Apologies by Christian groups for past racist acts.
Solar system: Religious beliefs/scientific findings.
Apologies by Christian groups for past racist acts:
- During 1995-JUN, on the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention, messengers (delegates) passed a powerful resolution on racial reconciliation. The SBC had the decency to apologize for the pain that it
caused African-Americans and for any residual racism that remains in the organization. They noted:
"WHEREAS, Our relationship to African-Americans has been hindered from the beginning by the role that slavery played in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention; and
WHEREAS, Many of our Southern Baptist forbears defended the right to own slaves, and either participated in, supported, or acquiesced in the particularly inhumane nature of American slavery; and
WHEREAS, In later years Southern Baptists failed, in many cases, to support, and in some cases opposed, legitimate initiatives to secure the civil rights of African-Americans; and
WHEREAS, Racism has led to discrimination, oppression, injustice, and violence, both in the Civil War and throughout the history of our nation; and
WHEREAS, Racism has divided the body of Christ and Southern Baptists in particular, and separated us from our African-American brothers and sisters; and
WHEREAS, Many of our congregations have intentionally and/or unintentionally excluded African-Americans from worship, membership, and leadership; and
WHEREAS, Racism profoundly distorts our understanding of Christian morality, leading some Southern Baptists to believe that racial prejudice and discrimination are compatible with the Gospel; and
WHEREAS, Jesus performed the ministry of reconciliation to restore sinners to a right relationship with the Heavenly Father, and to establish right relations among all human beings, especially within the family of faith.
Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Sesquicentennial meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, assembled in Atlanta, Georgia, June 20-22, 1995, unwaveringly denounce racism, in all its forms, as deplorable sin; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we affirm the Bibles teaching that every human life is sacred, and is of equal and immeasurable worth, made in Gods image, regardless of race or ethnicity (Genesis 1:27), and that, with respect to salvation through Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for (we) are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28); ..." 1
Christian denominations, including the Southern Baptists, are now in the forefront of the continuing fight against residual pockets of racism. In 2012-JUN, the SBC elected Fred Luter Jr, a black pastor, as its president.
- Perhaps the most famous fundamentalist Christian university in the U.S. is Bob Jones University (BJU). They have also made the transition from active racism to issuing an apology for their past racist attitudes:
- Prior to the 1970s it automatically refused admittance to any black students.
- In 1988, BJU spokesperson Jonathan Pait commented on their policy of forbidding interracial dating, saying:
"God has separated people for his own purposes. He has erected barriers between the nations, not only land and sea barriers, but also ethnic, cultural, and language barriers. God has made people different from one another and intends those differences to remain. Bob Jones University is opposed to intermarriage of the races because it breaks down the barriers God has established."
- In the year 2000, BJU ended its prohibition of interracial dating among students.
- In 2008, BJU president Jones issued a apology:
"For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the segregationist ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it.
In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry. Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful." 2
- In 2000, Pope John Paul II issued a wide ranging, confession asking God's forgiveness for sins committed or condoned -- not by the Roman Catholic Church which is considered always free of error by its heirarchy, but by individual Catholics during the preceding two millennia. He cited heretics, Protestants, Jews, other non-Christians, immigrants, ethnic minorities, women, children, and the unborn as victims. There was considerable pressure on the Pope to not give the confession because it was felt that some believers might draw the logical conclusion that if members of the Church had been so abusive in the past, that abuse would be present now and in the future. He was criticized by others because his confession lacked specificity. No names were mentioned. 3
- In 2006, at their 75th General Convention, the Episcopal Church, USA issued an apology for supporting human slavery back in the 19th Century. They issued a resolution stating that slavery:
"is a sin and a fundamental betrayal of the humanity of all persons who were involved. ... The Episcopal Church lent the institution of slavery its support and justification based on Scripture, and after slavery was formally abolished, the Episcopal Church continued for at least a century to support de jure and de facto segregation and discrimination." 4
Some conflicts from past centuries that are now settled:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Resolution on racial reconciliation on the 150th anniversary of the Southern Baptist Convention," Southern Baptist Convention, 1995, at: http://www.sbc.net/
- "Bob Jones University apologizes for its racist past," The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 2009, at: http://www.jbhe.com/
- Richard Boudreaux, "Pope Issues Landmark Apology for Church Sins / Homily alludes to racism, sexism and anti-Semitism," About.com, 2000-MAR-13, at: http://racerelations.about.com/
- Nadra K. Nittle, "How four Christian denominations in the U.S. atoned for racism," 2013, at: http://racerelations.about.com/
- "Great theosophists: Giordano Bruno," Theosophy, Volume 26, #8, 1938-JUNE.
- "The folly of Giordano Bruno," SETI League, at: http://www.setileague.org/
- "Galileo affair," Wikipedia, as on 2013-OCT-18, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
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Latest update: 2013-OCT-08
Author: B.A. Robinson