- Nov 2017
The church conferred its stamp of approval on the practice of enslaving Africans when the Portuguese started doing so. Now, I'm not going to claim that no abolitionists were motivated by faith. Clearly, they typically were. However, "Christians" invented the problem to begin with...at least as far as African enslavement by Europeans goes. In fact, papal bulls were issued which endorsed the practice. And really, not only was the practice officially endorsed, the church explicitly granted its permission to enslave Africans. Hence, the church itself contributed greatly to the very creation of African slavery. I think it's great that a subset of the faithful eventually saw the light but let's not gloss over the fact that another subset of the same overall group were primarily responsible for the spread of chattel slavery in the first place. And I do believe they all read the same bible.
And no, the Church didn't condone nor "contributed greatly" since the Church by the 14th century was nothing more than a rump state firmly under the control of France, the HRE and the ascending Iberian kingdoms like Portugal and Aragon. The approval of the Church is not condoning, it only means the Church allowed the Portuguese, because the Portuguese forced the Church to approve so.
It's also clear that colonialism started because of the anthropocentric, anti-medieval, Greco-Roman and pagan Renaissance, not Christianity. Evil Christianity took 1500 years to inspire the colonial project, making it clear that it wasn't Christianity that caused colonialism (which includes the African slave trade), nor even served as its justification (justification is not causation). Meanwhile, in just 100 years after the Renaissance started in the 14th century the Portuguese and Spaniards were enslaving Africans and annexing islands off the coast of Africa, and started their invasion of the Americas as soon as they reached it, with your enlightened Protestants that you thoroughly ignore following them soon after.