Frederick Douglass: The Irony Of The Role Of Southern Religion

947 Words 4 Pages
The Irony of The Role of Southern Religion
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in the nineteenth century. He was a smart man, who prided himself on the fact that he was able to read, unlike many in his similar situation. He found it both a curse and blessing. He was able to comprehend religion, therefore he understood and saw how many abused its teachings. According to Frederick Douglass in The Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass he shows the irony in the role of religion in southern slaveholding culture. This raises the following question: What was Douglass’s view on this irony of religion? Although slaveholders used the Bible as justification and reassurance for their inhumane treatment, many were pure in their religion as was
…show more content…
He goes to to show the ironic way in which slaveholding religion directly contradicted the pure and holy religion. He states, “ 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.” (Douglass 101). His powerful statement explains that there is a complete one hundred and eighty degree difference between the Christianity that is holy and good, and the one being portrayed by the people of the world. He also goes to show that religion and the acts of slavery directly contradicted each other. There were those who followed the religion innocently and those who followed it manipulatively. He wrote the following poem: “Just God! and these are they,
Who minister at thine altar, God of right!
Men who their hands, with prayer and blessing, lay On Israel’s ark of
…show more content…
He explains that religion became just a show. A show for praise and feedback to reassure the slaveholders in the manner in which they treated their slaves. Douglass states “I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which everywhere surround me.” (Douglass 101). This is the powerful reiteration that slaveholders we’re very hypocritical and worldly in their deeds to assure them they were doing the correct thing. Douglass writes a song telling us the direct contradictions of slavery and religion. He says “We wonder how such saints can sing, Or praise the Lord upon the wing,
Who roar, and scold, and whip, and sting, And to their slaves and mammon cling,
In guilty conscience union.”. (Douglass 106) This shows yes, slaveholders should have a conscious, but if twisting the Bible to fit their needs speaks loud enough, it should reiterate to any comprehending person that they only used the precious Word to give them peace of mind.
In conclusion, the pure and holy religion and southern religion of the nineteenth century directly contradicted each other. In summary, many used religion as a means of justification, means of assurance, and also a means of direct contradictions. Furthermore, some did not abuse religion and were holy and innocent in their dealing and

Related Documents