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Morelia Aguilar

Mrs. Carroll

Frederick Douglass Religious Theme

Frederick Douglass's friends in the abolitionist movement were all extremely faithful Christians.
Douglass had some strong harsh criticisms for slave owners who claim to be Christians. He believed that
a person can't be both, a Christian and a slave owner.

Douglass hates hypocrites, but he also tells us those religious slave owners are even worse than
those who don't pretend to be religious. In the text Douglass was explaining “Prior to his conversion, he
relied upon his own depravity to shield and sustain him in his savage barbarity; but after his conversion,
he found religious sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty. He made the greatest pretense to
piety (p43-44)”.This quote states Christianity and religion was being prevented by slave owners and used
religion as a way to justify the owning of slaves and even further the beating of them. The idea that
Douglass was showing many people were trying to justify their action of keeping slaves, by citing
religious passages and have been hypocrites while holding slaves.

Yet the priest still continues to teach the other slaves to read a book and the Bible. In the text,
Douglass says “The work of instructing my dear fellow-slaves was the sweetest engagement with which I
was ever blessed. We loved each other, and to leave them at the close of the Sabbath was a severe cross
indeed. When I think that these precious souls are to-day shut up in the prison-house of slavery, my
feelings overcome me, and I am almost ready to ask. Does a righteous God govern the universe? and for
what does he hold the thunders in his right hand, if not to smite the oppressor, and deliver the spoiled out
of the hand of the spoiler? (p.59)”. The meaning of this quote states, Douglass ends by questioning how a
good God can really rule the universe since he allows terrible things like slavery to exist. They didn’t
mind to be at the priest house eating in front of them and show them prayers, either way, it wasn’t their
religion they get to learn how to read stuff that they didn’t know.

The religious ideas are different now than back then, people back then we're talking about being
hypocritical people. People back then were racist to African Americans because they left them begged for
food. Society shouldn’t be accepting people that treat others badly. Religion should be about our care for
others. In Frederick Douglass arguments he was right of people being a hypocrite. How will you feel if
you were in this situation like Frederick Douglass was suffering?