Bethany Condemns Anti-Asian Hate Crimes; Calls For Repentance, Healing, and Justice

March 18, 2021

Grand Rapids, Michigan— Racially motivated violence toward Asian-Americans has become a clear, disturbing trend since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bethany Christian Services believes that everyone deserves to be safe, loved, and connected as people uniquely made in the image of their Creator. We are committed to speaking out when people are denied safety, love, and connection because of racism. Bethany has walked alongside vulnerable children and families in the Atlanta-area for decades, and we are devastated by the senseless murders of eight innocent souls on March 16. Six of the victims were Asian and all but one were women.

“Bethany Christian Services laments the significant rise of anti-Asian sentiment in the United States. We are praying for the victims of the attack in Atlanta and for our Asian American and Pacific Islander neighbors who are encountering racism,” says Chris Palusky, President & CEO of Bethany. “As Christians, we need to do more than grieve and pray. In Scripture, Jesus spoke out against discrimination, defended the oppressed, and promoted peace and community transformation. Following the example Jesus sets, we are called to acknowledge and condemn the racism that is afflicting the American church.”

Anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police spiked by 150-percent in 2020, and the FBI predicts the number of hate crimes will continue to grow this year. This increase in violence corresponds with racist rhetoric blaming the impacts of COVID-19 on one region of the world and one race.

“Anti-Asian memes and rhetoric, whether blatant or veiled as humor, dehumanizes people who are made in God’s image. As a member of the AAPI community, I regularly see the harm they cause,” says George Tyndall, Bethany’s Senior Vice President of Operations. “Racism is a cancer that is eating away at the fabric of American society and the heart of the American church. The pulpit of our churches can and should be the conscience of our nation. We must not equivocate on white nationalism, or the world won’t recognize the radical message of Jesus’s love and compassion through us.”

Bethany Christian Services is a global organization with multicultural staff, clients, and stakeholders. The first refugees welcomed by Bethany in the 1970’s fled the devastation caused by the Vietnam War. Trafficked children from China found safe, loving homes through Bethany in the 1980’s. Today, Bethany is resettling Rohingya refugees, including children who escaped genocide. It is heartbreaking that people who fled persecution are facing racially motivated violence in the U.S.

Bethany exists to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus. We urge all Christians to remember what Jesus told his disciples before he died: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). May we, as followers of Jesus, be known for our love, kindness, and unity; may we pursue repentance, healing, and justice; may we lift up our Asian-American neighbors before God in prayer.

About Bethany Bethany is an international Christian nonprofit that is changing the world through family. 75 years ago, we began our work by serving one child. Today, we partner with churches and communities in more than 30 states and nearly a dozen countries, impacting hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Bethany demonstrates the love and compassion of Jesus by strengthening and preserving families, finding new families for children who need them, and supporting refugees and immigrants who have fled danger, because everyone deserves to be safe, loved, and connected.