Follow the example of Christ, letter urges

Dear Friends:

It is not very often that I post my personal opinions on our church website, however, given the events of the past few days as the spiritual leader of this Christian community I feel it would be inappropriate to remain silent.

In 1952 my parents arrived in Canada as newcomers to this country—a land of promise. Both were prisoners of war, both were taken forcibly from their homes by Nazis, and both suffered great physical and emotional hardships in work camps at the hands of others.

The events of the past few days have reminded me of the many stories that my parents shared with family and friends as they recounted the atrocities that they overcame.

Violence, bigotry, racism and hatred can never be tolerated. It can never be justified, and should never be rationalized by anyone, particularly the leaders of any society.

To do so undervalues the dignity and sacredness of every human being.

As Christians we must always, without exception, uphold the rights of all people regardless of colour, religion or origin of birth, and their right to live peacefully, free of threats and danger. We must follow the example of Christ whose spirit of welcome and inclusion was so radical at the time that it eventually cost him his life.

We must always be on the side of love, always on the side of inclusion, always on the side of tolerance and welcome. We must strongly oppose those who advocate for violence, for bigotry and for racism. And if we don’t make our voices heard our silence may be seen as complicit.

So I urge you strongly to challenge those who might promote bigotry and violence, call out intolerance and hatred because we as Christians have a moral obligation to do so.

The Gospel of Christ is our road map; the repeated examples of Christ should inform us of the value and dignity of every human being and so let us go forward not proclaiming hatred but love, not proclaiming segregation but inclusion and most of all proclaiming the message and example of Christ for all to hear.

Father Terry.

The Reverend Terry Holub is Rector of Holy Trinity (Chippawa) Niagara Falls. He wrote this letter on the parish’s website in response to what was happening in Charlottesville and other places around the globe.