5 reasons why Christians should not seek to abolish the slave trade

These arguments might sound familiar.

William Wilberforce

1) Christians should be nice. People don’t like William Wilberforce. He makes them angry. Clearly, Christians should be respected by everyone, just like Jesus was. We have no business waving signs, spreading petitions, and boycotting sugar. People will think that we are grumpy old fundamentalists!

2) There are more important issues than the slave trade. We must not make abolition the defining issue of our politics. Jesus never mentioned slavery, but he discussed taxation on at least two separate occasions. Logically, therefore, Christians must conclude that taxation is a more important issue than slavery.

3) We should not try to make slavery illegal; we should try to make it unthinkable. We shouldn’t be trying to change the law; we should be trying to change people’s hearts. Instead of petitioning parliament, we should be talking with our friends. We can outlaw slavery once everyone agrees that it is wrong.

4) The attempt to criminalize the slave trade is futile. Year after year, parliament continues to reject Wilberforce’s bill. England is dependent on the slave trade; parliament will never pass an act that will destroy the economy of the country! The “gradual abolition” proposed by Henry Dundas in 1792 is a much more feasible approach.

5) Criminalizing the slave trade won’t stop it. If England abolishes the slave trade, the French will just step in and take over.

This is satire. I believe in the abolition of human slavery just as fiercely as I believe in the abolition of human abortion. If you are interested in the history of the abolition movement in England, I highly recommend Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild.


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