My friend and colleague at Northeastern Seminary, Esau McCaulley, recently (Wednesday, October 11, 2017) gave a talk for the Nickel City Forum, a monthly meeting of Anglicans, held in Buffalo, NY, to discuss complex issues of faith and life in today’s world.
I myself will be giving a talk for this same group on Thursday, February 8, 2018. My topic will be how best to read the Genesis 1 creation account in our current polarized religious culture.
Esau’s talk was entitled: “Does the Bible Support or Dismantle Racism?”
He began his talk with a quotation from Fredrick Douglass (1818-1895), “an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman” (Wikipedia), who lived for a time in Rochester, NY.
Due to Douglass’s significance for Rochester, the University of Rochester hosts The Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies.
Here is the quote, taken from Douglass’s 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.
“I have, in several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, respecting religion, as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose me an opponent of all religion. . . . What I have said respecting and against religion, I mean strictly to apply to the slaveholding religion of this land, and with no possible reference to Christianity proper; for, between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference — so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.”
You can read Esau’s timely analysis of how the Bible counters racism here.