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 pray and effectively stripped of a fundamental right we hold dear in Canada — so much so that it is the very first right enumerated 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?
Rex Murphy similarly pondered these question in a recent National Post column, and he 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,” Rex Murphy noted.
Instead of any sort of passionate defence of religious freedom or solidarity 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.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on July 2 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 particularly cruel, from my perspective, to rob Indigenous Christians of their place of worship at a time like this. It’s like rubbing salt in an open wound.
The “burn it all down” crowd, however, celebrated what they perceived as vigilante justice.
This has enabled a rampage that if it were happening in any other country in the world, or to any other faith group, Canadian leaders would rightly be denouncing this vile persecution.
The latest round of arson and attacks is just as heinous.
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 cruel 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 tolerance and religious freedom. And yet, too many political leaders are failing to uphold these sacred rights on our own soil.
HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
Much like in the United States, there has been a concerted effort to stir up racial tensions with a series of misleading and outright falsehoods.
The similarities between what is taking place in Canada and what we saw in the summer of 2020 in the United States are far too stark to simply ignore. There is a satanic agenda, and the devil is reusing his old playbook, which is sadly very effective.
In America, we saw racial tensions being stirred up between “Black” and “White” people. In Canada, the target has been to divide “First Nations” and “White,” specifically Catholic, people.
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, each country was claimed to have a racist founding, and history was rewritten to support those claims.
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 brave journalists dared to speak out about the facts being swept under the rug by mainstream media organizations.
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 Residential Schools.
Although we could summarize her findings, we decided to include her list in its impactful entirety:
When it comes to the coverage of graves identified near residential schools in three First Nations communities, the legacy media in Canada has done a tremendous disservice to all Canadians – especially First Nations.
They have created a moral panic, and continue to fan the flames of racial division.
How did we get here as a country?
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, in court or otherwise. But when the Tk’emlups band issued 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.
This may be a minor point, but it’s an important distinction nonetheless.
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 the bands have claimed.
JJ McCullough has made this point on Twitter, showing all the various ways the media have described what was discovered.
The first nation band leaders say they used ground penetrating radar.
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. They interviewed a professor of Anthropology who is also the director of the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology. She said this of ground penetrating radar:
“It doesn’t actually see the bodies. It’s not like an X-ray.”
“What it actually does is it looks for the shaft. 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. The numbers are more or less a rough estimate.
So why have media reports been so bold in asserting these numbers as facts?
3. We don’t know whose graves were discovered
The Tk’emlups band claimed the graves belonged to children at the school. So when the second two bands (Cowessess and Lower Kootaney) came forth with their own claims, many in the media jumped to the conclusion that these too were the graves of children from residential schools.
But that wasn’t the claim made by the bands. In fact, in both Cowessess and Lower Kootaney, the graves are believed to be in community cemeteries, belonging to both First Nations and the broader Canadian community.
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, Lerat (who is one of the band leaders) said. He said the area was also used as a burial site by the rural municipality.
“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,” Lerat said.”
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, Al Jazeera, the New York Times and the Washington Post have recklessly and 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 collectivist governments in the 20th century.
Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.
These were truly evil leaders who used mass graves to cover their atrocities and 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 conflates Canada’s policy of forced assimilation through mandatory universal education, with Nazi death camps.
Let me be clear. Canada’s policy was wrong. It was misguided and in too many cases, those who were responsible for caring for children in this country let them down, and let all of us down.
But that does not put Canada’s residential schools on any level of equivalence with Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.
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 could’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 of Canada’s Holocaust, as if the children had been deliberately killed.
Genocide requires intent. It requires a concerted and systematic effort to conduct mass murder and eliminate an entire race of people.
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.
The policy was wrong, clearly. It was flawed and much harm resulted.
But there are a few orders of magnitude that separate the misguided intent of Catholic priests, nuns and Canadian government officials versus those of Nazi firing squads and gas chambers.
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 Lower Kootenay region (the third band to have announced the finding of graves.)
This is from a Global News story (my emphasis added):
The detection of human remains in unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in B.C. was not an unexpected discovery, according to the area’s former chief.
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that ground-penetrating radar found 182 unmarked graves in a cemetery at the site of the former Kootenay Residential 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 that while the news of the unmarked graves had a painful impact on her and surrounding communities, 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.”
According to Pierre, 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 Indigenous communities across Canada.
So when we’re talking about so-called unmarked graves, at least in the context of the Lower Kootenay Band, 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.
Mark Twain once said to never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Well for journalists, they might say never let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.
For those of you who have followed this story, what you just read should shock you. What is the motive of mainstream media to twist the information to such a severe extent?
Would it surprise you to know that the Bible talks about this racial tension?
When Jesus’ disciples came to Him and asked, “What shall be the sign of thy coming?” Jesus explained to them that one of the signs that would precede His coming would be “nations” rising against “nations.”
The word “nations” found in this verse (Matthew 24:7) is from the Greek word “ethnos,” where we get our English word for “ethnicity.” Therefore, this verse can also be read that “ethnicity shall rise against ethnicity” in the last days before Christ’s return.
Racism is not new. However, what is new to our generation is the fabricated racism taught in schools, espoused by media and reiterated by politicians. This stoking of division will, in the not too distant future, lead to genuine widespread racism. Racism is a sin, we are all created in the image of God. Creating division and hatred is a sin (Prov. 6:16-19, Luke 11:17, 1 John 2:9). All of these things are deeply rooted in a rebellion against God, His Word, and His design.
Ken Ham, condemned the response of those encouraging and ‘understanding’ the arson attacks of Churches. Ham specifically rebuked a radio host, who without repercussion, called people to “burn the churches down.”
“Can you imagine what would happen if Christians made such a statement about an LGBT group or any kind of secular organization?” ham questioned. “They would be arrested and jailed for hate speech. Many political leaders today are creating an environment that fuels hate against Christians.”
Pastor Ed Hickey, of Calvary Chapel London, in Ontario, stated that immense pressure is coming for believers not only in Canada but everywhere, including the United States.
“Our society is becoming more and more hostile all the time,” Pastor Hickey stated. “Can you sense what’s going on in our culture right now? Do you sense it in the news? You hear about churches being burned down…”
“Those are catholic churches, and of course, we’re a protestant church,” he continued, explaining that, to the unbeliever who is targeting Christians, a church is a church.
“There is a pressure coming to Canada for us believers and it’s going to get stronger and more intense,” he warned. “But not just [coming] to Canada, it’s going to happen everywhere in the world, even in the United States. Do you see what’s going on? As many believers as there are down there, it’s hard to believe what’s going on.”