Slavery monument (Photo credit: drhenkenstein)
Writing in 1823 the Bible commentator Adam Clarke wrote this about Isaiah 58:
How can any nation pretend to fast or worship Godat all, or dare to profess that they believe in the existence of such a Being, while they carry on the slave trade, and traffic in the souls, blood, and bodies, of men! O ye most flagitious of knaves, and worst of hypocrites, cast off at once the mask of religion; and deepen not your endless perdition by professing the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, while ye continue in this traffic!
Good words for a dark time: don’t pretend to be a Christian while you lounge around in your luxurious lifestyle, supporting the slave trade. I’m sure we’d all offer a hearty ‘amen’ to that.
So today, how about we remember that there are more slaves in the world today than ever before, almost 27 million of them.
In 1850 the cost of a slave was $40,000; a luxury good owned only by the most wealthy. Nowadays, you can own one for $90. That’s cheaper than most mobile phones, tablets, games consoles, TVs…virtually worthless. If my TV dies after a few years’ work, let’s buy a new one. If my slave dies, there are plenty more where that came from.
And let’s consider slaves in the sex trade. In the USA, a progressive, influential, modern, rational nation, the average…the AVERAGE age of entry into the sex trade is 11-12 years old. And every year about 325,000 children join them.
But what can we do? Probably more than we realise:
- We can fast and pray. God listens.
- We can actually admit that products we buy that don’t say they’re fairly traded, probably aren’t fairly traded. So we can stop buying them.
- We can consider giving money to churches and charities which are working to eliminate the slave trade.
- We can go back to that Adam Clarke quote and read it again, and admit we need to do something now, for the glory of God.