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Texas Appleby Baptist Church Still Teaches Racist Bible Stories
Though modern Christians do not interpret the "curse of Ham" as justification for slavery, there are a few scattered churches who do, promoting bigotry and racism against blacks.
"The curse of Ham" is an old-time Biblical interpretation that was used to justify slavery and laws against racial intermarriage.
The story says Noah pronounced a curse on descendants of his son, Ham, who had sexually molested Noah in his sleep. The curse meant that Canaan, Ham's son, was cursed to be an underclass slave, and so were his descendants.
This story is no longer believed to be true, but one church, Appleby Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas, still teaches it.
"There's been a shift, and you don't often see churches that are this forthright now, but the underlying theme is still there in fundamentalist holdout churches," Rachel Tabachnick, a fellow at Political Research Associates, said.
On the church's website, they express a number of racist beliefs. Their site says "the proof of the presence of God among the Israelites was the absence of the black skinned folk of Canaan… It is obvious God is a separator, not a mixer. It is God who set the boundaries."
It also says Satan is the one who approves of races mixing together.
"Satan wants to eliminate color by interracial marriages. Someone will ask why do we have to see color when we look at one another? Why can't we just see each other as people? The same reason you see a Poodle, German Shepherd, Beagle, etc. God made us different and set the bounds. You don't get thoroughbreds by taking the fences down. You get thoroughbreds by putting the fences up," reads one part of their site.
Tabachnick said she is worried about the remaining churches that still teach the story of Ham. She pointed out that textbooks used by students in some private schools still teach Biblical justification of racism and slavery.