Disturbing News and Historical Reckoning
In late May of 2021, the disturbing news broke of 215 child remains discovered at a former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. This news comes after several years of discussion, research, and raised awareness of the legacy of residential schools in Canada, forwarded by the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The disturbing results of this commission have led to much public outcry, including the renunciation of historical figures such as Sir. John A. MacDonald, who became Canada’s first Prime Minister in 1867. The names and statues of figures who, like him, were involved in establishing the residential school system mark our public buildings and institutions. Like the monuments to American founders and Civil War generals, it seems these markers of Canada’s past may be soon abolished. The news from Kamloops is one more nail in the coffin.
I’m not writing this as an expert on the Canadian residential school system. Based on my knowledge, it seems clear that this institution was one of grave injustice – harming children and destroying families in the name of coerced Euro-Canadian assimilation. Doubtless, it has greatly contributed to a tragic legacy of abuse and disfunction that continues today. Let the investigation continue, let the truth be known. We must call that which is evil what it is. Most importantly, we must learn from the past to address the evils of our own day.
Every Child Matters
Even as we rightly uncover the truth of the past, we must likewise confront atrocities being committed by our generation, right now. In fact, if we fail to confront the moral corruption of our generation, we cannot succeed in properly evaluating the past. The moral woodchip in the eye of 1867 Canada may be very ugly indeed, but the whopping log we have in 2021 is far more urgent, far more deadly. What log? The one that should immediately come to mind upon hearing the profoundly true phrase:
“Every Child Matters.”
The phrase has widely appeared across social media in response to the tragic news from Kamloops. It is true both in this application and in general.
Every indigenous child unjustly taken from his parents, every child abused in a residential school, and every child buried in that BC schoolyard; they all matter.
They matter because every child matters. Children are not merely a collection of highly organized chemicals. Children were not formed by impersonal forces through a blind evolutionary process with no motive or meaning. They are made as human beings in the image of God, endued with great worth by their Creator.
Every child matters. Of course! Absolutely! Yet, Canadian law and Canadian practice today stand in flagrant disregard of this truth. In 2021, we give lip service to “every child matters” but our actions and legislation condemn us.
The Horrific Truth
In the year 2019, the ARCC reported an estimated 83,576 abortions were committed in Canada, including 12,328 in Alberta and 11,939 in BC. Comparatively, as of June 2, 2021, COVID 19 has reportedly killed 25,612 Canadians including 2,231 Albertans (average age 80). COVID 19 was not the leading cause of death in 2020. Not by a longshot. In the decade from 2009 to 2019 alone, the ARCC reported death-toll is a staggering 1.06 million babies legally murdered in Canada, roughly equivalent to the entire population of Edmonton.
Let me be blunt: Canada in 2021 is not morally superior to the Canada of 1867. To claim that Justin Trudeau is the moral better of John A. MacDonald would be absurd. This is true, not because PM MacDonald was a saint; he clearly wasn’t. Nor is it true because what the Canadian government and church leaders of the past did was right; it was a grave injustice against indigenous peoples.
Rather, it is true is because every child matters.
If we think we uphold that value more today than our predecessors did, we deceive ourselves. It is very easy to speak out with sanctimonious outrage in condemning the sins and the sinners of the past. It is much more difficult to look our own sins in the eye, see them for what they are, and repent. If we fail to do the latter, our gusto in doing the former will only highlight our hypocrisy.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV)
Lest you think I’m only talking about pro-abortion activists and politicians; I assure you, I’m not. I am talking about me. I need to look my own sin in the eye, see it for what it is, and repent daily. I am guilty of the same selfish ambition, the same lust, and the same love of comfort and ease that enables so many to justify killing their own children. I am guilty of the same apathy, laziness, and cowardice that causes many more to stand by and do nothing.
My only hope is in the gospel of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of my sin, and for the ability to turn from it and do what is right. It is your only hope, and it is this nation’s only hope.
More by this author: What does it mean for Christians to love our neighbours in the time of COVID 19? Click here to find out.