Wednesday May 22, 2013
The Canadian HolocaustReverend Kevin Annett, M.A., M.Div. Salem-News.com
Churches in Canada have been officially indemnified and exonerated from any liability in crimes against humanity.
(DAYTONA BEACH, FL) - “Reason is a divine faculty; for truth resides within us before it takes form in the world; and it is in the army of Free Enquirers that we enter to counter all error and corruption. The weapons of this warfare are not carnal, but spiritual, for the light of Reason shall dispel all ignorance and oppression. All doctrines founded in fraud, or nursed by fear, shall be confounded by the light of truth. We shall bring to light the hidden works of darkness, and drive falsity to the bottomless pit.”
The man who published those words on October 17, 1761 boldly plastered them in large broadsheets all over the walls of London’s poor east end, as part of his personal campaign to defy the power of the church of England, and publicly challenge the superstitions and untruths he found within the Bible. Two months later, he was arrested by special agents of the church known as Watchmen, and dragged before the Court of King’s Bench on a charge of blasphemy and treason, brought by the crown of England. He was found guilty, whipped and branded, and stuck in the public stocks at Charing Cross where he was pelted with derision and garbage. Although nearly 70 years of age, he was then thrown into Bridewell prison to serve hard labor for a year; and when released, he died alone and in poverty soon after, feared and shunned by official society.
The man’s name was Peter Annett. He was one of England’s most courageous free thinkers, and a man who directly inspired Voltaire, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson.
Peter Annett was also my ancestor.
Well, some things never change. Over the centuries, the tag-team oppression by church and state has never halted when vested interests are threatened. And fortunately, the spirit and example of our ancestors who challenged that power runs just as thickly through time, and enters us anew, enlisting us in the same eternal warfare that Peter Annett spoke of: that of free thought and free inquiry confronting injustice, ignorance and criminal actions by religious bodies.
Like Peter Annett, I’ve tasted the lash of a church hierarchy backed by the power of the state, and experienced firsthand how untouchable and absolute is their power to repress truth, to rape, to kill and to subvert and evade justice. In 1761 or 2012, our adversary is the same: those who assume that, representing something called God, they can destroy with neither regret, nor consequence.
In Canada alone, more than 50,000 children died or disappeared in so-called Indian residential schools run by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and United Church of Canada for more than a century, right up until 1996. Not a single man or woman, and no church official, has ever been tried, or even indicted for the deaths of these children. These children died from rape, torture, germ warfare, slave labor, medical experimentation, involuntary sterilizations, and every assault defined as genocide by the UN Convention on Genocide. And these crimes were not random or solitary, but a matter of policy by church and state, formulated in 1907 in Ottawa, where the decision was made to wipe out the remaining aboriginal nations under the guise of education.
I have personally surveyed twenty-eight mass grave sites across Canada that are holding the bones of some of these children; and last November we began to excavate and repatriate some of these remains from the Church of England residential school in Brantford, Ontario, from whence more than half of the Mohawk children that were imprisoned there never returned.
A similar proportion of native children here in America suffered and died under the same regime of state-funded and church-run Indian schools. Last year, I sat with survivors of Jesuit schools in South Dakota and Washington State who described seeing children, living and dead, buried under the floor boards of Jesuit-run schools as recently as 1972.
You’d think that any organization responsible for this kind of slaughter would have long ago faced a major criminal investigation, or at least, a thorough exposure and condemnation in the press and in the halls of government and justice. Not in this case.
Far from being held accountable for this genocide, the Roman Catholic and various Protestant churches in Canada have been officially indemnified and exonerated from any liability in what are clear and obvious crimes against humanity. They’ve even been rewarded for their crimes, by having their legal bills and payouts to survivors paid for by the taxpayers. And, just as in Ireland, where catholic church officials and priests raped and worked to death countless young girls in their Magdalene laundries and orphanages, these churches even control the official legal process that investigates their iniquities; in a way like a serial killer nominating the judge and jury at his trial. When it comes to these guilty churches, crime certainly does pay.
Seen against the wider backdrop of five centuries of colonial conquest, just war and the slaughter of tens of millions of native people around the world by every major European Christian empire, this enormous wrong is perhaps not surprising. But the question nevertheless must be posed: Who are we, that our culture could have inflicted the worst genocide in human history, right on this continent, in the name of Jesus Christ, a genocide that continues to the present day? I have struggled with this question ever since I was a young, naïve Protestant clergyman in my United Church of Canada parish in Port Alberni, Canada. My denomination had sponsored a by-then defunct local residential “school” that had psychologically traumatized and caused the deaths of uncounted numbers of Native children over the 80 years of its existence. My decision to allow residential school survivors to speak from my pulpit, and to speak out myself on these crimes, eventually resulted in my being expelled from my church denomination.
What was amazing, at the time, was not simply my naiveté in misunderstanding the nature of that to which I belonged, but my belief that, once I brought the truth to light, once we opened the secret archives, once we allowed eyewitnesses to speak of the crimes, and once we unearthed the remains of the murdered children, that this exposure would cause things to change, and the guilty would be brought to justice.
To paraphrase Captain Willard in the film Apocalypse Now, charging these groups with mass murder would be like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. Christian Canada was simply doing what came naturally to it when it ordered that all non-Christians who didn’t get off their land and destroy themselves would themselves be destroyed, down to the very last child. This is our nature, as a part of European Christendom and its secular, corporate descendents.
In his book The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the Future of America, Richard Rubenstein writes,
“The culture that made the death camps possible was not only indigenous to the west but was an outcome of Europe’s fundamental religious tradition, that insists upon the dichotomous division of mankind into the elect and the doomed.”
Rather than recount for you the gruesome details of this genocide on the land we inhabit, which can be followed on my website www.hiddennolonger.com, I want to explore Rubenstein’s statement to illustrate how the ongoing war of terror that our culture is inflicting on our planet, on foreign peoples and nations, and on our own children, is not the result of bad people, or a bad policy somewhere, but is inherent in our religion, our culture, and the very foundations of who we are as a people.
For nearly two millennia, European genocide has been a tool of the state and the Christian church, an act of religious faith, and so internalized that it is even seen and professed as a law of nature.
European genocide emerged from a simple notion: that the strong, or the elect, have the right to exterminate the weak, or those who are different, by one means or another, and with the divine sanction of God. Further, this extermination was a profoundly necessary act of faith, and represented a form of spiritual cleansing. This was an idea rooted in two sources: Greek philosophy and the Old Testament, both of which were foundational to what became Christianity.
In Deuteronomy Chapter 7, the god Yahweh cannot tolerate other gods or beliefs, or the people who profess them, and instructs his followers to destroy all such people. Loyalty to Yahweh can only be proved by waging war against all other gods, for, to quote Yahweh himself, “I am a jealous god and you shall have no other gods before me.”
The description of the god of the Old Testament is characterized as a psychotic warlord. And yet this brutal intolerance arises from an even more basic belief with Judaeo-Christianity, namely, that one is made holy, and sanctified, through the blood offering of another. Murder and sanctity are one. Becoming holy is a violent act, coming from an ancient tribal practice of “setting apart and cleansing” an animal or person for sacrifice: an act called Qadash in Hebrew.
We are made holy and better, in other words, by the ritual slaughter of others: and not just any others, but those who are especially pure and innocent – the “perfect sacrifice” to the Lord. Was not the most perfect human being – God’s very own son Jesus – sacrificed for the sanctification of the human race?
Hold that idea in your minds, for it is the core paradigm in western culture, the seed from which the tree of genocide and the rape of childhood arose. Without understanding this notion (purification through the ritual slaughter of the innocent) we will not understand or be able to face and change the deep hold that genocide has over us and our history.
Fast forward from Biblical times to the year 1095, long after the Christian church merged with and became the new Roman Empire.
In that year, Pope Urban declared to the Christian knights of the first crusade against Islam that any act of violence, rape, pillage or murder committed in the service of the Catholic Church would be pardoned, since such violence would restore the perpetrator to “a state of original grace, devoid of sin.” This absolution was known as an Indulgence.
Indulgences became a handy way for money-strapped popes to bail themselves out of their debts, by declaring to the brain-dead “faithful” that suddenly, the deceased were all in hell and could only get delivered from there with enough payments for special prayers made on their behalf. But more basically, the idea of Indulgence was that a pope could cleanse anyone of their sins once they slaughtered so-called enemies of the church: meaning, anyone who wasn’t a Catholic.
The Vatican made all this divine slaughter legal in 1455 and 1493, when Pope Nicholas and then Pope Alexander issued Papal Bulls, which declared that any non-Christian had no right to their land or themselves, and Christian kings had the duty and power to “invade, search out, capture and destroy all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and reduce them and their descendants to a state of perpetual slavery, and slay those who resist.”
Those laws, which are still on the books in Rome, gave legal and moral sanction to the genocide of over 90% of the original people in the Americas and Canada; and it still guides all the laws and political decisions regarding Indians among us today.
Genocide, in short, is good for the souls of not only the conquered, but the conquerors.
In 1824, US Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story declared,
“As infidels, heathens and savages, the Indians are not allowed to possess the prerogatives and rights belonging to sovereign and independent nations, owing to their status as enemies of the Christian faith.”
Under Canadian law, native people are still dependent wards of the state, unable to own their own land, which they merely occupy at the pleasure of their conquerors. Under Canada’s apartheid Indian Act (about which Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently stated there was no need to repeal it), any native on reserve can be expelled, imprisoned, hospitalized and given treatments without their consent, and they have no recourse to the charter of rights.
Naturally, such legal slaves have had no recourse but to be slaughtered, especially when all of this continent’s European powers operated under something called the Doctrine of Discovery, based on a Roman legal term called Res Nullius. Res Nullius means “no-one’s property”, namely, that those lands and people targeted for conquest by an imperial power, were legally and socially nullified beforehand, and were therefore not actually recognized as living human beings.
In summary, it is hardly necessary for well-meaning non-natives to bemoan and wonder why so many Indians and their children continue to die at genocidal mortality rates, are over-represented in prisons, or are regularly murdered with impunity by police, corporations and the white over-class. That is the arrangement. That is how we got this land and how we hold onto it.
You and I may not have directly caused or formulated this genocide, but those of us who were born into white privilege live off its avails. The major issues to ponder now are: how could it have been different? Can it be different going forward? Where are the acts of true repentance from the churches?
And can we somehow wipe away the bloody legacy of North America’s anti-gospel Christendom, and live according to what the Six Nations call The Great Law of Peace and Equality?
We all must confront these questions.
A Canadian clergyman, Kevin Annett has for nearly twenty years led the movement to bring to light and prosecute atrocities in Christian “Indian residential schools”, and win justice for survivors. Expelled in 1995 from his former United Church of Canada for exposing murders in that church’s Indian residential schools, and persecuted and blacklisted for his efforts, Kevin is now an award-winning film maker, author, social activist and public lecturer who works with victims of church violence and genocide all over the world. In 2009, he helped to establish the five-nation International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State, which is seeking to indict church and government leaders for crimes against humanity.
As a result of Kevin’s tireless efforts on behalf of native people, the Canadian government was forced to issue a public “apology” and reparations program concerning Indian residential schools, in July of 2008. In giving him the name Eagle Strong Voice in 2007, Anishinabe elder Louis Daniels declared, “Kevin Annett is doing what few of his people have done, and that is to speak about the crimes they committed against many of our nations and their children. He has earned a place forever in our hearts and history. He is a brave and prophetic man. I ask everyone to welcome him and heed his voice.” And scholar Noam Chomsky wrote in 2006, “Kevin Annett is more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than many of those who have received it.”
Special thanks to Bill Annett
Articles for September 28, 2012 | Articles for September 29, 2012 | Articles for September 30, 2012
|Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | Copyright © 2013 Salem-News.com | news tips & press releases: email@example.com.|