Viewing Roots again in its entirety reminded me once again of the fallacy of our alleged Judeo-Christian roots. From 1619 until sometime in the 19th century before the end of our own Civil War twenty-million Africans were brought to the Americas for slave trade.  Add to that fact the millions of Native American people who were murdered as the American colonies  and later the United States expanded west.  Religion was actually used to defend the institution of slavery and manifest destiny. We have a long legacy, perhaps the greatest in the history of the world, of genocide and atrocity.

Yesterday, our president visited Yad Vashem in Israel and lamented over our lack of efforts on behalf of European Jews who were slaughtered in the death camps of Auschwitz and elsewhere. We stood idly by once again while our brothers and sisters were murdered. It was not in our economic interests at that time to stand for justice. The perpetuation of the slave trade by our founding fathers was also for economic reasons. Likewise the slaughter of millions of Native Americans was condoned for the love of money.

Years from now historians will record that our presence in the Middle East is strictly for economic reasons. We wouldn’t have troops in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq if it weren’t for our addiction to petroleum. Our president weeps in Israel, walks in the steps of Jesus, while warriors and warplanes pound those countries and terrorize the inhabitants.  Would that our national and international policy actually did reflect spiritual principles of any religious tradition.

2 Replies to “WWJD?”

  1. “Religion was actually used to defend the institution of slavery and manifest destiny. ”

    Sad, but true, but religion, especially slave religion, was also one the strongest factors that led both to the abolition of slavery and which gave countless slaves the strength to endue the great suffering inflicted upon them.

    “Roots” is excellent, but watch “Amazing Grace,” too, and read Raboteau’s “Slave Religion.”

    “We have a long legacy, perhaps the greatest in the history of the world, of genocide and atrocity”

    Statements like that cause me to question the writer’s committment to intellectual honesty. Stalin, alone, killed more people in his last 10 years of life than the people of the US in their entire history.

    I am not condoning any atrocity done in any name, but that remark is so wrong it distorts the rest of your post like a huge gravity well, sucking the surrounding arguments into its pitfall.

  2. Joe Stalin may have killed more. Thank you for pointing that out. I had not considered him and should have. We are still a leader in killing native peoples. I consider Indian Reservations another form of ghetto designed to remove natives from their land which we stole and put them on land designed to kill them off. Have you ever read “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee?” We’ve killed millions in the name of freedom and democracy.

    One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite Americans more poignant now than when it was delivered 41 years ago.

    A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” –M.L. King

    I’m not familiar with either “Amazing Grace” or “Slave Religion.” Thank you for bringing them to my attention.

Comments are closed.