The Moderator Reflects on Intolerance

Outreached handsI am the child of immigrants. My parents came to Canada from Germany in the early 1950s when the wounds of the second world war were still very fresh. Nevertheless, Canada opened its arms to my parents, who were able to plan a future and raise their children in a land of opportunity and peace.

When I hear of severe limitations being placed on immigration, I cannot help but think of my parents, who were genuinely fearful of war erupting in Europe again, and who then found refuge for themselves and their children in Canada. So many refugees in our world today are in a far more desperate plight. My heart goes out to those whose hope has been taken away. May we in Canada ever seek to open our doors to those in need of a new start and a hopeful future.

It is difficult to separate the tragic shootings in Quebec from the rhetoric of xenophobia gaining ground in our world. Our prayers are with the families of the victims, for the recovery of the survivors, and for the hearts of the affected community. We are all impacted by such events, and are challenged as Canadians together to resist all forms of hate-based speech and violence.

As people of faith, we are particularly affected by the Quebec shootings. We hope and pray that acts of violence against faith communities of all kinds will be condemned and resisted by all. I can think of words no more suitable than those of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:

“To invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege. It is a kind of blasphemy. Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love and practised cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. When this happens, God speaks, sometimes in a still, small voice almost inaudible beneath the clamour of those claiming to speak on his behalf. What God says at such times is: Not in My Name.”

May the God of life, peace, love and compassion be with all who suffer and are in need.


The Rev. Douglas H. Rollwage
Moderator of the 142nd General Assembly

A Call to Prayer and Action from the World Communion of Reformed Churches

2017-01-31T11:51:10+00:00 January 31st, 2017|Categories: News|3 Comments


  1. Kumar Siinniah February 7, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks for that encouraging note. I am a member of White Oak Presb. Church in Meadowvale, Mississauga. An immigrant from Sri Lanka and this land opened its heart to me and my family. I have been around to many countries, seen many people of different ethnic groups and I always feel that this world is a place of wonder. Even more wonderful is the awesomeness of the Creator God. The variety and colour that He gave us to enjoy and not to sulk over. The basic yearnings of all human beings of goodwill is to live a peaceful life and take care of their families as much as they can. To show kindness and give help when they can. I still believe that there are a lot of good people in the world. We will keep our hopes up.

  2. Douglas Rollwage January 31, 2017 at 11:21 am

    The quote is from Sacks’ book, “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence”

  3. jean macaulay January 31, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Thank you for speaking to this.

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