I 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