>> God damn your god damned old hellfired god damned soul to hell
>> god damn you and goddam your god damned family's god damned
>> hellfired god damned soul to hell and good damnation god damn
>> them and god damn your god damned friends to hell.
>> -- Letter to Abraham Lincoln, signed Pete Muggins, 1860
> You're kidding; this is a real quotation of a
> letter sent to Abraham Lincoln?
> Mike T
In James A. Haught's book 'Holy Horrors' (Haught was then associate
editor of the Charleston Gazette) he writes:
"In another area of human rights, many Christian clergymen advocated
slavery. Historian Larry Hise notes in his book 'Pro-Slavery' that
ministers 'wrote almost half of all defenses of slavery published in
America.' He lists 275 men of the cloth who used the Bible to prove
that white people were entitled to own black people as work animals."
This follows a supporting testimony by the scholar Arthur Schlesinger
Jr. in a 1989 speech:
"As a historian, I confess to a certain amusement when I hear the
Judeo-Christian tradition praised as the source of our present-day
concern for human rights, that is, for the valuable idea that all
individuals everywhere are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness on this earth. In fact, the great religious ages were
notable for their indifference to human rights in the contemporary
sense. They were notorious not only for acquiescence in poverty,
inequality, exploitation, and oppression, but also for enthusiastic
justification of slavery, persecution, abandonment of small children,
torture, and genocide.
"During most of the history of the West ... religion enshrined
and vindicated hierarchy, authority, and inequality, and had no
compunction about murdering heretics and blasphemers. Until the end
of the 18th century, torture was normal investigative procedure in
the Catholic church as well as in most European state...
"Human rights is not a religious idea. It is a secular idea, the
product of the last four centuries of Western history. Tocqueville
persuasively attributed the humanitarian ethic to the rise of the
idea of equality... It was the age of equality that brought about the
disappearance of such religious appurtenances as the auto-da-fe
and burning at the stake, the abolition of torture and of public
executions, the emancipation of the slaves... The basic human rights
documents - the American Declaration of Independence and the French
Declaration of the Rights of Man - were written by political, not by
I cannot recall where I read a reference to Abraham Lincoln's
claim that the older and more experienced he became the less faith he
had in Christianity being a force of good intentions, but it
certainly would appear plausible that the political symbol of
emancipation of American slaves would receive abundant
amounts of hate-mail from the righteous. I am likewise sure that, as
Taner Edis and Larry Hise demonstrate, it is well documented.