The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) mourns the eight lives senselessly lost on Tuesday at Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent. The attacks took place against a backdrop of increased violence against Asian Americans, and exacerbate fear and trauma for many in the Asian American community.
The NAE denounces violence and hate in all forms against any person or persons made in the image of God. Over the past year, nearly 3,800 incidents of name-calling, shunning and assault against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate. Some of the incidents include being spat at, coughed on or physically attacked while being verbally blamed for the coronavirus.
Christians are ambassadors of reconciliation and have a unique and compelling call to provide leadership for the benefit and dignity of all (2 Corinthians 5:16–20). The Bible uniformly teaches the essential dignity of all humans and the shared desire to belong in community. Yet, the devastating reality of sin results in denigration and alienation.
Fundamental challenges for Asian Americans to enjoy full participation in American society include the perpetual foreigner syndrome, in which people of Asian descent are constantly and consistently perceived as foreigners even if generations of family members were born in the United States, and the model minority myth, in which Asian Americans are perceived to have greater ability to achieve a higher degree of socioeconomic success than other minorities. These forms of racism result in discrimination that is too easily ignored, dismissed or justified.
Evangelicals understands that the heart of Jesus is for the “other” and the marginalized. As Christians, we seek to stand with the marginalized. The NAE encourages our communities of faith to seek understanding of the historical and contemporary facets of racism in our country, to enter into hard conversations, and to humbly listen to the hurt and pain of others.