Practicing What We Preach

“he who loves another has fulfilled the law”

Romans 13:8



Today I have for you another celebration of someone else’s writings.  This time it’s Frederick Douglass.  Douglass (1817? – 1895) was an escaped slave who became an activist/abolitionist, writer and orator.  I recently finished reading his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and I was especially struck by something he said in the appendix.  It’s a little long, but he makes a good point.  I’ve condensed it somewhat to emphasize his point.  I encourage you to read it in its entirety.  And while you’re at it, read the whole darn book why don’t ya?  It’ll be good for you.



“… I have, in several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose me an opponent of all religion.  (Therefore) I deem it proper to append the following brief explanation.

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.

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.

I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which everywhere surround me.  We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members.

~ The man who wields the bloodclotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus…

~ The man who robs me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me the way of life, and the path of salvation…

~ He who sells my sister, stands forth as the pious advocate of purity…

~ He who proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of the God who made me…

~ He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions of its sacred influence…

~ The warm defender of the sacredness of the family relation is the same that scatters whole families,– sundering husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers…

We see the thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery.  We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the POOR HEATHEN! ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD AND THE GOOD OF SOULS!

The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master.  The slave prison and the church stand near each other.  The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time.  The dealers in the bodies and souls of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other.  The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity.”

Sobering words.  And they get me to thinking… which kind of Christian am I?  Which kind are you?


~ “This is My commandment,

     that you love one another as I have loved you.” ~

John 15:12


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