Friday, January 18, 2008

The Great Awakening, Missions, Slavery, and Paternalism: Part 5

This is part five of the series on the first American Foreign Mission Board.

ABCFM and Slavery (continued)

The ABCFM was the product of a White-Protestant culture that felt as though it was at the top of the evolutionary chain. One of the main goals of missions was to help civilize the heathen. This meant, among other things, having them adopt the culture of White-Protestantism. Or to put it more bluntly, the goal of missions was to make the heathen culture exactly like the home culture of the missionary. If slavery was part of the White-Protestant culture then it must be a “Christian” institution. After all, the culture that the ABCFM grew out of had been Christian for hundreds of years. The millennial kingdom that was hoped for was, in many ways, merely an enhanced version of New England society.

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