The issue of slavery in America has always been an uncomfortable topic. Even 150 years removed from the practice, white southerners are blamed for something they never did, and blacks are angry over something they never personally suffered. Admittedly, even after emancipation, the civil rights battle for blacks was fought over 100 more years.
Slavery was practiced by our founders while also bemoaned by them. The true “white guilt” was owned by these men we hold in high esteem for their love of equality and liberty.
Patrick Henry said, “It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with the law that warrants slavery.”
George Washington included the freeing of his own slaves in his will upon his death.
Thomas Jefferson originally included the emancipation of slaves in his draft of the Declaration of Independence, but the southern states would not sign it unless this part was removed. However, he wrote: “I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their expiration.”
We in the 21st century can look back indignantly at the southern states for not agreeing to this clause in the Declaration, and point fingers at the founders for bowing to this demand in exchange for a unanimous agreement. But are we Christians any different?
Tax-exempt status for religious institutions is a modern form of slavery. Churches, Christian schools, and other religious non-profits are shackled by this gift of government to toe the line and say what is acceptable. If this is not true, tell me how the church did not rise up in 1962 and stop the removal of prayer from schools. Why did the church not scream “murder!” at the legalization of abortion in 1973?. Why are so many churches this summer ignoring normalization of “gay marriage?”
Because they, like the southern slave-holding states, have become comfortable in a way of life that is unnatural. The southern states built a trade empire that could not exist without free labor. They could not fathom any other method. Just the same, the religious institutions in America have gotten used to their tax-exempt status and cannot fathom operating without it.
Our schools are suffering under this burden, and look where we are. Every mandate is tied to money. The government says “you must teach this way or you won’t receive x funds.” And states and schools offer their wrists for the shackles while pretending there is no such thing as federal education control.
Tax exempt status is a tricky thing. It often comes with strings. In many states, and in many cities, governments are threatening control over the content of a church’s sermons. We have no right to be indignant until we are ready to live and minister and teach without the government’s purse.
What do you think? Comment below!
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Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She is a homemaker at heart, and loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. Nicki is a member of the Texas Home Educators Board of Directors. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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