Buying the End of Slavery

Human Rights, Other, Social Justice — By on June 2, 2009 at 7:08 pm

slave-freerice

Most of us support slavery: our purchases feed the black market of human trafficking.  It’s not just something from movies like Blood Diamond.  Most of us who purchase goods produced by slave labor do it in the proud name of frugality.  We’re always seeking a good deal, and we boast in it when we find it.  Frugality is a virtue, especially in a world of rampant consumerism.  But sometimes, frugality can be just another form of materialism: the worship of the bargain, not a separation from stuff.  It may be good to save money by buying from Wal-Mart, but we sacrifice more than we bargain for in the transaction.

The crisis of modern-day slavery is daunting.  A look at the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons’ 2008 report is enough to make anyone throw up her hands in despair, and not all of us are close enough witnesses to slavery in action to throw a child under each arm and storm out of the karaoke bar, like the woman I mentioned in my last post.

In fact, many of us unwittingly support slavery by buying products made by slave labor.  Given the complexity of the manufacturing process in a global economy, when any given couch may have components from four different continents assembled in stages on two others, it is no wonder we would be unaware of it if we were.  But ignorance is not innocence.  Given the rapid growth of available information that has accompanied the rapid economic growth, we have the means to discover the origin of everything we buy.  But we don’t.

We don’t want to know why we can get such bargains.  We want things, we don’t want to give up a lot to get them, and we’ve baptized that desire in the name of Christian stewardship.  The problem is, human trafficking thrives on our bargain shopping.  It is the cheap labor provided by slaves that makes it possible for us to purchase many everyday goods at low prices.  If our hunger for inexpensive products wasn’t so great, it wouldn’t feed the growth of human trafficking in the manufacturing and agricultural industries.  And while seeking inexpensive goods isn’t a vice in itself, rampant, unthinking materialism is partially responsible for the explosive growth of this human rights crisis.

As Edmund Burke famously said, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  We can’t afford to do nothing any longer, and those trapped in slave labor by our greed certainly don’t deserve it.  We must take responsibility for our part in human trafficking, even when we play that part unintentionally and indirectly.

Nathan George, the founder of Trade as One, has a plan to help us do that.  A citizen of Great Britain, George witnessed a phenomenon that transformed the British economy.  In England, something like 4% of the population regularly attends Sunday services in the Church of England, but those 4% moved abolitionist mountains.  Troubled by the fact that most of the world lives in extreme poverty, some parishioners took action.  If a Christian follows the principles of Scripture, he will donate 10% of his pre-taxed income to charity.  In the face of the fastest growing sector of the black market, 10% of worldwide Christian income isn’t enough, and all churches know very few parishioners are faithful to that level of giving.  Instead, these British churchgoers created Traidcraft, an organization that partners western consumers with producers from the third world.  It puts the other 90% of our income to work against slavery.  Within two decades, Traidcraft received business from 76% of the British purchasing public.

Now Nathan George is here in the United States with a new company, Trade as One.  If an anemic British church could change the economic activity of a nation, what could 100 million regular churchgoers in America do?  George believes that by providing high quality consumer goods in daily demand, he can put American Christians’ income to work to fight slavery, rather than to feed it.  And by taking on three simple disciplines: live simply (buy less), give generously, and buy ethically (be aware of who we fund with our bargain-hunting), we can join him in that noble work.  Visit Mr. George’s website at http://tradeasone.com for more information on how to put your regular purchases to work in the noble cause of abolition.

We can’t claim ignorance on the issue any longer.   As citizens of the planet, we have the responsibility to restrain our desires when they harm our fellow citizens.  As Christians, we have the duty to be Christ to them.  We cannot sit idly by, paying Jenny Craig to help us lose weight from the chocolate we couldn’t stop eating, while fellow believers were forced to make the chocolate for us.  But the glorious thing about a free market economy is that the consumer rules the market.  We need only become more conscientious consumers to render this aspect of human trafficking impotent.  So get involved!  Find out who makes your clothes, who cleans your hotel rooms, and who harvests your food.  Alter your purchasing choices, and fight slavery every day by doing what you would do anyway: buy things you need.

For more information on slave-free products and to join the movement to encourage corporations to guarantee slave-free products, visit www.slavefree.us. ‘



  • http://trahtoom.blogspot.com Gabe Moothart

    Linds, do you know of any resources that we can use to see what companies/products are using slave labor (are US hotels really using it???)

    Also, not directly related to slave labor, but microfinance sites like microplace and kiva are another great way to use your money to help the poor, and even make a (small) profit.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Gabe,

    Awesome questions! Unfortunately, it takes a little footwork on the consumer’s end to find the source of products – no one’s compiled a solid, comprehensive list of products made by slave labor yet (a worthy project for someone with the time and resources!). There are two good ways to become a more conscientious consumer:

    1. Search products or brands specifically to find out if they’re made by slave labor or with slave labor parts. You can usually find sites dedicated to one type of product (chocolate or clothing, for instance). It takes some extra effort, but you can find good, well-documented information. The BBC has also done extensive investigative reporting on the issue and many of their reports are available in the archives of the main BBC news website. Try http://www.fairtrade.org and http://www.ethicaltrade.org for more information.

    2. Seek out products made by companies that guarantee slave free production of goods. The most certain way to make sure you don’t support slave labor is like you said – buy directly from the producer when you can. microplace and kiva are great, eBay set up a fair trade product network called World of Good, and there are organizations like George’s Trade As One.

  • http://tradeasone.com kevin

    Lindsay,

    A thorough and well-written post. Would love to connect with you and talk about how we can support each other. In the meantime, I can’t help but notice that your post dovetails so nicely with a post from Nathan on our blog this morning. Here’s a link. Let me know what you think.

    http://tradeasone.com/blog/thoughts_from_nathan_a_critical_juncture/

  • http://semperjase.com Jason

    “Given the rapid growth of available information that has accompanied the rapid economic growth, we have the means to discover the origin of everything we buy. But we don’t.”

    First time I recall seeing something on E.O. that I disagree with this much. There just are not enough hours in the day for each of us to research the origins of everything we buy.

    We simply do not have the resources in time alone. Every transaction would then become an hours long process. Try buying a computer. Hundreds of components, each of those components has many more materials from innumerable suppliers. It is simply impossible for a consumer to check the origins of each of the materials that goes into making a computer.

    The idea that we support slavery for simply not having the time to check the origins of everything we buy undermines your purpose by encouraging apathy. We do have to buy products in our society. We do not have the time as individuals to discover the origins of all of those products. Apathy will be the result from the conflict of these two situations.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Jason,

    The largeness of the task doesn’t excuse us. In fact, I’d submit that the unscrupulous people who exploit fellow human beings for profit depend on our resistance to taking that responsibility serious. And you need not do all the footwork on your own – there are groups who track these things down (like the BBC did with Apple iPods three years ago, for instance).

    The point is not to blame consumers for slavery (after all, hopefully none of us would personally enslave someone to make goods for our enjoyment), but to help consumers become aware of the consequences of their actions when those consequences aren’t readily visible.

    In the industrialized world, we’re blessed with an abundance of stuff. Sometimes we’re tempted to think that stuff only costs what the price tag says, and our labor to earn that amount of money. The truth is, that’s not the only cost of stuff.

    It’s the evil of the slavers that perpetuates slavery, but it’s the ignorance of the consumer that inspires them to do it. If it wasn’t profitable, why would they expend considerable resources to do so? And if it remains profitable, what will compel them to stop? Government action against them isn’t doing enough, especially in countries with far less rule of law than our own. It’s hard enough to prosecute human trafficking here, where the law is clear.

    It’s up to us to do what we can to fight slavery. I don’t know about you, but it’s worth a few extra hours a week online to me to track down my purchases’ origins. It might take awhile to find them all, but why not? I can sacrifice some blogging and youtube videos for that. I would hope anyone could do so as well.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Kevin,

    Fantastic! I would love to talk to you about how to support each other’s efforts! You can email me at nateandlinds “at” gmail “dot” com.

  • Baggi

    Consider me skeptical.

    The Ipod example is a reason why I think this just isn’t happening to the degree you seem to think that it is. When it is discovered, it is shut down.

    Could you provide me with an example of “slave labor” that is going on right now where I might actually make a purchase that participates in this “slave labor”??

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Here’s one particularly well-documented case: the chocolate industry.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Here’s another interesting case concerning the Toyota Prius, part of what’s becoming a conflict between green industry and human trafficking.

  • http://evangelicaloutpost.com/?fbconnect_action=myhome&userid=77 Nate Marshall

    Baggi says:

    Consider me skeptical.
    The Ipod example is a reason why I think this just isn’t happening to the degree you seem to think that it is. When it is discovered, it is shut down.

    What you just said is actually defeating your own point! The point is that someone discovered it because someone did the research. It isn’t self regulating it’s a kid with a hand in a cookie jar who got caught!

    This is about taking simple responsibility. Start small with a few products not everything.

  • http://cinemarshall.com Nate Marshall

    It seems that this should be actually simple considering there is a small army of people who make this their life work to bring light to slavery issues. Nobody is saying that you have to personally research who makes the plastics molds of your laptop fan.

    I believe what Lindsay is proposing is taking an extra 30 seconds to do a google search on slavery related to a product. Im sure most of us search for deals longer than that on most purchases over $20.

    It comes down to the wether or not we believe that a few saved minutes and a couple bucks is worth a few “not white” kids life in another country.

  • Baggi

    I think what she is asking is not possible.

    She linked me to what she called:

    “Here’s one particularly well-documented case”

    If that’s a well documented case, I think you’ve got nothing. Or almost nothing. And it took me about 10 minutes to read through that one “Well documented case” and i’m not convinced my M&M’s are made by slave labor.

    There’s a lot of accusations in that piece, for sure. There’s even some nice anecdotes about conversations with higher ups in the chocolate business. But there’s not one court case, no testimony, no group of people rescued from their chocolate making slavery, etc.

    Ive worked for years in Law Enforcement. Federal Law enforcement. Ive seen slavery, up close and personal. It’s a very ugly thing. All of the slavery i’ve seen has been involved with either drugs, illegal immigration or prostitution.

    Is there slavery going on in the world other than that? Probably.

    Do I need to research my M&M’s before I eat them?

    I think such a thing makes a mockery of what real slavery is. Having read through some of this stuff on “slavery” it’s more along the lines of Unions wanting fair pay for equal work type stuff, and not even close to slavery.

    So as ive said, i’m skeptical.

    But i’m open to being proven wrong. Otherwise, i’m thinking all you got is a liberal agenda to make the whole world poor by forcing “Fairness” on people.

    Let me ask you, is working at Walmart slavery? Depending on how you answer that question will depend on whether or not I pay further attention.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Baggi,

    Of course I don’t believe working at Walmart is being enslaved. I’m not an idiot or a radical.

    And you’re quite correct that in America, sex slavery is the most common form of slavery. And it’s certainly the lion’s share of worldwide human trafficking activity – look for posts on that in the near future here.

    But I’m afraid that you’re facing a rather difficult ethical position. You can deny that slavery is real and that some everyday products you consume may be produced by slave labor, and simply be wrong (according to the UN, the US State Department, the CIA, Amnesty International, the International Justice Mission, Worldvision… the list goes on and on).

    Or you can acknowledge its existence and, as you seem to argue, do nothing about it.

    The trouble with those two options is with the former, you’re denying reality (which is a bad habit to develop, especially if it’s just for your shopping convenience). With the second, you become complicit in enslavement. If you know you have the power to fight slavery through your purchases and willfully choose not to do so, to allow your comfort and entertainment to become more important than freedom for your fellow men created in the image of God… well, that’s called a sin of omission.

    If we’re not Christians, that option’s just sad. If we are, it’s unacceptable.

    Again, I’m not suggesting everyone move to a monastery and start weaving hemp clothing. In some cases, such as the chocolate industry, an out-and-out boycott actually harms those subjected to enslavement. We need to be smart consumers, not reactionaries. But even in the 19th century, abolitionists refused to buy products made by slaves (silks, tobacco, etc.). Are we less capable than them? Or are we just less willing to be inconvenienced?

  • smmtheory

    I have a question with regard to the chocolate tie-in to slavery. In the web link you provided, it said something like:

    Farmers with no concept of world market prices, free trade or commodities brokers were left to fend for themselves. Working mostly in isolation on their small family farms spread throughout the country, the farmers did not, and still do not, have the means to communicate among themselves about the prices they’re getting for their cocoa. They operate at the mercy of buyers, who pay cash and haul away their cocoa beans; the farmers being unable to afford trucks themselves

    So, here’s my question. If these farmers are so dirt poor that they cannot afford a truck, cannot afford to keep up with the market pricing, and are forced to operate at the mercy of buyers, where are they getting the money for buying slaves?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Good questions!

    First, oftentimes the farmers themselves don’t own the slaves. They may rent them or have some other arrangement with slaveowners (who can sometimes operate rather like drug lords).

    Second, the average price of a slave today is $90. In impoverished countries, like the Ivory Coast, the price can be significantly lower.

    Third, farmers often don’t purchase slaves – often they trick them or their parents with promises of high pay or goods in trade for labor. (kind of a Jacob and Laban situation without Rachel or Leah)

    There’s a thorough investigative report that you might find interesting at Stop Chocolate Slavery. It’s a bit human interest-y, but the sources are good and its thoroughness gives the reader a detailed picture of the situation.

  • Baggi

    Ahem:

    “But I’m afraid that you’re facing a rather difficult ethical position. You can deny that slavery is real and that some everyday products you consume may be produced by slave labor, and simply be wrong (according to the UN, the US State Department, the CIA, Amnesty International, the International Justice Mission, Worldvision… the list goes on and on).

    Or you can acknowledge its existence and, as you seem to argue, do nothing about it.”

    I’m sure Ive done more in my years working for the Federal Government where Slavery is concerned than you ever will.

    That’s neither here nor there.

    If you want me to believe that my M&M’s are made with slave labor, simply using fallacious reasoning isn’t going to convince me. Why, everyone believes in Global Warming doesn’t make it true. Nor does saying “Everyone believes the Earth is Flat!”

    The article you linked was not sufficient. Not even close and was lacking severely in facts.

    Perhaps you could try again, a little harder this time?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Chris Leigh

    Baggi,

    Just gonna go out on a limb here, but I am fairly certain Lindsay bears no disrespect for your service in Law Enforcement. You were a servant to your community, and we all appreciate that.

    The brass tacks are these: plenty of valid sources, as well as all your own valuable experience, suggests that there are slaves in this world, due to a variety of wrongs. Slavery is a bad thing, and all people of good will should do what they can to oppose it. Not being some of those brave souls that work for IJM, or any of the other organizations that work tirelessly against this evil, one of the easy ways we can fight this evil is by being more aware of the products we buy.

    Why not accept that opportunity with renewed vigor to be Christ-like in yet another way?

    Is the problem that you want a detailed, annotated court case before you will agree that there are simple measures you can take to make an impact on a real and disturbing evil that impacts children and families around the world?

    Let me ask you this; as an officer of the law, haven’t there been cases where the law is not able to put together a rock solid case so that something legal can be done, but everyone involved with trying to prevent the abuse of the innocent knows that there is a bad situation? While the Law cannot do anything without clearly documented evidence of illegal activity, does that mean we all have our hands similiarly tied?

    One last point; you mentioned that you believe this to be part of Lindsay’s Left Wing “fairness” agenda. While I cannot deny that Lindsay is a Left Wing Lady, isn’t her call for private citizens to act, rather than waiting and demanding that we get our government to fight this battle for us, the sort of thing we Right Wingers like? Less government, more personal responsibility, right? I say lets take on the challenge and prove how much more effective we are at impacting the world than our government can be; for the very reasons you are having difficulty with her claims. The government cannot see the forest for the trees; evil happens and they worry about a well documented case file.

    And lets not forget the principles of the free market. Cut off the money for the slave trade, and we believe there should be less slaves. Principles Conservatives believe in; why not apply them to issues of real need?

    These are my thoughts anyways…

  • Baggi

    Chris,

    I have no qualms at all with fighting the good fight.

    And you’re correct that slavery does happen.

    “Is the problem that you want a detailed, annotated court case before you will agree that there are simple measures you can take to make an impact on a real and disturbing evil that impacts children and families around the world? ”

    I don’t need anything near to a conviction in court. A court case would be fine, even if it were lost. I had no problems knowing that O.J. Simpson was guilty even though the law let him off the hook. Court cases are great for that, they give us all the facts and we can decide for ourselves.

    You also wrote:

    “One last point; you mentioned that you believe this to be part of Lindsay’s Left Wing “fairness” agenda.”

    Actually, I had no idea of her political leanings and i’m actually surprised to hear that.

    My point was a little more subtle, perhaps.

    Ive heard the slavery argument before, like in anti-walmart video’s, etc.

    My concern is that a very large net is being cast without concern for the innocents that will be harmed in so doing. There are people all over this world who happily work for pennies on the dollar because the cost of living is much lower in their countries.

    This is not a slavery issue, this is a fairness issue and a different discussion all together.

    As previously stated, ive seen slavery. Just about a month ago we had a two women, one Indian and one Filippina. They were living in Oman I think, not exactly sure. The Filippina lady it turns out was a domestic servant to the Indian lady. Actually, she was her slave. She was bringing her here to the United States to give to her sister in Alaska.

    When the Filippina girl found out she was being returned to the Philippines, she wept tears of joy at the release from her bondage. The Indian Lady, suffice it to say, was not quite as happy.

    There is real slavery and I see it all the time. As stated before, mostly where drugs and sex are concerned.

    We should all be concerned about this and fight against it as Christians, doing what we can.

    But if you want me to believe that major U.S. Corporations are knowingly engaging and benfiting from slave labor, i’m going to need some evidence. Not innuendo and accusations. Not, “Hey, everyone knows it’s true.” because everyone knows Global Warming is true too.

    I need some hard facts.

    Shouldn’t we demand at least that much?

    If i’m convinced, i’m on board.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Baggi,

    I’m afraid it’s simply not my job to convince you. You can check out the FBI’s most recent report here, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide if you believe it’s true or not. As a consumer, you have a responsibility to check into it. If it turns out that your purchases don’t enslave fellow humans (and I don’t mean economically disadvantage – that’s a completely different topic), fantastic! If it turns out they do in some way contribute to the problem, then you can take action.

    But you do need to find out just like you should find out if any of the products you consume might be harmful to you. And since I don’t know what purchases you’re making (and more important, since I’m not making those purchases), it’s your job. A little google search can’t hurt you! :)

  • smmtheory

    Given the propensity of people to put all manner of fabrications out on the internet and call it the truth… Google searches should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    smmtheory,

    But of course! I simply assume that people reading this forum are internet savvy and would be able to avoid those pitfalls. Thanks for reminding us, though – there’s a lot of bad information online!

  • http://www.aarondtaylor.blogspot.com Aaron D. Taylor

    Lindsay,

    Thank you for this post. I would also add that receiving regular updates from organizations like the One Campaign and Bread for the World and taking the actions that they recommend would go a long way in addressing the issue of global poverty.

  • Mr. Incredible

    If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.

    Knowledge of Him — the Truth — sets you free.

    So, what’s all this talk about “slavery”? Who’s a slave who walks with the Father and Son?

  • Mr. Incredible

    ==There is real slavery and I see it all the time. As stated before, mostly where drugs and sex are concerned.==

    Whose fault is THAT?

    ==We should all be concerned about this and fight against it as Christians, doing what we can.==

    God, through Christ, already did all that can be done. People choose to follow Him, or to go their own way.

    So, all we can do is bring the Word to them, and, if they reject Him, take Him to others, and let the chips fall where they may.

  • Mr. Incredible

    ==…is working at Walmart slavery?==

    No. Paul said that he found the secret of being content wherever he is and whatever he is doing. Contentment comes with Christ, and Knowledge of Him sets you free, and, if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.

  • Mr. Incredible

    Pay special attention to Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:4.

    If, physically, you are in slavery, although God didn’t put you there, He expects you to make the best of it by ministering to others the Word of Truth, that the Father made it possible for you to turn adversity into an opportunity for Him, and through Him, you. Even Job, who lost his family, didn’t sin, nor charge God foolishly.

    Remember Genesis 4:7 — If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.

    God says that our greatest need is to get our eyes off what we see and feel, and onto what is eternal, then communicate the Eternal to others. THAT is the mission, no matter where we are.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Mr. Incredible,

    Does it disturb you to to know that you’re parroting arguments made from Scripture by southern slaveholders before the Civil War?

    Of course our greatest freedom is in Christ.

    But the way you’re using that particular truth in your argument, it sure sounds like a convenient endorsement of mindless consumption with no personal responsibility to those injured by your choices.

    It’s easy for the freeman to tell the slave that freedom is merely a spiritual gift. But the freeman has no right to do so from the comfort of his material wealth. And from what I’ve heard, many in slavery today know the truth of Christ’s salvation more than I do, having never truly experienced captivity.

    Can you explain how your words don’t reflect “Go, be fed and warmed, brother” in the parable? Because if they do, your worldview needs to change, according to Christ. If I’m remembering correctly, Christ told His disciples that He’d reject those who did not clothe the naked and feed the hungry.

  • Mr. Incredible

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    July 7, 2009 at 11:13 pm
    Mr. Incredible,

    Does it disturb you to to know that you’re parroting arguments made from Scripture by southern slaveholders before the Civil War?
    ———————————————–
    Just cuz I write Scripture that they said, or wrote, doesn’t mean I’m on THEIR side. I’m on God’s side, and He says REAL freedom comes through Christ. I believe Him.

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    Of course our greatest freedom is in Christ.
    —————————————–
    Then you agree with me. Good.

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    But the way you’re using that particular truth in your argument, it sure sounds like a convenient endorsement of mindless consumption with no personal responsibility to those injured by your choices.
    ———————————————
    I can’t be held responsible for what people choose to think.

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    It’s easy for the freeman to tell the slave that freedom is merely a spiritual gift.
    ————————————————-
    It’s easy cuz, even in physical bondage, as Christ says, you can be free, and free to do His Will.

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    But the freeman has no right to do so from the comfort of his material wealth.
    —————————————————-
    He has no Right to “tell” the slave from the comfort of “wealth”??

    Who says?

    And what kinda wealth you talkin’ about?

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    And from what I’ve heard, many in slavery today know the truth of Christ’s salvation…
    —————————————————–
    Maybe some do and maybe some don’t.

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    … more than I do, having never truly experienced captivity.
    —————————————————-
    You are captive 24/7, unless you give God, through Christ, authority over it.

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    Can you explain how your words don’t reflect “Go, be fed and warmed, brother” in the parable? Because if they do, your worldview needs to change, according to Christ. If I’m remembering correctly, Christ told His disciples that He’d reject those who did not clothe the naked and feed the hungry.
    ——————————————————–
    What kinda “clothes,” and what kinda “food”? And, if worldly clothing and food, where does Christ say the Word should enter the transaction? Clothes and food for the naked and hungry are a vehicle for giving them the Word.

  • Mr. Incredible

    And, by the way…

    Christ says that what goes into the mouth doesn’t define the man, that what defiles the man is what comes OUT his mouth.

    He also says that, out the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

    So, whatever is your heart’s abundance, that is what you will speak, and, since death and life are in the power [read: words] of the tongue, if you speak death, death will you have. He tells us to speak the Words of life, and those Words are HIS Words, not our own.

    Therefore, our job is not to issue clothes and food and, then, go our way. It is to hand out those things WITH the Word Which is more important to life, as God, through Christ, sees it.

  • Mr. Incredible

    It’s not the captivity, not the bondage. It’s the response to it, whether it is Godly, or not.

    Ultimately, no one can bind your heart, and, thus, no one can truly bind the real you in your eternal existence, in Christ, even though they may bind you in your temporary existence. The temporary existence is not important when compared to the eternal. The person who is enslaved physically still has a Godly job to do in Christ. If he feels hindered in doing it, then he is truly enslaved, buy by his own choice.

  • Mr. Incredible

    It’s called “squandering one’s substance.” Faith is substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen. Moaning and groaning about physical captivity is to concentrate on the seen, elevating one’s own substance above eternal substance. Again, in whatever situation, a person has a Godly job to do, and that’s what Job knew, even in the face of personal tragedy. He knew that, if he doesn’t do well, “sin lieth at the door.”

    Now, I’m not justifying physical slavery. I do say that, even in that situation, we have a job to do, and our personal revulsion at slavery doesn’t excuse us from doing it. It would be a test, not cuz God doesn’t know and wants to see, but a test so that, like Abraham, we can see that WE ARE able.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Mr. Incredible,

    Yes, you are justifying physical slavery – you’re just not seeing it. You’re setting up a situation in which addressing physical slavery is ignoring the greater spiritual truths.

    But it’s not! We can do both. In fact, the most effective abolitionists are doing both – freeing people from slavery is an act in imitation of Christ the Savior, and helping them rehabilitate and reintegrate into society as free people requires the salvific grace of God to heal those wounds.

    Why do you insist that by addressing physical slavery, we must ignore the Gospel? From ancient times, that has never been the case. Why is it today?

  • Mr. Incredible

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    July 8, 2009 at 12:56 pm
    Mr. Incredible,

    Yes, you are justifying physical slavery …
    ———————————————
    No, I’m not. However, if you choose to believe what you choose to believe, I can’t help that.

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    …- you’re just not seeing it. You’re setting up a situation in which addressing physical slavery is ignoring the greater spiritual truths.
    ———————————————
    I don’t ignore Godly Truth. I declare Him!

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    But it’s not! We can do both. In fact, the most effective abolitionists are doing both – freeing people from slavery is an act in imitation of Christ the Savior, and helping them rehabilitate and reintegrate into society as free people requires the salvific grace of God to heal those wounds.
    ———————————————–
    Christ heals, if received, even in physical slavery. To say that anyone is not healed, if they receive Him, is to deny Him.

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    Why do you insist that by addressing physical slavery, we must ignore the Gospel?
    ———————————————–
    Why do you insist on saying that I said something I didn’t say?

    Spiritual comes before physical. The Pharisees, Muslims and the Catholics, for example, think that the external/the phsyical comes first.

  • Mr. Incredible

    Lindsay Stallones says:
    Why do you insist that by addressing physical slavery, we must ignore the Gospel?
    ————————————————-
    I have been saying, clearly, I thought, that it doesn’t matter where we are, nor what we are doing, we declare Him, not our own selves. Paul learned the secret of being content [Philippians 4:11], not with suffering, rather with his assignment, wherever that took him. In 1 Tim 6:8, he says we need to be content with food and raiment — that is, GODLY food and raiment.

    Does that mean that, physically, he should not be free? Of course not. However, given that that is where a person is, he is content with that assignment, therewith to do something according to His Will.

    For the same reason that I won’t confess somebody’s depression, I won’t confess other negativity cuz that would make me guilty, too. I’m not gonna confess the ungodly in order to make others feel good about feeling bad.

    Again, that doesn’t mean I support slavery, and we should do whatever is legally possible to fight it. However, Godly life doesn’t stop if we are physically enslaved, unless the individual stops it, any more than it stops just cuz atheists want us to stop. We continue to go about God’s bidness even if the boss is a jerk. We rely on God, through Christ, even if our spouse treats us bad, or even if we aren’t being paid what WE think we should be paid. I could go on, but I think that you would get the idea by now.

  • Mr. Incredible

    In Matthew 4:1-11, Christ teaches us how to fight off the attacks of the Devil:

    “It is written…”

    He did not have conversation with the Devil. Such conversation would be what the Word calls “filthy [conversation].” Jesus responded… with the Word. THAT’s the first key.

    When Paul was imprisoned, Who got him out? GOD! Had God not released him, it would have been cuz He wanted Paul to continue the mission there, a mission that is more important that his own mission. God has His reasons, and, in unrighteousness, they are not MY reasons; but, in Righteousness, they ARE my reasons. In Righteousness, they were Paul’s reasons.

    Andrew Wommack had a series called, “A Place Called ‘There.’” In it, he reiterates God’s thought that, in order to receive the blessing, you may have to go “there,” a place other than where you are.

  • Mr. Incredible

    “There” is the Word, in the first sense. You don’t get the Blessing unless you go to the Word, go “there.”

    Hebrews 4:2 says that you cannot have faith without the Word, and that you cannot have/receive the Word without faith.

    So, to go “there,” to the Word, is fundamental — key — to the Blessing. That goes for those suffering, too. When they rely on the suffering more than the Word, they don’t get the Blessing cuz, to them, the suffering is more powerful than the Word, and to speak “suffering” is to give it authority. You are doomed if you give circumstances authority.

    Does that mean that you don’t, for instance, feel pain? No. However, pain doesn’t have license to run your life. Christ defeated that “license.” All we have to do is receive what He already did.

  • Mr. Incredible

    God did not promise that there would be no heathen in the Promised Land. He told us to conquer the heathen that ARE there. It begins in the spiritual.

  • Mr. Incredible

    Where, in the world, are there slaves, physically bound?

  • Mr. Incredible

    (Joh 8:36) If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

    Where did Jesus go wrong when He said that?

  • smmtheory

    In fact, the most effective abolitionists are doing both – freeing people from slavery is an act in imitation of Christ the Savior

    I think you would have a tough time finding scripture in the Gospel to back your claim up Lindsay. If I remember correctly, Jesus did not actually set slaves free from their earthly bonds. What he did do was set us all free from the slavery to sin, which is something entirely different.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Mr. Incredible, I give up. If you don’t know there are people being held in actual, physical slavery today, you’re not committed enough to this conversation to pay attention to it.

    smmtheory,

    The Lord, so far as we know, never painted a picture or composed a symphony, yet when humans made in His image do these things, it is in imitation of God’s role as Creator. We cannot create a wonderful universe from nothing as He did, but our attempts to create beauty from the universe He created are our way of expressing His attributes. We’re made in His image, after all. For goodness sake, it’s all in Augustine.

    In the same way, when we offer someone physical freedom, it’s an imitation of the greater, spiritual freedom He offered us.

    You know, if you don’t keep vainly trying to misrepresent my statements, this conversation will be a lot more productive.

  • smmtheory

    You know, if you don’t keep vainly trying to misrepresent my statements, this conversation will be a lot more productive.

    What an utterly ridiculous assertion. Misunderstanding some vague and tenuous philosophical expository statement you’ve made is a far cry from trying to misrepresent your statement. What I think is futile is trying to explain how exactly not buying some company’s chocolate actually offers somebody else physical freedom. I don’t believe you have succeeded in that.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Of course the simple act of refusing to buy slave-produced goods doesn’t automatically free someone from slavery. I never claimed it would.

    The fact remains that consumer demand, particularly for increasingly cheap products, drives the need for cheaper and cheaper labor, and as various authorities, government and otherwise, throughout the world have discovered, is driving a thriving black market in human trafficking for slave labor. Some industries are more rife with it in than others.

    If not for the demand, the guarantee that slavers will make a profit from this trafficking, it would not occur.

    Does that make it your fault for buying a Heath bar at the grocery store? Well… yes and no. Obviously your purchase doesn’t force someone into slavery. But your purchase contributes to the increased demand that motivates wicked people to force people into slavery.

    Solving the problem, freeing the slaves, requires a multi-faceted approach. In some cases, simply boycotting products actually hurts those who are enslaved more than continuing to purchase them. But we must become aware of the effects our of seemingly independent choices. If companies realized there was money to be made in ensuring slave-free products, don’t you think they’d scramble to do it? We’ve watched it happen with the ‘green revolution.’

    We need to encourage authorities to enforce anti-trafficking laws, of course. But as consumers, we wield a tremendous amount of power as well. We should use that power to urge companies to do what is good for our brothers and sisters around the world. Instead of mindlessly consuming, we should be aware of the consequences of our purchases and do our best to mitigate the bad consequences as much as possible.

    That means, instead of just buying the Heath bar, we might consider a fair trade chocolate bar, which is often much more tasty anyway, and our purchase then goes to the people who would otherwise be exploited. We could also take a few minutes to write a letter or put in a call to Hershey’s and explain to them that we love Heath bars, but are concerned about the labor practices in the cacao fields and ask them to look into it. promising customer loyalty for a commitment to fair trade.

    It’s not hard. It’s laughably simple. But if we’re too consumed by our right to have a Heath bar whenever we darn well please, blasted be the consequences, then we’re participating in the evil of slavery. Ignorance doesn’t excuse us.

  • smmtheory

    If not for the demand, the guarantee that slavers will make a profit from this trafficking, it would not occur.

    Back before the advent of farm machinery that drastically increased the efficiency of working crops, I might have agreed with you that the demand for cheaper products would have made slavery lucrative. Now, I think there is something else at work, something more sinister than just plain consumerism.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    But without the guarantee of immense profit made possible by an increased consumerist culture in the industrialized world, what motive would slavers have to participate on a vast scale? Again, the buying of products itself doesn’t directly cause slavery, but our consumer culture (especially in the last 50 years or so) created conditions that have made it profitable for people to enslave others to maximize their profits.

    You’re swimming upstream against all the evidence, smmtheory. Why? What do you have to gain by defending rampant, conscience-less consumerism?

  • smmtheory

    You’re swimming upstream against all the evidence, smmtheory. Why? What do you have to gain by defending rampant, conscience-less consumerism?

    Again, that is your opinion on the evidence. I’m a skeptic, and your evidence hasn’t convinced me yet. I am by no means sure that consumerism is the demon you are making it out to be. Your arguments sound like rehash of collectivist arguments against capitalism. For example, your exhortation seems analogous to saying “Buy less and save your souls! If not, pay for indulgences.” If I think about the logical conclusion of paying more for a product because it is “guaranteed” slavery free, I can imagine some slave owners hiding it and jacking up their prices to advertise being slavery free. What do you have to gain by demonizing consumerism?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Dustin R. Steeve

    Economies seem healthiest and more naturally aligned with human nature where people can freely innovate, create jobs, produce, and consume. However, my question for both Smmtheory and Lindsay is this: are these actions without moral consequence?

    Not to put words in Lindsay’s mouth, but I think it’s safe to say that she would argue “No, in fact we as a society should be more aware of the moral consequences of these actions.” That assumption seems to operate at the heart of Lindsay’s post. Smmtheory, I don’t think Lindsay feels it wrong to freely create and sell (or buy) products, but I think she thinks it wrong to do so at the cost of human dignity.

    Smmtheory, it sounds like you concern is that you do not actually believe that human dignity is being sacrificed in order to freely produce the goods on the market today. Is that correct? My follow-up is this: Do you deny that human slavery exists in the world today? If so, what do you do with the evidence that Lindsay has presented (as well as numerous organizations such as International Justice Mission)? If not, for what purpose does human slavery exist today?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Lindsay Stallones

    Dustin,

    That’s exactly what I mean. Thanks for summing it up concisely for me! :)