Race, faith and freedom in American and British history
in Religion and rights
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At the heart of the history of post-revolutionary Christianity in America is the relationship between race and salvation. Compared with all the busy Enlightenment rationalisation, the unequivocal egalitarianism of Christian salvation, the admissibility of all to saving grace, had a much more obvious appeal to those in immediate need of bodily and spiritual redemption. Christian slaves, Charles Pinckney and many others argued, would be better workers, eternally grateful to their owners for showing them 'the light of the true Christian faith'. John Adams and Jefferson respected slavery as a form of property and refused to take seriously a proposal to arm a slave regiment that would win freedom for its service. A bit like M. Jourdain discovering that he had, all along been speaking Prose, author owned that until deep into the twentieth century almost every great conflict in British history had been in its essence one of religion.

Religion and rights

The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2008

Editor: Wes Williams


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