Right-Wing History Redo: ‘It Was Faith, Not the Federal Government that Ended Slavery’
Last week, Heritage Foundation’s Jim DeMint decided to redo history when he declared the Federal Government was not truly the force behind the end to slavery. Instead, according to the former South Carolina GOP senator, slave-owning Americas simply had a change of heart thanks to their faith.
In a rambling explanation that confused the Constitution with the Declaration of Independence and credited a British abolitionist dead before the Civil War even occurred, DeMint told Vocal Point listeners that the current focus on government over-regulation was wrong and “no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves.”
He then told listeners what had really happened when slavery was ended.
“Well the reason that the slaves were eventually freed was the Constitution, it was like the conscience of the American people,” he said. “Unfortunately there were some court decisions like Dred Scott and others that defined some people as property, but the Constitution kept calling us back to ‘all men are created equal and we have inalienable rights’ in the minds of God.”
Not at all discouraged by the fact he had just mixed up the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution, he continued on, “But a lot of the move to free the slaves came from the people, it did not come from the federal government. It came from a growing movement among the people, particularly people of faith, that this was wrong.”
While DeMint is right that some pastors took up the anti-slavery fight in the north, in the south, the Bible, which contains passages encouraging slaves to be submissive to their masters, was waved heavily in the pro-slavery cause.
Still undeterred by the facts, DeMint then declared a British abolitionist who was long dead when the Civil War commenced was one of the brave and valiant faith-fighters that helped bring an end to slavery once and for all.
“People like Wilberforce who persisted for years because of his faith and because of his love for people,” he said, hailing the efforts of the British abolitionist as proof of his claims that the faith of the American people, and not the federal actions such as the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment, was the real reason slavery was ended after all.
Photo Credit: US Congress