Christian ⛪️ Slavery….

Katharine Gerbner’s well-researched book argues that the origins of the modern terms “white” or “white supremacy” can be found in Protestant missionary ideologies of the early 17th-century Protestant Caribbean milieu, which aimed to control the bodies and souls of African slaves. In the early colonial period, Protestant slave owners in the English, Dutch, and Danish colonies did not want their slaves to convert to Christianity because they believed that their religion was for free people only. As slaves converted and were baptized into the Christian religion, slave owners developed ways to integrate race into their colonial discourse in order to justify the bondage of non-Europeans brought to the colonies to work as slaves. Gerbner describes the many ways in which Quakers, Anglicans, and Moravian missionaries “fought hard to accommodate slavery to their Christian principles and argue that their effort bore fruit in legislation affirming that Protestant status was compatible with perpetual bondage” (4). Gerbner also shows how the emergence of Protestant supremacy was due to the lack of a legal framework as well as the absence of theological clarity concerning, in particular, what to do with slaves who accepted Protestant baptism in the early modern Atlantic world.

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