When brothers and sisters in Christ complain about how their people have been treated, we should listen.
“Weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15)
“If one member of Christ’s body suffers, then every other part suffers with it” (1 Cor 12:26)
In the past, U.S. crimes against humanity include the slaughter and displacement of Native American peoples and participation in the African slave trade that decimated cultures and in which perhaps a third of the captives died on the transatlantic voyage. Thank God for those who stood up against it.
Most people today say, “We would have stood against such abuses.” But how often do we look the other way today?
“If we had lived back when our ancestors did, we wouldn’t have killed the prophets like they did” (Matt 23:30)
The twentieth century witnessed genocide after genocide: the German genocide of the Herero and Nama peoples (1904-1908), the Ottoman extermination of Armenians in the next decade, the subsequent Nazi extermination of millions of Jews (along with others, including Roma people), mass murders under Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin and Pol Pot. The world cried, “Never again!” after the genocide in Rwanda, even though many people knew very well that it had simply spilled over into Congo, eventually leading to millions more deaths. (Cf. my article https://www.evangelicalsforsocialaction.org/foreign-policy/we-cannot-say-we-did-not-know/.)
If we had lived back when our ancestors did, would we have spoken for justice? We do live in a time like our ancestors. Documented ethnic and religious cleansing is going on today, for example in parts of Nigeria and Central Africa, in multiple countries.
Proverbs 24:11-12 (NRSV):
“If you hold back from rescuing those taken away to death,
those who go staggering to the slaughter;
if you say, “Look, we did not know this”—
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it?
And will he not repay all according to their deeds?”
God have mercy.