So it is apparently time to have a little bit of fun with The Huffington Post.
I got a call a week or so ago from a HuffPo reporter, who interviewed me about the founding of Logos School, along with the founding of the Association of Classical Christian Schools. The interview was going along merrily, including the fact that Greg Gianforte, who a few years ago served with me on the ACCS board, is now a candidate for governor of the great state of Montana.
Let me interrupt this account to encourage all residents of Montana who read this account to reason thusly with themselves: “Anybody who gets this kind of royal treatment from The Huffington Post is someone that I should really want in the governor’s chair. I and all my friends shall plan to vote accordingly.”
Anyway, back to the interview. As it proceeded, the reporter brought up Southern Slavery As It Was, and I saw the hatchet job forming before my eyes, along with the shape of the actual hatchet. I told the reporter that it looked like a hit piece on somebody because of a passing acquaintance with me. No, no, not at all the reporter said. So the article came out yesterday, which you can read for yourself here. It turned out exactly how it looked like it might turn out.
But entirely left out of the piece was the fact that an entity with far stronger ties to me than Greg Gianforte is . . . The Huffington Post. I have written for them before, as you may easily ascertain by clicking on this phrase here.
Not only have I written for The Huffington Post, but to this date they have never once apologized for it. To this day, they refuse to back away from their association with me. Not only so, but as this most recent piece indicates, I have retrograde beliefs about the role relationships of men and women, and what did The Huffington Post have me write on? You’ve got it—they had me write my take on the demented view of life between the sexes as represented in all that Fifty Shades business.
Now I did have a swell time visiting occasionally with Greg in the context of a few board meetings. And if lived in Montana, I would certainly cast my vote for him. But compare this to every pitch I can have my agent write to every editor from now to the end of my writing career. “Wilson has written for Christianity Today, World, Chronicles, Books & Culture, and The Huffington Post.”
Now on to the argument, such as it was, that was contained in their headline. “Gubernatorial Candidate Has Ties to Pastor Who Wrote Black Families Were ‘Stronger’ Under Slavery.”
So let us not content ourselves with asking whether I said this, or even if I would be willing to say it again. Let us ask a revolutionary and possibly illegal question. Is it true? And if it is true, why is it so hard to establish? Remember that we are dealing with a generation whose historical ignorance is oceanic.
The state of the black family today in the United States is tragic, and you can’t blame slavery for it. Thomas Sowell makes this point. “In the late nineteenth century, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery, there was nothing like today’s level of unwed births or failure to participate in the labor force” (Black Rednecks and White Liberals, p. 161).
“Official Census data show that blacks had slightly higher marriage rates than whites for every census from 1890 to 1940, but far lower marriage rates than whites by 1960” (Ibid. p. 161).
Note, according to the headline, I was talking about the black FAMILY. What slavery couldn’t do, what decades of Jim Crow couldn’t do, the Great Society—brim full of unmitigated whiteness as it was—accomplished in just one generation. And what was that? Demolish the black family.
Why would I say that the black family was better off under slavery? Because it is true. White people today are blissfully unaware, with a serenity unparalleled, of what they have done to the black family, and therefore to black individuals. Look at the facts. Stop staring at your contrived Huxtable Family Narrative (HFN), viewed through the gauzy film of white self-congratulation.
In the last generation 13 million black children have been dismembered, at rates much higher than the rates of white dismemberment. Many of their bodies were sold for parts. Of those who are allowed to live, who are granted entrance into this tolerant society of ours, about 58% will grow up without their biological father. This is an illegitimacy rate that is somewhere north of grotesque. There are about 2.2 million male prisoners in the United States, and 37% of them are black. The unemployment rate among blacks is double that of whites. The American inner city looks like it has been the victim of a concerted bombing campaign, which is actually true, come to think of it. And all the damage has been done by daisy-cutter whiteness.
Liberalism is little more than whiteness supreme, whiteness on stilts, whiteness-in-a-bottle. Brimming over with good intentions and pure thoughts, they have done to the black family what a blinkered racist could only dream of getting done. Some thug of an ante bellum plantation owner in pursuit of cotton wealth may have had some nights where he had to deal with his conscience. But white liberals can leave a place a smoking crater, and walk away with their conscience pouring congratulations out of a jug into their well-meaning hearts.
And there are Christians who actually listen to these people. They are concerned that I am minimizing the outrages that happened during slavery time. I deny it. Find me an outrage, and I will condemn it. I have nothing but contempt for every appalling practice that you might set before me.
Yes, they say, reasoning closely. But you allow that some masters might have been good and gentle. You are trying to distinguish between slave owners, as though that were possible. Yes, that is right, just like in the Bible. Let me give you a number of translations of one passage from the apostle Peter. Peter, if you don’t know, “had ties” with the Lord Jesus. I have ties with Peter, having preached through his writings, and Greg Gianforte has ties with me.
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” (1 Peter 2:18, KJV 1900)
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.” (1 Peter 2:18, ESV)
“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.” (1 Peter 2:18, NKJV)
House slaves (oiketes), be subject to your masters (despotes), not only to the good ones (agathos), or to the gentle ones (epieikes), but also to the bent ones (skolios).
If words have meaning, the apostle Peter is telling Christian slaves how to behave when their masters are harsh, and how to behave when their masters are good and gentle. If people want to argue with me, they need to find a topic that doesn’t have a host of verses addressing the subject explicitly, and with those verses nailed down on all four corners.
The pagan system of slavery in the first century was beyond harsh. The Christian faith really did subvert the institution of slavery in wonderfully effective ways. For those who are concerned about the subject—as they ought to be—and who wonder how all of this can be consistent with the good news of God’s grace and love, there really is an answer. There is a biblical answer for those who raise concerns about the brutality that is the backdrop to many of these passages. But it is an answer that will be forever hidden from every exegetical buttercup. This is because you cannot fight your way through to biblical answers through a steadfast refusal to face up to what the text actually says.
I was grateful that HuffPo linked to Black & Tan. For those who want biblical answers to a real problem, to be distinguished from pc-answers to the outrage-of-the-month, I would urge them to begin there.