Last Updated 13 Jan 2021

The Role Christianity Played Throughout the Light and Truth of Slavery: Aaron’s History

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The Role Christianity Played Throughout The Light and Truth of Slavery: Aaron's History In 1845 Aaron is telling a story, a story of his life as a slave; which was documented through The Light and Truth of Slavery: Aaron's History. Aaron, a former slave, notes that he escaped from the South and became a "poor way-faring Bondman," where he lectured in churches and public buildings throughout the North during the first half of the 19th century. Aaron advocates the political platform of the Liberty Party because of that party's attempt to pass legislation abolishing slavery as unconstitutional.

He also suggests that abolishing slavery would not have the feared financial repercussions on the South but would, instead, financially benefit the South and the nation as a whole. In some ways religion meant nothing at all when it came to slaves and slave owners, but in another sense people took it very serious. Aaron starts his story by speaking about Mr. Harrison, William Henry Harrison who was running for president at that time. Aaron speaks about how caucasian people spoke so highly of Harrison when in actuality he was doing nothing different than any other person.

Harrison was still turning hungry kids away but as Aaron says “Now what more can you expect from a slaveholding man, for you can expect nothing more” (Aaron 3). Aarons view on slavery connected with religon and politics as well. At this time almost everyone’s religion was christianity, and according to the bible; Every is equal. Aaron could never understand how someone could claim to be a Christian, but promote un-christian like qualities to the world. Although slaves were enslaved, that did not keep them away from their religion. Enslaved men and women kept the rites, rituals, and cosmologies of Africa alive in America through stories, healing arts, song, and other forms of cultural expression, creating a spiritual space apart from the white European world. ” (Sambol-Tosco 1). If a slave who was beaten, and treated as if they were not even close to human could stick to their religion and live by the words of the bible, how could a person who had no one holding them back do the same. Slave owners used Christianity as an excuse for how they treated slaves in the 19th century.

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Throughout the narrative, Aaron is on a journey to use his religion to get others on his side and to prove his point on what he thought religion was all about, but he is faced with people who want to help in along his journey, and also people who could care less about him or if he ate that day. While on his journey he traveled through towns such as Elizabethtown, Foxboro, Wrentham and many more. While on his journey through these many different towns, Aaron ran into many Northern abolitionists who Aaron called “wolves and sheep clothing” (Aaron 7).

When he says this he means it as someone that looks harmless (like a sheep), but is actually not (like a wolf), but is just pretending or disguised. These people pretended to want to help him but then refused to help him in his time of need. While on his journey he also ran into other things that did not make him very happy. He blames southern ministers for hypocrisy, because while they were preaching holiness, they were taking advantage of female slaves. While in Elizabethtown he came into contact with a man that thought it was okay to say things like “he cut up with his female slaves, more than he did his own wife” (Aaron 3).

These are all things that confused Aaron and made him want to continue his journey to promote Christianity, so that people could see it that way that he did. The Bible can be used to support particular viewpoints, and slavery is no exception. There are numerous references to slavery in the Bible which can be interpreted to condemn or either condone this practice (Reddie). Except for murder, slavery has to be one of the most immoral things a person can do. Yet slavery is talked about throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments.

The Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, and how hard you can beat them. Many Christians will try to ignore the moral problems of slavery by saying that these slaves were actually servants or indentured servants, like the slave owners did. While many slaves may have worked as household servants, that doesn't mean that they were not slaves who were bought, sold, and treated worse than livestock.

When people think about slavery, they think about how bad it is and how it has ruined people but what they do not think about is that once, it was just a way of live. “Historical records show that Islam and Christianity played an important role in enslavement in Africa” (Reddie). Ever since slaves were being captured from Africa, Christians have witnessed this act and have done nothing about it, so what would that change now that slavery has been going on for many years; and that is what Aaron was trying to prevent. While promoting his religion, that meant promotion freedom as well.

Aaron was very big on slaves getting their freedom like he did. Throughout the narrative, Aaron told stories about the things brutality he had witnessed when it came to the slaves. As free people, people today do not think about how important freedom is because they have always been free, but they do not see that without freedom you are nothing. “A poor slave being on his deathbed, begged of his master to give him his liberty before he died, 'I want to die free massa. ' His master replied, you are going to die soon, what good will your liberty do? 'O master, I want to die free. He said to the slave, 'you are free. ' 'But do write it master, I want to see it on paper. ' At his earnest request he wrote that he was free, the slave took it in his trembling hand, looked at it with a smile and exclaimed, 'O how beautiful, O how beautiful,' and soon fell asleep in the arms of death” (Aaron 8). ” It is amazing how a person could want freedom so bad, that they would even want their family members to say that they died a free man. Slave owners did not see it the same way, freedom was a privilege slave owners thought, not a right.

Aaron wanted everyone to be free, because he was and by spreading his thoughts about religion he thought that would help. On his journey, Aaron ran into many abolitionists that he thought were trying to save the slaves. While some were using Christian scriptures to diffuse slavery, others were searching through the Bible to end it. Even even ran into Quakers, since their establishment in the mid 17th century, Quakers had faced persecution for their beliefs which stated that everyone was "equal in the sight of God" and capable of receiving the "light of God's spirit and wisdom", including Africans.

Several of their founders, including George Fox and Benjamin Lay, encouraged fellow congregants to stop owning slaves, and by 1696, Quakers in Pennsylvania officially declared their opposition to the importation of enslaved Africans into North America. Quakers in Philadelphia and London debated slavery at their yearly meetings in the 1750s, became required reading for abolitionists on both sides of the Atlantic (Reddie). Aaron was eager to find out that there were other people willing to help him abolish slavery through religion and willing to do almost anything to get it done.

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