This past Wednesday marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation being issued by Abraham Lincoln. If you haven’t seen the Spielberg film Lincoln, which focuses on the final struggle to pass the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery, I highly recommend it.
As momentous of an anniversary as this is, in the past few days I have been reminded of some disappointing aspects of the fight against slavery which are worth noting this morning.
First, here is an interview with documentarian Rob Rapley, who is behind a PBS series called “The Abolitionists” which is to be released next week. The interview focuses on the role of faith in the abolitionist movement. While many, if not most, abolitionists saw their work as being derived from their faith, Rapley notes that many Christian leaders were either largely apathetic toward the movement or radically opposed to it, often attempting to justify the practice of slavery from scripture.
Second, here is an article that appeared on the Relevant Magazine website which gives some very frank and frightening facts about the practice of modern-day slavery. One such startling fact is that approximately 27 million people are enslaved today across the world through “human trafficking,” more than at any point in history. As shameful as Christianity’s prior associations with the practice of slavery are, this article points to an opportunity for Christians today to fight the ongoing evil of slavery.
My hope, and something I hope to be a part of, is that the Church today will have the moral resolve and strength to stand in opposition to the continuing practice of slavery. So as we celebrate 150 years of slavery being outlawed in this country, let us be aware that there is still much work to be done in eradicating the shameful sin of slavery from our world.
For more facts about human trafficking/modern-day slavery and how to be involved in stopping it, visit any of these sites: