Many Southerners were sincere and devout Christians, reconciling their moral sense that slavery was wrong by asserting the belief that slavery and white dominance were part of God’s will. When someone like Thomas J. Jackson decided to raise up blacks through religious education, it was a radical thing to do and seemed to upset what many whites of the time considered the natural order of things.
Yet many saw an advantage to Jackson's work, in that it might serve to protect the slave system and provide slaveholders with strategies for monitoring the activities of slaves. Some allowed slaves to hold services or incorporated them into services for whites, but slaves also held covert religious gatherings. Covert gatherings in “hush arbors” gave slaves an opportunity to worship in ways consistent with their personal style and also gave them opportunities to plot against the system of slavery.
Religious practices surrounded the two young slave boys, Jim and tyler Lewis, who, due to their young ages, had not been introduced to Christianity. In fact Tyler found great humor in spying on the whites who knelt and spoke to the sky or stood in waist-high water as one white tried to drown another white. Indeed, the Lewis boys firmly believed that white folks engaged in some hilarious behavior. Please to purchase a sign by artist Giclee 16" x 20" wall art print,