MN Council of Churches to launch community process for truth telling, repair around the historic harms done to Native American, African American communities

The goal: To build a structure for racial equity in the church and the state and make repairs

The Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC’s) Board of Directors this week approved a Racial Justice Vision Statement and Rationale to begin a decade-long process to engage faith communities — and the community at large — in truth telling, education, and repair around the United State’s twin sins of slavery and Native American genocide. Continue reading

A People’s Hearing on Minnesota Reparations Legislation, Friday, Jan. 4

A People’s Hearing on making reparations to African American and American Indian Minnesotans will be held Friday, Jan. 4, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., in Room 120 of the Minnesota State Capitol.

The hearing will revisit and rekindle House File 2928/Senate File 3767, a bill introduced last session “acknowledging the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity suffered by certain groups in Minnesota’s history.” The bill would have established a “commission to study and report recommendations to provide appropriate remedies.” Continue reading

Judging the Past Based on Current Morality and Considering Today’s Moral Blind Spots

We need to start a Frelinghuysen Award.
Sen. Frelinghuysen

How are we to judge the actions of our ancestors in light of “modern morality”? And what obligation do we carry for the moral failings of our ancestors and cultural predecessors?

These are difficult question and ones that emerge when discussing how to address the grave injustices done to Native American peoples by white explorers, settlers, and the United States government.

A 2013 BBC magazine article headlined: Should we judge people of past eras for moral failings? wrestles with these broad moral questions. It teases apart the issues of “blame” and “responsibility.”

The article quotes philosopher Miranda Fricker, who says the test for blameworthiness is whether the person could have known any different. “It’s unfair to blame people for failing to be moral pioneers, she says. “The attitude of blame presupposes that the person was in a position to have done better.”

Let’s use that statement as a jumping off point to look at U.S. history. It seems one key question to explore would be: “Did people involved in the Native American genocide in the 19th Century know better?” It is important to hold up the voices of the moral pioneers who spoke out against the injustices of their day and who tried to chart a different course. That brings us to U.S. Sen. Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey. Continue reading