Douglass denounced churches which failed to condemn slavery by quoting Jesus’s excoriating the Pharisees: “They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matthew 23:4)

Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist orator, was born into slavery in 1818, learned to read, was converted to Christ in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and escaped his master at age 20 to spend the rest of his life working to liberate African-Americans. He went on speaking tours, but the more famous he became, the more he had to worry about being captured and returned to slavery. He went to England in 1845 while his American friends bought his freedom. He was a fierce critic of churches that refused to repudiate slavery.

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