Baptists and the American Civil War: May 25, 1863

African SlaveryWithin the Confederacy, church, culture and government are so intertwined in support of African slavery that they often speak and act in unison. Southern elites, mostly large-scale slaveholding planters who occupy government offices and other public positions of various kinds, are grateful that Southern Christian leaders (many of whom are also slave owners of considerable means) have long ensconced African slavery within a biblical framework. Now that the peculiar institution is being tried in fire as never before, the marriage of slavery, bible, economic privilege and race-based social order embodied in the Confederate government is yet serving to hold at bay rising public discontent over a national war fought on behalf of the aristocrats of the South.

Today, a Richmond newspaper correspondent’s glowing summary of the recent speech by Virginia’s Attorney General John Randolph Tucker, delivered at the city’s Second Baptist Church, reflects the importance of the marriage of state and church that acts as glue holding together the increasingly-troubled slaveholding Confederacy.

A lecture was delivered last Thursday evening at the Second Baptist Church, (Dr. Secley’s,) by John Randolph Tucker, Esq, before the Young Men’s Christian Association of this city. The subject of this lecture — the duty of the Church to sustain the Government in the present war — was handled with marked ability, and was received by the large and intelligent audience with the deepest interest. There were portions of this lecture — distinguished throughout for its powerful logic — which were characterized by an eloquence and pathos rarely surpassed. We trust that this able vindication of the cause of the South may soon be published and widely disseminated among the Christians throughout the world.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Tucker’s speech is soon published for dissemination among the white citizens of Richmond and the Confederacy at large.

Source: “Interesting Lecture,” Richmond Dispatch, May 25, 1863 (link)