Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A Religious Justification for Slavery

Now get me wrong. I think slavery is a thoroughly bad thing. Hope I'm not being too radical there. And I would like to stress that all cleaners in the Great House, and assistants in the Beaker Bazaar, are either "interns" or "volunteers".  Very different. Bigly.

But still, I was struck by the following tweet from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
See, there is a religious justification for slavery. More than one, really. And that's just in the Bible. But I'll just go with one:
‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.(Lev 25:44-46)

There you go. A religious justification for slavery. The Children of Israel are told they can buy slaves - or indeed capture slaves - from the nations around them. Israelites can also enter into bond servitude but you have to be nice to them and let them go at the Jubilee. But there's a religious justification. God said you could do it.

We really need to work harder at our exegesis, I reckon.


  1. Does that mean the children of Israel may buy refugees and asylum seekers who are temporary residents? The nerve of them, coming into the country and taking our slave positions

  2. There is an argument for slavery, completely unofficial and not acknowledged. Ask any member of a pressured and understaffed and underfunded NHS, or even any Cleric in Parish Ministry, or any Social Carer, working for minimum wage, without expenses and expected to see upto 12 or more clients twice or more a day, working 18 hour days in some cases.

  3. Wow ... and, then, if you complain, they beat you to death
    without legal consequences, because you are a chattel and not a person ... where's John Brown when you need him!


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