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Which Is Easier? Mark 2:1-12

Tragedy, Travesty, and Truth



In what President Theodore Roosevelt called, a stain on the frontier that will not wash away,” on March 8, in 1782, the Gnadenhutten massacre took place.

Ninety-six Native Americans in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, who had converted to Christianity, were killed by Pennsylvania militiamen in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indian tribes.

It was also known as the Moravian massacre. The ninety-six victims were pacifist Moravian Christian Indians (primarily Lenape and Mohican).

The act was carried out by U.S. militiamen from Pennsylvania.

Since Moravians were pacifists, they did not take sides in the American Revolution.

Under the command of David Williamson, they were tricked into be rounded up with a false promise of relocation. Then, they were sentenced to be executed. On the night before their deaths, they prayed and sang hymns all night.

They next day, still praying and singing, they were executed one by one.

Though they pleaded for their lives, they maintained their commitment to non-violence and offered no resistance or defense. Before murdering them, the captors raped with girls and the women.

Eighteen on the militia members objected to this crime but were outvoted.

These souls were declared Christian martyrs and they are remembered as such to this day in the Moravian Church.

It is true that both the British and the Colonialists sought alliances with indigenous tribes and some branches of the martyrs’ tribe ad sided with the British. Soldiers in the militia that committed the murder held vivid hurtful memories of loved one who had been slaughtered.

They blamed all indigenous people for their losses.

War and tragedy fuel bigotry, hatred and more war and tragedy and this is the only perpetual motion machine that does not defy the laws of physics.

Following the war, Williamson was elected to several terms as sheriff of Washington County, Pennsylvania.

We are not always noble. We are not always right. Yet, truth always sets us free. That is not just a promise; it is an accurate observation.

The urge to preach is strong, but this is a sermon you can develop on your own.

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“The Poor Defenseless Ones Together Bowed in Prayer”: The Gnadenhutten Massacre

1857 Atlantic Monthly article:

History of Gnadenhutten:

Day of Remembrance: