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Slavery and Religion Frederick Douglass was one of the most important leaders of the slave abolitionist movement and fought to end slavery in the United States during the 19th Century In his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave he thoroughly describes the harsh life and life-threatening conditions of slavery and his escape to freedom in the North Throughout the narrative Douglass masters justify the beatings the blood and even the murders of slavery through religious excuses which ironically question some peoples religious views in the 19th Century Douglass makes a point in his narrative that the Christianity of the slave masters or white Christianity was different from the slaves Christianity in that the whites religion was a wrong belief and that their acts were very sacrilegious He that knoweth his masters will and doeth it not shall be beaten with many stripes p99 This is a passage from the Scripture that one of Douglass masters quoted in justification of beating his slave until her back dripped with blood and barely any skin remained First of all slave masters did not have a right to cowardly turn their backs on slavery and give religious justification for their obvious sins Deep down these masters knew that slavery was wrong but mistakenly they used religion as an excuse for it Douglass does a great job of pointing this out in the narrative and he makes his audience think twice about organized Christianity in the 19th Century In addition the white churches during the slave era did not take a stand against slavery but instead turned their backs to it For example one of Douglass masters Captain Auld went to a Methodist camp meeting and upon returning home to the slaves he became more cruel and hateful in all his w ays p97 These slave masters were cowards and they needed somewhere to hide and sometimes religion became a support for slaveholding Not
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