Quotations from biblical times to now
Quotations from holy texts:
"A man came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and said:
to a deed that makes me close to Heaven and far from Hell.' The Prophet
replied: 'Free a person and redeem a slave.' " 1
"And if a man smite
his servant [male slave], or his maid [female slave], with a rod, and he die under his hand; he
shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two,
he shall not be punished: for he is his money [property]." Hebrew Scriptures,
Quotations from the past:
Thomas Jefferson stated:
"Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate that these people are to be free." 5
At the time Christianity was divided over the morality of
human slavery. Most Southerners supported slavery; most in the North were
abolitionists. Many denominations split on in two over the question. Some quotations at the time were:
"The hope of civilization itself hangs on the defeat of Negro
suffrage." A statement by a prominent 19th-century southern
Presbyterian pastor, cited by Rev. Jack
Rogers, moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
"The doom of Ham has been branded on the form and features of his
African descendants. The hand of fate has united his color and destiny.
Man cannot separate what God hath joined." James Henry Hammond, 19th
century U.S. senator and hebephile. 2
||"Enslave the liberty of but one human being and
the liberties of the world are put in peril." William Lloyd Garrison
(1805-1879), founder of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society and
co-founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society. He was a Christian
||"The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example." Rev. Richard Furman, the first president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
||"Slavery was established by the decree of Almighty God. It is sanctioned in the Bible, in both testaments, from Genesis to Revelation." Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America.
||"The abolitionism which I advocate is as absolute
as the law of God, and as unyielding as his throne. It admits of no
compromise. Every slave is a stolen man; every slaveholder is a man
stealer. By no precedent, no example, no law, no compact, no purchase,
no bequest, no inheritance, no combination of circumstances, is
slaveholding right or justifiable." William Lloyd Garrison.
||"If you allow one
single germ, one single seed of slavery to remain in the soil of
America... that germ will spring up, that noxious weed will thrive, and
again stifle the growth, wither the leaves, blast the flowers and poison
the fair fruits of freedom." Ernestine L. Rose, (1810 - 1892)
Freethinker and Atheist. She was once referred to as "“a female
Atheist... a thousand times below a prostitute."
by a newspaper in Bangor, ME.
"We began to stir against slavery. Hearts grew soft, here, there, and yonder. There was no place in the land where the seeker could not find some small budding sign of pity for the slave. No place in all the land but one -- the pulpit. It yielded at last; it always does. It fought a strong and stubborn fight, and then did what it always does, joined the procession -- at the tail end. Slavery fell. The slavery text remained; the practice changed, that was all." From: "Bible Teaching and Religious Practice
from Europe and Elsewhere and A Pen Warmed Up In Hell"
by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens).
More recent quotations:
||"Who are we? We are the descendants of slaves. ... We are the heirs of a past of rope, fire and murder. I for one am not
ashamed of this past. My shame is for those who became so inhuman that they
could inflict this torture upon us." Martin Luther King, Jr.
"We must acknowledge the complicity of many of our churches in slavery, a system in which most African Americans were
prohibited from practicing Islam or African traditional religions." Interfaith Relations and the Churches
Policy Statement of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
"Traditionalists must do more. I've got to do more. We've
all got to speak up in this respect, or else we'll be taught that
these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred
fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda." John Ashcroft, in a defense of "southern patriots" like
Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee who fought to preserve the slavery of human
"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the
slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms." Article 4,
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
||Today, "Two hundred years after the British Empire abolished slavery – and 144
years after the Emancipation Proclamation – an estimated 27 million people
around the world are living in slavery." National Council of Churches,
- Fiqh us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 67. This is a group of sayings attributed to Muhammad. They were collected by
his followers shortly after his death.
- William Lee Miller, "Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress."
Alfred A. Knopf, (1996), Page 139.
"Interfaith Relations and the Churches," a Policy Statement of the National Council of the
Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. See:
Quotation from an interview of John Ashcroft by the Southern Partisan magazine, 1999. (Ashcroft was
confirmed as U.S. Attorney General in 2001-FEB.) Quoted in "Echoes of slavery as Bush nominees back confederacy,"
The Guardian, at:
Found on Panel 3 on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. See: http://thomasjeffersonfoundation.net/
Copyright © 2009 to 2013 by
Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2009-FEB-25
Latest update and reviewed: 2013-SEP-29
Compiled by B.A. Robinson