Updated: Sep 21
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In the rich tapestry of Hawaiian history, one remarkable chapter tells the story of Hawaiian Christians who steadfastly resisted political manipulation and fervently prayed for the restoration of their beloved Queen, Liliuokalani. This historical episode reveals the intricate interplay between religion, politics, and cultural preservation, and it is essential to understand the nuanced perspectives of those involved.
At the heart of this narrative are the Native Hawaiian pastors who embraced Christianity. Trained in the North Pacific Missionary Institute, these pastors referred to themselves as the "true Christians." Their faith was deeply rooted, and they considered themselves the genuine bearers of Christian teachings. In contrast, white Christian leaders in Hawaii were embroiled in political manipulation and attacks on Queen Liliuokalani following the 1893 coup.
The early 1800s saw the ordination of the first four native pastors in the Hawaiian Islands. After their training, these pastors became highly knowledgeable in Christianity and proudly referred to themselves as the "true Christians." However, behind the scenes, a secret group of white Christian leaders known as the Hawaiian League was drafting a new constitution to strip power from the Hawaiian monarchy. They formed a political party and utilized petitions to engage in politics and resist the monarchy's authority.
In 1892, Hawaiians in the Kingdom of Hawaii petitioned for a new constitution, demonstrating significant support with 56 petitions and 4,347 signatures from registered voters. This move created a push-and-pull dynamic between white Christian leadership and the monarchy, fueled by economic interests. This struggle resulted in manipulation, deception, and attacks on Queen Liliuokalani after the 1893 coup.
Many Christian ministers in Hawaii were deeply involved in subterfuge, actively promoting the theft of the nation. Reverend Thomas Goulet, among others, went to great lengths, even traveling to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the interests of the white minority community. The abuse of Christianity as a political weapon against Queen Liliuokalani and her people ultimately played a role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.
Following the overthrow, the white minority oligarchy claimed to bring progress and liberty to Hawaii, despite their actions bringing in a group of white individuals to govern a predominantly brown population. This period also saw the rise of literature justifying the overthrow and criticizing the monarchy's qualifications to lead the country.
The false claim that two-thirds of Hawaiian children were buried alive due to laziness, known as "The Myth of Infanticide," was debunked by Dr. David Stannard in his book. Despite its falsehood, this narrative became a widely used textbook in Hawaiian schools for 40 years, contributing to the negative portrayal of Hawaiians and erasing their proud history.
Reverend Edward Sereno Bishop, a U.P. correspondent for Honolulu in 1894, wrote columns in newspapers across the East Coast, using racist arguments to convince the United States to oppose democracy in Hawaii. He, along with other white Christian leaders, propagated the notion that the true people of Hawaii were the white race, while native Hawaiians were portrayed as weak and dwindling. This divisive rhetoric created a stark divide among Christians in Hawaii.
The struggle against suppression, racism, and resistance by true Christians in the Hawaiian Kingdom highlighted the need for recognition and reconciliation from the American people and Congress. Despite facing suppression and racism, these faithful Christians continued to pray and fast for the restoration of their queen.
True Christians in Hawaii today challenge the false teachings of white Christian leaders, criticize the descendants of missionaries, and stand against deceitful leaders to support the queen and the monarchy. Their unwavering commitment to their faith and culture serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience of Hawaii's people.
Various churches in Hawaii, including Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and Anglicans, were involved in religious conflicts and racial segregation during this period. The Roman Catholic Church held significant influence and aimed to maintain control. Addressing the wrongs done to native Hawaiians can be achieved through Christian actions and reconciliation, promoting a more inclusive and just future.
While the involvement of secret societies, the corruption of missionaries, the questionable death of King Kalakaua, and the campaign of genocide against native Hawaiians are discussed previous blog posts.
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABC FM) used Hawaii as a success story to raise funds for missions while avoiding addressing the negative outcomes and blowback from religious congregations. This showcases the complex dynamics surrounding missionary efforts in Hawaii during this era.
The story of Hawaiian Christians who resisted and prayed for the restoration of Queen Liliuokalani is a testament to the enduring power of faith, loyalty, and cultural preservation. Their unwavering commitment to their land, government, and queen serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities of Hawaii's history and the resilience of its people. Today, as we reflect on this chapter of Hawaiian history, we are reminded of the importance of recognizing and reconciling with the past to create a more just and inclusive future for all.
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