Justice Too Long Delayed

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It’s time for the church to make restitution for racial sin.

“Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” -Genesis 4:10

We at Christianity Today deeply love the church. Serving the bride of Christ, growing her love for God, and telling the story of her redemptive and transformative work in the world is the heart of what we do. We do not revel in the history of her sin. But we cannot love our brothers and sisters well if we cannot tell their story in truth. And we cannot tell their story in truth if we cannot confess our participation in it. The Bible is honest about the flaws of even the most remarkable people. We should follow its example.

Two original sins have plagued this nation from its inception: the destruction of its native inhabitants and the institution of slavery. Both sprang from a failure to see an equal in the racial other. As Bishop Claude Alexander has said, racism was in the amniotic fluid out of which our nation was born. There was a virus present in the very environment that nurtured the development of our country, our culture, and our people. The virus of racism infected our church, our Constitution and laws, our attitudes and ideologies. We have never fully defeated it.

The first slaves arrived upon these shores before the Pilgrims, before there was a Massachusetts or Connecticut. Slavery had been established for 113 years when George Washington was born and 157 years when the Declaration of Independence was written. Nine of our early presidents were slaveholders. Slavery meant husbands and wives, parents and children were violently torn apart and never saw one another again. It meant white men repeatedly raped hundreds of thousands of black girls and women. American Slavery As It Is, published in 1839 with extensive sourcing by Theodore …

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