Slavery and Protestant Missions in Imperial Brazil: ‘The Black Does not Enter the Church, He Peeks in From Outside’

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"I confess: Great is my shame and great is the bewilderment of Christ's Church in Brazil, upon seeing unbelievers release their slaves out of simple love for humanity, while those who profess faith in the Redeemer of captives fail to break the fetters of impiety nor set the oppressed free!" -Eduardo Carlos Pereira (1886) In 1888, Brazil was the last nation in the modern west to abolish slavery. Slavery and Protestant Missions in Imperial Brazil is an enlightening look at the role Christianity played in the struggle to abolish slavery in Brazil. Author José Carlos Barbosa seeks to explain why Protestant missionaries stationed in Brazil during the nineteenth-century remained silent on the issue of abolition, even after the end of the American Civil War. Barbosa asserts that the missionaries' first priority was to secure a toehold for Protestantism and that meant not alienating the political and landowning elites of Brazilian society. Also, dominant theological thinking placed spiritual matters over temporal: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and give to God what is God's." Making abolition in Brazil a largely secular struggle.

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