In both England and America, slavery was brought down mainly by Christians...but not all of them. Christ-followers fought to wipe out infanticide in most parts of the world. At least some of them did. Christians--but not every Christian--fought against female circumcision half a century before the issue attracted larger attention. And some Christians helped Jews hide, escape, live during the Nazi holocaust. Some Christians didn't.
In a now well-related story, an old German recounted his church's response to the Jewish extermination during WWII:
We'd heard stories of what was happening to the Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it because we felt, what could anyone do to stop it?
Each Sunday morning, we would hear the train whistle blowing in the distance, then the wheels coming over the tracks. We became disturbed when we heard cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized that it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars!1
This little church, confronted with horror just outside their window, had a choice to make.
And so they chose. Faced with the unbearable screams, they chose to sing whenever the whistle announced a coming train. If the screams were loud, the congregation sang louder to drown them out. They could have stood up to the regime. They could have smuggled Jews out of the country. They chose to continue attending church, singing hymns, going through the motions.
History gives us perspective on social issues. We shake our heads, stunned, at the churches that didn't stand against one human owning another, against the mutilation of young girls, against violence or injustice or sin of other eras.
Yet, when we're in the midst of our own time & culture, it's hard to see sin for what it is. To be discerning and courageous, we must try to see through God's eyes and the lens of His Word, rather than our society. We are products of our own culture, God help us.
Lord, please let us see what we should be standing against today. And Lord, please, please, never let me sing louder to drown out the screams.
1Quoted from How Do You Kill 11 Million People: Why the Truth Matters More than You Think, by Andy Andrews.