Monday, July 18, 2016

For All the Saints: Bartolomé de las Casas

Bartolomé de las Casas (c. 1481-1566) was a Dominican friar, historian, the first resident bishop of Chiapas, and reformer concern for the plight of indigenous peoples. He is honored today on the Episcopal calendar and yesterday on the ELCA calendar. When de las Casas came to the Americas, he initially participated in the abuse of Indians by the Spanish. But he began to oppose the atrocities and sought the help of authorities, including the Pope, on their behalf. Unfortunately he advised the use of African slaves instead of Native slaves. For much of his ministry life he intervened on behalf of Native Americans and sought justice for them. Although tragically flawed in his outlook toward African slavery, and although his efforts on behalf of indigenous peoples failed, he did shine a light on ethical issues of colonialism and is remembered as an important and early human rights advocate. Here is more about him:


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