Amazing Grace

I have not yet seen the Amazing Grace movie but it sounds great. It is about William Wilberforce and the other English Christians who fought for years to have the slave trade outlawed. In so doing, they changed the world without firing a shot. We can learn from this example.

Mark Shea had an interesting reaction:

One of the weird paradoxes of history is that Christianity has proven to be the only tradition capable of destroying slavery (and it took all of its power to do it). For most of human history, slavery has been taken to be the normal and natural thing, so rooted in antiquity, so bound up in the social, economic and political order that the idea of getting rid of it was simply inconceivable even to highly educated and civilized people. Once Christianity is successfully repressed, I think slavery will return almost immediately, because the whole notion of equality is a purely mystical one deriving from the Christian tradition. Get rid of that tradition and you return to a sort of rude pagan empiricism that says, "Why should I think my inferior is my equal? And if I can force him to work for me, why should I pay him?"

Sad to say, this attitude is still with us today. Every time we redefine "person" into something of lesser value, we take a step down that road. We see it in the business owners right here in the U.S. who hire illegal aliens at below-market wages simply because they can. We see it when the lives of disabled people don't have enough "quality" to justify continuation. We see it when abortion is used as back-up birth control. We saw it our own Constitution, which as originally written considered slaves to be only 60% human.

Mark is right - if Christianity lets down our guard, slavery will return. We may call it something else, and it may look different in the details. It will be slavery nonetheless.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It has already returned. Every year hundreds of Latin-American girls are taken to the brothels of Europe by liars who promise them well-paid jobs not related to sex and sometimes marriage. In Islamic countries slavery never really disappeared; the prophet himself was a slave-trader and onwer and did not see anything wrong about it.
In Corde Jesu,