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International Day for the Abolition of Slavery International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
by Alexandra Pereira
2008-12-02 08:17:26
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“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and
the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
10th of December 1948

slave_1December 2nd marks the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, to recall that exactly 59 years ago the General Assembly of the U.N. adopted the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons.


Abolitionism as a broad and decisive movement was directly related with the Rights of Man, several thinkers of the so-called “Enlightenment” Movement and Quakers, who often came to consider themselves as “agnostics, atheists, universalists, post-Christians”, etc. Thomas Paine’s 1775 article “African Slavery in America” is generally recognized as the first article to advocate abolishing slavery in what would become the United States.

The 14th of April that same year, in Philadelphia, the abolitionist “Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage” was formed, which later had as its President Benjamin Franklin, the “Enlightened” Deist, printer, civic activist, scientist, politician, President of Pennsylvania and founder of the “American Philosophical Society”.

slave_2Almost one century later, Abraham Lincoln with his Emancipation Proclamation and the incentive to the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by the Congress finally gave a decisive push towards the prohibition of slavery in the U.S.. Upper Canada, on its turn, passed the Act Against Slavery in 1793, while France carried out abolition between 1794-1802.

In Great Britain, the Quaker petition was presented to the parliament in 1783. Figures such as Wilberforce or Equiano emerged, and the public movement grew stronger until the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, since the Slave Trade Act of 1807 hadn’t been proved effective. The History is full of heroic acts by slaves and former slaves, from the Plantations of South Carolina to the Plantations and Quilombos of Brazil and Cuba.

But while we know that slavery was not criminalized in Nepal until this year, or in Niger until 2003-2004, frequent newspaper reports give notice of the “slavery of modern days” showing its claws even in Europe and the U.S., including cases of illegal traffic of workers and women, forced labour or sexual slavery of children.

slave_3On the 18th of November, the new “Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations” room (home for the Human Rights Council) was inaugurated at the Palais des Nations in Geneva by King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and Ban Ki-moon, with a ceiling painting created by the Spanish abstract artist Miquel Barceló.

Everything fine as to the promotion of the Arts and a new home for the Human Rights Council (Ban Ki-moon was there for the champagne once again), but let us not forget all the slave work, slave prostitution, even slave soldiers around the world at this precise moment, all the human potential wasted and stolen to each and every one of them, just as to our global society. Let us not forget all the black slaves who worked… in the White House, for example.

Yes, there’s still much work to do. Illegal immigration and slavery are very often connected. So are slavery and sexual exploitation – what do some westerners promote in Thailand but sexual slavery? How common is slavery in China or India? How common are the cases of Brazilian and Eastern Europe networks devoted to women’s traffic and traffic of workers in Southern and Central Europe? Pretty common.

slave_4How many seasonal immigrant workers can we still find living in subhuman conditions, in Spain, the Netherlands, England or Ireland? We can say the same in the U.S. about many Mexican and South-American workers, for example, or the traffic of women and children. Slavery and child slave trade are still very common in Africa or the Middle East.

Many South-American realities are beyond our couch, pub and tv-screen realities, continuously defying us to ask: how much work is slave work, and in exchange of what? Is someone working hard many hours per day during his entire life with an under-dignity-level salary as exchange, no social benefits and no life perspectives a slave?

Is the old Brazilian man in Northeast Brazil telling tourists while humbly smiling with his eyes, ashamed “The most out of my house I ever ate was in the backyard” a modern slave, and a slave of whom? Are Peruvian youngsters living in slums and working many hours per day in any hard job(s) they can find just to eat one meal at least half the days during a whole month modern slaves, and slaves of whom? Markets are global but responsibilities are just local? I don’t think so.

What else do we need to do? Are laws enough? They are necessary, though final earnings seem to encourage the slaughter of the most basic human rights. Survival and profit at any cost are not compatible with human development (because not compatible with the happiness and fulfilment of human beings), thus not acceptable. International awareness campaigns are more than needed, with a global scope and a local reach. Active and compromised citizens guarantee and demand human rights to be respected both internationally and locally. Societies as wholes should maybe review their value systems, while emphasizing more and more a Global Education for Human Rights.

Pictures
1.  Zumbi dos Palmares (1655-1695)
Leader of the Black resistance against Slavery in Brazil, national icon
2.  Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
Former slave, American abolitionist and first African-American nominated as Vice-Presidential candidate in the U.S.
3.  Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797)
Pioneer of the Abolitionist cause in Great Britain
4. Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780)
Composer, writer, actor, first Afro-Briton to vote in British elections, symbol of the Abolitionism

 

slave_5

Links – bringing awareness about the problem of contemporary slavery:
Anti-Slavery International - www.antislavery.org
Free the Slaves - www.freetheslaves.net/Page.aspx?pid=183
American Anti-Slavery Group - www.iabolish.org

    
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Emanuel Paparella2008-12-02 15:18:42
For the record, a footnote to the above cherry picking description is in order here. Were a space alien land on earth and read the above article he would get the distinct impression that in the 18th century slavery existed in America as a home-grown social phenomenon and that in fact it existed in America alone. In reality, slavery was an abominal practice transposed to America by the European colonial powers, even though, to their credit, they legally abolished it before the United States did. The historical record reveals that several millions slaves died on the ships transporting them in terrible conditions, which makes those former colonial powers guilty of genocide too; but this is not mentioned in the above article. One gets the impression that slavery just appeared one fine day in racist America.(continued below)


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-02 15:19:46
But, if truth be told, slavery had been around for a long while when the European colonial powers came on the world scene. Both Greeks and Romans considered it a necessity and did not condemn it. Since those colonial powers often confused the conquering sword with the cross, religions bashers of all stripes have made and continue to make the case that it was Christianity that promoted or at least tolerated slavery while it was the materialists and the atheistic minority, the Tom Paines among the Deistic founding fathers. who were the champions of the abolition of slavery. Notice how in the above article even the Quakers are subtly transformed in post-Christians: “several thinkers of the so-called “Enlightenment” Movement and Quakers, who often came to consider themselves as “agnostics, atheists, universalists, post-Christians.” This too is cherry picking and at the very least a distortion, far from the whole picture. In the first place Paul in one of his epistles declares that, at least in principle, in Christ all men are equal, there are no slaves and freeman, gentile and Jews. Moreover, to say, as it has been said by Church bashers, that the Fathers of the Church did not feel "the horror of slavery", is to display either strange ignorance or singular unfairness. In St. Gregory of Nyssa (In Ecclesiastem, hom. iv) the most energetic and absolute reprobation of slavery may be found; and again in numerous passages of St. John Chrysostom's discourse we have the picture of a society without slaves - a society composed only of free workers.



Emanuel Paparella2008-12-02 15:25:32
(continued from above)
Closer to us, in modern times the legacy of slavery continues to devastate Africa, no longer for the profit of Christian states, from which all slavery had disappeared, but for the Mussulman countries. But as European penetrations progresses in Africa, the missionaries -- Fathers of the Holy Ghost, Oblates, White Fathers, Franciscans, Jesuits, Priests of the Mission of Lyons -- labour in the Sudan, Guinea, on the Gabun, in the region of the Great Lakes, redeeming slaves and establishing "liberty villages." At the head of this movement appear two men: Cardinal Lavigerie, who in 1888 founded the Société Antiesclavagiste and in 1889 promoted the Brussels conference; Leo XIII, who encouraged Lavigerie in all his projects, and, in 1890, by an Encyclical once more condemns the slave-traders and "the accursed pest of servitude", ordered an annual collection to be made in all Catholic churches for the benefit of the anti-slavery work. Some modern writers, Marx, Engel, Ciccotti, and, in a measure, Seligman -- attribute the now almost complete disappearance of slavery to the evolution of interests and to economic causes only; this was due to their materialistic conception of history. Indeed the alien from outer space would never know that Christianity


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-02 15:29:54
(continued from above)

and its teaching and charity was the principal cause for the universal condemnation of slavery in modern times.



Sand2008-12-02 20:00:12

SLAVERY:

The Third Lateran Council of 1179 imposed slavery on those helping the Saracens. The legitimacy of slavery was incorporated in the official Corpus Iuris Canonici, based on the Decretum Gratiani, which became the official law of the Church since Pope Gregory IX in 1226:

24. Cruel avarice has so seized the hearts of some that though they glory in the name of Christians they provide the Saracens with arms and wood for helmets, and become their equals or even their superiors in wickedness and supply them with arms and necessaries to attack Christians. There are even some who for gain act as captains or pilots in galleys or Saracen pirate vessels. Therefore we declare that such persons should be cut off from the communion of the church and be excommunicated for their wickedness, that catholic princes and civil magistrates should confiscate their possessions, and that if they are captured they should become the slaves of their captors. We order that throughout the churches of maritime cities frequent and solemn excommunication should be pronounced against them. Let those also be under excommunication who dare to rob Romans or other Christians who sail for trade or other honourable purposes. Let those also who in the vilest avarice presume to rob shipwrecked Christians, whom by the rule of faith they are bound to help, know that they are excommunicated unless they return the stolen property.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-02 21:12:08
As it was to be expected Mr. S. rather than acknowledge the Christian principles and the historical facts mentioned which helped in eradicating slavery, went looking for the abuses to those principle to cherry pick and present them as the norm rather than the exception. What one is left with is a half truth at best. No surprises there. It is the devious tactic of all those who have an axe to grind and slander to spread against Christianity. And no doubt, his sychopants will agree or keep silent.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-02 21:14:34
Errata; sycophants.


AP2008-12-02 21:23:54
Mr. P. - ah, you're so predictable! :) :)

"impression that in the 18th century slavery existed in America as a home-grown social phenomenon"
Really?!! Who said so? Don't we all know that Spanish, British, French, Portuguese and Dutch practiced it before?!! The Atlantic slave trade made by the Portuguese and the Plantations in Brazil are one of the darkest episodes of our History. I know much about Spanish and Portuguese Slave Trade (I actually have someone in my family who has studied both for long years and friends who wrote historic novels about them or had slaves in their families), so I refrained myself because if you want I can write another article - in several parts - just about that (including the role of the Church!). Accusing the States of slavery? - the mania of persecution, that's what it is called, Mr. P.

"and that in fact it existed in America alone. In reality, slavery was an abominal practice transposed to America by the European colonial powers"
Very true!!! Shameful, and I have no problem in admitting it as such at all!! I mean, why would I? Your critics are ridiculous - I even had black people in my family who quite likely came to Portugal as slaves!

"Notice how in the above article even the Quakers are subtly transformed in post-Christians: “several thinkers of the so-called “Enlightenment” Movement and Quakers, who often came to consider themselves as “agnostics, atheists, universalists, post-Christians.” This too is cherry picking and at the very least a distortion, far from the whole picture."
Well, Mr. P., unfortunately it is true that many of them, facing religion in a very peculiar and idiosyncratic manner which they found difficult to describe, came to consider themselves deists, atheists, agnostics, universalists, post-christians, etc.!!

"that the Fathers of the Church did not feel "the horror of slavery", is to display either strange ignorance or singular unfairness. In St. Gregory of Nyssa (In Ecclesiastem, hom. iv) the most energetic and absolute reprobation of slavery may be found; and again in numerous passages of St. John Chrysostom's discourse we have the picture of a society without slaves"
Mr. P., talking about European slavery: I must say that both the Catholic Church and many priests took part in the atrocities commited by both Spanish and Portuguese in South America, Africa And India. The exceptions are rare, with Priest Antonio Vieira being the most notable one in Brazil and Bartolomé de las Casas one of the most notable exceptions in the Spanish-speaking South America (though this one was against Indian slavery, he kept defending black slavery!).


AP2008-12-02 21:31:09
ps - I really had fun with your exalted indignation, Mr. P. (blind fanaticism can be nasty). But in my diary there's already a note about writing for Ovi a long and DETAILED article about Spanish and Portuguese Slave Trade (INCLUDING the role played by the Church), so that I can't possibly forget it!!


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-02 21:45:28
The movie "The Mission" starring Robert De Niro portrays the confusion between the cross and the sword and treats the subject with the seriousness it deserves and not a shallow caricature. It does not cherry pick. If you have not seen it, you may consider viewing. Plenty of food for thought there.


Alexander Mikhaylov2008-12-02 22:06:11
'Many South-American realities are beyond our couch, pub and tv-screen realities, continuously defying us to ask: how much work is slave work, and in exchange of what? Is someone working hard many hours per day during his entire life with an under-dignity-level salary as exchange, no social benefits and no life perspectives a slave?'
Does it not also apply to all these so -called part time and temp workers in US? You don't have to go as far as South America or Africa to find perfect examples of modern slavery - a corporate slavery, that's it, slavery 'at will'


AP2008-12-02 23:58:29
Mr. Mikhaylov:
"Does it not also apply to all these so -called part time and temp workers in US?"
Read the article:
"How many seasonal immigrant workers can we still find living in subhuman conditions, in Spain, the Netherlands, England or Ireland? We can say the same in the U.S. about many Mexican and South-American workers, for example, or the traffic of women and children."


Alexander Mikhaylov2008-12-03 00:06:23
To A.P.

You are absolutely right, of course ... and I have read it. I was just wondering... have you ever met seasonal worker yourself and have you ever talked to him/her personally?


AP2008-12-03 01:23:02
No Mr. Mikhaylov, even because I live in Mars (http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/2976 - you could have found a very small part of your answer in Ovi Magazine) and never met seasonal workers or talked to them - I don't know any, really. I suppose you are the one having all the knowledge required to write about... Actually, I have never even helped them, personally or through any institutions(!!!). I don't know any "corporate slaves" either.




AP2008-12-03 01:43:13
How about you, Mr. Mikhaylov - have you ever met seasonal workers or talked to them? I helped personally and while working for public institutions individuals brought by mobs across Europe - slave or semi-slave workers and prostitutes, Ukranians, Moldavians, Romanians, Byelorussians, Moldovans, Albanians, Lithuanians, as well as illegal immigrants from Northern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. I know very closely the reality of the brazilian women "exported" to Europe (you don't know any, Mr. Mikhaylov? I can introduce you to them and their stories), as well as several seasonal workers enslaved in Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, and even the UK. Also know some South-Americans enslaved or trafficked to the States, in case you want to meet them.
Talking nonsense is not my favourite hobby, I am sorry.


AP2008-12-03 01:54:22
I don't really know what you're trying to prove, Mr. Mikhaylov... whatever it is, it sounds like a nonsense so far. Can you please explain with accuracy what exactly is your point?


AP2008-12-03 03:43:18
Okay then, point proven I suppose.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 05:40:34
"I must say that both the Catholic Church and many priests took part in the atrocities commited by both Spanish and Portuguese in South America, Africa And India. The exceptions are rare" (Ms. Pereirea)

Here are the facts: Pope Paul III in 1537 issued a Bull against slavery, entitled Sublimis Deus, to the universal Church. He wrote:

"...The exalted God loved the human race so much that He created man in such a condition that he was not only a sharer in good as are other creatures, but also that he would be able to reach and see face to face the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good... Seeing this and envying it, the enemy of the human race, who always opposes all good men so that the race may perish, has thought up a way, unheard of before now, by which he might impede the saving word of God from being preached to the nations. He (Satan) has stirred up some of his allies who, desiring to satisfy their own avarice, are presuming to assert far and wide that the Indians...be reduced to our service like brute animals, under the pretext that they are lacking the Catholic faith. And they reduce them to slavery, treating them with afflictions they would scarcely use with brute animals... by our Apostolic Authority decree and declare by these present letters that the same Indians and all other peoples - even though they are outside the faith - ...should not be deprived of their liberty... Rather they are to be able to use and enjoy this liberty and this ownership of property freely and licitly, and are not to be reduced to slavery... [Ibid., pp.79-81 with original critical Latin text]
(continued below)



Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 05:41:22
Pope Paul not only condemned the slavery of Indians but also "all other peoples." In his phrase "unheard of before now", he seems to see a difference between this new form of slavery (i.e. racial slavery) and the ancient forms of just-title slavery. A few days before, he also issued a Brief, entitled Pastorale Officium to Cardinal Juan de Tavera of Toledo, which warned the Catholic faithful of excommunication for participating in slavery. Unfortunately Pope Paul made reference to the King of Castile and Aragon in this Brief. Under political pressure, the Pope later retracted this Brief but did not annul the Bull. It is interesting to note that even though he retracted his Brief, Popes Gregory XIV, Urban VIII and Benedict XIV still recognized and confirmed its authority against slavery and the slave trade.

Popes Gregory XIV (Cum Sicuti, 1591), Urban VIII (Commissum Nobis, 1639) and Benedict XIV (Immensa Pastorum, 1741) also condemned slavery and the slave trade. Unlike the earlier papal letters, these excommunications were more directed towards the clergy than the laity. In 1839, Pope Gregory XVI issued a Bull, entitled In Supremo. Its main focus was against slave trading, but it also clearly condemned racial slavery:

We, by apostolic authority, warn and strongly exhort in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare bother unjustly, despoil of their possessions, or reduce to slavery Indians, Blacks or other such peoples. [Ibid., pp.101]


Sand2008-12-03 07:22:29
This rather odd and somewhat amusing item appeared recently in the news.
"A restaurant owner in Rutino, Italy (near Salerno), told police in November that as he was negotiating over the building's lease with his landlords, one hit him in the head with a chair and two others kicked him repeatedly in the stomach. The landlords were not from La Cosa Nostra but were a priest and two nuns from the local Catholic order that owns the building. [Daily Telegraph (London), 11-3-08]"

The only relevance it has under the topic discussed is that strict Christian training seems somewhat inadequate in determining how people behave. If one pope condemns slavery and another permits it it is obviously the individual opinion of a particular church administrator as to what is church policy at the time and no hard principle within the theology determines this.


AP2008-12-03 12:40:24
Mr. P., as you must certainly know, the sporadic "good intentions" of Popes John VII, Benedict XVI or Urban VII were FAR from being practiced by the church representatives themselves, or by the Catholic Church as an institution for that matter. There are plenty of examples of Priests, like Jorge Benci, defending the "good treatment of the slaves by their owners" (and this good treatment was rather arguable, mostly restricted to baptism or even marriage by the Church and other "evangelization" tasks, while most priests would rape men and women and children slaves, have illegitimate children from them, treat them like animals too, etc. - oh holy hypocrisy!), but NOT defending their freedom. Before embarking to the New World, the slaves were baptized by Bishops like the Bishop of Luanda, so that the traffickers were free from paying taxes when the final destiny was Brazil, for example.
If you want Bulls, I got some for you, a very short example (I'd rather discuss this after the article about slavery and the role of the church is published, but you seem impatient).

Some other funny details about the thoughts which influenced the Christian ideology: for the grego-roman mentality, slavery was licit, the owner of the slaves had even the right to decide about their life and death. Aristotle considered slavery as determined physically - some human beings were born in propitious conditions for slave work, with much strenght and low intelligence. It was believed that men were not equal as far as nature and the "accidents" were concerned.
On the other hand, Stoic Philosophy preached a metaphysical explanation for it: "Destiny". Some individuals were destined to slavery and they could not change their luck. The Hebrews used to consider as licit to enslave foreigners, but not other Hebrews, or these only temporarily.
Though Saint Paul preached equality of nature between men, Jews and non-Jews, in the Roman Imperial society the Church used to recommend slaves to be obedient and not revolt against their Lords.
Slavery was also seen as a natural accidental consequence of the sins, as Saint Augustine of Hipona (V-IV d.C.) explained, with many sordid details!!


AP2008-12-03 12:42:57
errata - Urban and John Vii, benedict XIV.


AP2008-12-03 12:43:56
errata - Urban and John VIII, Benedict XIV (I think their spirits are cursing me somehow)


AP2008-12-03 12:59:49
Now for the Bulls:

- Pope Nicholas V: the Bull called Romanus Pontifex Regni Celestis Claviger (1454) conceded to King Afonso V, Henry the Navigator, all the portuguese Kings from then on and their successors all the lands, seas, islands AND PEOPLE of Africa, from Bojador cape until Guinea, and all the discoveries of lands AND PEOPLE that would follow.


AP2008-12-03 13:04:40
- Pope Eugene IV: Bulls Dudum cum (1436) and Preclaris tuis (1437) concedes to King Duarte all the lands, goods and natives he would conquer in Africa, as long as the lands and natives were not Christian before conquered (!!!).


AP2008-12-03 13:12:27
- Pope Callixtus III: the Bull Inter caetera que nobis divina disponente clementia incumbunt peragenda (1456) confirms all the previous and generous privileges and gifts, AND adds India, ALL its goods and natives!!! It further recommends that "no one should discover those lands other than the Kings of Portugal" (truly altruistic!!)


AP2008-12-03 14:07:13
"(...) Because of that we, thinking about everything with the due ponderation, concede to King Afonso the plain and free faculty of, among others, to invade, conquer, subjugate any muslims or pagans, enemies of Christ, their lands and goods, and reduce all of them to servitude, and do all for his own good, and the one of his descendants."
From the Bull Romanus Pontifex

"We concede plain, free and unrestricted power, authority and jurisdiction so that you can subdue, in favour of the Divine Clemency, those lands and islands, as well as their inhabitants, and reduce them to the Catholic Faith"
From the Bull Inter Coetera (1493), giving ownership of the lands and people of the New World to the Kings of Castile and Léon, and advising about the methods to be followed, adding that they "would be paying a favour to the Catholic Church"

Jesuits and the Church in general came to defend the freedom of the indians and the slavery of the blacks. The Catholic Church had important interests in the New World, namely the exploration of gold and metals. The Jesuits themselves became slave traders - they owned 3 different ships to export slaves just from Luanda, and paid no taxes for it. When they were expelled from Luanda in the 18th century, 350 captive slaves were found in just one of the buildings of their college. Slavery and opression were very often used as instruments of evangelization.


AP2008-12-03 14:17:44
...And the Bulls conceding rights over the natives of non-Christian lands, including the right to enslave and trade them, continue:
- Bull Clara devotionis (1471)
- Bull Aeterni Regis clementia per quam reges regnant (1481)
- Bull Ortodoxas fidei (1486)
- Bull Dudum cupiens (1491)... etc....

The lesson: condemn with one hand, encourage and profit with the other???


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 14:43:46
Just as the sword and the cross were confused in the conquistadors' mind, it is obvious from you insistence on grinding the axe against Christianity that you and your birds of a feather have a great confusion in your mind between the condoning of slavery and the condoning of conquering of territory for which the colonizing powers (especially Spain and Portugal) often aske the Pope to be the arbiter in disputes. Indeed, Ms. Pereira, one does not have to be religious to be fanatic, one can be one being anti-religion. When fanatics are confronted with the facts or the whole picture of a reality which they insist on distorting, their attitude usually is: so much the worst for reality! That phenomenon in academic circles goes by the name of bias and it earns one the reputation of a charlatan. You really ought to see the movie "Mission" and unburden yourself of your caricatures and cliches about the Catholic Church. It may encourage you to be brave and truthful enought to tell the whole story and not what is agreeable to you personal agenda or axe to grind.


AP2008-12-03 14:47:53
During one of his trips to Brazil in the 90s, Pope John Paul II himself recognized and apologized for the fact that the Church had supported slavery, something which was seen by the brazilian public opinion, centuries later, as resulting from the interest in renewing the Church in South America.


AP2008-12-03 14:51:46
Mr P.: one does not have to be fanatic to be religious, but you chose to be so, didn't you? I can't see anyone saying half-truths around here but you.


AP2008-12-03 15:04:39
"confusion in your mind between the condoning of slavery and the condoning of conquering of territory"
Mr. P., in many of these Bulls above not only slavery is condoned, as it is encouraged and stimulated (by the way, and once again, the Church OWNED SLAVES itself - how can you explain this???)!!! AND in the majority of the cases absolutely no distinction is made between conquering lands and enslaving human beings, as they are considered as "conquered things" to be converted and made profitable (part of the bonus)!! AND the Church and the Popes were not "mere arbiters", but someone with deep and quite disgusting interests in all this!!
Now that's what I call falsifying History!!


AP2008-12-03 15:18:53
This right (almost a Christian duty) to give the natives the destiny of servitude/slavery and dispose of them in any way the Lords would like is actuallly very thoroughly expressed in most of these Bulls (and you still can read many of them in the national archives of Spain and Portugal, or the Vatican archives). Mr. P., while that detailed article is a promise, for now I have better things to do than wasting my time with you.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 15:34:04
"I can't see anyone saying half-truths around here but you."

The operative words in that revealing statement are "I can't see."

Plato long ago adviced that one get out of the darkness of the cave and stop mistaking the fire and its derivative light creating shadows, for the sun and its light which is ageless. Indeed, it is that confusion that creates not only intellectual myopia and blindness but a plethora of half truths and a distorted truth which is no Truth at all but views and opinions convenient to one's activist agenda.


AP2008-12-03 16:12:32
Mr. P, I've had contact with these realities, heard the stories and read some books - the Church is far from innocent. And since you like academic titles, my sister has a Masters in History of the Iberian Expansion, a MPhil in Atlantic Discoveries with emphasis on Slave Trade and a PhD in African Diaspora and Slavery by the Un. of Amsterdam; one of her main interests is the role played by the Church on Slavery and the Inquisition in Brazil. As an expert, she's a much harsher "charlatan" on these topics than I am, believe me. Many of her colleagues, teachers, employers and friends have researched on this topic too.
A friend of mine, a brazilian theologist, has researched about slavery. Agualusa, an angolan writer I know, has done extensive historic research on the topic of Atlantic slavery, and written about it. Slavery is one of the most extensively researched (and often experienced by our ancestors) topics in the Ibero-American society and the lusophone world in general - the good thing about it is that all the shames and cruelties were widely exposed, including the ones by the Catholic Church. And as I told you before, the black people in my family very likely came to Portugal as slaves, so this is a personal matter for me, like all the ones which have something to do with basic dignity of human beings.
We'll continue our discussion as soon as I have free time and my paintings allow me to.


AP2008-12-03 16:26:48
You just happened to mess with the wrong crowd :) :) Bad luck, fanaticism or pure stupidity? I am not quite sure.

Ah, all these hundreds of people researching the History of Slavery, writing about what truly happened, reading documents for years in archives around the world, researching the truth about their ancestors for a retired Catholic Philosopher to come and discredit them all!!! He who DOES respect scholars and the academic knowledge so much!!!


AP2008-12-03 16:30:37
Or that respect is suddenly gone now?


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 16:55:10
It would appear that the internal voices of Mr. Sand have also been paying you a visit. Where, pray, do I speak disparagingly of those scholars who set aside their personal animosities and biases and dedicate their lives to the truth, wherever it may be found? Nowhere, for all I have advocated in this forum is that the whole picture be portrayed, not a partial one that serves one's particular personal agenda. What you impugn to me is gratuitous and scurrilous to boot.

When John Paul II apologized for some of the abuses committed by the Church as a human institution, he was looking at the whole picture and showing objectivity. I am afraid that his bashers who use the apology merely as a confirmation that the Church is imperfect (which indeed she is since it exists here on earth) and nothing good can come out of it (which is not the case) are not in good faith. Indeed, if you have family members that fearlessly pursue the truth and the scholarly enterprise, congratulation. It is to be hoped that some of it will eventually rub off for it has not been shown in your cavalier pronouncments about the Catholic Church and religion in general; which is to say that what remains to be done now is to appreciate the fact that theory always comes before mindless ceaseless activism, and learn from their dedication to rigorous and objective scholarship.


AP2008-12-03 17:00:59
"Look, your worship,'' said Sancho. "What we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the vanes that turned by the wind make the millstone go."
by Miguel de Cervantes, the writer-slave


AP2008-12-03 17:03:51
I have no "personal agenda", just personal brains.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 17:11:40
P.S. In that movie "The Mission" which I have been advocating the Cardinal sent by the Pope to arbitrate between the Portuguese and Spanish colonial powers does indeed come off as a Machiavellian villain but at the same time the movie remains objective because it also portrayes what the Jesuits were attempting to do for the natives and transcending shallow caricatures it treats with the seriousness it deserves the issue of the confusion of sword and cross in the colonizers' mind who before Decartes could say "I think therefore I am" were already infected with its underpinning: "I conquer therefore I am." That mind-set, was indeed transposed to this continent and it behooves not to forget it by practicing "misremembering": paying lip service to the abuses of slavery and making it look as if it began in America and its correction began at the UN General Assemby only fifty years ago. As praizeworthy as that is, such is not the case. Ask those Quakers whom you turned in secular atheists in your piece.


AP2008-12-03 17:22:41
"and learn from their dedication to rigorous and objective scholarship"
That's in part why, to be rigorous, I cannot accept that critics and objections to your own pompous and flatulent critics can, in a simplistic self-victimizing manner, be labelled as "bashing". You asked for it - I merely answered accordingly. I respect all religions and beliefs, I don't respect dishonest distortions of History while hiding entire realities and bloodcurdling cruelties for Catholic propaganda purposes. The Pope can recognize it - anyway you still won't!! Saint Paparella above the Pope's word!!!

"it has not been shown in your cavalier pronouncments about the Catholic Church and religion in general"
My cavalier pronouncements above don't look to be anything but strictly rigorous, and are based in realities, truths, documents, historical facts, scientific papers and personal conversations about ongoing research.

Please stop the projections, Mr. P.


AP2008-12-03 18:11:20
"the issue of the confusion of sword and cross in the colonizers' mind"
Interesting. I suppose you don't include many members of the Catholic Church in the "colonizer" category?

"making it look as if it began in America"
Sir, you're totally nuts!! That's an intention which existed in your fantasies alone. Should I APOLOGIZE because I made reference to the Slavery and Abolitionism Movement in the U.S.??!! It's your (or someone else's) monopoly now?? Well, then I guess I made it look like the end of it began in America or whatever too - the pioneer in the laws abolishing slavery was the Marquis of Pombal - law abolishing slavery in the Kingdom of Portugal, India and further territories, 1761 -, the same man (an "Enlightened" by the way) who ended the entertaining barbecues promoted by the Vatican around here, expelled the slave-trader Jesuits from the colonies, rebuilt Lisbon masterfully after the 1755 Earthquake while the Catholic lips all around Europe claimed "punishment for all the past sins, that's what it was!" and stopped discrimination against converted Jews.

"Ask those Quakers whom you turned in secular atheists in your piece."
They came to classify themselves in many different ways - they were the ones describing themselves as "more religiously free" when compared to most people.

"it also portrayes what the Jesuits were attempting to do for the natives"
Some Jesuits were against indian slavery, but the Jesuits in general defended black slavery, they owned thousands of slaves, were involved in slave traffic in the Atlantic, sold slaves and got profits from it. It doesn't feed your illusions according to which they were Saints?? That's a shame.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 19:04:43
One thing you could certainly profitably learn from your scholarly relations, if indeed they are genuine scholars, is to desist from placing projected words and events into people's mouth. If indeed they are true scholars, they'd the first ones to point out that such an intellectual habit is a very nasty one indeed and can easily wreck a scholarly career.


AP2008-12-03 19:10:11
Also Voltaire, the cursed Voltaire, as you know Mr. P., developed many of his thoughts and some critics to Leibniz starting from the same Earthquake/Tsunami episode of 1755, and from those thoughts he wrote Candide. And the circle is closed :) :) Of course, the Marquis of Pombal travelled around Europe and was ambassador in London and Vienna, he knew some thinkers of his time, besides having... a brain of his own.


AP2008-12-03 19:13:11
"if indeed they are genuine scholars"

Ahahah - send me your scanned diplomas, Mr. P.!!! I will evaluate if they're genuine!!


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 20:49:54
Ah ah ah. Since you have managed to descend to the appropriate level of a food fight in a junior hight school cafeteria, and have genuine oubts about the schools I attended and the degrees I earned, which alledgedly has nothing to do with the axe you are grinding, why don't get rich on those doubts and gamble five thousand dollars on their genuiness or lack thereof? But I suspect that like the other bird of a feather and master slanderer in residence in this forum you will find a convenient way to decline the challenge. It nevertheless remains open for both of you.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 20:57:10
P.S. Should you decline the challenge as I predict, and still be not able to sleep at night over the issue, all you need to do is to consult the official alumni list of Yale University, Middlebury College and St. Francis College which most major libraries carry, and may even be on line, and see which degrees are listed after my name and then consult with the biographical note as sent to Ovi magazine.


AP2008-12-03 21:07:14
So this is where we arrived - you are a genuine scholar, all the researchers who may contradict with facts or show another side, not in agreement with your opinions, are considered a priori as "not genuine scholars" (because they aren't philosophers?), and there you go - the truth (and nothing but the truth, so help me God...) is on your side. You just discarded a good deal of Atlantic History and Slavery History so that historic facts can match your fantasies. Worst: you prefer to mention interpretations of films as unquestionable data. Give me a break.

Mr. P. you know that the Catholic Church would for example get a share of the money earned each time a black person was sold as a slave in Brazil? Now multiply that for millions of people sold and start to acknowledge their interest in Slavery. And add to that the gold and metals of South America, all the natural resources, the Plantations of Coffee, Sugar Cane, etc. owned by the Church, all the slaves owned by the Institution... You refuse to? I don't care.


AP2008-12-03 21:21:16
Mr. P: the expression "if indeed they are genuine scholars" was originally yours!!! Diplomas don't legitimate false realities for me, that's why I made a joke about evaluating yours.

I accept the challenge of the five thousand dollars: On your original allegation.


AP2008-12-03 21:28:24
If you want, we can make those 10 or 20 thousand dollars and gamble on the role of the Church during the 15th-17th century Slavery.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-03 21:31:37
The cafeteria food fight continues and you continue to place words in my mouth. As I said it is a nasty habit hard to disabuse oneself from...

You consider it a joke, as I suppose all food fights are considered but since you accept the challenge on my allegation that all my degrees as listed in the Ovi team profile are genuine and you doubts persist even as a joke; all you need to do now is send me a certified document duly signed by a lawyer and a proper address. I will do likewise and then those same lawyers (who surely will require a cut on the challenge)can investigate the matter and declare publicly in the pages of this very magazine who the winner of the wage is.


AP2008-12-03 21:32:58
You would show braveness and definiteness in your positions...


AP2008-12-03 21:46:22
"place words in my mouth. As I said it is a nasty habit hard to disabuse oneself from..."
They are in your message for everyone to read, I don't need to place them there.

Your expertise in Transatlantic gambling, compared with your expertise in Transatlantic Slavery, amazes me. Why don't you join an online casino instead? If you just want to place a bet and lose a game, why bother with Ovi's comments?


AP2008-12-03 22:21:33
Now for the role of the Church of England, you may find this interesting:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/barbados/1510213/Church%27s-slavery-apology-%27is-not-enough%27.html


AP2008-12-03 22:30:42
Also very interesting:
http://www.uvm.edu/~hforum/Fall2004/article1.htm


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-04 00:18:50
I thought so!


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-04 00:34:43
That's a game you'd surely lose and you know it and that is why you will not play it, albeit you continue to play that of the Junior Hight School food fight and slanderous innuendos. You must have been taking lessons from the other self-appointed guardian of political correctness in this forum who needs no introduction...; the one who thinks that the more insults and unfair innuendos the more he hedges his bets and wins hie devious intellectual games. In any case, should you have missed the symbolism, the reprehensible games of slanderous statements and distorted history is indeed an intellectual losers' game right from the word go and I am afraid that what is lost in that shabby process is much more than mere money or material possessions.


Alexander Mikhaylov2008-12-04 01:39:55
To A.P. 'Okay then, point proven I suppose'

Listen, not everybody have such an amount of free time at their disposal (not being a member of some art community/colony, whatever the Hell that means - personally, I have never tried to make my living by grants or other forms of wealfair hangout artsy shit support - that is why I did not respond right away, being BUSY. On the other hand, there's not much to respond to - speaking of your article, at first, you give some historical info anybody can read somewhere if they are so inclined, much more so without your lame assed sermons, then you go on ranting about some 'laws'. What kind of laws are you proposing and who exactly shall enforce them? Surely not someone who has an easy assets to bombs and such stuff (for we already had plenty of these examples around)You take a serious theme and then you turn it into one of your ridiculous sloganeering sessions.


AP2008-12-04 02:38:04
"not being a member of some art community/colony, whatever the Hell that means"
What are you talking about?

"personally, I have never tried to make my living by grants or other forms of wealfair hangout artsy shit support"
Again, what the hell are you talking about, and what does it have to do with this topic? Were you busy drinking?

"speaking of your article, at first, you give some historical info anybody can read somewhere if they are so inclined, much more so without your lame assed sermons, then you go on ranting about some 'laws'."
Is the fact that it gives an opinion your problem with my article? Whatever is your problem for real, expose it once and for all and justify. Come on, man up. Because your first objections made a totally different criticism (equally silly and unfounded, we must say), it seems like you have to invent any frivolous faults to justify your unrestrained and mysterious hostility against the author of a naïve short article which celebrates an international day. Is your self-esteem that low? Your inaugural indignations had to do with the fact that you doubted I had ever met/talked to "seasonal workers", besides the fact that you found unfair I didn't mention the "part-time workers in the U.S." when celebrating the international day for the abolition of slavery... Mr. Mikhaylov, don't waste my time with your intellectual presumption/arrogance and childish nit-picking, coming from God-or-the-comrades know what sort of degrading animosity against me, together with your pain and disappointment with the fact that people don't write only about what and how you think they should write, or in pseudo-anarcho-libertarian mode, or just about their mom. And I thought you were going to expose in detail your conversations and meetings with seasonal workers, your ideas about corporate slavery, and your personal experiences with it...! Disappointing, as you refuse to enrich the discussion.


AP2008-12-04 02:53:24
Mr. P.:
"that of the Junior Hight School food fight"
I begin to think that you gentlemen have some obsession with High Schools and food fights. Was your youth that traumatic? I'm imagining bashing burgers attacking you and Mr. Mikhaylov in the cantinas of this life. A shared nonsensical fetish? You could find hidden affinities, besides the shallow ones. Funny to notice how a self-proclaimed libertarian who seems, in practical terms, to live a pretty mainstream life and a conservative catholic can have so much in common.


AP2008-12-04 03:02:41
Ah, frustration, you seem to produce wonders!


Alexander Mikhaylov2008-12-04 03:04:19
And I thought you were going to expose in detail your conversations and meetings with seasonal workers, your ideas about corporate slavery, and your personal experiences with it...! Disappointing, as you refuse to enrich the discussion.

You bet your boots I am going to write about it shortly (although not today, sorry. I know you are not sorry but still...)As to my drinking ... huh! You artsy people love to have your fun too, no? So why don't you have another joint and try to relax a bit, how 'bout that?
I hope we'll resume our fulfilling conversation soon enough. (And speaking of your innocent article - Hell, I do not find it all so innocent but once again - I need to place some explanations, which I'll be able to do only later) Sorry if I have affended you too much, by the way. No harm was intended.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-04 06:13:53
Food fight is a metaphor, Mx. Pereira, for the kind of shallow thinking that attaches labels to people's thinking meant as insults, such as "Catholic philosopher" or "conservative catholic" (a double wammy) and then has even the hubris to expects to be taken seriously as a proponent of serious ideas. As uncle scrooge would put it in this festive season: humbug!


AP2008-12-04 14:57:23
Om mani padme hum.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-04 23:32:26
Whatever that means! In any case, what remains clear, but will never be acknowledged by assorted “enlightened” people (those who go around praising inalienable human rights but abortion, even partial birth abortion perfectly moral and acceptable) and bashers of religion, is that while, try as one may, one cannot find one single line in support of abolition of slavery in the pagan world, not even in the writings of enlightened people such as Plato and Socrates and Aristotle, one finds plenty such advocates within the Christian world beginning with St. Paul, a world which at least in principle could not advocate the brotherhood of men and the Fatherhood of God while tolerating slavery; and that is so even if one were to grant that some Christians, even within the clergy, winked at it or tolerated it. That simple fact ought to give pause to the bashers and slanderers, but obviously it does not because the ideological lenses they wear simply will not allow it.


AP2008-12-05 00:51:01
Yes, Saint Paul's example is a very curious one. :)
“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.” (Ephesians 6:5, KJV)
Letter from the apostle Paul to the Christian Church in Ephesus

" Let every man " (says Paul) "abide in the same calling wherein he is called. Art thou called «being» a servant? Care not for it; but if thou mayest be made free, use «it» rather" (I Corinth. vii. 20,21)"

And Peter's:
"Servants," (says Peter) "be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle but to the froward. For what glory is it if when ye shall be buffeted for your faults ye take it patiently; but if when ye do will and suffer for it, yet take it patiently, this is acceptable with God" (I Peter ii. 18,20)


AP2008-12-05 01:06:34
"Phileon, it appears, was a Christian--a convert of St. Paul's--and a slaveholder. His slave Onesimus had eloped from his master; but meeting St. Paul in his travels, he became a convert to the Christian Faith, and now, under the influence of Christian principle set home to his conscience, doubtless by the faithful exertion of the Apostle, he resolved on returning to his master's service. This occasion sees to have led to the writing of the "Epistle to Philemon," of which this very Oensimus was the bearer."


AP2008-12-05 01:39:41
Leviticus 25:45-46 "You should also buy the sons of the foreigners who wander among you... and they'll be your possessions... you'll force them to serve perpetually."

Lucas 12:47,48 [Jesus talking] "The serve who knew the will of his master and didn't abide will be punished with many whips"

The curse of Canaan (Genesis) is another good example.


AP2008-12-05 02:21:36
Wikipedia - Canaan's Curse or Curse of Ham

"The "curse of Ham" had been used by some members of Abrahamic religions to justify racism and the enslavement of people of Black African ancestry, who were believed to be descendants of Ham. They were often called Hamites and were believed to have descended through Canaan or his older brothers. (...)

Early and Early Modern Christian interpretations

Many pre-modern Christian sources discuss the curse of Ham in connection with race and slavery:

Origen (circa 185-c. 254): “For the Egyptians are prone to a degenerate life and quickly sink to every slavery of the vices. Look at the origin of the race and you will discover that their father Cham, who had laughed at his father’s nakedness, deserved a judgment of this kind, that his son Chanaan should be a servant to his brothers, in which case the condition of bondage would prove the wickedness of his conduct. Not without merit, therefore, does the discolored posterity imitate the ignobility of the race [Non ergo immerito ignobilitatem decolor posteritas imitatur].” Homilies on Genesis 16.1

“Mar Ephrem the Syrian said: When Noah awoke and was told what Canaan did. . .Noah said, ‘Cursed be Canaan and may God make his face black,’ and immediately the face of Canaan changed; so did of his father Ham, and their white faces became black and dark and their color changed.” Paul de Lagarde (...)
According to Catholic mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich, "I saw the curse pronounced by Noah upon Ham moving toward the latter like a black cloud and obscuring him. His skin lost its whiteness, he grew darker. His sin was the sin of sacrilege, the sin of one who would forcibly enter the Ark of the Covenant. I saw a most corrupt race descend from Ham and sink deeper and deeper in darkness. I see that the black, idolatrous, stupid nations are the descendants of Ham. Their color is due, not to the rays of the sun, but to the dark source whence those degraded races sprang" [6].

Pre-modern European interpretations
In the Middle Ages, European scholars of the Bible picked up on the Jewish Talmud idea of viewing the "sons of Ham" or Hamites as cursed, possibly "blackened" by their sins. Though early arguments to this effect were sporadic, they became increasingly common during the slave trade of the 18th and 19th Centuries.[7] The justification of slavery itself through the sins of Ham was well suited to the ideological interests of the elite; with the emergence of the slave trade, its racialized version justified the exploitation of a ready supply of African labour. This interpretation of Scripture was never adopted by the African Coptic Churches."


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-05 04:31:35
So far you have not produced one statement by pagan antiquity which condemns slavery as immoral while I have produced quite a few from the Christian world. The conclusion can only be that what we are involved here is cherry picking; pick on the abuses and make it lool as the norm. That is the stuff of devious intellectual operations and charlatanism, I am afraid.


Sand2008-12-05 07:25:16
In following this discussion it is evident that both Christianity and non-Christian sources have both approved and disapproved of slavery and that would indicate that it is personal and not Christian viewpoints which are the deciding factor. Since "cherry-picking" is merely a prejudiced term denigrating the choice of sources for reference it is not worthy of consideration. It is very good indeed that Paparella has finally confessed he is afraid since his deplorable behavior in discussing history deserves a good deal of apprehension.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-05 15:53:59
Ia that what the visiting voices told you Mr. S? I am afraid they are deceiving you once again; they have not given you one single source of a famous pagan at the level of a Plato or Aristotle that ever forcefully condemmned slavery as a moral abomination. Don't listen to them. They make you look biased and foolish too.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-05 17:19:21
P.S. To argue that it was Christianity that tolerated and introduced slavery is to be either biased and in bad faith, or to be abysmally ignorant of history; for the first Christians in the Greco-Roman world were mostly the poor, the oppressed and the slaves. The wonder is that the Romans, the masters of the then known world, eventually not only accepted but, under Constantine, made it the official religion of the empire, albeit not eradicating slavery. The Fathers of the Church may not have been abolitionists, but they certainly did not advocate and promote slavery. To make them promoters of slavery is bizarre indeed and reveals a nefarious slanderous agenda and an axe to grind. One begins to wonder what in the childhood of those bashers and grinders has caused that kind of irrationality parading as objective sweet reason.


AP2008-12-05 20:57:58
"To argue that it was Christianity that tolerated and introduced slavery is to be either biased and in bad faith, or to be abysmally ignorant of history"
To argue that no Christians nor Popes were involved in Slave Trade, and that those involved didn't often use the Bible to justify that, or to argue that the Catholic Church DIDN'T OWN slaves, ships for slave trade, plantations and didn't ever receive a percentage for every slave sold in the New World is to be tremendously deceitful and distort History in condemnable ways.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-05 21:07:01
That is not what I argued; those are words that you wish I had said and that you are eager to put in my mouth. So far neither you nor the birds of a feather out to slander Christianity have produced a single quote from important figures of pagan antiquity condemmning slavery, while I have offered several from the Christian world which you'd rather ignore so that you can proceed with the demonization and the cherry picking and make the abuse look as the norm. Pity.


Sand2008-12-05 22:10:30
Whether antiquity did or did not condemn slavery is totally irrelevant in evaluating Christian attitudes towards slavery. Since it has been offered in evidence that Christian organizations and officials not only approved slavery but participated in the slave trade for profit it is not possible to claim that the Christian theology itself disapproved of slavery. To offer up that certain Christian documents and individuals disapproved of slavery only emphasizes that it is not the theology but rather the individual who might offer opinions on the subject in either direction.


AP2008-12-06 01:59:19
Example: António Vieira, the Priest who more vigorously defended the end of slavery in Brazil, was arrested under multiple charges by the Inquisition - for several times - and implacably interrogated (most of the charges were related with defending the slaves, indians and blacks, the converted Jews... and the accusation of being a "pagan"). Ah, ironies!


AP2008-12-06 02:06:45
Or is it lies and hypocrisies???!!!!!


AP2008-12-06 02:08:41
Or just biased ignorance????!!!


AP2008-12-06 02:09:39
All of those together????!!!


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-06 05:36:53
The point is simple but obviously beyond your biased lenses to see. If antiquity had no abolitionists and found slavery perfectly normal and Christianity on the other hand in principle rejects slavery but in practice has both pro slavery and contra slavery proponents, then logically Christianity has a superior moral stance and has brought about some progress on the issue of inalienable human rights, even were we to accept the atheists' thesis that some Christians ignored and abused the ideals of their faith. I am afraid that all that cherry picking and squirming does not get either of you guradians of political correctness and bashers of religion off the hook.


Sand2008-12-06 06:06:37
Since many, many Christians have stood strongly on one side or the other of the issue of slavery, who's cherry picking now?


Sand2008-12-06 06:53:20
What is totally fascinating is the absolute hypocrisy of an institution like the Catholic church that perennially declares principle of love and kindness and total beneficence to humanity and equally persistently displays members, not only amongst the general population who declare themselves Catholic, but of anointed officials of the highest order who have undergone rigorous discipline and training for most of their lives, but who nevertheless openly violate those high principles repeatedly and viciously throughout the two thousand year history of the institution right down to the present day. It obviously takes a mind very agile in lying to itself to still maintain that the institution remains unblemished. It is conceivable that the principles are worthwhile (and I have some doubts about that) but if the institution has failed over this long a time to induce its members to perform correctly to those principles it is, I suppose, one of those much proclaimed religious miracles that a person with the possibility of thinking can have no very strong doubts about the functional capability of the institution


AP2008-12-06 15:44:57
"then logically Christianity has a superior moral stance"
Something which was well expressed in:
- Slave-trade and profit made with it
- Persecution of anti-slavery priests
- Owning slaves, plantations and ships
- Inquisition
- tolerance showed towards people like Galileo Galilei or Giordano Bruno
- involvement with regimes of Franco, Mussolini and Salazar
- humane positions like forbidding condoms and gay marriages
- help given to nice nazis so they could escape to South America
- pedophilia scandals
- etc etc etc

It makes Warren Jeffs' and other tribes look like innocent endeavors.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-07 00:22:56
The slander machine of Ms. P. and Mr. S. proceeds inexorably, true to form, with its usual selective gratuitous and unfair cherry picking. Even setting aside the immense contributions of the Church to the preservation and enhancing of Western Civilization in art, philosophy, and general culture, and staying within the purely religious and moral realm; where in that list are the innumerable saints produced by such a Church? The Francises of Assisi, the Mother Theresas, the Thomas Aquinases, and so on. One will never see them because the intent is not to present the whole truth and story, warts and all, but rather it is to discredit and cast aspersion; to discredit the very concept of holiness and the sacred, a la Marqui De Sade. This reprehensible and rather juvenile animosity parading as scholarship goes as far as questioning even the academic qualifications of those who disagree with the aspersions and have the honesty to simply call them what they are: a scurrilous intellectual operation parading as historical objectivity. Indeed, “the emperor is naked” but thinks himself royally dressed. He is only fooling himself.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-07 01:54:41
Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;
Mock on, mock on; 'tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.
And every sand becomes a gem
Reflected in the beams divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking eye,
But still in Israel's paths they shine.

The Atoms of Democritus
And Newton's Particles of Light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel's tents do shine so bright.
--William Blake


Sand2008-12-07 03:47:34
Sorry, Mr. P. A few edible mushrooms growing in a pile of manure doesn't elevate the manure to any large extent.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-07 04:15:44
If the visiting voices told you that such a metaphor aptly describes the sophistry you have exhibited in this forum, they have it right on target; but I doubt it.


Sand2008-12-07 08:51:24
Your lust for manure consumption, Mr.P., clearly identifies you as a prime sophist whose critical facilities have rotted away ages ago and make you no competent judge to be seriously regarded.


Emanuel Paparella2008-12-07 12:22:13
Manure consumption? Ah. you are back to your favorite subject: the poetics of defacation. You ought to be nominated for a Nobel prize in that special "artsy" field. Perhaps the visiting voices can do the nomination.


Sand2008-12-07 15:42:53
There you go again with your strange language. Have you been reading Lewis Carroll lately?


AP2008-12-08 04:25:56
Wow that was mean, Sand! How dare you??! :)


Sand2008-12-08 05:03:55
Well, gosh, you know. I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul, the lieutenant of my stomach, the sergeant of my fingernails and all that.


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