History News Network | President Obama, the National Prayer Breakfast, and Slavery

Obama’s recent remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast about the connection between Christianity and slavery may have been provocative given the setting (a setting that is of dubious constitutionality, I might add!), but they were not incorrect.  As the historian Joshua D. Rothman points out: “So vital was Christianity to the southern defense of slavery that some historians have estimated that ministers penned roughly half of all proslavery literature in the decades after 1830, though it was hardly only ministers like Baptist leader Richard Furman who one might have heard state that ‘the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures.’ Secular politicians drew upon such arguments as well. Jefferson Davis, for example, claimed that slavery ‘was established by decree of Almighty God’ and was ‘sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation,’ while his contemporary, South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond, blasted opponents of slavery by arguing that ‘the doom of Ham has been branded on the form and features of his African descendants’ and that ‘man cannot separate what God hath joined.'” Read the entire article here:

History News Network | President Obama, the National Prayer Breakfast, and Slavery.


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