God, Human Trafficking, and the Bible

The content originally appeared on: The Barnacle News
Lenrod Nzulu Baraka

By Lenrod Nzulu Baraka

Black Christians are often forced to go on the defensive when the subject of slavery, God, and the Bible comes up.  Atheists and other critics of God and the Bible are adamant that the Bible and its deity are very pro-slavery except when Jews are the subject of the enslavement. Black Christians share with other Christians the belief that the slavery endorsed by the Bible was very mild. They often quote a number of Bible passages to show how humane Biblical slavery was.

While it is true that there are passages in the Bible that describe a very bland form of slavery which more resembles indenture servitude, it is equally true that the Bible and its deity also provide cover for the same kind of heavy-duty slavery that today is described as a crime against humanity.  It truly is a scandal that a supposedly moral treatise, which the Bible claims to be, could not come straight out and condemn slavery as a moral evil.

Perhaps even more problematic is the realization that a deity who is crystal clear on mundane subjects like coitus interruptus, boiling kids in their mother’s milk, and the mixing of fibers in everyday clothing is simultaneously morally ambiguous on the subject of human trafficking. The Bible and its deity would have done yeoman service for the human race by simply stating that human trafficking was a moral evil and that anyone guilty of such should be speedily dispatched to the great beyond.

Black biblical apologists point to Deuteronomy 24:7 and cite this passage as proof that the deity of the Bible affirms human trafficking as a moral evil.  The passage however reveals a pattern observable in most, if not all, of the really nice human trafficking texts in the Old Testament.  The first part of Deuteronomy 24:7 makes it unmistakably clear that the death penalty only applied to anyone engaged in the human trafficking of Jews. The seventh-year release program that is cited so often as evidence of the mildness of biblically sanctioned human trafficking was also exclusive to Jews.

Jews could not only engage in human trafficking with the nations surrounding them, and with the strangers who resided in Israel (Leviticus 25:44-46) but these slaves could be beaten and were passed on from one generation to another with no seventh-year get out of jail free card. Slave women were also treated as spoils of war and Jewish men could take these slave women as wives (wink wink).  Non-Jewish human trafficking in the Bible was therefore as hard-core as any other form of human trafficking.

Much to the chagrin of Black Christians, the Bible totally supports the concept of a chosen people who unfortunately are not Sub-Saharan Africans or their descendants in the Diaspora.  The choosing of Jews by the deity of the Bible opened the door for Jews to advance the idea that they were somehow more special than all the other ethnic groups around the globe.  Europeans and Arabs embraced this chosen people concept and proceeded to follow the same trajectory as the Jews who attempted to establish their religious and national hegemony through violence.

Much of the violence of Jews, Europeans, and Arabs unfortunately was directed against Hamitic people if we follow the biblical perspective on ethnicities.  The Jewish genocidal wars against the Canaanites were basically Semitic wars waged against Hamitic people. The Black Holocaust which started with the Arab Trans-Saharan slave trade and continued with the European transatlantic slave trade was just a continuation of the ancient master and servant dynamic mentioned in the Hamitic curse.  

To this day there are Jews, European Christians, and Arabs who quote the curse of Noah as justification for the enslavement of Sub-Saharan Africans. According to the curse of the drunkard Noah, the Hamitic descendants of Canaan were destined to be servants in the tents of Shem and Japheth.  Translated in layman’s terms, this meant that the darker skinned people of the world would be servants to Jews and Europeans.

The extent to which Black Christians refuse to pushback against such pious but racist claptrap is the extent to which Black Christianity becomes a liability within Black communities. A religious orientation with a built-in bias supportive of Semitic and Europeans hegemony will hardly provide the basis for total Black liberation and the rebirth of Black civilization.

People of African ancestry, unlike Chinese, Indians, Japanese, First Nation inhabitants of the New World, and even Aboriginal people, seem to have lost all confidence in their own culture and specifically in their own spiritual traditions.  On the African continent, authentic African spirituality only accounts for about 10% of the population.  Africans have gravitated in mass towards Christianity, Islam, and to a lesser extent Judaism. These Abrahamic faiths with their built-in anti-Black biases may very well be one of the root causes of Black underdevelopment.

Jews, Europeans, and Arabs have enriched themselves at the expense of people of African ancestry.  Rather than building strength and taking back what has been stolen from us, we have allowed ourselves to be presented with a religious bill of sale which tells us that we will get our piece of the pie in the sweet by and by. Coopted religious leaders have also been steering Black protest movements down dead-end streets.  We have marched, we have prayed, and we have pleaded with those who have stolen our birthright but to little avail.

Our brethren in Haiti may have paid a steep price for their violent overthrow of Caucasian supremacy but as one of our esteemed ancestors Frederick Douglas said, “If there is no struggle there is no progress.” Douglas also added that those who want freedom without agitation are like those who want crops without plowing the ground.  Maybe it will take a major global catastrophe to sufficiently soften up the under-belly of last bastions of Caucasian supremacy. Maybe a war involving the US, the European Union, Russia, and China could be the catalyst for the final dissolution of Caucasian supremacy.

The collapse of Caucasian hegemony is a certainty and people of African ancestry must be prepared to take the tide in the affairs of men at its flood and seek our fame and fortune when such a paradigm shift occurs.  An integral part of our preparation for this tide in the affairs of nations is a transformation of our religious outlook. Concepts and ideas which were force fed to our ancestors and passed on to us must be jettisoned in favor of ideas and concepts that will enable the global Black collective to survive in a future fraught with challenges and dynamic change. Lenrod Nzulu Baraka is the founder of Afro-Caribbean Spiritual Teaching Center and the author of Out of Babylon: Why Black People Should Leave Most Churches.