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Conflict of Religion and Slavery in the Frederick Douglass Narrative - Essay Example

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In Douglass’ time, slavery is being practiced at its worst. The majority of the religious clusters in America barring the Society of Friends support slavery. That is the period when the North and South are vertically divided by the issue of slavery…
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Conflict of Religion and Slavery in the Frederick Douglass Narrative
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Conflict of Religion and Slavery in the Frederick Douglass Narrative

Download file to see previous pages... Religion is not the domain of the dermatologist. The arguments of the whites to view religion from the perspective of color needs to be dismissed without further arguments, as only lunatics can forward such a point of view. Those who justify slavery quoting scriptures are like Satan quoting the Bible. They just do not possess an elementary knowledge about the revelation.
Douglass encounters with the so-called Christians, who treat slaves in the most inhuman style, shake his belief in religion. Mr. Severe, overseer in charge at Colonel Lloyd’s plantation, is one of such individuals. As the divinity intervenes he dies as soon as Douglass arrives there. The gullible and innocent slaves take it as a blessing from God. The replacement for his place, Mr. Hopkins, is a good person. The love-hate tussles as for religion in his mind continue, and he thinks that it is a good fortune that he is not one of the slavery victims when he is selected and shifted to the Great House Farm, where life is comfortable. The cruel strokes of destiny fallen on his grandmother who is left to die alone shake his faith in God, and he puts his judgment to test by asking questions about His style of functioning. What deeply pains Douglass is the hypocrites donning the garb of preachers as guardians of religion. Some of them are Master Thomas, the Methodist who holds the slaves on the plea that he takes care of them, but in reality he does not spare even a crippled girl named Henny from his practices of cruelty. At St. Michael’s, a Sabbath school for slaves established by Whiteman is closed under the violent threats by white religious zealots. Religion, as it is practiced, never helps the cause of blacks, and Douglass mentions Mr. Rigby Hopkins, one of the sterling religious hypocrites, who derives sadistic pleasure in beating his slave on silly pretexts. Such religious leaders quote from the Bible selectively, and their assertions are out of the context. Douglass writes, “I have said my master found religious sanction for his cruelty. I have seen him tie up a lame young woman, and whip her with a heavy cow skin upon her naked shoulders, causing the warm red blood to drip; and, in justification of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of Scripture ? ‘He that knoweth his master’s will and doeth it, not shall be beaten with many stripes.’ ” (Douglass 52). This is the highest form of insult to Christianity. Thus, in the mid-1800s, religion is used as the tool to destroy the emotional world of the slaves and break their psyche. Severe whipping is normal which often causes bodily harm to the slaves. Their working hours are long, from the sun-rise to the sun-set in the open farms, in all kinds of weather. With no educational facilities and no scope for personal empowerment possible for the slaves, the doors to the knowledge world remain shut for them from the cradle to the grave and from the womb to the tomb! In Douglass’ time, slavery is being practiced at its worst. The majority of the religious clusters in America barring the Society of Friends support slavery. That is the period when the North and South are vertically divided by the issue of slavery. The Christians of the North favor the abolition of slavery, but the Southerners are adamant about retaining it and thoroughly convinced that it has the religious sanctity. The worst part is the condemnation and appreciation of slavery is done in the name of Christianity. So, the politics of religion dominates the issue of slavery. Douglass does not condemn Christianity as such, but his strong resentment is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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