Baptists and the American Civil War: October 7, 1862

Support of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln‘s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation from Northern Baptists continues unabated. Today, the New York Baptist Convention unanimously approves a resolution in support of the Lincoln administration. Avoiding Christian nationalistic rhetoric, the statement voices harsh condemnation of the slave-based Confederacy and takes for granted that God wills freedom for all persons.

Whereas the civil war which was in progress in our country at our last annual meeting is still in existence, threatening the destruction of our Government, with all the precious interests it involves: therefore,

Resolved, 1. That, as a religious body, we deem it our duty to cherish and manifest the deepest sympathy for the preservation and perpetuity of a Government which protects us in the great work of Christian civilization.

Resolved, 2. That, in our opinion, the history of civil governments furnishes no example of more audacious wickedness than is exhibited by the rebellion which has been inaugurated against the free government framed by our fathers and so eminently in harmony with the conscious and obvious rights of man.

Resolved, 3. That while we see, with the profoundest sorrow, thousands of husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons falling on the battle-field, considering the interests to be preserved and transmitted to future generations, we cannot regard the sacrifice of treasure and of life too much for the object to be secured.

Resolved, 4. That as human slavery in the Southern portion of our country is, in our judgment, the procuring cause of the rebellion now raging among us, having been proclaimed as the corner-stone of the rebellion and as the institution for which they are fighting, as Christian men and citizens we fully and heartily endorse the recent proclamation of the President of the United States, declaring forever free all slaves in the rebel States on the 1st of January, 1863.

Resolved, 5. That the spirit of the age, the safety of the country, and the laws of God require that among the results of the present bloody war shall be found the entire removal of that relic of barbarism, that bane and shame of the nation, American slavery, and that the banner of freedom float triumphantly and truth fully over all the land.

Resolved, 6. That the foregoing preamble and resolutions be signed by the officers of the Convention, and transmitted to the President of the United States.

Source: B. F. Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Developed in the Official and Historical Annals of the Republic, Philadelphia, George W. Childs, 1864, pp. 746 (link)