I like to think Canada is a progressive country, and discrimination is on the decline, but I’ve had a reality check.
Doris Bergen of the University of Toronto delivers the keynote address, “Neighbours, killers, enablers, witnesses: The many roles of Mennonites in the Holocaust,” at the Mennonites and the Holocaust conference held on March 16 and 17, 2018, at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. (Bethel College photo by Vada Snider)
Bethel College students Jacob Russell, left, of Lawrence, Kan., Albert Bratthammar of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Henry Baxter of Dothan, Ala., talk with Mark Jantzen, centre, Bethel professor of history, and Doris Bergen of the University of Toronto. (Bethel College photo by Vada Snider)
Participants in the Mennonites and the Holocaust conference talk after Doris Bergen’s keynote address in Memorial Hall at Bethel College. At left is Ben Goossen of Harvard University, author of Chosen Nation: Mennonites and Germany in a Global Era. At right, Joel Nofziger, director of communications for Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite Historical Society, talks with Rachel Waltner Goossen of Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., who moderated one of the conference sessions. (Bethel College photo by Vada Snider)
In 2004, Joachim Wieler of Weimar, Germany, opened a small wooden box he inherited after his mother’s death. To his surprise and horror, it contained letters his late father wrote while serving as an officer in the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.
There is a popular language arising in the church when it comes to justice work, that of “being an ally.” It means to align yourself with whoever your “other” is, so to love your neighbour and serve the Lord. But what happens when words are not enough, and when having only words of an ally can make injustice? What happens when being an ally is not enough?
The logo of the #ReclaimHolyWeek campaign, organized by Holy Week of Resistance www.holyweekofresistance.net
After a recent experience in New York comes this reflection on racism and the social context of our faith.
I can't breathe. At this moment, this is one of the most politically charged statements you can say in the United States. It drudges up a social context where racism and state brutality are killing innocent people. It evokes a memory that causes resistance to injustice. It is a call to action. It is conviction.