Category Archives: Slavery

Slaves, Obey Your Masters

Mano Paul wrote a poem. The meter is terrible and the rhyme scheme inconsistent, but glass houses and all that. No one can doubt the amount of energy Mano and his family dedicate to their own slavery. And thus ends 2012, the most recently declared “Year of the Bible“. Is there any hope of this horrible tradition ending?

In honor of 2012’s designation by the state of Pennsylvania as “Year of the Bible”, an atheist group purchased a billboard reminding voters of some of the less savory parts of the book. The billboard was promptly torn down. While there are no doubt valid concerns that this may not have been the most sensitive way to call attention to the immorality of the Bible that the Senate was so proud to celebrate, apparently for some people the correct response was simply to destroy the evidence. Christian apologetics for slavery are some of the most backbending, special pleading, ill-considered arguments in the whole of religious discourse, but of course Christians can’t admit that something in the Bible was wrong, or else they might have to start honestly examining what else in the Bible might be wrong.

Mano starts off 2013, with no apparent self-awareness of irony, by whitewashing American history for his fellow believers. While there were no doubt Christians on the side of abolition, the Bible was used by slavers to justify the practice up until it was pried from their cold, dead hands. Perhaps we owe Mano the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he is simply ignorant of American history. Perhaps we owe the Austin Christian Fellowship of India a similar benefit of the doubt for not denouncing Mano’s ignorant sermon, for they may simply be ignorant themselves.

It is one thing to glorify a moment which we should regret for ever having been necessary. It is another thing to take credit on behalf of benighted first century shepherds for being the first “oppressed” group to experience this moment, as if those shepherds who worked the night shift were yearning for freedom from their oppression and not just doing a crappy job that had to be done. But by far the worst thing is that Mano not only ignores the truth about the role of Christianity in the US institution of slavery, but goes on to proudly declare how wonderful it is to be a slave to God instead of “sin”.

In 150 years since Mano’s celebrated Watchnight, progressive thinkers have been working toward a society and moral system which does not require enslavement of any kind. Mano and his fellow fundamentalists are still working to return us to the times of slavery, whether they realize it or not. If only Mano spent as much energy with his family learning history and studying ethics in 2012 as he did making poetry out of his immoral doctrines – perhaps the rest of us would have more hope for the new year.


The 7 Steps of Obsequiousness

Mano Paul claims there are 7 steps in Christian Life. There seems to be quite a bit of disagreement on the subject:

xian steps


It’s odd that 16 got so many hits – probably a bug in the code. However, even those that agree that there are seven disagree on what they are:

J.W. Depson: 1. Live by faith; 2. Read your Bible; 3. Pray; 4. Go to church; 5. Get baptized; 6. Witness; 7. Be filled with the Holy Spirit

1st Baptist Barberville: A.Virtue B. Knowledge C. Temperance D. Patience E. Godliness F. Kindness G. Charity

Jen Davis: 1. God is Number One ; 2. No one’s perfect but try anyway; 3. Read God’s Word (presumably the Bible); 4. Create your vision; 5. Know thyself; 6. Live like an eagle, flying over your troubles; 7. Pray

So Mano, like all Christians, just made up his own rules, probably because he had only gotten as far in his dictionary as the “A” words: Accept, Acknowledge, Abide, Align, Act, Associate, Agree. It’s interesting how all of these verbs except one are deferential to some authority. What does Mano say about Act?

Step 4 in Christian life is to Act – act in accordance to his will, in service to him. What kind of service are Christians called to? We are called to serve one another, but not merely as servants, but soldiers as well.

Oh, well. (Wait, I thought Step 4 was Align, and Step 5 was Act? Oh right, he made them up.)

Mano, and many Christians hold this slavery and obsequiousness in the highest possible regard:

To be a servant of Christ Jesus does not necessarily mean, being a slave to him (although being called a bondservant (slave) of Christ would indeed be one of the highest accolades, active Christians can be honored with). It is not a sign of weakness but a sign of meekness and power, because as a servant of Christ, Christians are not called to be a doormat to be trampled upon, but they are called to bear the mighty weapons of God as soldiers for Christ. We are enlisted in God’s army and we serve behind enemy lines, fighting not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces, because the god of this world (the devil) has blinded the minds of many.

These mental gymnastics are amazing, the contortions into which Christians pretzel their minds to redefine their bondage as virtue, their weakness as power. They believe with all their hearts that joining the ranks of God’s soldiers give them some advantage over the rest of us. They believe that their delusions are the true reality, that they are the ones who are immune to the “Devil’s blindness”, with no more authority than a dusty tome of Bronze-Age goatherd myths. How do they know that the Bible wasn’t written by the devil?

Points to Ponder:

Who is more likely to be enslaved – a flock of sheep who have made virtue out of ignorance and slavery, or the skeptical who demand evidence and reason for their beliefs? If this mythical devil exists, it is certainly has the power to deceive any human – why toss out the one weapon we have (rationality), if that is the enemy we must fight? And if the devil doesn’t exist, rationality is the only means we have of living right in this world, anyway.