Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
by Harriet Jacobs
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Chapter.Paragraph
There is a great difference between Christianity and religion at the south. If a man goes to the communion table, and pays money into the treasury of the church, no matter if it be the price of blood, he is called religious. If a pastor has offspring by a woman not his wife, the church dismiss him, if she is a white woman; but if she is colored, it does not hinder his continuing to be their good shepherd. (13.10)
Slavery corrupts all major institutions—especially religion. Jacobs suggests that it is impossible to be a good Christian and to endorse slavery at the same time.
There are thousands, who, like good uncle Fred, are thirsting for the water of life; but the law forbids it, and the churches withhold it. They send the Bible to heathen abroad, and neglect the heathen at home. I am glad that missionaries go out to the dark corners of the earth; but I ask them not to overlook the dark corners at home. Talk to American slaveholders as you talk to savages in Africa. Tell them it was wrong to traffic in men. (13.17)
Jacobs points out American hypocrisy here—it's totally ridiculous that American religious leaders teach the Bible in Africa, but slaves in America are not allowed to learn to read it.