Americans are hardly the ones to tell others how to handle relations with minorities. We cannot avoid, however, comment on the situation in Northern Ireland. Anyone can see why Irish Catholics would like the whole island to be united under one rule with themselves firmly in the majority. Anyone can also see why the Protestants in the Six Counties staunchly resist the slightest steps in that direction. One suspects that many of their fears of reunion with the south are based on the assumption that Protestants, when in the minority, would be treated by Catholics the way that Catholics in the north, a minority, had been treated by Protestants. Considering the admitted discrimination in jobs, housing, and local voting, the Protestants of Ulster understandably do not wish to have others to do them as they have done to others. American, Irish, and all other Christians who find themselves confronted by real or imagined “enemies” need to recall how the Word of God instructs us to act:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.… Repay no one evil for evil.… If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.… “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good [Rom. 12:14, 17–21].

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.