Why are school children not being taught about the involvement of Muslims in the slave trade?

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Al, the Church of England Bishop Emeritus of Rochester, has exposed the latest example of  PC revisionism that seeks to whitewash the history of Islam, in this case school children are not being taught of the involvement of Muslims in the slave trade, with blame solely being placed at the door of the British and Americans.

‘Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Al claims that, in addition to ignoring the current persecution of Christians in the Islamic world, secular Britain brushes aside historical evidence of Muslim aggression.

“If you ignore what really happened to give a lopsided view of history in the interests of political correctness, you can’t blame [young] people if they move to something else that has a less critical view of itself,” he says. Christianity appears so apologetic that students naturally gravitate towards self-confident Islam. Meanwhile, “the Churches’ engagement with the secular world becomes capitulation to it”.

As an example of political correctness in schools, the bishop discusses the way black pupils are taught about slavery.

He says: “If you teach black people from African or the Caribbean that slavery was perpetrated on them [only] by England and the whites in the United States, they are then given a narrative that Islam is the great liberator from slavery – without mentioning that the Arab slave traders were on the east coast of Africa and West Africa before the British and the Americans.

“You are never told about how in the attempt to end the slave trade, the evangelicals from the Churches were opposed by Arab slave traders. I have walked along the path that Livingstone took, and as churches were built along that path the Arab slave traders were burning them down.”‘

Protect the Pope comment: Just as the aggression of Muslims, and their oppression of Christians, has been whitewashed in the revisionist history of the Crusades it appears that school children are being indoctrinated with a PC history of the slave trade that exonerates,  by omission, the pivotal  involvement of Muslim slavers. This toxic cocktail of the secularists’ PC hatred of their own Christian heritage and Muslim proselytism is a growing threat to the freedom, and existence, of Christianity in this country.

H/T Damian Thompson


38 comments to Why are school children not being taught about the involvement of Muslims in the slave trade?

  • Karla

    Slavery continues in Mauritania and Sudan.

    Are they taught in schools regarding Islam, that Muhammad married Aisha who was six or seven years old and the marriage consummated when Aisha was nine or ten year old?

  • John Fannon

    And the Bishop of Salisbury writing in the Telegraph this morning, says that before Wilberforce, The Christian Churches considered that slavery was part of a God Given ordinance. Ignoring the fact that the Popes had railed against slavery for centuries and in this country St Wulfstan Bishop of Worcester from 1062, preached vehemently against the slave trade in Bristol.

    So don’t just blame the schools – there are some ignorant clerics around as well.

    • Michael B Rooke

      The Catholic Church down through the ages was at the forefront of antislavery and wrote many antislavery encyclicals. The position o f the Catholic Church is conveniently left out the the curriculum by the Liberal Establishment.
      It might be first said that two early popes were slaves. Pius I who died c 154AD and Callistus martyred c223 AD .

      St Melania (c383-439 AD) (the Younger) freed 8000 slaves ( Source Palladius (368 -c431AD) writing in 403AD)

      When Europeans were enslaved by Muslims two religious orders were established to redeem slaves from the Muslims. The Trinitarians, founded in 1198 until 1787 it redeemed 900,000 slaves. The Order of Our Lady of Ransom (Mercedarians), redeemed 490,736 slaves between 1218 and 1632. St. Vincent of Paul had been a slave at Algiers in 1605, and had witnessed the sufferings and perils of Christian slaves. From 1642 to 1660 they redeemed about 1200 slaves at an expense of about 1,200,000 livres. Like Vincent de Paul, John Newton (1725-1807)was enslaved.

      The Catholic Church produced teaching and instruction against slavery

      Sicut Dudem Against the Enslaving of Black Natives from the Canary Islands
      January 13, 1435 http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Eugene04/eugene04sicut.htm
      This gave the ultimatum to free the slaves and restore their possessions within 15 days or be excommunicated.

      Sublimus Dei in 1537 on : the enslavement and evangelization of Indians
      We define and declare …that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved;

      Immensa Pastorum 1741 often referred to in later encyclicals but only recently been put on the net in Spanish. (Drop into Google translate) The subject is slavery in Brazil. It refers to the text of Sublimus Dei of 1537 plus another document of 1639 that seems not to be on the net. Slavers are excommunicated.

      In Supremo Apostolatus in 1839 against slavery in America

      In Plurimus 1888 on slavery in Brazil. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_05051888_in-plurimis_en.html

      Catholica Ecclesiae 1890 on African slavery

      On the Slavery of Indians in South America 1912

    • Michael Petek

      The Bishop of Salisbury, who favours same-sex marriage, was comparing the ban on it to the practice of slavery. The man is a heretic and also an adulterer, as he is married to a divorcee. What they don’t tell you about the Arab slave trade is that the Arabs took Africans as slaves in the interior of the continent and marched them to the coast. Half of them died before they ever saw a European.

      • Wake up England

        Anglican orders are not valid. All Catholics must (and it’s not optional) uphold the Papal Bull Apostolicae Curiae which declares so called “Anglican Orders” ABSOLUTELY NULL AND UTTERLY VOID. Pope Benedict 16th reiterated this.

        So you see the “Bishop” of Salisbury is no more a bishop than I am.

    • Karla

      Informative post from Michael R Rooke. I would add, in the 1st to 2nd century AD Ignatuius and Polycarp freed their slaves.

      Source: Pages 28,29 Slavery Illegality in All Ages and Nations, Letter III by Edward C Rogers

      2nd century Saint Ovidius emancipated 5000 slaves.

      In the 3rd century, Bishop of Carthage, Cypran wrote a letter denouncing slavery to a slaveholder

      ‘You, man of a day, expect from your slave obedience. Is he less a man than you? By birth he is your equal. He is endowed with the same organs, with the same reasoning soul, called to the same hopes, subject to the same laws of life in this and in the world to come. You subject him to your dominion. If he, as a man, disregard or forget your claim, what miseries you heap upon him. Impious master, pitiless despot! You spare neither blows nor whips, nor privations; you chastise him with hunger and thirst, you load him with chains, you incarcerate him within black walls; miserable man! While you thus maintain your despotism over a man, you are not willing to recognize the Master and Lord of all men.’

      Source: http://is.gd/tYhrc0

      4th century AD, Bishop of Milan, Ambrose, said Church property had to be sold to but slaves and then free them

      ‘The Lord will say to us, ‘why are so many unfortunate beings subject to slavery, even death, for want of being redeemed? Men are better worth preserving than metals.’

      What have you to reply? Must we deprive the temples of their ornaments? But the Lord will say—’It is not necessary that the sacred things be clothed in gold.’

      Source: http://is.gd/6sWgXT

      Gregory of Nyssea said in a sermon at Lent

      ‘God’s greatest gift to us is the perfect liberty vouchsafed us by Christ’s saving action in time, and since God’s gifts are entirely irrevocable, it lies not even in God’s power to enslave men and women’

      Source – Atheist Delusions, pages 178, 179, Hart

      Chrysostom preached

      ‘In Christ Jesus there is no slave. Therefore it is not necessary to have a slave. Buy them, and after you have taught them some skill by which they can maintain themselves, set them free.’

      Source – John Chrysostom, Commentary on Ephesians, 6:9; and Epistle addressed to the Ephesians, Homily 22:2

      ‘He who has immoral relations with the wife of a slave is as culpable as he who has the like relations with the wife of the prince: both are adulterers, for it is not the condition of the parties that makes the crime’

      Source – John Chrysostom, In I Thessalonians, Homily 5:2; In II Thessalonians, Homily 3:2

      Augustine encouraged freeing slaves and that it was a virtue; that treating humans as property forbade Christian law. Many Bishops freed their slaves. Augustine said Christians used their money to recently redeem 120 slaves who were put on to ships by the Galatians and the Christians freed them, and reeemed many kidnapped victims.

      Source – Slavery and Society at Rome by Keith Bradley

      Saint Remigius wrote to King of France, Clovis

      ‘Let the gate of your palace be open to all, that every one may have recourse to you for justice. Employ your great revenues in redeeming slaves’

      Patrick of Ireland wrote a latter to Coritcus, dencouncing ensalavent of massacre and enslaving Irish Christians

      ’15 For Scripture says: Weep with them that weep; and again: If one member be grieved, let all members grieve with it. Hence the Church mourns and laments her sons and daughters whom the sword has not yet slain, but who were removed and carried off to faraway lands, where sin abounds openly, grossly, impudently. There people who were freeborn have been sold, Christians made slaves, and that, too, in the service of the
      abominable, wicked, and apostate Picts!…19 Where, then, will Coroticus with his criminals, rebels against Christ, where will they see themselves, they who distribute baptised women as prizes-for a miserable temporal kingdom, which will pass away in a moment? As a cloud or smoke that is dispersed by the wind, so shall the deceitful wicked perish at the presence of the Lord; but the just shall feast with great constancy with Christ, they shall judge nations, and rule over wicked kings for ever and ever. Amen

      Source – Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus, pages 15, 19, 3 Patrick

      Council of Epaone said there would be 2 years excommunication for killing a slave. Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore gace 7 years excommunication a mistress who killed her slave.

      Source – Slavery and Social Death, page 192 by Orlando Patterson

      For the last 40 years of his life, Bishop of Arles, Caesarius, took away the untesils and silver plates from his Church to buy Christians and set the mfree who had been enslaved in wars. He said

      ‘Our Lord celebrated his last supper in mean earthen dishes, not in [silver] plate, and we need not scruple to part with his vessels to ransom those he has redeemed with his life’

      Patriarch of Alexandra, Johannes Eleemosynarius, who is honoured in the Catholic Church told a slaveholder

      ‘Tell me what price can man pay to purchase a man, who was created in the image of God? Hast thou a different soul? Is he not in all things thy equal? There is neither bond nor free; all are one in Christ. We are all equal before Christ. What then is the gold you have paid for a child of God?’

      Bishop of Rome, Gregory the Great sanctioned the slavery of pagans but said slavery was ‘a great crime,’ ‘a cruel evil,’ that any Bishop in his disoce who permits it should be punished. He encouraged Church money to be used to obtain freedom for slaves and said those who had been freed with this money would not need to pay it back

      He said

      ‘A good and salutary thing is done when men, whom nature from the beginnng created free, and whom the customs of nations had subjected to the yoke of servitude, are presented again with the freedom in which they were born’

      ‘Since our Redeemer, the Creator of all creatures, wished to assume human flesh, so that by the grace of His divinity He might restore us to our pristine liberty, which has been taken away from us so that we are thereby held captive under the yoke of servitude, it is done wisely if those whom nature brought forth as free men in the beginning, and whom the law of nations placed under the yoke of servitude, are returned in freedom to that state of nature in which they were born by the benefits of manumission. So, moved by consideration of this and by feelings of piety, we make you, Montana and Thomas, serfs of the Holy Roman Church, over which with the help of God we rule, free and Roman citizens from this day, and we free all property held by you in serfdom. The statutes of the holy canons and lawful authority permit that the goods of Holy Church may be used for the redemption of captives. And so because we were taught by you, before we reached the age of eighteen, that a certain holy man named Fabius, Bishop of the church of Firman, used eleven pounds of silver from that same church for your redemption and for the redemption of your father Passivus, your brother and co-bishop, a priest at that time, and also of your mother, from the enemy, and on account of this fact you are obsessed by the fear that what was paid will be required of you after a certain interval of time, we wish to see your fear allayed by this command, that you and your heirs suffer no molestation at any time by reason of any demand for this money, nor shall you be harassed by any questioning, for the spirit of charity demands that what pious zeal expends ought not to be imposed as a burden or affliction on the redeemed’

      Maximus the Confessor wrote

      ‘Humankind has brought into being from itself the three greatest, primordial evils, and (to speak simply) the begetters of all vice: ignorance,…self-love and tyranny, each of which are interdependent and established through one another…God [however]…healed humanity when it was sick…[by emptying] himself, taking the form of a slave (Phil.2:7)…[thus fulfilling] the power of love,…in refashioning the human’

      Source – Maximus the Confessor, Epistle 2, to John the Cubicularius and Race: A Theological Account, pages 343, 369 by J Kameron Carter

      Bishop of Noyan, Eligus, used Church money to free many slaves. He said

      ‘Religious men from all parts came to him, foreigners also and monks, and in whatever way he could serve he would either give them the money or share the price of the captives; for he had the greatest enthusiasm for this kind of work. Indeed, whenever he understood that a slave was being offered for sale, he hastened with the utmost speed in his mercy and immediately gave the price and freed the captive. Occasionally he redeemed from captivity at the same time as many as twenty, thirty, or even fifty; sometimes even the whole body of slaves up to a hundred souls, coming from various peoples, and of both sexes, he would free as they left the ship; there were Romans, Gauls, and Britons also, and men of Marseilles, but they were chiefly men of Saxony, who at that time in large numbers like flocks were expelled from their own lands and scattered in different countries’

      Source – Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, Scriptores (Hanover, 1902), Tome IV, p. 677; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pages 292, 293, editor Bruno Krusch

      650 AD – Council of Châlon-sur-Saône forbade sales of slaves outside Frankish kingdom

      663 AD 4th Council of Toledo permitted free slaves to take holy orders; required slaves freed by Church to stay Christians; forbade Jews to keep Christian slaves and that all Christian slaves had to be freed from Jewish slave owners

      733AD, Pope Gregory ll forbade Christians to be sold to pagans, that it should be punished as equal to homicide

      ’8. Among other crimes committed in those parts you have mentioned this, that certain of the faithful sell their slaves to the pagans for sacrifices. Which thing, brother, we think should be corrected, and we do not think you should allow it to proceed further; for it is a disgrace and an impiety. To those therefore who have done these things you should mete out the same punishment as for homicide.’

      Source – http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/731Greg3.asp

      755 AD – Archbishop of Mainz, Lullo, wrote to Pope about a priest who sold Church serfs in to slavery

      ‘But let your Holiness judge what is right and just about these things and not only of these but of all which he did perversely during his life and which are here made clear. For he took the goods and serfs of the church committed to his care, Faegenolph our serf, and his two sons Raegenolph and Amanolph, and his wife Leobthruthe, and her daughter Amalthruthe, and he took them to Saxony and exchanged them there against a horse belonging to a man named Huelp. But Willefrid sent Raegenolph beyond the sea with Enred and gave him together with his mother into slavery’

      Theodorus Studitan said

      ‘Not to employ those beings, created in the image of God, as slaves’

      Archbishop of Lyons, Agobard, opposed slavery in Frankish Empire.

      Abbot Smaragda of Saint-Mihiel wrote to Charlemagne

      ‘Most merciful king, forbid that there should be any slave in your kingdom. Soon, no one doubted that slavery in itself was against divine law’

      Source -Slavery and Serfdom in the Middle Ages (University of California Press: Berkeley), page 11 by Marc Bloch

      876 AD – German Council of Worms said masters who without knowledge of judges’ on an offence legally punished by death who killed their slaves should be given penance for 2 years or excommunicated

      Pope John VIII ( to the princes of Sardinia) said in 837 AD

      ‘There is one thing about which we should give you a paternal admonition, and unless you emend, you incur a great sin, and for this reason, you will not increase gain, as you hope, but guilt . . . . many in your area, being taken captive by pagans, are sold and are bought by your people and held under the yoke of slavery. It is evident that it is religious duty and holy, as becomes Christians, that when your people have bought them from the Greeks themselves, for the love of Christ they set them free, and receive gain not from men, but from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Hence we exhort you and in fatherly love command that when you redeem some captives from them, for the salvation of your soul, you let them go free’

      1120 AD – In the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Council of Nablus forbade sexual relations between female slaves who were Muslims and their crusaders in the Holy land who were Muslims. If a man raped someone else’s slaves he would be exiled from the kingdom and castrated. If he raped his own slave he would be castrated.

      1171 AD – Christian synod at Amargh in Ireland ordered all English slaves to be freed and condemned Irish trade of English slaves.

      Read more on slavery here where I got a lot of this info from: http://nagasawafamily.org/article-slavery-and-christianity-1st-to-15th-centuries.pdf

      The enslavement of the Canary Islanders by the Spanish was condemned by Pope Eugene IV (1431-1437). He threatened those who enslaved with excommunication.

      Slavery in the Canary Islands was also condemned by Pope Pius II (1458-1464). Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484) issued a proclamation reiterating the same position.

      Pope Paul III (1534-1549) denounced colonial slavery in the New World.

      ‘When Europeans began enslaving Africans as a cheap source of labor, the Holy Office of the Inquisition was asked about the morality of enslaving innocent blacks (Response of the Congregation of the Holy Office, 230, March 20, 1686). The practice was rejected, as was trading such slaves. Slaveholders, the Holy Office declared, were obliged to emancipate and even compensate blacks unjustly enslaved

      Papal condemnation of slavery persisted throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Pope Gregory XVI’s 1839 bull, In Supremo, for instance, reiterated papal opposition to enslaving “Indians, blacks, or other such people” and forbade “any ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this trade in blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse.” In 1888 and again in 1890, Pope Leo XIII forcefully condemned slavery and sought its elimination where it persisted in parts of South America and Africa’

      Source: http://catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0006.html

  • Gurn

    In the Sudan the Arab Sudanese would refer to the Black Sudanese as ‘abid’ which literally means slave.

  • One reason may be that some Catholic Schools must feel compromised because they have allocated resources to providing prayer rooms for Muslim students. A practice that should be stopped forthwith.

    • tro

      It’s a mixture of Political Correctness and fear, isn’t it? It’s the same mentality which shies away from teaching about the Holocaust of World War II for fear of antagonising Muslim students.

      It seems even Catholic schools are not immune from this, sadly. Dissenting, ambitious, Politically Correct Catholics apparently call the shots in most Catholic schools throughout the land.

    • Rifleman819

      For Richard Collins ,

      I find myself in vehement disagreement with you.

      Of course Catholic schools should have Muslim prayer rooms….but only on one condition.

      That the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia reaches a Concordat with the Holy See to establish the new Archdiocese of Riyadh…staffed by Chaldean Catholics…..with two minor Basilicas -one at Mecca, t’other at Medina so that Catholic pilgrimages to the Holy Land can rest awhile before their journey to Jerusalem.

      What could be fairer and more ecumenical than that? Ahem.

  • Wake up England

    I lived in Morocco for seven years. In a house there I saw numerous slaves. ( The house in question is in the Rue Shakespeare in the Marshan area of Tangier.) They were all older women used as domestic servants. Maybe there were four or five of them. Amazing, but absolutely true. They seemed to be well-fed and content. I suppose they knew no different. I think the Moroccan family whose slaves they were considered they had a duty to look after the old slaves, so there was a sense of duty. Nevertheless it is quite shocking. The Moroccans consider such a thing to be old-fashioned, but not a matter of shame. I don’t think any law was being broken.

    There were also men-servants employed in the same house. But they were paid.

    Teachers please take note! I will give further details if anyone wishes to ask questions.

  • P.D.

    Quite right! Also there seems to be a complete ignorance on the part of many that slavery was alive and well and a huge part of African culture and commerce long before a white man set foot in Africa. It is estimated around a million Europeans were captured and enslaved by Muslim slavers from Africa during the middle-ages, but we hear little about this.

    There was a brilliant programme on Channel 4 a decade or so ago where four black Britons had their DNA tested and from this ‘went back to their roots’. One young man was enamoured with the (Muslim) African tribe his mitochondrial DNA (i.e. via his mother) suggested as his origins. He went as far as contemplating changing his name and religion to take on his new-found tribal identity (tho’ I suspect probably from the more comfy surroundings of Handsworth or the like rather than the dusty fringes of the Sahara). On his last day spent with the tribe he got the chance to meet the tribe’s leader. The young man said how awful it was that his ancestor had been stolen from Africa etc. He was rather shocked (indeed his bubble was burst!) when the chief said the end of the slave trade was the greatest catastrophe the tribe had suffered. It had ended their wealth and power… Because the main ‘industry’ of the tribe had been capturing and selling slaves. The young man was – to use a technical term – gob struck – and quickly changed his view on the simplistic notion that ‘white man bad’: ‘African poor victim’ and realised things were much more complicated.

    I was at an academic conference at an East London mosque a few years ago where there two Afro-Caribbean young men, dressed in Arab grab attending – but after a few minutes conversation and it soon became clear they were converts – originally from Brixton with Christian parents from Jamaica. They seemed ignorant of the role of African Islamic cultures’ in the slave trade.

    The trouble is – as can be seen in any culture – history is always told to suit the needs of the present (or this or that political faction) and for some reason ‘the present’ has spent far too long pussy-footing around Islam (and religion in general). Too little is also taught about the horrific treatment of Catholics (particularly in Ireland) under Elizabeth I and Cromwell. And there is far too much weight given the notion that many ‘social reforms’ (such as the ending of the slave trade) in Britain were the result of ‘Christianity’ – at the end of the day, given Britain was a Christian country at the time, with high church attendance and Christian ideas part of almost everyone’s worldview, if there was something intrinsic within Christianity that led to a fairer and more caring society, why were reforms necessary in the first place? It was Enlightenment thinking that informed Christianity (mainly Non-Conformist Christianity at that) that in turn led to social reform, not Christianity per se. But no – many Christians claim these reforms as the fruit of Christianity. Another example of the fact things are far more complicated than A+B=C. But who is interested in the complexities of history when there is point scoring and political gains to be made…?

  • BJC

    Found this interesting quote by Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln,Nebraska in his letter “Catholics and slavery” (1999) regarding Catholics in the past ignoring Church teaching on slavery. The letter is based largely on the churchinhistory.org link given by Patricius above:

    “With all these formal condemnations, it is a shame that the Popes were largely ignored by the Catholic laity and clergy……These sins brought great scandal to Christ’s Church. Unfortunately history does repeat itself. Today the majority of Catholics admit to using artificial contraceptives, even though the Popes have condemned contraception (e.g. Humane vitae, Catechism of the Catholic Church 2370, 2399).”


  • BJC

    Sorry, that should read “Slavery and the Catholic Church” (1999).

  • ms Catholic state

    Our one-sided, subtly but virulently anti-Christian Education service again! Or should that be re-education and Propoganda service. Catholic schools should make more of an effort to teach history from a Christian perspective. More caving into the Secular high priests.

    There is a terrible video on Youtube about the Arab slave trade. I don’t know if it is true or not….but shockingly it says that the reason why there are no black Africans in North Africa is because slaves were killed….and not allowed to marry or procreate.

  • Genty

    White Gold, by Giles Milton: “The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam’s One Million White Slaves” is worth a read. It details the raids on ships and on coastal areas of Europe into comparatively modern history and the unremitting brutality to which Christian slaves were subjected.

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ,

    I taught history in secondary schools for 22 years-and in my time not one of the standard texts on the Islam option in GCSE carried any reference whatsoever to the Arab slaver trade.

    And likewise with the Crusades…..Christian crusaders are portrayed as the aggressors whereas the the diametric opposite is actually the case.

    The Alhambra civilisation is lauded to the skies and the Christian knights are depicted as barbarian oafs.

    All part of the liberal European elites’ demonising of their own Christian heritage.Pitiful and tragic.

  • SteveD

    Less well known is the enslavement of north European captives in north Africa. Saint Vincent de Paul was captured at sea by slavers and auctioned in Tunis in 1605. He converted his owner and they both escaped to France. He raised enormous sums to ransom other Christian slaves. Seaside villages as far from Africa as Cornwall, Ireland and even Iceland were invaded and the inhabitants taken, sold and enslaved. It is estimated that a million people were taken in this way. Almost the whole population of the village of Baltimore in Ireland were taken in 1631.

  • Ioannes

    Slavery was endemic in sub-Saharan Africa before a white man set foot there, and according to the UN still exists in the region. The transatlantic slave trade would not have been possible without the active involvement of Africans themselves. The east African slave trade (via Zanzibar to the Gulf states) lasted far longer and was more difficult to eradicate. It was connected to the ivory trade, since slaves carried the tusks to the coast; and the only way the British could end it was to establish control, through protectorates, of the area. HMG was reluctant to do this, but eventually gave in to pressure from men on the spot, notably Sir James Kirk. The great slave market at Zanzibar was finally closed in 1890.

    I don’t expect schools to teach history from a Christian perspective, but it is surely not too much to expect it to be taught from an historical perspective. Most history teachers in secondary schools have at least a first degree in the subject, and it is up to them to resist PC attempts to subvert history for sinister ends.

    Slavery was taken for granted in the ancient world, and is not condemned in the NT per se; however, I would agree with most people that it is intrinsically evil. Some of its effects are not necessarily so; the descendants of slaves in the Caribbean and the US are no doubt better off than their counterparts in Africa. When was the last time Gabon or Upper Volta beat us at cricket?

  • Karla

    There will be some people who might say what about the Bible and indentured servitude and/or slavery. What is recorded in the Bible is indentured servitude, not chattel slavery. Exodus 21:16, says, ‘Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.’

    Leviticus 25:43 says, ‘Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.’

    Levitus 25:46 says, ‘…. but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.’

    Leviticus 25:53 says ‘He is to be treated as a man hired from year to year; you must see to it that his owner does not rule over him ruthlessly.’

    Deuteronomy 15:18 says, ‘Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because his service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand. And the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.’

    Mosaic law on indentured service was very different to slavery under the Code of hammurabi.

    Levitcus 25.35-43 says, ‘If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. 36 Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you. 37 You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit. 38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. 39 “`If one of your countrymen becomes poor among you and sells himself to you, do not make him work as a slave. 40 He is to be treated as a hired worker or a temporary resident among you; he is to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then he and his children are to be released, and he will go back to his own clan and to the property of his forefathers. 42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.’

    Abraham had servants that were born in his house. One called Eliezer was Abraham’s heir (Genesis 15:3) and Eliezer was master of his household (Genesis 24:2).

    Servants had:

    . Right of marriage (Exodus 10 – 11, Exodus 21: 4)

    . Maintained kinship rights (Exodus 21: 3, 9; Leviticus 25:41, 47 – 49, 54)

    . Access liberty and freedom of movement (Deuteronomy 15:1, 12; 23:15 says for foreign or Hebrew servants; Leviticus 25:40-45, 48, 54 for Hebrew intendured servants; Exodus 21:8, 11 for a Hebrew daughter in a marriage)

    . Legal personal rights related to protection for breach of contract and physical protection (Exodus 21:20-21, 26-27 for foreign or Hebrew servants; Exodus 21:8 for a Hebrew daughter in a marriage; Leviticus 25:39-41 for Hebrew servants

    . All servants maintained their rights unless voluntarily relinquished (Deuteronomy 15:16-17 and Exodus 21:5-6)

    . Law of Moses said servants should have at less 1 day free from lavour, participating in the Sabbath with other free servants (Deuteronomy 5: 14, Exodus 20: 10)

    . Servants were to be included in community feast (Deuteronomy 12: 12, Festival of Temporary Shelters Deuteronomy 16: 13 and festival of Weeks Deuteronomy 16: 10)

    . Under the law of Moses only income Priests recieved was from some offerings made under the sacrificial code and from the tithe. Uusally the offerings of food were only to be eaten by Priests because it had been ritually sancktified and could not be eaten by a non priest. According to Leviticus 22: 10 a priest could not offer it to lodger, hired work or guest but Leviticus 22: 11 makes clear that a Priest could share the food with a servant

    . The person who had a servant was accountable to the law for their treatment towards a servant, whether theservants were foreigners or Hebrews (Exodus 21: 20 – 21, 26 – 27)

    . Death of a servant caused by a domestic animal had to be compensated (Exodus 21:32), though unless the animal was previously known to be danger if a non servant dies because of a domestic animal it did not have to be compensated (Exodus 21:28 – 29)

    . Any servant who ran away automatically were allowed to go and live as they chose. It would be illegal to oppress the servant or return them to who they worked for (Deuteronomy 23: 15)

    . Under the Law of Moses you could purchase women and men who voluntarily sold themselves into indentured servitude but you could not sell them (Exodus 21:2, Leviticus 25:39, 42, 45, Deuteronomy 15:12). Enslaving against will or selling people into slavery was forbidden (Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7)

    . Law of Moses protected the Hebrew indentured servants from permanent debt and if the servant was released in the year of debt cancellation the person who the servant worked for had to give them generous supplies from his own (Deuteronomy 15:13 – 15)

    . If the person that had the servant, struck the servant and knocked his tooth or eye out he had to let the servant go free (Exodus 21:26 – 27)

    . 1st century AD commentary on Exodus 21:20 by Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Mishpatim says

    ‘And when a man smiteth his servant or his handmaid with a staff, and he die under his hand, condemned he shall be condemned’

    ‘And when a man hath smitten his Kenaanite man‑servant or maid‑servant with a staff, and he die the same day under his hand, he shall be judged with the judgment of death by the sword.’

    Source: Nahum M Sarna, Jewish Publication Society Torah Commentary Series: Exodus’, 1991, quoted by Glenn Miller, ‘Does God condone slavery in the Bible?’

    ‘He must be avenged The master is criminally liable and faces execution, in keeping with the law of verse…The verb n-k-m is popularly taken to signify “revenge.” Actually, it means “to avenge,” that is, to vindicate, or redress, the imbalance of justice. Its use in the Bible is overwhelmingly with God as the subject, and in such cases it always serves the ends of justice. It is employed in particular in situations in which normal judicial procedures are not effective or cannot be implemented’

    Source: Expositor’s Bible Commentary Old Testament’, 1992, on Exodus 21:20, quoted by Glenn Miller, ‘Does God condone slavery in the Bible?’

    “The second case involved a master striking his slave, male or female. Since the slave did not die immediately as a result of this act of using the rod (not a lethal weapon, however) but tarried for “a day or two” (v. 21), the master was given the benefit of the doubt; he was judged to have struck the slave with disciplinary and not homicidal intentions. This law is unprecedented in the ancient world where a master could treat his slave as he pleased.

    When this law is considered alongside the law in vv. 26-27, which acted to control brutality against slaves at the point where it hurt the master, viz., his pocketbook, a whole new statement of the value and worth of the personhood of the slave is introduced. Thus if the master struck a slave severely enough only to injure one of his members, he lost his total investment immediately in that the slave won total freedom; or if he struck severely enough to kill the slave immediately, he was tried for capital punishment (vv. 18-19). The aim of this law was not to place the slave at the master’s mercy but to restrict the master’s power over him (cf. similar laws in the Code of Hammurabi 196-97, 200).’

    Source of above text: ‘Expositor’s Bible Commentary Old Testament’, 1992, note on Exodus 21:20, as quoted by Glenn Miller, ‘Does God condone slavery in the Bible?’, 2005

  • peter

    Peoples attitude to slavery is often bound by culture. If you are interested in a good article try Cardinal Avery Dulles ‘Development or Reversal?’ where he looks at the work of the philosopher/law-maker John Noonan. A terrific read by a good theologian.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Thank you especially to Karla and Michael.Very useful for apologetic purposes. Interestingly the “Catholic” theologian Charles Curran claimed that as the Church changed her teaching on slavery, she should do the same on contraception. Was he devious or just ignorant ?

  • Peter Northcott

    I thought people in here hated Protestants?
    So many commenters use it as a dirty word on this blog.

    Funny how you are OK with ‘them’ when they’re in a position of power and are a mouthpiece for your views when our own Bishops are so spineless over these issues and you don’t confront them. Why?

    Protestantism is unquestionably a pervasive and noxious heresy. But the vitriol on the blogsphere towards ‘Protestants’ (dissenters) is simply uncharitable and counter-productive.

    Make your minds up – or be charitable.

    • Peter Northcott

      I meant to say that confrontation is clearly your preferred method, but you seem to be selective about its use.

      Do you not confront our Bishops because you’re concerned about your reputation – or because you realise it’s actually uncharitable and dialogue needs to be started (without compromise on the Faith) in a winsome and charitable manner to woo them on board?
      I hope it’s the latter.

      As I believe St Francis de Sales put it, ‘You win more flies with honey than vinegar’.

      • Wake up England

        RE: Peter Northcott: Has anyone any Idea about what this unhappy chappie’s on about?

          • Wake up England

            For Peter Northcott:

            My dear Peter,

            You write that Protestantism (“dissent”) is a noxious heresy.

            A couple of days ago on this blog you wrote that you might be joining A Call To Action. Are they not Dissenters?

            More recently still you tell us that you don’t believe in excommunication.

            One could be forgiven for thinking you make it up as you go along, Peter.

            Whose presentation of Christianity DO you believe in? Your own, so it seems.

    • John Fannon

      Peter, I think most of are just fed up with the stream of Whig myths that has been fed to us for so long. Even in a Catholic school in the 50′s we were taught how great Sir Francis Drake was, we now find that he was into the slave trade as well. To the Spanish of course he is just a pirate.

      Not so long ago we had Radio 3 claiming that Callixtus III excommunicated Halley’s Comet. I wrote to the BBC and got an apology for that rubbish. Most recently, we had Leo XII being accused of forbidding vaccination against smallpox. James Hannam, (not a Catholic) who runs a very good blog called Quodlibeta, scotched that Liberal myth. James has also written an excellent book “God’s Philosophers” tells how the mediaeval world laid the foundations of the modern state. I recommend that. Hannam is very good news.

      Yet we get the fools in I-squared smugly claiming that the Catholic Church is beyond redemption. – and the likes of the BBC egging them on.

      So not anti Protestant per se, just bloody frustrated with them!

  • John Fannon

    By the way, excellent information from all the correspondents about the attitudes of the Church to slavery throughout history. Together they make a formidable dossier. My own knowledge had been informed by an article written by Fr Linus Clovis which appeared in “faith” a couple of years ago and I think is the origin of the quote by Bishop Bruskewiitz – or they both refer to the same source material.

  • Alfonso Taboada

    There grotesque myths, one of them is intended that the clergy condemned the lightning, this myth is widely used by newspapers secularists to ridicule Catholic teaching on contraception. It is nonsense. As regards the arresters, the myth of its ban by the clergy is due to one fan anticlerical, Andrew Dickson White, but has also been refuted by serious scholars and indeed the co-discoverer of lightning was the Catholic priest Prokop Divis. To begin with, were the Catholic clergy the creators of scientific study and no magic of meteorological phenomena: http://www.zenit.org/article-14150?l=italian


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