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Author Topic: The myth of the ancestral curse  (Read 11194 times)
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« on: June 18, 2014, 09:16:14 AM »

The myth of the ancestral curse

By Norris McDonald
November 13, 2013 - jamaica-gleaner.com

All things Bright and Beautiful, is a long-used hymn in the Anglican and Catholic churches, but a deep analysis of its third stanza paints a picture of things being neither bright nor beautiful. Songs such as this are part of a panoply of methods used to create servile behaviour in black worshippers.

"The rich man in his castle,

The poor man at his gate,

God made them high and lowly,

And ordered their estate."

The idea that this relationship is divine, ordered by God, is tied to other ideas such as the myth of the black ancestral curse. According to this teaching from the Old Testament, Book of Genesis chapter nine, verses 20-27, Ham looked upon Noah's nakedness and told his brother's Shem and Japheth.

Noah was said to have applied the 'Curse of Ham', which modern religious scholars have called the 'black ancestral curse.'

The myth of the ancestral curse has been used for years to blame us, the victims of mass genocide, as being responsible for our agonising pains.

This issue is of fundamental importance now that our society, for the first time since the attainment of Independence in 1962, is willing to discuss colonial and post-colonial issues including slavery and the need for reparations for this horrible crime.

Are black people under an ancestral curse? If so, was that the reason we were thrown into slavery? Again, should we just throw up our arms and be glad that God gave us reprieve from our bondage?

G.N. James, a religious scholar, says this view is a wrong interpretation of select passages from the Bible.

James says that religious doctrines believe that, "with the fall of humans from God's grace, sin and its punishment entered into the world." This view is however wrong he argues since, "we are all responsible for our own sins." (Jeremiah 31: 29-34)

Idea of ancestral curse

The idea of an ancestral curse is wrong. God did not impose slavery, or its horrible legacies on us as pay-back for 'ancestral sin'.

Furthermore, when we delve deeper into history, prior to the imposition of slavery, there was no such theological teaching about 'an ancestral curse.'

Why is this important? Because this issue, which created physical and mental scars, ought not to have been swept under the pew and left forgotten like the black king of England.

Why did we not hear about this idea when the black Roman emperor, Septimus Severus, was king of England?

Emperor Septimus Severus, (A.D. 193-211), was simultaneously emperor of Rome and king of Great Britain and its Isles. This black English king now lies buried in the Church of York completely erased from our view of world history.

St Bede the Venerable, (672-735), a Catholic historian, was also the Archbishop of York. He testifies that a black man ruled England, and that this black man, Emperor Septimus Severus, is buried in the Church of York.

Bede writes in his book, A History of The English Church and People, (Penguin Classics, 1968), that:

"In the year of our Lord 189, Severus, an African born at Leptis in the province of Tripolitania, became the seventh Emperor from Augustus - (Caesar) - and ruled seventeen years."

Professor Kenneth Morgan, in his Oxford History of Great Britain (1988), further clarifies that Emperor Severus 'flung his energy to defend England from invading tribes,' and later 'died at York in 211.'

Why did we not hear anything of an ancestral curse during that period when Great Britain was ruled by a black king?

We can clearly see that as time, and the political fortunes of black people changed, so too did the religious and political doctrines used to describe our misfortunes.

Readers will agree that the rejection of the myths is as important as the rejection of other forms of servile behaviour, the creation of a sense of obedience, that we have to continue serving some foreign masters.

In whatever form it comes, be it of the old type or new forms of colonialism, we must clearly reject all doctrines which try to undermine our confidence.

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