Clerical Oppressors

In the report of the celebrated pro-slavery meeting in Charleston, S.C.,

on the 4th of the ninth month, 1835, published in the Courier of that

city, it is stated: "The clergy of all denominations attended in a body,

lending their sanction to the proceedings, and adding by their presence

to the impressive character of the scene!"

JUST God! and these are they

Who minister at thine altar, God of Right!

Men who their hands with prayer and blessing lay

On Israel's Ark of light!

What! preach, and kidnap men?

Give thanks, and rob thy own afflicted poor?

Talk of thy glorious liberty, and then

Bolt hard the captive's door?

What! servants of thy own

Merciful Son, who came to seek and save

The homeless and the outcast, fettering down

The tasked and plundered slave!

Pilate and Herod, friends!

Chief priests and rulers, as of old, combine!

Just God and holy! is that church, which lends

Strength to the spoiler, thine?

Paid hypocrites, who turn

Judgment aside, and rob the Holy Book

Of those high words of truth which search and burn

In warning and rebuke;

Feed fat, ye locusts, feed!

And, in your tasselled pulpits, thank the Lord

That, from the toiling bondman's utter need,

Ye pile your own full board.

How long, O Lord! how long

Shall such a priesthood barter truth away,

And in Thy name, for robbery and wrong

At Thy own altars pray?

Is not Thy hand stretched forth

Visibly in the heavens, to awe and smite?

Shall not the living God of all the earth,

And heaven above, do right?

Woe, then, to all who grind

Their brethren of a common Father down!

To all who plunder from the immortal mind

Its bright and glorious crown!

Woe to the priesthood! woe

To those whose hire is with the price of blood;

Perverting, darkening, changing, as they go,

The searching truths of God!

Their glory and their might

Shall perish; and their very names shall be

Vile before all the people, in the light

Of a world's liberty.

Oh, speed the moment on

When Wrong shall cease, and Liberty and Love

And Truth and Right throughout the earth be known

As in their home above.


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