07/25/2021 Canada – A number of churches in the Canada and the United States have been vandalized, some claim to be acting in response to recent accusations of mistreatment of children in Canada at the hands of mostly Catholic-run schools. Officials are still investigating the incidents.
In recent weeks 54 churches have been attacked in Canada.
A Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey, British Columbia was burned. The Coptic community is heavily persecuted in Egypt and Christians often flee the region to escape persecution. Vandalization like this of the church is a stark reminder of the community’s difficult history.
in the last two months in the United States, protestors in Portland have vandalized four Catholic churches.
Director of Advocacy at International Christian Concern, said, “The attacks on Churches in Canada and the United States are a sobering reminder of the growing anti-religious and anti-Christian hatred in the West. The lack of severe condemnation of the attacks from public leaders is disheartening and more needs to be done. Burning down churches is not the answer. It is evil, wrong and only creates a climate of hatred.”
Ambassador Sam Brownback, who served as Ambassador for International Religious Freedom for the Trump Administration recently called the current time “the most persecuted era of Christianity in the history of mankind.” Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world with over 300 million Christians facing persecution.
July 24, 2021
Canada hit a dubious mark this week; more than 50 churches have now been vandalized, desecrated or burned to the ground since the announcement in Kamloops, B.C. of unmarked graves found near a residential school.
Fifty communities have been robbed of a sacred space to worship and pray and effectively stripped of a fundamental right we hold dear in Canada — so much so that it is the very first right in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law… Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion.”
The freedom to pray and the right to access your place of worship must apply to all Canadians. And yet, our government is failing to uphold these rights for too many.
So, where are the politicians? Where are the police? Why aren’t these churches being protected?
A recent National Post column pointed out that while churches are burning to the ground, the Trudeau government hosted two summits this week on the very topic of protecting religious freedom — one dedicated to Jewish Canadians and the other to Muslim Canadians.
“What I find rather inexplicable is that while our federal government is rightly attending to acts of discrimination targeting Jewish and Muslim worshippers, there is, as far as can be determined, no scheduled summit dealing with the current wave of destructive hostility directed at Christian worshippers.” Instead of any sort of passionate defense of religious freedom to those who have lost their house of worship, the range of reaction in Canada goes from quiet indifference to cheerleading to downright aiding and abetting.
On July 2, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he “understands the anger” and gently pushed back by saying the attacks were “unacceptable and wrong.” He’s been silent ever since. Former top aide to the Prime Minister, Gerald Butts, stated on Twitter that the attacks were “understandable.”
CTV News showed footage of an arsonist attacking a church, but chose to protect her identity by blurring her face during the broadcast. The first few arson attacks targeted churches on First Nations reserves, and many saw it as a legitimate form of political expression in righting a historical wrong. It seemed cruel to rob Christians of their place of worship at a time like this.
The “burn it all down” crowd, however, celebrated what they perceived as justice.
if it were happening in any other country in the world, or to any other faith group, Canadian leaders would be denouncing this vile persecution.
Early in the morning on July 19, a deliberate fire destroyed the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey, B.C. The church was built by refugees who had fled religious persecution and intolerance in the Middle East, and believed that they had found peace and safety in the quiet Canadian suburb.
This follows similar news that the House of Prayer Alliance Church in Calgary was damaged in an attack on July. This church was owned by the Calgary Vietnamese Alliance. Its congregation mostly included immigrants and refugees from Vietnam and the Philippines.
By Friday morning, the number of churches attacked had reached 52, including more immigrant churches with congregations from former Soviet countries. Again, the irony is that many people of faith choose to move to Canada because of our historic commitment to religious freedom.
When newcomers are applying to come to Canada as visitors or immigrants, the government asks the following question: “have you ever witnessed or participated in… the looting or desecration of religious buildings?” Canada explicitly does not welcome those who fail to respect something as near and dear as religious freedom. And yet, too many political leaders are failing to uphold these sacred rights on our own soil.
In America, we saw a great deal of misleading information regarding the death of George Floyd and others. In Canada, the falsehood has been surrounding the claimed “un-marked graves” of residential school children. In both cases, the reckless disregard for presenting all of the information, and the outright retelling of events, has had dangerous and riotous consequences.
Buildings were burned, statues were torn down. The destruction that followed, in both instances, was met with silence or encouragement by those on the political left in both countries. Only a handful of journalists dared to speak out. One of those journalists in Canada is Candice Malcolm, who wrote a detailed article providing six key ways Canadian and US Media got the story wrong regarding graves found near schools. Although we could summarize her findings, we decided to include her list in its impactful entirety:
Here are the six ways the legacy media in Canada got this story wrong.
1. Unverified Reports
It is standard practice in journalism to clarify whether or not an allegation has been proven. But when there was a press release stating that they had used ground penetrating radar to locate 215 unmarked graves, the media accepted the story without question or any verification.
The band said a report was forthcoming in mid-June – but no report has been released to date. No evidence of any sort has been put forth for public consideration. We don’t know who carried out the research, whether it was a company or a university, or how the technology was used. At this point, we have a few claims, and nothing else.
2. What exactly was “discovered”?
There has been incredible confusion over what exactly was discovered, and media outlets have used tremendous liberty in describing what has been claimed.
To be clear: nothing was “uncovered.” No “bodies” were found. There was no excavation, nothing was unearthed, nothing was removed, no identities were confirmed.
So anything you may have read saying these graves belong to children, including some specific claims about the ages of these children, is speculation at this point.
Let me refer back to a National Post story that explains what ground penetrating radar actually does. “It doesn’t actually see the bodies. It’s not like an X-ray.”
“What it actually does is it looks for when a grave is dug, there is a grave shaft dug and the body is placed in the grave, sometimes in a coffin, as in the Christian burial context. What the ground-penetrating radar can see is where that pit itself was dug, because the soil actually changes when you dig a grave. And occasionally, if it is a coffin, the radar can pick up the coffin sometimes as well.”
We’re talking about pretty rudimentary technology here, and a relatively imprecise process.
So why have media reports been so bold in asserting these numbers as facts?
3. We don’t know whose graves were discovered
The media jumped to the conclusion that these were the graves of children from residential schools.
Tucked away at the very end of a report in the Globe and Mail on the findings at the Cowessess reserve in Saskatchewan, it said this:
“It appears that not all of the graves contain children’s bodies,. He said the area was also used as a burial site by the city.
“We did have a family of non-Indigenous people show up today and notified us that some of those unmarked graves had their families in them – their loved ones."
So what we have here is an abandoned community cemetery, where people of different backgrounds were buried.
That’s quite a leap from the original storyline that these graves belong to children who had died at a residential school.
4. NOT mass graves
These are not mass graves. Several media outlets, both in Canada and international outlets like the BBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post have erroneously labeled these findings as mass graves.
This is incredibly irresponsible.
All three chiefs themselves have explicitly stated these are not mass graves.
Why is this important?
Mass graves are a hallmark of genocide. They conjure images of pure evil, the kind of evil that characterized Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.
These were truly evil leaders who used mass graves to cover their crimes against humanity. These leaders carried out mass murder, and the mass graves went hand in hand.
The use of the term mass graves is wrong, and it is reckless.
It’s good to see that the Washington Post made a correction on their story. Others should follow.
5. Cause of death
Many children who died at these schools died of natural causes. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee report in 2015, the number one cause of death was Tuberculosis.
You can argue that these children didn’t receive proper health care, or that some of their immune systems couldn’t handle living in close proximity to other children.
But negligence resulting in accidental death is quite different from murder, which is what many in politics and the media have suggested.
Since this news came out, there has been a near universal assumption in the media that these graves are evidence the children had been deliberately killed.
Canada’s residential schools, however misguided, had the intent of educating children, assimilating them into the broader Canadian population, and ultimately lifting them out of poverty.
6. It’s possible these weren’t even unmarked graves.
Wooden graves, which were and are still the norm in First Nations communities in Western Canada, erode and disintegrate over time. It’s possible these were once marked graves.
This is the claim being made by the former chief in the region
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that ground-penetrating radar found 182 unmarked graves in a cemetery at the site of the former School at St. Eugene Mission just outside Cranbrook, B.C. The remains were found when remedial work was being performed in the area to replace the fence at the cemetery last year.
Sophie Pierre, former chief of the St Mary’s Indian Band and a survivor of the school itself, told Global News, they had always known the graves were there. “There’s no discovery, we knew it was there, it’s a graveyard,” Pierre said. “The fact there are graves inside a graveyard shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.” Wooden crosses that originally marked the gravesites had been burned or deteriorated over the years. Using a wooden marker at a gravesite remains a practice that continues to this day in many communities across Canada.
So when we’re talking about so-called unmarked graves, what we are more likely talking about is abandoned graves at an existing cemetery. Abandoned graves where people of different backgrounds — not just children from residential schools — were buried.
What an amazing leap to go from an uncared for community cemetery to mass graves, mass murder and genocide.