Today I toured the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. I was unprepared for how deeply I would be moved by my three hours in this museum. The sights, sounds and tributes all moved me profoundly. Twice I had to wipe tears from my eyes. The whole thing is so powerfully presented that it actually overwhelms you, with both information and emotional impact. I believe it is one of the most important museums I have ever toured.

The experience of standing in a German rail car, used to transport Jews to the death camps, was quite moving. How they got over a hundred people in one of those small cars is hard to imagine when you stand in one. But nothing was as chilling as the crematorium ovens, the shoes and personal items the dead left behind before they entered the gas chambers, and the iron door that came from a death chamber at one of the camps.

The Holocaust Museum has established a Committee on Conscience ( to alert national conscience, influence policymakers, and stimulate worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide and related crimes against humanity. The special emphasis of the museum right now is on the genocide in Darfur, which is a part of the country of Sudan in northeast Africa. In Darfur tens of thousands (some say 400,000) civilians have been killed and thousands of women raped by Sudanese government soldiers and members of the government-sponsored militia referred to as the Janjaweed. The Janjaweed are Arabic peoples and the people they are killing are blacks, or what they call "Africans." There appears to be a clear religious connection to this violence, as there is in much of Africa these days.

The U. S. Department of State, and independent U.N. human rights organizations, have all documented this violence and international journalists have consistently reported it. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote that "the Arabs want to get rid of anyone with black skin. . . . There are no blacks left

[in the area I fled]."

I am also reminded of Darfur because my good friend Monte Wilson is there today helping the refugees with real personal assistance. He is distributing food, water and health supplies as part of his ministry with the African-American Self Help Foundation. Monte’s descriptions of the conditions in Darfur are identical to the ones I read today.

One of the things that stood out at the Holocaust Museum was how the U. S. responded to the Jewish crisis during the Holocaust. When Jews were attempting to flee Europe, before Hitler began to aggressively exterminate them, we closed our borders to all but a small number (about 40,000). We were concerned about our national economy (the Depression was still impacting us as a nation), the large number of immigrants that would crowd our work force, and the problems that these Jews would present to our culture in general. Cries to keep them out won, until it was too late, and then millions had died. I have to wonder why we still do so little about places like Darfur now? We say that we went into Iraq for several reasons, one of which was to save lives from persecution and death. The effort to save the people of Darfur would take so very little, at least comparably, but the U.S. and the U.N. are doing next to nothing right now. What will happen to a people who have so much, I wonder, and yet do not love justice and mercy when it comes to places like Darfur?

There are several things that you can do about Darfur.

1. Gain knowledge and use this information to pray and get involved. Check out

2. Write the local media letters about Darfur.

3. Write you elected representatives about Darfur.

4. Support work that brings life and hope to people in Darfur like Monte Wilson’s ministry at

5. Pray for Christians, and all others, who are risking their lives to help these people who are being mercilessly attacked night and day and driven from their homes into a wilderness in western Sudan and Chad, the neighboring African country to the west.

Let us lift up our voices on behalf of those who are oppressed and thereby demonstrate the love of God for those in greatest need. Surely this is what Jesus calls his followers to do.

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  1. Jay McGinley October 18, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    Dear friend. In addition to my comments on your other blog, you stimulated a new post.
    Darfur: We-the-citizens “kill” Darfur with our “Kindness.” We-citizens want to believe that our token efforts are better than nothing – a letter here, a phone call there, one day without luxuries…. But this is not true.
    Unless we actually behave with sufficient commitment, with sufficient sacrifice-of-our-selfishness-in-the-face-of-genocide we are authors of the killing double bind: “Darfur is Genocide!… I’ll take my steak medium rare please, and no onions! And, please hurry our order, we are going to be late for the movie….” As such authors we kill consciene in ourselves and in those around us. Conscience, our conscience is the only hope that family Darfur has. We must raise conscience not kill it.
    ps: My intent has not been to torment you. I hope I have not and will leave you alone now.

  2. John H. Armstrong October 18, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    It is worth noting that a group called “Evangelicals for Darfur” had a full-page ad in today’s USA Today newspaper calling on President Bush to “act on [his] faith” and do the right thing to bring an end to the genocide in Darfur. This appeal comes from across a wide specturm politically, see, and one can pray that it might be heard within the administation. The signers urge the president to heed Proverbs 24:11-12 in order “to rescue those being led away to death.”

  3. Nathan Petty October 22, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    This post reminded me of a compelling and disturbing book – Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhegen. I offer two passages:
    “Thus, even in the Christian churches, racist antisemitism overlay and, to a large extent, replaced the traditional religious enmity to Jews; the denunciations of the Jews that Christian clergymen broadcasted had become scarcely distinguishable from the diatribes that the militantly secular, racist antisemites delivered.”
    We were discussing Romans 11 today in bible study, including the difference between dispenational and reformed views of Israel. In response to a comment that antisemitism had infected the church through its history, the pastor offered that 10,000 protestant clergy had been executed by the Nazis. This would certainly not square with Goldhagen’s thesis. I took the pastor’s statement as, in part, a point to balance the horror of the holacaust with a claim of Christian sacrifice. And a point, in my opinion, void of any support.
    One last passage from Goldhagen:
    “No reason exists to believe that modern, western, even Christian man is incapable of holding notions which devalue human life, which call for its extinction, notions similar to those held by peoples of many religions, cultural, and political dispensations througout history,…”
    My fear is that corporate Christianity is just as capable of neglect and complicit behavior as “we” have demonstrated in the past.

  4. John Armstrong October 25, 2006 at 8:32 am

    I completely agree with this final statement: “My fear is that corporate Christianity is just as capable of neglect and complicit behavior as ‘we’ have demonstrated in the past.”
    This is true of the Left and the Right and most everything in between. We are not realists about our own sin and about how we institutionalize it in acceptable, albeit, “Christian” forms.

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