The General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has apologized for not doing enough in the 19th century to oppose slavery.

At a meeting from April 21 to 24, the board of the 834,000-member Protestant denomination passed a resolution declaring that many religious communities in the U.S., including the Christian Church, "failed to work or speak against the institution of slavery in the United States, a wicked apathy that permitted and resulted in untold suffering among the African people kidnapped by evil people and sold to Americans to labor without compensation and often subjected to inhuman persecutions by their white owners."

The General Board "confesses the corporate guilt we all share for these evils and heartily begs the forgiveness of God and of all God's children whose lives have been damaged or limited by these sins."

The board had been considering asking the U.S. government to apologize for slavery, but board members realized they could not ask the government to apologize until they had apologized themselves.

Emily Jackson of Memphis, Tennessee, an African American member of the board and the great-granddaughter of slaves, accepted the apology. "I speak for myself—that when an apology is extended, it is to either be accepted or rejected. I personally accept the apology and the spirit in which it was offered," she told Disciples News Service.

Curt Miller, a spokesperson for the denomination, says it was a "significant and important resolution" because for the first time the church had tackled the issue. "It's really part of the Christian Church's conviction to be pro-conciliation and anti-racist," he said. "What the General Board was saying was the church was inappropriately silent."

The Christian Church ...

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