Dear White Canadian Christians (of whom I am one),
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. – Galatians 1: 3-5 (CSB)
Paul’s greeting seems like a good place to start, because we have a problem.
And since Paul is so eloquent, I’m going to let him speak for me again:
I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!
For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1: 6-10
So let’s talk. Because there’s a false gospel that has spread through this country like wildfire and it’s masquerading under the name of “freedom”.
First off let me say: yes, I am sick of the pandemic, I am sick of restrictions, and no I am not in favour of lockdowns because they do more harm than good.
But I am also weary of white people claiming they’re oppressed when they’re not. May I direct your attention to Afghanistan, China, North Korea, and Syria to name just a few?
So let’s talk freedom.
As Canadians and as Christian Canadian we are literally the freest of the free. And what does freedom in Christ look like? You can read the passage in Galatians 2: 11-21, but I’ll sum it up here: as believers in Christ, we are justified by his sacrifice. We don’t need to keep the Mosaic Law in order to be made right with God. Christ’s death and resurrection took that penalty from us. And once we choose to accept that, we are “crucified with Christ, and [we] no longer live, but Christ lives in [us]”. What does this mean? It means that we are finally free to be who Christ intended us to be. We are known by God. We are free to love our neighbour and our enemy. We are free to glorify God with our every waking moment and have His face shine through us. We are free to talk to Him. We are free from striving for perfection. We are free to have the fruit of the Spirit.
Freedom from a Christian perspective really has nothing to do with your physical situation. But it also does not mean that we are permitted to do whatever we want to do. And to be blunt, our legal freedoms in Canada also don’t mean we’re allowed to do whatever we want to. We are to “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17) We don’t have to like it.
This means you cannot hold an entire city hostage because you’re tired of health restrictions. And if you think I’m being melodramatic, then please talk to the citizens of Ottawa who live in the downtown core. People who receive death threats for wearing masks (even though they’re following the law); people who can’t sleep, work, or study because of the constant honking (that’s called psychological torture, by the way); minorities who don’t feel safe in their own city because protesters are carrying around swastikas, Nazi flags, Confederate flags, homophobic material, etc (that’s called “hate crimes” not “jerks”); small businesses who are closed because they want to protect their employees and themselves from people who have decided not to wear masks; children who are afraid to go outside; people who have fled the city because they can’t take it; the elderly who can’t get their prescription medication because of the blockades; emergency vehicles that are attacked or just can’t get through; people who can’t breathe because of the fumes; people who have had their property defecated on. Do I need to go on? Because I can. But quite frankly, if you still think this is about “freedom” then you are mistaken.
“Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. –Matthew 7:15-20
So what is the fruit of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5: 22-23)
This is not happening in Ottawa.
So when the organizers say that they are “empathetic” towards the people of Ottawa but refuse to budge, that rings false. And if you are a Christian supporting this, what does that say about you? How are you loving your neighbour or your enemy by condoning this? We don’t get to “agree to disagree” about the fruit of evil. Isaiah warned us, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20)
So what would loving your neighbour and your enemy look like in this case? Because this is not a suggestion – Christ was very clear on that point (see the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, where a man showers love on his enemy, and also Mark 12:30-31). In our situation loving your neighbour and loving your enemy means having mercy on them. So: turn off the horns, turn off the engines, stop blocking the roads, wear the mask, and even leave the city. You don’t have to like it. You just have to do it.
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10: 36-37)
Please note: I am not disagreeing with your right to peacefully protest. But if you think what is going on in Ottawa is peaceful, you need to rethink your definitions of peace and violence.
And while we’re on the subject of the protest, namely health restrictions and vaccine mandates, let’s talk about the legality of the vaccine mandate.
A vaccine mandate does not violate your human rights. You can read a full legal analysis HERE, but the gist of it is this: no one is forcing you to get a vaccine. No one is holding you down to inject it into you – this action would be a violation of human and charter rights. But this is not the case. You can choose to get the vaccine or not. If you choose not to get it, you are presented with a different set of options – some of these options may be inconvenient, but they are present. Moreover, even if you choose not to get the vaccine you still have access to medical care, to buying your groceries, and essential services. Going to a restaurant or a movie theatre or a gym, travelling, even your job are all choices (and in the case of jobs, employers have the right to protect their employees). Not rights. If you’re looking for an actual human rights violation, you should see Bill 21 in Quebec which prevents people from wearing any religious head covering in a school setting. But I don’t see any protests over that.
Finally, because I know someone is going to bring up Nuremberg: the Nuremberg codes are not applicable – no one is dragging you from your home to torture you and experiment on you with experimental drugs and then gas you to death. To compare the current situation in any way to the Holocaust is delusional and grossly disrespectful to the millions of Jewish, disabled, and gay people who were dragged from their homes to be tortured and experimented on and ultimately destroyed. This is not a genocide. The Holocaust was a genocide. Stalin’s regime was a genocide.
So to sum up:
This “protest” has caused nothing but deep harm and distress to the people of Ottawa. And if followers of Christ are supporting it belligerently, then to quote Paul, “I don’t know what to do about you”.
There’s more I could say, but if I keep going this is going to get far longer and it’s already longer than I intended. So I’m going to close with Paul’s words from Galatians 4:8-9, 15:
But in the past, since you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elements? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again? […] Where, then, is your blessing?
Now that Faith Has Come: A Study of Galatians by Beth Moore https://www.amazon.ca/Now-That-Faith-Has-Come/dp/1735890901/
More Harm Than Good https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/more-harm-than-good-academics-sign-letter-condemning-quebec-curfew-1.5726013
Human rights defenders take issue with hands-off response to recent COVID protests https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/trucker-rallies-human-rights-reax-1.6339070
The Nuremberg Code (PDF) https://muhc.ca/sites/default/files/users/user136/The%20Nuremberg%20Code.pdf
About Bill 21 https://ccla.org/major-cases-and-reports/bill-21/
Maus by Art Spiegelman https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/171065/the-complete-maus-by-art-spiegelman/9780679406419
Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/policing-black-lives
21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph https://www.strongnations.com/store/item_display.php?i=7047&f=
The ZDoggMD Show https://www.youtube.com/user/ZDoggMD
“Healthcare’s Unfiltered Voice. Interviews, educational rants, and more, hosted by Stanford-trained physician Dr. Zubin Damania.” I don’t always agree with his views, but he is solid on the science and not afraid to admit when he’s wrong. San Francisco-based.