International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, Open Season against Christians, Promote and protect human rights, Religious persecution is worsening worldwide, Some are guilty all are responsible, The most targeted body in the world, The Scandal of Forgiveness, The target that comprehends all targets, Underwhelming reaction to Canadian churches being burned down
This is the day to recognize the victims of violence based on belief. Canadians would be mistaken to think this is a day for those living in places like Hong Kong, China, or the developing world – but this summer has resulted in a conspiracy of silence as over 50 churches across Canada have been burned or vandalized without a national outcry, or a whimper of care. As Rex Murphy puts it:
Considering the scale of these events, the reaction has been underwhelming.
In mid July the federal government hosted two summits, on two consecutive days combating anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. This is what is rather inexplicable, according to Murphy:
“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.
This is something rather more than puzzling given that in a very concentrated period of about two weeks, Canada has seen a total of 48 incidents [as of July 21] perpetrated against Christian churches, ranging from vandalism (paint on church doors, ugly graffiti) to their total destruction by fire.” (See Map of Churches burned or vandelized, tnc.news).
August 22 is the “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief”
This day could not come soon enough to the awareness of Canadians as both Pew and IDOP Agree: Religious Persecution Is Worsening Worldwide
“Freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing. They are enshrined in articles 18, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Upholding these rights plays an important role in the fight against all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief.
The open, constructive and respectful debate of ideas, as well as interreligious, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, at the local, national, regional and international levels, can play a positive role in combating religious hatred, incitement and violence.
Furthermore, the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information can play a positive role in strengthening democracy and combating religious intolerance.”
Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief
Yet there are continuing acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals, including against persons belonging to religious communities and religious minorities around the world, and the number and intensity of such incidents, which are often of a criminal nature and may have international characteristics, are increasing.
That is why the General Assembly adopted the resolution A/RES/73/296, titled “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief” strongly condemning continuing violence and acts of terrorism targeting individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities, on the basis of or in the name of religion or belief.
The Member States reaffirmed their unequivocal condemnation of all acts, methods and practices of terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomsoever committed, regardless of their motivation, and reiterated that terrorism and violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.
The General Assembly decided to designate 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.
“The General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/73/296, designated 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief recognizing the importance of providing victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief and members of their families with appropriate support and assistance in accordance with applicable law.
It strongly deplored all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as any such acts directed against their homes, businesses, properties, schools, cultural centres or places of worship, as well as all attacks on and in religious places, sites and shrines that are in violation of international law.
Source: Religious Persecution is Worsening Worldwide
Our Primary Responsibility:
To promote and protect human rights, including the human rights of persons belonging to religious minorities, including their right to exercise their religion or belief freely.
What insight do you have on this day, and on the day in which we are living when there is open terror brought against Christians – not only in the 10-40 Window where they are the most targeted body in the world, but in a first world nation like Canada?
For more on forgiveness and a word against retaliation, see “The Scandal of Forgiveness in a Time of Terror.”
50 church facilities, in Canada!! So many South Africans, including many believers, have emigrated to Canada for safety – that’s not to minimize the dangers of living in SA. As yet we do not have that level of church persecution locally, but of course there are no guarantees – anywhere in the world for that matter. And thanks, Rusty, for giving us some pointers as to the right direction for Christ-followers in ‘this world gone mad,’ as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the influential Welsh preacher, once put it decades ago!
‘Blessed are the peacemakers (not peace-keepers at all costs), for THEY will be called children of God’ (Mt. 5) – now how do I put that into practice??
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R.H. (Rusty) Foerger said:
Yes, not only is the Canadian public not moved, but neither is the world press. The BBC covered the earlier stories of church burning, and as news tends to be, the press has moved on to the “new” crises around the world – Afghanistan most notably (where the Taliban has already sent warnings to Christian leaders there – https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/september/afghanistan-aid-humanitarian-civil-society-hospitality.html?utm_source=CT%20Weekly%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=334822&utm_content=6589&utm_campaign=email.)
I totally agree that this would activate our call to be peacemakers and ambassadors of reconciliation – and not woeful, hopeless victims in retaliation. This is indeed a world gone mad. May we keep our heads and hearts about us.
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Rosaliene Bacchus said:
Rusty, I wasn’t aware that Christian churches are under attack in Canada. Is this related to the disclosure of the unmarked graves of indigenous children under the care of Christian schools?
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R.H. (Rusty) Foerger said:
Yes, the anger over discovered indigenous children has unleashed pent up anger, and church buildings have been the target. I think you have read previous posts, so I won’t go over the same ground (https://moreenigma.com/2021/07/07/summer-on-fire/). But what I am after is to highlight a truly Christian response – that is without retaliation – nor falling into the syrupy notion of victimhood. Wounds beget wounding. I would that true Christ-followers continue to work toward truth and reconciliation.
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