoming increasingly conservative. That is, the passage of time and their success in making the murder of the unborn corporately acceptable in the land has morphed them from radicals fighting for acceptance, into defenders hoping to "conserve" their gains in the American mindset.
But the more one knows about abortion, the more one realizes that it is indefensible. A strategy of distraction is therefore employed to avoid having to defend it. We are distracted away from the body of the baby to the body of the mother. We are distracted from the beating heart by claims of personal choice, or privacy. We are distracted by strawman arguments and name calling. And, we are distracted, interestingly enough, by counter-charges of racism; I say interestingly enough because the founder of planned parenthood, Margaret Sanger, saw abortion as a means to rid society of blacks. And also interestingly enough because of the staggeringly disproportionate rates of babies with black skin that are having their lives legally blotted out by the abortionist's knife. Sanger must smirk. And, lest we forget, some of the same person-hood arguments used to keep slavery legal are used to keep abortion legal.
I admire Douglass because he did not reject Christ because of fake Christians. He knew enough of the Christian religion to know that the religion was real and the fakes were hypocrites. He also did not shrink back from pointing out that some claiming to be Christians were in fact fakes. In fact this excerpt is taken from an appended message to his book entitled "Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass". It seems that, after reading his own finished work, he felt it necessary to insert a disclaimer stating that he was in fact a Christian. But he painted a logical and clear delineation between his Biblical Christianity and the "Christianity of this land" that accepted the legal ownership of humans:
"...[b]etween the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked."I've seen this very quote used in these days as a stick with which to beat over the head political conservatives after baseless assertions that they are racists. But it only serves to distract from the blood laden hands of the pro-abort "Christians" that so expertly wild that club.
Unfortunately for the cause to outlaw the crushing and dismemberment of the unborn person, we have very few Douglasses in our day. We do not fight slavery, which was generally survived, we fight the murder of the innocent, which is rarely survived... but some do. Gianna Jessen is one.
Please take the time to watch this video to see the handy work of those who preach love and tolerance, and, oh yes, abortion. Like the stripes worn by the ex-slave, this young girl wears cerebral palsy caused by the saline solution used in her failed abortion. If our current, self-professed Christian president had his way, this young lady would be dead, legally murdered outside the womb because she was unwanted. For such reasons I oppose Barack Obama, who happens to be black. But ironically enough, because he is black, and I am white, I find myself being judged a racist because of that opposition. Better for his ilk that I defend myself against a strawman charge than point out, as Douglass unashamedly did, that his "Christianity" is bad, corrupt and wicked.
There are perhaps other ways in which we might gain new insights from the interchange of historical issues and perspectives with current ones. One of those ways is to project modern action onto historical times. One of the tragedies of our day concerning abortion is the response from the pro-life Church, which is mostly silence. To be sure we have our abolitionist equivalents at work today, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, James Dobson and National Right To Life, to name a few, but these sorts of organizations are stop-gap at best. Like their historical counterparts, such as the underground railroad, they are only able to save a few. What is needed, as Gianna Jessen pointed out earlier, is a national reformation of mindsets concerning the sanctity of life. That can only happen through the transforming work of the true Gospel.
I can very well assume that the silence that plagues the modern American church concerning this somber issue is very similar to the silence that plagued the 19th century Church. It was well enough to be anti-slavery, I can imagine, but who wants to discuss divisive political issues. "I can't end slavery" I can hear a pastor say. "To take a stand will cause a Church split", or "there are people in this congregation who have owned slaves, we must be mindful of that". But these were conservative stances, in the Twainian sense of conservative, just as those who have no problem being all about diversity today take their "valiant" stands against dead straw-men are Twainian conservatives of today.
Lastly, perhaps we might garner some insight into future events and maybe get a glimpse of our own times from the perspective of the future. I grow weary of hearing Christianity blamed for slavery, and a host of other evils. Any group of people, whether it be a nation, political party, religion or so on can be cherry picked to death by focusing on infractions committed by rogue or fake constituents. And, the larger the group the larger the cherry tree. It is better to look at the group's charter if possible, as in the instance of religion. Does the evil committed make the person committing it a rogue member in contrast with the rest of the group or their charter, or does it make him a devout adherent? Are the actions that you are aware of seen through the hazy distance of time, or are they recent? Are the channels through which you received your knowledge objective, or are they hostile cherry-pickers?
With this in mind, should the Lord tarry, and should He grant America revival and reformation, I have no doubt that Christianity will one day be blamed for the horror of abortion. "What!", you say? "How can that be?" That's easy. One need only to look at the voluminous writings of so-called "progressive" Christians. Those writings will not go away, and, may well be used in the future in attempts to prove that Christianity is evil. In my mind now those writings fall under the same description leveled by Douglass: "[It] is of necessity to reject [them] as bad, corrupt, and wicked." But wicked hearts are our make-up. And those same wicked hearts might one day easily point to those very writings, and based on them blame Christianity for abortion.
Do you think this is far fetched? If so read the first paragraph of this site concerning a more recent history:
To deny the influence of Christianity on Hitler and its role in World War II, means that you must ignore history and forever bar yourself from understanding the source of German anti-Semitism and how the WWII atrocities occurred.Talk about ignoring history, that is one plump cherry right there.
Finally, those who frequent this blog know that I am a proponent of studying history. 3 To not; to be ignorant of what occurred before, in the words of Cicero 2 "is to remain always a child". History gives us wise perspective, wisdom in general, and knowledge, without which our minds might well be herded like cattle into any kind of foolish thinking. It should not surprise us therefore that the majority of the Bible reads more like a history book than a law book, for indeed it is God's history of His glorious Acts among men, and deserves study above all others.
Note 1: Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, (appendix page 93-94)
Note 2: Marcus Tullius Cicero
Note 3: When I advocate the study of history, I do not mean watch the History Channel. The only true way to study history is to read historic writings and then endeavor to understand the historic mindsets that led those of history into their future, our present. Man is hopelessly biased. Even reading old books only gives you a view of history through the biases of the writer's own times, yet one can hope and endeavor to escape the powerful biases of his own time, and even perhaps getting a glimpse of history by examining the biases of the historic author's work on history.