LETTER: ‘Business as usual’ is not enough

Rev. Cari Copeman-Haynes of North Delta's Crossroads United Church calls on Canadians to defend the freedoms of those most vulnerable.

Rev. Cari Copeman-Haynes of Crossroads United Church.

As a spiritual leader in the community of North Delta, I feel called to speak up about recent events in our nation and world. Many voices have already and will continue to condemn Sunday’s acts of violence at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. Many people have already pledged solidarity with Muslims in our own neighbourhood, encouraging attendance at peaceful vigils in honour of the victims.

My own heart is full of sorrow at this act and others like it. Acts designed to pull people apart at a time when what is needed is to come together. Acts intended to instill fear, suspicion and division based on differences of ethnicity and religion. Acts designed to escalate violence instead of opposing it.

Ideological violence (when someone thinks to themselves, “they are not truly human”) sets the stage for rhetorical violence (when people feel they have permission to speak such thoughts out loud) and finally (as we have seen repeatedly in history) issues in physical violence. The most dangerous situation is when a practitioner of rhetorical violence gains political power.

The timing of this tragedy in Québec City is not coincidental, given the events of the weekend in the United States. The new president’s executive order banning travel into the United States for Muslims in particular has served to lay a foundation for further acts of aggression toward Muslim people everywhere.

We Canadians are known as people of peace. We treasure our civil society and our democratic institutions. However, as the prophet warns, “Do not say ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” I am convinced that it will not be enough, in the current climate, for us to quietly adhere to these values without acting to confirm them.

I wonder if we have taken such institutions for granted and if our muscle memory in defending them has gone a little slack. It’s time to exercise the muscles of civic responsibility and corporate action in defence of the marginalized, the victimized and those under renewed threat of violence, in our communities and our world.

It is time for Canadians, no matter our ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political affiliation, to claim our democratic rights, to defend the freedoms of those most vulnerable and to induce our elected representatives to lead with courage in these disturbing times.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Cari Copeman-Haynes

Crossroads United Church

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta companies asked to contribute through B.C.’s new COVID-19 supply hub

New online hub to co-ordinate, source, expedite supplies and equipment to support front-line workers

Two people fined for trying to re-sell N95 and surgical masks in Delta

Police confiscated over 5,000 masks and are working with Fraser Health to see them put to good use

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

33-storey highrise proposal coming to Surrey council, first of three phases

Second and third phases include 36-storey and 31-storey towers

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

YThrive Home offers dozens of free workout videos for people during COVID-19 self-isolation period

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Most Read