1. In what ways has religion influenced rights campaigns in nineteenth century NorthAmerica?
Explain using three examples from different rights movements we have studied.
The influence of religion on rights campaigns can be seen in three movements discussed in
class, the Pacifist Movement, First Wave Feminism, andAbolition of Slavery.
Pacifism is both a religious and humanitarian standpoint. The Christian Bible encourages one to turn
the other cheek. It states that the meek shall inherit the earth. Pacifism is belief system that condemns
war and social violence as inhuman and irrational if not always morally wrong. Those who belong to
this group are committed to non-violent methods of resolving conflict. During World War One in
Canada only those deemed to be part of historically peaceful churches were allowed to be exempt from
conscription. This was based on the conscientious objector status. It was a biased military tribunal that
decided who was exempt. Religious pacifists in addition to humanitarian pacifists campaigned against
the war. There were anti war songs such as “I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier”. During theAtomic
age religious groups like the Mennonites were active in anti-nuclear campaigns.
The tutorial reading “What Makes a Conchie Tick” describes the influence of religion on pacifism that
can be applied to both the USAand Canada. The author describes how religious training evidently
effects attitude towards war ... infraction to moral code of scripture. Conscientious objectors want their
christian and humanitarian principles respected. TheAmerican pacifist movement was also influenced
by religion. However, during WWI conscientious objectors could be any one who was a religious
objector. This is different from canada. In the USAit was a civilian public service group not a military
tribunal who decided which individuals would be exempt. In the USAthere were large anti-vietnam
protests. Pacifists once again advocated for their right to deny military service on the ground of their
beliefs. Both Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X refused to be drafted into the military. Both were
members of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X toldAlex Haley in his autobiography that he wrote on his
form that he was a conscientious objector.
Pacifists though a minority group pushed for religious freedom and military exemption. (Freedom of
religion is in theAmerican Bill of Rights) They also in some cases prevented military recruitment on
campuses. Today we question the idea of a “Just War”. They have not, however, reached their goal of
getting rid of global war.
First Wave Feminism was also influenced by religion. In Canada this movement was influenced by the
evangelicals. Evangelical protestants had women's groups. These groups provided autonomy for
women. It was the first place where women were able to have leadership roles. Missionary
groups/societies also gave women the opportunity to travel, see new cultures and grow as individuals as
well as have leadership roles. The Women's Christian Temperance Union is an example of a religious
organization that gave women a voice, practice at independent organization, structure, and leadership.
Religion based ideas underpinned the demand for women's power within the family and society. The
main thing you need to make change is political power. Like the right to vote. National Council of
Women in Canada 1893 – umbrella group. Idea was to create a stronger society with the dominance of
women and a maternal feminist stance. Women could clean up society. This idea was infused with
strong christian morality. Created outlets such as the YWCAyoung women's christian association and
girls friendly society. Salvation army – religious movement for single women in the city they did not
want these women to fall into corrupt hands.
Women were able to form their own outlets. This was a training ground for later battles. First wave feminist was very conservative and pragmatic. There is a clear relationship between morality religion
Slavery and Abolition.
Why were these people enslaved? They were not christians. There was biblical justification, canaan
was cursed to have his people enslaved who were black. Black skin literally became a symbol for
slavery. The Christian religion was later used by slaves as a type of coping mechanism. Slave owners
allowed christianity to be taught to the slaves. They were allowed to have their own sunday worship
and some slaves were taught to read the bible and preach. This gave a certain amount of independence.
Some viewed the afterlife as their reward. If they suffered in this life they proved their commitment to
god and would be rewarded in the afterlife. There was also the thought that the salve masters would be
punished. Looked at the Jews as the original slaves in the old testament.
Christianity was also central to the abolitionist movement. The Quakers were involved in the
underground railroad. They were at the forefront of anti slavery movement and preached the
immorality of slaver. Abolition was a testament