The Worldwide Plague of Racism

Image Credit:  Global Issues

Let’s Start Local…

For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about the overt racism that seems to have found increased acceptance in our society.  Let’s not kid ourselves — there was always racism in our society, but it was generally more covert.  At least, that is my privileged perspective as a white woman who lives on an island that, until very recently, was populated almost exclusively by white people.  Most of my exposure to people of other races was on TV and in movies — and we’re probably all aware of just how biased and full of stereotypes those can be!

I’m quite sure that visible minorities across Canada would quickly tell me that they have experienced and continue to experience overt racism on a regular basis.  Atlantic Canadians don’t have to go very far find clear evidence of racism.  Even the United Nations has noted Nova Scotia’s track record of systemic racism against African-Canadians in a recent report.

I have been very disturbed by the unapologetic racist sentiments we are seeing with greater frequency in the news and on social media.  I am pleased to say that I am not the only one.  At Oasis 2017, our Atlantic Baptist family approved the following statement that was recently released to all of our churches and to the public:

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Fort McMurray Relief Fund

The devastating fires in Fort McMurray, AB, have had a tragic affect on families and communities. Thousands have been displaced without know[ing] if they have a home to go back to. The video and images coming out of the area are heart wrenching. Many of us in Atlantic Canada would know family & friends that have gone out west for work. This tragedy hits close to home for many.
If you’re looking for a way to help here are a few options:

Here is a post that appeared on the CBWC website today:

The CBWC is working with Canadian Baptist Ministries to provide immediate emergency relief and assistance on the ground in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Together, we are working with the Salvation Army, the local Fellowship Baptist Church in Fort McMurray, and others supporting evacuees.

The unpredictability of the wildfires that began this past Tuesday have led the province of Alberta to call a state of emergency, and all of its 80,000 residents have been forced to flee with the fires having burned through about 85,000 hectares of land already. Mass convoys and airlifts are now getting thousands of evacuees to safety further south.

We continue to pray for the safety of all those impacted by the fire, who have lost their lands, homes and communities, as well as for all the emergency personnel on the ground, including the fire crews, military, RCMP officers, EMS workers, and all those who are working tirelessly to control the fires and keep residents safe.

Make a donation to the Fort McMurray relief effort in Alberta today. Your donations will automatically be designated to help people in need during this crisis. We thank you for your crucial support in caring for those in need in times of emergency.

CABC Alpha Workshop

Reposted from the CABC website:

In case you weren’t able to get to the CABC Alpha Workshops or join our livestream earlier this month, we recorded one and have it available for you here. The workshops were hosted by hr CABC and Alpha Canada led by Greg Jones (CABC) & Shaila Visser (National Director, Alpha Canada). This workshop was recorded at Bridgewater Baptist Church, Bridgewater, NS on April 5, 2016.

Trouble viewing video? Click here:

More info on how your church can use Alpha and the new materials being released, go to

Physician-Assisted Suicide & Palliative Care: A Brief Update

Reposted from the CABC website:

Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death is a watershed issue for Canadian society. But it is also an incredible opportunity for Canadian Christians (and churches) to offer their communities a different perspective on life, death, dignity, suffering, community and worship. How we deal with life – with all of its joys, sorrows, challenges and celebrations – and how we face death, say more to our families and neighbours about our faith than the most well-constructed sermons or evangelistic programs.

Perhaps no other issue so clearly illustrates the difference between a life rooted in Christian faith and one based on secularly-reasoned political correctness. The contrast is stark. Raymond de Souza notes that the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide signals 3 revolutions in jurisprudence: Abandoning the legal principle that every life is always a good to be protected; Embracing the idea that suicide is a social good; and removing the particular obligation of the law to protect the weak and vulnerable.

“I am a 19-year-old university student with Type 1 Diabetes – a chronic, incurable and serious disease that causes me daily suffering. I do not think doctor assisted suicide should be accessible to anyone. People living with Type 1 Diabetes are at high risk of depression, and can experience diabetes burnout. If I ever got to that place, I would not want to live in a society in which taking my life was both easy and socially acceptable. I am especially worried for the vulnerable in our society, including those with disabilities, the poor, and people with mental illness.” – Rachel McNally

God is at work in the land and He invites us to join Him as He changes Atlantic Canada, one neighbourhood and one community at a time. As we care for the weak and vulnerable, those who suffer and those who mourn, our love will bear witness to our faith in ways that are powerful and transformative!

The CABC is producing resources to help churches grapple with this issue. In the meantime, below is a brief backgrounder to help you begin to have conversations about this very important issue (you can also download this in PDF format:

Dr. Lois Mitchell, Director of CABC’s Public Witness & Social Concern

Political Context:

  • February 6, 2015 – the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that criminal code prohibitions against Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death are unconstitutional and gave Parliament 12 months to write legislation to permit and govern the practice;
    • In giving their ruling (Carter vs. Canada), the conditions under which Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death could be sought were:
      • When the person clearly consents to the termination of life, and
      • Has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.
    • Some immediate concerns were raised:
      • The wording is quite vague;
      • There is no reference to death being “imminent” or even that the illness or condition under which Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death is sought is terminal;
      • Rules are likely to be interpreted more and more permissively over time (the slippery slope argument);
      • Impact on physicians/health care providers who do not support the legislation;
      • To what extent does this decision reflect (or impact) the economics of care?
  • July 2015 – the Federal Government appointed a three-person panel to consult with Canadians. This included an online consultative process, open to all Canadians, as well as presentations made by interveners to the Panel.
  • Fall 2015 – The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) prepared a Declaration on Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia and circulated it across the country with hopes of getting 10,000 signatures before Feb. 6, 2016. The deadline is extended to July 6, 2016. To date there are over 19,000 individual signatories. The leaders of over 30 Christian denominations and over 20 Jewish and Muslim leaders from across the country have endorsed the Declaration. See to add your signature.
  • Conversations are ongoing amongst faith-based groups across the country as we attempt to provide reasoned responses to the recommendations of the Panel AND facilitate healthy conversations amongst our own faith communities.

Cultural Context:

Cultural trends that have contributed to where we find ourselves:

  • A focus on individual rights and the accompanying sense that we should be independent & autonomous;
  • A sense that a compassionate society is one that protects its citizens from “suffering”;
  • A pace of life that suggests that caring for the aged or disabled is a burden.

When one considers the arguments that have been compelling within our society amongst those who favour Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death, they fall into 4 general categories:

    1. Quality of life is compromised by certain illnesses or conditions. BUT, life is a sacred gift (John 16:33).
    2. If a person is not mentally competent or physically able to care for him/herself, they no longer have dignity and every effort should be made, even before they get to that state, to allow them to “die with dignity”. BUT our life is not our own (1Cor. 6:19-20).
    3. No one wants to be a burden to his or her loved ones. BUT, caring for one another is at the heart of the Christian life (Matthew 22:36-40).
    4. No one should have to die in pain and since pain treatments aren’t always effective, Physician-assisted death allows for an easier (and more compassionate) death. BUT, better pain management is the answer, not a premature death AND, in the context of eternal life, suffering does not necessarily end with death (Hebrews 12:1-3).

What Can You Do?

Original CABC post about Euthanasia & Palliative Care:

CABC Statement on Discrimination

Reposted from CABC’s website:

Dear Friends,

[Please read the following excerpt from a press release written by Emmanuel Baptist Church, Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia]:

In September 2015, a board of inquiry with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) found that Sobeys’ staff falsely accused Ms. David of Upper Hammond’s Plains of shoplifting. This false accusation was found to be the result of racial profiling by Sobeys.

Sobeys has appealed the Commission’s decision because they have issues with perceived bias and the approach taken by the Commission’s adjudicator. In other words, Sobeys’ fight appears now to be with the ‘process’ the Commission used and not with Ms. David. Yet Sobeys is knowingly dragging an innocent woman, against whom they racially discriminated, back through the process to serve their own purpose.

To read the full statement and press release see the following link: To read the report of the NS Human Rights Commission, click here:

Rev. Dr. Lennett Anderson of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Hammonds Plains and the Board of Directors of the Church have condemned the injurious actions of Sobeys and are planning public demonstrations. Dr. Anderson and the Church have called upon the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches and all other churches of like-minded persons to stand with them against this injustice.

The Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches recognizes the ongoing reality and challenges of racial discrimination in Atlantic Canada and we stand in solidarity with Ms. David and Emmanuel Baptist Church in their struggle against further injustice.

We applaud the decision of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, which clears Ms. David’s name in this case. We are grateful that Ms. David’s church and community is standing with her as she faces and recovers from this ordeal. We support all peaceful efforts to bring reconciliation when injustice has occurred.

We are deeply disturbed by the continued actions taken by Sobeys in this case. Insofar as Ms. David was wrongly accused of shoplifting, we urge Sobeys to acknowledge the consequences of their actions on Ms. David and spare her from further embarrassment and stress.

We call upon the congregations of the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches to stand together with Ms. David, Emmanuel Baptist Church and, our sisters and brothers in the African United Baptist Association against further racial discrimination. Together we stand for justice and for the fair treatment of all people in our society.

Rev. Dr. Peter Reid
Executive Minister

Other links: