In “Surrender the banner of persecution” (Editorials, April 16), Tim Huber addresses the persecution of Asian American Pacific Islanders arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. He suggests it is too soon for Mennonites to commiserate with the AAPI community under the “banner of persecution.” He indicates Mennonites have a long history of being persecuted and persecuting others.
Here in Canada, the board of Mennonite Central Committee issued a letter in 2017 in response to the 2014 Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined the horrors of the Residential Boarding School experience of Indigenous folks, a system that Mennonite churches were a part of from 1960 to about 1985. MCC’s letter included a disclaimer basically indicating that “we know how you feel” because “we were persecuted too” and we (Mennonites) were not directly involved in the persecution of Indigenous folks.
It is time that Anabaptist Mennonite Christians examine how our “Christianity” becomes an action of persecution, as opposed to amelioration and healing. The focus needs to be on the deep problems of how our Christianity imposes itself on others and creates the concept of the other in our midst, like the otherness experienced by AAPI people at this time.
Peter Reimer, Gretna, Man.