This morning I listened (and watched) a poem by Dede Hunt called “Who is Sara Baartman.” The video is a bit graphic, so for those of you who may push “play,” you’ve been warned. In the poem, Dede challenges African Americans to remember Sara while also challenging many of the negativity coming from some African Americans.
The video is really sad. Sara Baartman was, in my opinion, unjustly treated and marginalized. She was basically put on display so that “whites” could examine the body of a black woman from South Africa in the 1800’s. The following video gives you a bit of the story:
Watching this video really disturbed me. On one hand, I’m disturbed because it exists. Like sex slavery and human trafficking, I have a hard time with the very existence of it. It is absolutely horrible. On the other hand, I think more people need to engage this subject because I believe that while it’s easy to see the horror of how Sara was treated, I wonder if we have blind spots in our culture now. Perhaps the way that we think about illegal immigrants might connect, or the way that we view other people groups.
I just know one thing: Christians, regardless of their ethnicity, should be the first to advocate for justice and to empower the marginalized to find voice. It troubles me that Christians are often found trying to silence people rather than give them voice. I know some will try and read into this some sort of theological liberalism, but I’m not talking about doctrinal statements of faith. I’m talking about Christians reaching out to men and women and children who are victims of injustice and who have been marginalized by societies. As soon as we start dehumanizing a people group, it becomes easier and easier to treat them worse and to eventually call for their extermination, or to at least stand by while it happens. It’s what many did in Nazi Germany and what many do today with unborn children.
How can churches become better at advocating justice and empowering the marginalized? What do you think?
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.