Pastor Keith Gomez of the Northwest Bible Baptist Church in Elgin, Illinois, preached a racially charged sermon in April in which he appeared to defend the slavery of black people (video below).
While preaching, Gomez made some demeaning racial remarks about Africans, notes the Friendly Atheist:
See, what you wanna do is turn in to TBN [Trinity Broadcasting Network] and listen to them odd birds who don’t know doctrine whatsoever. And then you hate slavery because we were taught to hate that. Because we’re so nasty.
And some of you little whities can’t get it either. If it wasn’t for slavery, those folks would still be in Africa with a bone in their nose fighting lions, and if you don’t like that, you can lump it anyway you want. That ain’t a prejudice. That is factual and historical.
Gomez went on to note that Apostle Paul gave instructions on how to handle slaves in the Bible's Pauline epistles, and noted his own travel experiences to Africa:
So here we are in the Pauline epistles and the man is teaching us how to deal with our slaves. And I don’t know if you know this or not, I’ve been there four times. I don’t know how many times you’ve been to Africa, but I’ve been there four times. And there are slaves in Africa. All over. Africans with African slaves. And around the country, around the third world country, there’s more slaves that what you’d ever want to believe.
No, not in America, because we’re civilized and we’re advanced. But I’m asking you a question that you cannot answer. Why is he telling us how to deal and be fair to a slave in a Pauline church epistle? You can’t, can you? OK, let’s move on. I told you I was gonna wake you up. Look at that, man. Got your attention. But it’s true.
An unidentified person operating the Facebook page for the Northwest Bible Baptist Church told the Friendly Atheist that Steven Anderson, the pastor who posted the video of Gomez preaching on YouTube, had "attacked" the church and that the posted video should not be trusted.
The church representative also insisted Gomez was not endorsing slavery, but merely citing verses where the Bible mentions slavery:
Throughout that sermon, Dr. Gomez cited several passages of Scripture that are very controversial and could be confusing… Except, the whole point of the sermon is "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth."
By this, Dr. Gomez is showing that there are sections of the Bible that although they were written down for us to read and learn from, they weren’t written TO us. People take these confusing sections and create new beliefs that aren’t supported from the Bible.
In this specific instance of slavery, if you read the passage he quoted, why would the Bible teach how to care for a servant? His point (in context), is that slavery brought people to America and gave them opportunity at a new life here. Not in any way that the negatives of slavery were a good thing!
As a matter of historical record, slavery did not give black people an "opportunity at a new life" in the U.S., but did give white Americans free labor at the expense of black lives.
Greg Carey, a New Testament professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary, noted in an opinion article for HuffPost in 2011 that the Bible has several passages that support slavery:
Don’t let anybody tell you that biblical slavery was somehow less brutal than slavery in the United States. Without exception, biblical societies were slaveholding societies. The Bible engages remarkably diverse cultures -- Ethiopian, Egyptian, Canaanite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman -- but in every one of them some people owned the rights to others.
Slaveowners possessed not only the slaves’ labor but also their sexual and reproductive capacities. When the Bible refers to female slaves who do not “please” their masters, we’re talking about the sexual use of slaves. Likewise when the Bible spells out the conditions for marrying a slave (see Exodus 21:7-11)...The Bible does not attempt to hide the presence of slaves. Beware modern translations that use "servant" to cover up slave language. Slaves were ubiquitous in the ancient world. Imagine ancient Rome, where slaves made up between one-third and one-half of the inhabitants -- perhaps half a million people!
The Senate once considered requiring slaves to wear identifying marks, but they stopped short in the face of a chilling realization: if slaves could recognize one another, what would prevent them from organizing and pillaging the entire city?