Evangelical MP William Wilberforce helped to bring an end to the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1807. Christians led by Baptist minister Martin Luther King headed the charge for civil rights in the United States in the 1960s. And Christian organisations and clergy such as Desmond Tutu helped bring an end to apartheid South Africa.
But there is a new injustice on the horizon which may require a similar intervention by Christians: climate change.
Last year we saw a string of devastating weather events from lethal hurricanes in the Philippines and the United States to severe droughts in the Sahel region of Africa. People were killed, livelihoods destroyed and billions of pounds of damage caused.
What puts climate change on a par with slavery is, that it is we in the West who have done much to create it and yet it is generally the poor and vulnerable of the world who suffer the consequences. We have got rich off the back of a century long carbon binge which has allowed us to live lives of incredible comfort and prosperity compared to our fellow human beings on the receiving end of our excess.
As with slavery we have benefitted while others suffer. As with slavery those suffering cannot do anything on their own to bring it to an end. And as with slavery maybe it is us Christians who need to speak up and act.
We speak often about the persecuted Church around the world, and rightly so. But we seem to forget that for many of our sisters and brothers in Christ, the greatest threat they face is from an inhospitable climate, caused in large part by carbon-hungry Westerners.
Maybe we need to remember the words of 1 Corinthians 12:26 which speaks about the body of believers: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.”
Do we realise the devastating impact our actions are having on our fellow men, women and children?
I’m aware that it can all feel a bit hopeless but as with Wilberforce, MLK and Tutu and the Christians that worked with them, we have the potential to make a difference.
We need political action by Governments to reduce our impact on the climate. Christian Aid and Tearfund are organisations which recognise climate change is an injustice and whose supporters pool their voices and campaign to bring about change.
You can write to your MP – all MPs are likely to respond to letters from their constituents and direct lobbying is a powerful, and often overlooked, tool of political change.
And we can do our bit to reduce our own carbon footprint which is both an act of solidarity with those facing climate catastrophe and also a witness to encourage others.
Righting a wrong and making personal sacrifices are not always easy. But we have the example of Jesus to follow and an opportunity to add to the proud tradition of Christians standing up to injustice.
For details about the climate demands in the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, watch this cool video: