Religion, racism, slavery and Ethnic Cleansing

The more I research religion, the more I see that it goes hand in hand with racism. I covered the Ku Klux Klan and their link to white supremacy and Nazi ideology, so now I wish to explore other areas of religion that show prejudice and racism towards other races and cultures.

The Christendom Atlantic Slave Trade

The Atlantic Slave Trade was essentially the capturing and deporting of Africans to the ‘New World’ (The Americas) by Christendom nations which were predominantly Catholic ie: Portugal, Spain, France, Holland and England. Despite the Atlantic Slave Trade being well publicised, and the amount of African labour taken to the Caribbean islands, and America, Africans were used in slave labour for centuries previous all over Africa, Europe and parts of Asia.

The Arab Trade of Zanj

As far back as 700 years before the Atlantic Slave Trade, Muslim Arab nations took black inhabitants from Eastern Africa to China, India and Arab countries to be used as slave labour, and servants. When Muslims took control of the majority of Egypt, they made a treaty with the Makuria, which was Christian Nubian, to allow the free transportation of slaves.

“There is historical evidence of North African Muslim slave raids all along the Mediterranean coasts across Christian Europe. The majority of slaves traded across the Mediterranean region were predominantly of European origin from the 7th to 15th centuries.” – IPO Wikipedia

Slavery and Christianity

Slavery has existed in Christianity for many centuries in one form or another, and despite many Christians condemning it, there’s no doubt that Christianity overall had no qualms with it. Popes had no problems issuing papal bulls giving leaders of nations the free reign to enslave non-believers, and pagans.

“Obeying his master, he is obeying God” – Saint John Chrysostom


In the seventeenth century, Dutch colonists landed in what would become South Africa, and at the start of the nineteenth century it became a British colony. In 1914 the nation of South Africa was born, and the original Dutch colonists, which were named Afrikaner, had theologians which claimed that races shouldn’t mix and God had intended to separate them at the Tower of Babel. After the end of World War II the National Party took power and implemented apartheid, and their official religion was the Dutch Reformed Church, and in 1958 black residents of South Africa had their citizenships taken away, and over 3,000,000 of them were forced to relocate so the white citizens could dominate the areas. This lasted for 26 years, and the black citizens had to live like they were inferior beings.

The Afrikaner Resistance Movement (Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging or AWB) is a religious movement in South Africa which strongly opposes the reform of apartheid and wish for the country to return to its racism.

“The AWB flag is composed of three black sevens (forming a triskelion) in a white circle upon a red background. According to AWB, the sevens, ‘the number of JAHWEH’, ‘stand to oppose the number 666, the number of the anti-Christ’. Red is considered to represent Jesus’ blood, while black stands for bravery and courage. The inner white circle symbolizes the “eternal struggle”, or according to other sources “eternal life”. The flag bears a resemblence to the flag used by the Nazi Party and Nazi Germany.” – Wikipedia

Ethnic Cleansing

As well as racism, and slavery, religion has been involved in ethnic cleansing, and none is more famous than the extermination of Jews, and other ethnic minorities during Nazi Germany’s attempt to force their Positive Christianity, Aryan fascism, and antisemitism onto countries of Europe, but other examples of religious ethnic cleansing are evident.

The Ottoman Empire were responsible for the Armenian genocide, also known as the Armenian holocaust, where up to 1,500,000 were exterminated in what some scholars call a Jihad from the Turkish Muslim against the non-Muslim Armenians in 1915. This was largely overlooked as it was overshadowed by the Great War (World War I).

In 1994, in Rwanda, a genocide of mass proportion was organised, and many scholars claim it was premeditated and planned, as the Tutsi were recognised as non-Christian, and the Hutu military executed key Tutsi political figures, and encouraged civilians to murder their Tutsi neighbours. Many Tutsi thought that the churches would offer them sanctuary, but sadly they were wrong, and even religious representatives got involved in the massacres. Many people were butchered and mutilated with machetes, axes and hammers. The UN claimed it was one of the bloodiest atrocities in history, despite never actually getting involved.

The Spanish Inquisition (Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith) was initially created to seek out heretics, but it soon went beyond that, and the Catholic Church went on a mass killing spree, through their severe religious intolerance, because they believed their authority came from God. They only had judicial power over Christians so many law-abiding citizens were tried, tortured and executed for heresy despite being innocent. They frequently tortured Jews in the hope of religious conversion to Christianity, and if the accused had no desire to convert, the inquisitors had the power of execution.

We seem to have a theme going here. A theme of religious intolerance towards anything that is different, or doesn’t conform to what their faith requires. A theme of discrimination, a theme of human suffering and a disregard for human rights.