Christians use the Bible to Cause Death and Harm to Human Beings: NOTHING new in the USA
By O. Niel B. Harris
July 1, 2018
On June 13, 2018, U. S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, quoted from the Bible, stating, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for His purposes” as he spoke to a group of Fort Wayne, Indiana law enforcement officers. (See Video, YouTube Media) This gross misuse of the Bible verse (by the USA Attorney General, isolated out of context, to serve evil, brutish, crass political and social power interests, while causing harm, hurt and death to human beings) is baked in historic practice; and nothing new in the United States. It is shameful, and it should be called out for what it is. It is heretical to the teachings of Jesus Christ and Christianity, and blasphemous.
Political leaders, military leaders in partnership with religious leaders and professed Christians (both Protestant and Catholic) have used the Bible and “religious language” from the day they set foot on this land (now known as America) to ‘harm” and kill. So-called colonizers from Spain and later England (Catholics and Protestants) used the Bible to declare the people found on this land (who danced, chanted and sang at their religious ceremonies often centered on The Great Spirit) evil and demanded conversions, with a gun in one hand and the Bible in another. Colonizers justified this practice by calling these Natives “enemies of Christ.” Many of the Native People were met with two choices: convert or be killed. In “God’s name,” colonizers wrought evil against Native People because they differed in religion and nationality and would not “convert” to their conquerors’ ways and beliefs. Governor John Winthrop, of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, wrote in his letters, that the smallpox epidemic killing the Native Peoples was “how God declared title to America” to colonizers; and a sign that God was pleased with the colonizers inheriting America and taking America from Native People because Natives had long usurped God. Two hundred years after Governor Winthrop, the remaining Native Peoples, (who did not perish by murder, in battle, or by disease), were forced into reservation boundaries established unilaterally by the United States government. On the Federal and State level, laws were written and passed that called for banning and criminalizing the practice of Native People spiritual traditions such as ceremonial hair braiding, dancing, and feasts. And, on a regular basis, the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs reminded the Indian agents of the need to suppress Indian religions. For example, on the Hopi Reservation, the assigned Indian agent forced many men to cut their hair, completely disregarding the ceremonial purpose of displaying long hair. Every evil, unfairness and wickedness performed by the colonizers to the Native People was “according to law” of the kingdoms of Spain and England; and also, by the newly formed United States government supported by the Christians and Catholics of that day.
Commensurate with the Bible and religion being used by leaders to bring harm and death to the Native People, the colonizers were also introducing enslaved Africans to this new land to work it for the wealth and abundance of its conquerors. Leaving a trail of millions of Africans who drowned at sea or died on the way to the new land, the conqueror/colonizers (again with religious leadership) concocted an atrocious lie (made up from twisting the Bible) that they called “the curse of Ham.” The first intentional error and lie (to justify racism and slavery) was to call it the “curse of Ham” instead of the “curse of Canaan” as is clearly in the Bible. Canaan was one of the sons of Ham. Africans do not descend from Canaan. They descend from Cush, Egypt and Phut. To justify brutish, violent and skin-pigment based slavery, colonizers and American leadership (political and religious) decided that a curse was on Ham; and the curse was black pigment; and all the descendants of Ham should be treated, in the horrific way that they were treated. Then to complement this harm and brutish treatment to fellow human beings, colonizers and American leadership harped on the Bible verse of “Slaves be obedient to your Masters.” Revered theologians and preachers, such as George Whitefield, John Davenport, Evera Styles, and Jonathan Edwards, endorsed and taught this evil theology that Africans were cursed and therefore inferior to justify inhumane slavery; and so that their equally, unbiblical scheme would be achieved: America, The Kingdom of God on the Earth, would achieve economic and social wealth from the backs of the African slave. Even, Post-Civil War and Post-Emancipation Proclamation, Christians conjoined with politicians continued to misuse religion and the Bible to impose Jim Crow laws and all sorts of unjust and unfair laws based on disadvantaging those who had darker pigmentation. Again, the Bible is used to cause harm and death.
Today, some Christians still support the unequal and unjust enforcement of law and do so by misusing Romans 13 — (case-in-point, Jeff Session’s biblical pronouncement on national news). These Christians intentionally ignore unjust police abuse and killing of unarmed black children, women, and men. They intentionally ignore the unequal punishment for the same crimes — punishing those who are Native American, Hispanic and African American more severely than White people.
In June 2018, the Bible is used to justify the enforcement of law that now harms family and children. A law that is unfairly applied primarily to undocumented people from Hispanic, Muslim, Caribbean and African countries while the 650,000-undocumented people from Europe remain virtually untouched and unaffected by the “law.” According to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Quoting the Bible to do harm extends beyond its historical treatment of Native People, Immigrants, and Brown/Black People – biblical verses are misused and twisted to oppress by other races, nationalities, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, and other differences.
Quoting the Bible, to advocate the enforcement of law, to do HARM is an age-old practice in the United States and it MUST stop.