Given the controversy surrounding A. Edwin Wilson’s tirade against civil rights, I felt it would be instructive to provide a list of selected readings on the underlying assumption of his argument, the Hamitic curse. These are from the Internet. There are many excellent books that cover the subject too.
Though I’m not found of Wikipedia, this entry on the “Curse of Ham,” i.e. the Hamitic Curse, is well done. Press here for entry. Another entry discussing the term “Hamitic” makes for interesting reading. Press here for that entry. The other links are placed below the image.
Image: Dore painting of Noah cursing Ham (cf. Gen. 9).
Selected readings on the Hamitic curse
The Gospel of Division in the Church, by Frederick K.C. Price, D.D.
Dr. Price is the pastor of Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angelas, Calif. He does not regard the “Hamitic curse” as a benign doctrine, and argues church-sanctioned racism is an assault upon Christ.
As I wrote in Race, Religion & Racism, Volume 2, the leaders in the white churches did not use the Scriptures to defend Black people. No, they falsified the Bible in order to speak against them. “They did this even though their actions were in direct opposition to the Word [of God] – Even though they should have known from the Bible that not taking a stand on behalf of those who were treated as the least of society was the same as not taking a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.”
Noah’s Curse Is Slavery’s Rationale, by Felicia R. Lee
This is general article on the history of interpreting the Hamitic curse.
In the Bible, Ham finds Noah drunk and naked in Noah’s tent. He tells his brothers, Shem and Japheth, who proceed to cover their father without gazing at him. When Noah finds out what happened, he curses Ham’s son Canaan, saying he shall be “a servant of servants.” Among the many questions attached to this tale are what Ham did wrong. Was it looking at his father or telling his brothers or some implied sexual transgression? And why was Canaan cursed for Ham’s actions?
“The reason the text was so valued by 19th-century people was that it was about honor,” Mr. Haynes said. “Ham acted dishonorably, and slavery was life without honor.”
While thousands of people have tried to interpret Noah’s curse, Mr. Haynes writes: “Scholars of history and religion alike have failed to comprehend that pro-slavery Southerners were drawn to Genesis 9:20-27 because it resonated with their deepest cultural values.” Too often, he writes, historians have a superficial knowledge of the Bible, and scholars of religion have a limited knowledge of Southern culture.
Are Black People Cursed? The Curse of Ham, by Tony Evans
This article was featured earlier at KingdomExclusion.com, and is offered here too. Regarding segregation, Evans points out that preferences are expressly forbidden in scripture.
They forgot the biblical truth that to be members of the body of Christ means that preferences based on class, culture, or race are totally unacceptable to God, and people who make such preferences are candidates for His judgment (James 2:9-13). Such biblical data, however, would not support the inferiority myth. Adding such biblical references would be telling the whole truth, and truth and myth do not mix very well. Therefore, early Americans had to be selective about what Bible verses to use to establish a theological basis to justify slavery and perpetuate the inferiority myth.