We are accustomed to hearing about the ways in which the Christian religion has been used as a tool to oppress. Of course, it has been used in this way. One black slave in America recorded,
“Those who were Christians [and] held slaves were the hardest masters. A card-player and a drunkard wouldn’t flog you half to death. Well, it is something like this – the Christians will oppress you more.”
Such a comment is certainly sobering. However, there is another side that is not pointed out quite as often about the way the Christian religion has been a force for liberation. I love this quote by a black slave:
“My Uncle, Ben, he could read de Bible and he allus tells us some day us be free. And Massa Henry laugh, “haw, haw, haw.” And he say, “Hell, no, yous never be free. You ain’t got sense ‘nuf to make de living, if yous was free.” Den he takes de Bible ‘way from Uncle Ben and say it put de bad ideas in he head. But Uncle gits ‘nother Bible and hides it, and Massa never finds out.”
If we can use the Bible to liberate or oppress we need to ensure we choose the former rather than the latter.