There are many figures in History who we look up to for their discoveries, inventions, or successes. Coupled with many of these stories, however, are the less-spoken-of accounts of their savagery. They owned slaves, they killed or maimed countless people, and did many other evils all in the name of God.
It wasn't very long ago that schools, churches, restaurants, and swimming pools were segregated. Even today, there are many who oppose interracial marriage and would probably support segregation if able. In fact, as recent as 2019, an owner of a wedding venue in Mississippi refused to host a mixed-race wedding citing her Christian beliefs.
Now, when talking about some of these earlier examples, such as the enslavement of the Taino people by Christopher Columbus's crew, people say, “Well, he was just a product of his time.”
This is no excuse.
Jesus said in the first century that we are to love our enemies.
Paul said that in Christ there is no Jew, Greek, Bond, Free, Male, or Female.
Jesus died for all equally regardless of their nationality.
There is no possible way to justify the racism in our country in the recent past, slavery in the 1800s, or the mistreatment of indigenous people by Christopher Columbus all done in the name of God.
They weren't just “products of their time.” These people were familiar with Jesus' words concerning love for all, rejected them, and misused the Bible the justify their injustices.
They had plenty of time.
If we don't call out and distance ourselves from these actions, we will be doomed to repeat them in other ways.