Let us speak the truth:
The people who pushed for Biblical literalism were the anti-abolitionists of the slaveholding South. The Northern abolitionists pointed to the golden rule as proof slavery had to be done away with even though there are both Old Testament and New Testament verses recognizing slavery as a given. To counter that the Southern slaveholders promoted a literal interpretation of the Bible that would justify whites owning blacks, and after the fall of slavery, to justify Jim Crow.
The chief promoters of creationism are white Christians who see themselves no longer being deferred to and are trying to shore up their rapidly declining social status.
Their belief has nothing to
do with religion or truth.
This was a country built for white people on the graves of Native Americans and off the backs of enslaved Africans. The pro-slavery forces marshaled a lot of effort to keep the issue of slavery from ever being discussed, including but not limited to hiring public speakers and subsidizing pastors and college professors who would speak out in favor of the extermination of native Americans and the enslavement of Africans.
And in fairness the pro-slavery side plied both sides of the street:
They also hired Darwinian social evolutionists to argue that Africans were biologically inferior to humans — ‘scuse me, white people — and deserved to be enslaved.
The abolitionists were no great paragons of racial justice, and many of them were motivated by the fact the South had an unfair economic edge on them by virtue of not having to pay for their labor, but they saw it was impossible to reconcile Christ’s teachings with slavery and if one of ‘em had to go, it should be slavery.
The one thing the slave owners used to keep “poor white trash” (i.e., 80% of the Southern white population) in line was the racist message that as bad off as they were, at least they weren’t black. This poison seeped out of the South and infested the whole country; what Jim Crow codified under law, the North did as well under custom.
The largest Protestant denomination in the states — the Southern Baptists — was formed to split off from northern churches who advocated abolition. They preached sermons before, during, and long after the Civil War promoting white supremacy and the brutal subjugation of African-Americans using their literal interpretation of the Bible to justify these evils. They continued doing so well into the civil rights era, with the lion’s share of the Ku Klux Klan coming from Baptists churches (tho all Protestant denominations were represented), they kept fighting into the 1970s and 80s: Led by Jerry Falwell and others, first they started private Christian schools and colleges that kept blacks out, then when forced to admit blacks began encouraging home schooling to keep white kids out of the clutches of a multi-racial, multi-faith society.
The writer Andrew Sullivan identifies them as “Christianists”, people who have adopted the superficial trappings of Christianity without applying the actual principles to their daily lives, people who use human tradition and cupidity to justify maintaining a social order where they get to be on top.
What we’re seeing today is the last long, lonely, ugly bleat of this white Christianist patriarchy going down hard. Demographics are changing, and by 2048 non-Hispanic whites are going to represent only 49% of the population.
But go ahead, cling to your non-Biblical,
non-Christian, wholly erroneous beliefs.
Your grandchildren will be
the ones who have to suffer.