A new Bible exhibit struggles to grapple with America’s history of slavery

Image via Museum of the Bible 

As I walked down the staircase that led to “The Slave Bible: Let the Story Be Told,” an exhibit housed in the basement of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., I prepared myself for a difficult dialogue with history. The museum had partnered with Fisk University and the National Museum of African American History and Culture to bring the exhibit to life. I remembered how the latter’s interior structure—its lowest floor depicting the early history of a people who were seized from their homes in Africa and enslaved in strange fields on the other side of the Atlantic—affected me so.

The Museum of the Bible’s colorful exhibit features a copy of the Scriptures given to enslaved Africans in British colonies in the 19th century as a way to convert them to the Christian faith. The first version of the Bible was published in 1807 and was heavily censored. Any verses that could inspire Africans to rebel were removed. Verses that supported slavery were kept, for example, Eph 6:5 says, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.”

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“There are 1,189 chapters in a standard Protestant Bible. This Bible contains only 232,” Antony Schmidt, the senior curator at the Museum of the Bible, said in an interview with NPR.

“There are 1,189 chapters in a standard Protestant Bible. This Bible contains only 232." 

The Bible on display in Washington, D.C., is only one of three known copies in the world and the only one available in the United States. According to Mr. Schmidt, while the Bible is not a permanent fixture at the museum, it is one of its most popular items. These Bibles were used to educate and convert enslaved Africans, many of whom were not Christians before their enslavement.

“Coming in and being able to educate African slaves would prepare them one day for freedom but at the same time would not cause them to seek it more aggressively,” Mr. Schmidt told NPR. The museum hopes that the exhibition will help visitors to understand the Bible’s “role in slavery and the struggle for freedom.”

The exhibit, however, felt lacking to me. It fails to help visitors truly understand the consequences of creating “Parts of the Holy Bible, Selected for the Use of the Negro Slaves, in the British West-India Islands” (the full title of the text) in 1807. For example, displayed on a wall near the end of the exhibit are two paragraphs by African-American scholars commenting on the wickedness of the Slave Bible. But the exhibit does not include commentary by a contemporary non-African scholar or Christian thinker wrestling with the damage caused by the text. I would have wanted to see commentary from Christians more explicitly denouncing the text as part of the ravages of white supremacy and grappling with what it means for our nation to truly atone for the ways in which Christianity and racism have been connected. Instead, a statement from the exhibit’s curators on display describes the Slave Bible as “a benevolent book.”

The entire exhibit seems structured to cautiously educate but not overwhelm white people who may see themselves in those who caused the trauma on display.

The entire exhibit seems structured to cautiously educate but not overwhelm white people who may see themselves in those who caused the trauma on display. If that is the reason for the exhibit’s oversimplicity, at what cost? I am reminded of the instruction that the playwright Jeremy O. Harris received from his mentor while revising his drama “Slave Play”: Get rid of the intermission. “Why do these white folks get a break?” his mentor said. “The slaves didn’t.”

“The Slave Bible: Let the Story Be Told” also features a video from the students of Fisk University, the historically black college that loaned the Slave Bible to the museum. The video, displayed between the two paragraphs by the African-American scholars referred to above, shows the students giving their thoughts on a text that likely would have been handed to them had they lived on the British West-India Islands in the early 1800s. Instead of daring to challenge the complacency of its white visitors, the exhibit places the onus on black students to offer reflections on the Bible.

In an op-ed about the exhibit published in the black newspaper the New York Amsterdam News, the Rev. Jesse Jackson analyzes the ramifications of the text’s existence more thoughtfully than the exhibit does. “[P]onder what might have happened if the Slave Bible alone had succeeded,” he writes. “The Civil Rights Movement could never have succeeded without the blueprint of liberation described by Exodus and planted deeply in the hearts, families and churches of the African-American South.”

Perhaps the curators put into the exhibit as much as they could without making it feel too “political.” But how can we overcome the sin of slavery—and the subsequent sins of Jim Crow laws, segregation, mass incarceration—if we refuse to face its enormity? How can we learn from the moral failures of our predecessors if we are afraid to look at the damage in its totality?

“The Slave Bible: Let the Story Be Told,” which runs through Sept. 1, leaves its visitors standing on the first floor of the global history of white supremacy. Unless they are what millennials call “woke,” visitors to the exhibit will not see the horrors lying underneath the floorboards: the remains of the people who died thinking Christ wanted them chained, the corpses of black people who abandoned faith after they learned that Christians could do so much evil.

The vastness of white supremacy’s role in the history of their religion will remain a thing not seen.

Correction, July 29: An earlier version of this article referred to Anthony Schmidt as an associate curator at the Museum of African American History. Mr. Schmidt is the senior curator at the Museum of the Bible. 

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J Cosgrove
4 weeks ago

Yet, despite this story, America has become the least racist country in the developed world.

Al Maloney
4 weeks ago

J Cosgrove please provide the evidence to support your statement that "America has become the least racist country". What are the criteria for determining what is racism and the degree to which it exists? What countries have been assessed? When were the studies done, and by whom?

J Cosgrove
4 weeks ago

Sometimes liberal/progressive (corrected) Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson said, America, “is now the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protections of minorities than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all of those of Africa.”

J Cosgrove
4 weeks ago

As I look around I don’t see any overt signs of racism against blacks. See https://www.prageru.com/video/is-america-racist/

Now given this, blacks probably have a tougher time than any other major ethnic group. But why is that? I would look to family structure which is predominantly without a father present. It used to be equal to whites. What caused this change? Is that the real racism in America?

J Jones
4 weeks ago

"Prager University" is a nonprofit created by a conservative radio host. It makes videos from a right wing/alt right point of view. Its videos on complex topics are five minutes long. It is not an academic institution of any kind.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 6 days ago

Nonsense. It is conservative, yes. The term “alt right” is an absurd description for it. An indication you have no idea what you are talking about you just slurred a black man and a Jew with something that has no meaning for either. The term “alt right” represents people with a leftist ideology. Prager who is Jewish uses the term “university” to indicate it is teaching something. By the way the term “right wing” has no real meaning but many think it is a pejorative.

J Jones
3 weeks 6 days ago

My apologies for leaving our the descriptor "conservative". Prager U is a non-profit started by a radio host; it creates 5 minute videos on complex topics. Dennis Prager, the former radio host, is an American, Caucasian, Jewish man. He started out conservative; the videos range from conservative to alt right. I presume the "black man" you are referring to is Harvard sociology Prof Orlando Patterson who, despite being a serious academic, is most valuable to Prager members ($35) because he IS black and Prager members think that makes him an irrefutable talking point (I don't think I have ever seen referenced or quoted by you without the inclusion of his race).

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 6 days ago

You still got it wrong. Alt right are leftist not conservative and their ideas would not be published on Prager U. The black man is Larry Elder, the author of the video in question, which you obviously didn't watch but denigrated.
Patterson besides being black, is also from Harvard and has been described as a liberal, disputed below. I include his race to make a point that he may understand what is going on. He would not make his statement if he didn't try to get it right and believe it.

J Jones
3 weeks 6 days ago

You are correct I did not watch the videos. Watching the videos promotes them through page views etc.

What is evident, J, is that much of what you post here comes from 5 minutes videos on complex topics like immigration, race, etc. A former radio host is cherry-picking viewpoints for you and, if what you encounter elsewhere (even by others from the same communities whether those communities and also "would not make [their] statement if [they] didn't try to get it right and believe it") is not in line with Prager's videos, you simply say they are wrong and denigrate them. Engaging with you appears to be engagement with Dennis Prager, and that's not the point of engaging in comment sections. So I leave you to it.

PS you are correct that I misused "alt-right".

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 6 days ago

J, is that much of what you post here comes from 5 minutes videos

Again nonsense. I continually recommend books, entire lecture courses and often videos of an hour or more. It's absurd . that you will not watch a 5 minute video and then accuse me of being superficial and vacuous because I recommended something short and to the point. You apparently do not like evidence and logic. And by the way, racist attitudes are down since Trump got elected.

J Jones
3 weeks 6 days ago

You are correct I did not watch the videos. Watching the videos promotes them through page views etc.

What is evident, J, is that much of what you post here comes from 5 minutes videos on complex topics like immigration, race, etc. A former radio host is cherry-picking viewpoints for you and, if what you encounter elsewhere (even by others from the same communities
and also "would not make [their] statement if [they] didn't try to get it right and believe it") is not in line with Prager's videos, you simply say they are wrong and denigrate them. Engaging with you appears to be engagement with Dennis Prager, and that's not the point of engaging in comment sections. So I leave you to it.

PS you are correct that I misused "alt-right".

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

J Cosgrove---
You stated, “Alt right are leftist not conservative…”

It is amazing to try to understand where you get your sources. Alt-right is not leftist. It is an abbreviation for “alternative right.” It is a loose composite of far right, white supremacists, white nationalists, and anti-Semitic groups. Steve Bannon is a former executive chairman of Breitbart News, a far right website. I don’t think anyone would accuse Breitbart of being left, least of all its executives and supporters. Bannon often bragged that he invited the alt.right to use Breitbart as a platform for their views…and many of them have.

White nationalist, Richard B. Spencer, launched a webzine to disseminate his ideas. He named it “The Alternative Right.” He is also on film proudly leading his followers with the Nazi salute only instead of yelling “Heil Hitler” they yelled “Heil Trump.”

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 5 days ago

What is far right? Is it for ultra freedom? Ultra freedom would not describe the Alt-right. If he is advocating Nazi values, then that was a philosophy of the left. Richard Spencer the one who created the term alt right said he would be in favor of socialism if done right.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

J Cosgrove---
As usual, you did not response to my comments proving that the alt.right is on the right and not the left. You make accusations and then do not respond to the repudiations of your accusations. You just jump to another comment.

No, the far right is not at all for ultra freedom any more than the far left is for ultra freedom. Where do you get such a bizarre notion?

Claiming Nazism is the philosophy of the Left is the new mantra of SOME conservatives who are obviously embarrassed that the Nazis are on the Right. Even the majority of the neo-Nazis and others on the extreme right do not make a claim that they are on the Left. They proudly claim the Right.

When the Nazis took over Germany, the first people they arrested were the Communists and the Socialists---hardly the acts of the Left. Indeed, the Nazis and the Communists hated each other…still do.

Call a temple or a synagogue and ask the Rabbi if the Nazis are Right or Left. Ask the victims of Nazism. Since most of them are dead, read their books on it. Read the highly respected and Nazi survivor, Elie Wiesel; or, read scholars who specialize on the historical period of Nazism.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 5 days ago

Most of the socialists in Germany joined the Nazi party. Hitler was definitely anti communist because he thought they helped cause Germany to lose the first world war. The various forms of the left hated each other but just because they fought each other doesn't mean they were not from the left. It was all about state control of everything. Anything but freedom. The Nazi's described themselves as fascists and fascism was a leftist ideology. But this article is about racism in America.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

J Cosgrove--
Many socialists did join the Nazi Party as they were misled by its name. However, when the Nazis gained power they arrested the Socialists and Communists.
Again, read my above edited statement. Your claims deny facts and history. Under Pope Pius XII and for most of the church’s history, the Church did not support Leftist regimes. It supported Right regimes. Franco was a fascist and fought a civil war against the Left. The Church supported Franco and his fascist government. The Vatican was the first country to sign a treaty with Hitler by entering a Concordant with Hitler. Pius XII
ex-communicated Communists, but not Nazis.

No one of substance claims Nazism was a leftist ideology...only a few conservatives. Check out Nazi or white supremacists webcites. You will see they detest the Left.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

J Cosgrove---
Surely you have seen the range of the political philosophies and where they are in connection with each other.
The moderate is in the center. The philosophies to the left of a moderate continue on with various shades of the left until it reaches the extreme left such as Communism. The philosophies to the right continue on with various shades of the right until it reaches the extreme right such as the Nazis or white supremacists. Neither extreme on the left or the right offer freedom.

Here are a couple of graphs as examples of the differences. I don’t agree with all of it, but it gives an idea of the differences.

https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/left-vs-right-us/

http://factmyth.com/the-left-right-political-spectrum-explained/

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 5 days ago

The first link is close but doesn't really get at the main differences. The second link is nonsense. Nazi's were socialist not in the sense of government operating production but government control of everything. Hitler was not ideological per se in terms of politics but he hated Jews, communist, the rich and the bourgeoisie. He was anything but a free market person. Because he hated the communist, does not make him the opposite and an advocate of free enterprise. Mussolini was a hard core socialist who determined that the state should control everything and called his system fascism. It was much faster to tell business what to do then operate it yourself. He died trying to rewrite the communist manifesto. So how Mussolini or Hitler are of the right is a mystery. Stalin called them that to try to undermine their form of statism or socialism.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 5 days ago

By the way, your charts put the alt right on the left. They don't believe in individual rights or individual freedom. Guess where that ends up on the spectrum. They also approve of socialism if done correctly. But this article is on racism and this political ideology discussion only got started when someone tried to equate the alt right with conservatives.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 4 days ago

J Cosgrove---
I am sorry that the common knowledge that Hitler was on the Right is a mystery to you. Hitler refused to break up big businesses in Germany claiming it would destroy the economy. He also refused to confiscate private property except from the Jews. Nazism was not based on the principles of socialism; instead, Nazism was a state built on race and racial classifications.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

J Cosgrove---
Richard Spencer said IF he were to support SOME social programs, they would be for “whites only.” That is hardly socialism. That is more like the old plantation system. As you said, Spencer created the term alt. right. which he states is a movement based on white identity. Spencer advocates for a “peaceful ethnic cleansing” of nonwhites from America. I am glad to see you finally admitted that Spencer is part of the alt. right.

Spencer is the president of the National Policy Institute. Go there and read its racists views for yourself.
https://nationalpolicy.institute/2012/01/17/what-the-founders-really-thought-about-race/

J Jones
3 weeks 4 days ago

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.scmp.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/article/3003143/racism-fascism-and-white-supremacy-us-explained-alt-right

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

J Cosgrove---
I started listening to Dennis Prager in the early 1980s when he hosted a weekly program "Religion on the Line." A typical format of the show would include a Catholic priest, a Protestant minister, and a Jewish rabbi. I enjoyed the show. Eventually, Prager was awarded a daily political show. At first, I was impressed by his education, his articulation, and many of his views. Because of his verbal abilities, it often takes people awhile to catch on to him. As time passed, he moved more and more to the right. He is very authoritarian and eventually became the man who “knows best” about everything.

I remember Prager chastising people who were adopted for wanting to find their biological parents. He was adamant that they should have no need to do that. The feelings of the adopted individuals were irrelevant to him, since he knew best how they should feel.

My favorite humorous and arrogant Prager is that he has a weekly “Male-Female Hour” that he dedicates to advising men and women about relating to the other sex and in their marriages. Prager is on his third marriage. You gotta laugh.

Prager says he does not discriminate against gays but he opposes their right to get married as it damages traditional marriage. I don’t understand this. I have been married and divorced once. Prager has been married three times and divorced twice. It seems to me that Prager and I are the threat to traditional marriage; not those who want to get married.

J Cosgrove says Prager uses the term “university” to indicate he is teaching something. That is a very low bar for using the term “university.” A kindergarten teacher is teaching something. It sounds like Prager’s standards for a university is somewhat similar to “Trump University.”

Stanley Kopacz
3 weeks 5 days ago

Thanks for the information about Prager. He sounds very Cosbyesque. Cosby liked advising his fellow black people about how to get their act together in a way that appealed to whites who wanted to feel no responsibility to their fellow Americans who happened to be black. I would hope that Prager doesn't end up like Cosby.

J Jones
3 weeks 4 days ago

An article about a PragerU presenter. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/owen-benjamins-rhetoric-is-growing-more-extreme/

And another: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mediaite.com/online/conservative-prageru-personality-caught-on-video-saying-rape-is-hilarious/amp/

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

J Cosgrove---
You demean Orlando Patterson and his work by labelling him a liberal and I say that as a liberal myself. One of Patterson’s uniqueness is one cannot place a label on him. He has various approaches and results to his research. Sometimes it is progressive and sometimes it is not. Read
https://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/01/books/challenging-everyone-s-conceptions-about-blacks.html

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 5 days ago

Patterson was an adviser to a socialist government in the article you sent me.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 4 days ago

J Cosgrove---you totally missed the point.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 5 days ago

Thank you everyone for validating what I have said. By obsessing on the periphery and irrelevant, you have supported my point of view.

As an aside all this irrelevant criticism does not have anything to do with my original comments. What does the term "right wing" mean? Conservatives generally stand for freedom but with some caveats that enable freedom to prosper. So is freedom what "right wing" means? Somehow I doubt this.

J Jones
3 weeks 5 days ago

It is essential that consumers of information know who produces information, especially when it is cited in discussions about racism at this moment in time. "Prager U" is an intentionally misleading name. Judith, thanks for the additional information. It is consistent with the reading I did about the maker of these YouTube videos. I agree with you about how Prof Patterson is utilized here: his greatest value to this group is that they can tell black Americans that racism doesn't exist and cite a black man as their source.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 5 days ago

Thank you for another irrelevant comment.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

J Jones---
You are welcome. You and I agree on things that are obvious to us. I try not to despair, but it is so perplexing and frustrating when people do not see what is there.

J Jones
3 weeks 5 days ago

Hi Judith, the insistence that racism doesn't exist in the US is wildly perplexing and frustrating to me. I just started reading a book titled "White Fragility: Why It Is So Difficult for White People to Talk About Racism" by Robin D'Angelo. https://www.amazon.com/White-Fragility-People-About-Racism/dp/0807047414.

One of the things she addresses is the way in which the writings, politics, works of white people are presumed to be racially neutral and objective whereas the writings, politics and work of black people are presumed NOT to be neutral but, instead, "black" and racially subjective (even when approved by white readers/listeners/observers). I keep thinking about the fact that I never hear a conservative mention Prof Orlando Patterson without an announcement that he is African American "so oughta know", even though his work is not autobiographical; it is high level social science. His credibility as a sociologist with this group doesn't rest on the fact that he is a renowned social scientist, a sociologist working at the pinnacle of his field. The work of this brilliant academic is reduced to a "gotcha" in racist arguments by conservatives.

The book doesn't let any of us off the hook. She is looking at the resistance of whites all across the political spectrum to acknowledging and dealing with the racism that is embedded with our political and cultural institutions (literal and figurative) and, thus, is embedded to greater or lesser degrees in all of us. I appreciate that thesis.

I just can't believe we have a president spewing racism routinely and people of good faith, all political disagreements aside, steadfastly refusing to just say, "yeah, that is racist. I wish he would stop this ugliness." I don't understand. To me, it means that, as a country, means that we are willing to trade the dignity of people of color for the benefits of a hot economy.

Sadly, it is the same as it ever was.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 4 days ago

J Jones---
I heard about the book by Robin D'Angelo. Sounds like it is a good read.
Yes, the dismissal of racism is frustrating. Many eons ago when I was in college, I took a class on the history of discrimination. One thing pointed out is that many people do not know what racism is. They think you have to be a hooded, night-rider to be a racist. Many don’t realize the subtleties and various forms of racism.

Some years ago, the Tea Party had a week-end conference. One of the workshops was named something like, “Why do people call me a racist.” I was astounded. On the one hand, I was glad to know people were trying to ascertain something that confused them. On the other hand, if people are calling you a racist, it is going to take more than a week-end to correct that. Part of the workshop was on TV. Two young men stood up and said they did not see the problem with slavery because you were fed and had a place to live. They were obviously disgusting, but what I found shocking was that only one or two people in the workshop gasped. Everyone else just sat there like the guys had merely talked about their grocery list. It turned out there was a reporter present and she reported the incident. The participants were angrier with her than with the two racists guys because the reporter wrote about the event. Sigh.

When I was 15 in the 1950s, (Groan---I am old) my family and I travelled through the South on our way to a vacation in Florida. There was enforced and legal segregation. I was a naïve teen-ager because I was shocked by seeing segregation, its degradation, and its repudiation of American values. It was horrendous for the blacks, but as a white person, I also felt degraded by being there. I think the shock of observing such racism made me aware of racial issues. BTW, the South had churches everywhere, yet it never seemed to occur to anyone that segregation was an evil sin.

Trump is obvious and blatant. People who do not acknowledge it, either don’t care or go to extremes with excuses. Trump is a continual, loud screed of ignorance, bigotry, and embarrassment. As an American, he feels me with shame.

J Jones
3 weeks 4 days ago

My awareness of racism began when my northern Louisiana grade school was integrated the year I started first grade in 1969, after a local African American Air Force family at our integrated, war-mobilized base sued the Parish. We were moved from classroom to classroom every hour throughout the day because with the black children came black teachers and white parents refused to have their children taught all day by black teachers. I can still remember the crush of the hallways over and over again, day after day after day. I was puzzled by the message that those black teachers posed a threat to me. They looked and acted like trusted and beloved adults in my life, including the black Air Force Major and his wife who lived next door to us on base and who, with their children, had welcomed us to the neighborhood when we moved from another base. A few years later was the first time I heard someone called the N-word: it was the year we moved off base because my dad was in Vietnam for a full year and, for the first time ever in my life, we lived in a functionally segregated neighborhood. Some of our friends from base visited, a few of them black kids. Those were the days of all-neighborhood games of kick-the-can and everyone was welcome, except our black friends who were called Ns and told they couldn't play. It was the beginning of a long third grade year for me: my brother slugged the ringleader and we couldn't wait for my dad to get home and move us back to our integrated world on base. It was a devastating child-sized primer on the ugliness of racism as a structural dynamic and as a individual dynamic. Both are unmistakable once you have seen them in action. I still can't imagine the shock and hurt our black friends from base must have experienced that day. We were all just little kids after all and those of us from base had experienced integration in our base neighborhoods, our base pools, our base churches, our dads' jobs and crews, our base birthday parties and games of kick the can, everything. We surely didn't know the word racism but the unreasonableness and the unfairness was crystal clear .... as it ALWAYS is to children. And Trump's racism is crystal clear and it is unreasonable and it is unfair.

J Jones
3 weeks 4 days ago

Duplicate

Stanley Kopacz
3 weeks 5 days ago

A conservative is not a conservative if he or she is not dedicated to preserving the climate in which civilization emerged and thrived over the last 10,000 years. Conservatives are not conservatives if they side with a witless demagogue with authoritarian mindset who imperils the delicate balances that make democracy possible. If these concerns ARE conservative, then I'm a conservative. Freedom is a very general term and can mean many things. Bezos certainly has more freedom than the Amazon warehouse worker who'd walked 30 miles a day for very little compensation. For the people who have no health insurance, freedom to sicken and die, I guess. In China, they have less and less freedom as they build an AI-based surveillance and tracking system. Perhaps we're still better off here, but that same information and instrumentality resides with Facebook, Amazon and Google. So, if they cooperate with the government, pretty much the same deal.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

Stanley Kopacz---
Excellent comments.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 5 days ago

J Cosgrove---
You frequently write, “Thank you for validating my point,” or accuse many of us as being irrelevant. You often make these comments after other readers have written several remarks. It is difficult to know what you are talking about when you neglect to specify what you are referencing .

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 5 days ago

When people make comments that don’t address the basic arguments but something peripheral or irrelevant then that is an endorsement of the other’s argument. So I thank them. For example, all the discussion about alt right is irrelevant. Whether Patterson is a liberal or not is irrelevant. A phony claim that I only provide 5 minute videos is irrelevant as well as absurd. Rants against some person or ad hominems are fallacious arguments and another indication that the thing they are objecting to is probably right.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 4 days ago

J Cosgrove---
Something may be irrelevant to you, but vitally important to another. I joined the conversation mainly because of your comments about the alt. right, which I think it is very important to understand it correctly. I believe you are the one that stated Patterson is a liberal.

J Jones
3 weeks 4 days ago

Judith, good discussion of PragerU and the alt-right at the Southern Poverty Law Center. This has been a valuable learning opportunity for me. It turns out that PragerU has a video arguing JCosgrive's point that the alt-right is really Leftist, despite the presence in its roster of lots of presenters with alt-right connections. I did initially misunderstand and, thus, misuse the term "alt-right" but PragerU definitely has those connections. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/06/07/prageru%E2%80%99s-influence

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 4 days ago

but PragerU definitely has those connections

Why don't you lay out all these connections?

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 4 days ago

Thanks agains as you fail to acknowledge some facts. Richard Spencer is on video defending socialism if done right, does not believe in individual rights because all rights are given to people by the state, wants national health care, against free markets. I fail to see how supporting racism makes someone with these views part of the right. This moves the alt right in into the left part of the spectrum.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 4 days ago

Patterson advised a socialist government for several years. Most would say that qualifies him as a liberal. Whether he is a liberal or not is irrelevant. He has studied race relations intensely as part of his academic work. Bringing up a 50 year old racist incident just strengthens my case. Why go back 50 years?

Adeolu Ademoyo
4 weeks ago

I want to thank America Magazine for providing the faith space to respectfully dialogue, to have this conversation on this historically sensitive faith issue-the distortion of Christianity and the distortion of the idea of God, the deployment of this distortion by humans to enslave for reasons of money making, free market capitalist profit and capitalist greed. The effort by America Magazine to create faith space for this conversation can be healing because our God, the Christian God is a God of mercy, forgiveness and healing. I want to say that for doing this America Magazine is fulfilling one of the cardinal and critical missions of our faith, the Christian faith-mercy, love and healing. May God Bless America Magazine.

There is a distinction between religion, God, Christianity and the deployment of religion, God, and Christianity by human beings to perpetuate evils such as transatlantic slave trade of peoples of African descent, any form of slavery anywhere in the world, any form of racism anywhere in the world, the pogrom of Native Americans in North America, and the holocaust of Jewish people in Nazi Germany in the name of civilization, conversion, evangelization. The evil is heightened when human beings engage in these evils in the name of God, and justify them in the name of God. On the contrary, God, the Christian God will not sanction slavery, pogrom and the holocaust.

I am a Christian. I am a Catholic. So, I know that the Church exists to pray, catechize and evangelize. However, none of these three missions can be justified by slavery, racism, slaughtering of Native Americans, and the Nazi holocaust of the Jewish people, and neither can slavery, racism, slaughtering of Native Americans, and the Nazi holocaust of the Jewish people be justified by these three missions of the Church-to pray, to catechize, to evangelize. It is an aggression against Christianity and God to use the mission of the Church-to pray, to catechize, to evangelize- to justify slavery, racism, pogrom and the holocaust.

I have always asked in faith circles and non-faith circles that we should point to any part of the bible that justifies the transatlantic slave trade of peoples of African descent, the racism against peoples of African descent in the US and in other parts of the world, the pogrom of Native Americans in North America and the Nazi holocaust of the Jewish people in Germany. No part of the Bible justifies these evils, which means these evils were driven by human beings and their economic, political, social and cultural calculations. They have nothing to do with God and Christianity.

Therefore it is an assault against the Christian faith to selectively pick few parts of the bible and call it the “Slave” Bible. The very title “Slave” Bible is internally incoherent, contradictory and chaotic in thought for you cannot slice the bible for economic, political and cultural reasons, create a new document and still call that document a “bible.” To do that is to be complicit in the evil of the transatlantic slave trade of peoples of African descent.

Finally, those who moderate the evils of racism, bigotry, xenophobia, anti-semitism, transatlantic slave trade, the pogrom and slaughtering of Native Americans, the Nazi holocaust of the Jewish people are complicit of these evils; they are enablers of these evils. To claim that one country is less racist, and praise that, is to create a spectrum, and continuum of evil, of racism. There is no continuum, degree or spectrum of evil (i.e racism). Like Hannah Arendt rightly said evil is banal. In other words evil (e.g. racism, slavery, pogrom, holocaust) is is evil in a fundamental and categorical sense- i.e. no quantification of evil can be sound and valid. You cannot moderate or grade evil. You cannot put evil on a spectrum. You cannot claim there is less racism in a particular country and praise that. You cannot claim that a particular country has become the least racist country and praise that -anyone that makes that claim and praises it opens himself or herself to the charge of being complicit in evil because you cannot vary evil, and celebrate your variation of evil. In other words every act of racism is evil. There is no high or low racism, more or less racism. Racism is racism. Every second racism occurs an evil act is committed and perpetrated. Therefore, it is evil to put racism on a spectrum and celebrate it. To put racism on a spectrum is to enable it. And it is evil to enable racism of any degree. This explains why the spiritual body and leadership of we Catholics in the United States, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has clear and categorical position against racism. The USCCB does not mince words in her categorical rejection of and position against racism.

Again, I thank American Magazine for creating the healing and faith space for this faith dialogue. Our God, the Christian God is a God of unity (John 17: 19-24), the God of love, the God of kindness, the God of healing, the God of mercy, the God of forgiveness. May He-our God, continue to heal us, comfort us, bless us, be merciful to all of us. May we all truly worship and glorify Him, our God everyday.

Susan Zavoskey
3 weeks 6 days ago

Your thoughtful comments are beautifully stated and appreciated.

Susan Zavoskey
3 weeks 6 days ago

Your thoughtful comments are beautifully stated and appreciated.

George Trejos
3 weeks 5 days ago

Thank you for bringing us back on focus from the earlier distraction. Racism exists sadly. For anyone who would deny this, ponder this.

With friends recently we were discussing that reincarnation might be a good experience. All of us were having difficulty imagining whom we might want to be if reincarnation were possible. The experience was quite sobering when some one indicated that he did not know whom he might want to be but he was certain that returning as a black person in America was not a choice he or anyone would aspire to. Indeed, " May He-our God, continue to heal us, comfort us, bless us, be merciful to all of us" for our smugness and mistreatment of our fellow brothers.

J Jones
3 weeks 5 days ago

George, thank you for sharing that story. I shared these comments on race with a 30 year old black professional with whom I work. She smiled and said, "I am pleased with what is happening. They don't understand structural racism but that will come. But the racism of individuals? It is all out in the open now. Before, when even racists seemed to know racism is unacceptable, they tried to disguise it. Now, they have convinced themselves that their racism isn't racism and so they are putting it out there for everyone to see. And the world IS seeing and is not fooled. It is racism. Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences, and those are finally coming for racists instead of for those of us targeted by their racism. I am pleased, overall."

(Quick thought: I apologize for the long distracting exchange above . It is however important for people to check out the origins of information.)

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