Exvangelical Meditation: Mass Graves and Residential Schools

Whether or not religious abuse is real isn’t up for debate, as the recent discovery of mass graves at residential schools for Native American children continues to prove. I’ve heard some evangelicals use gaslighting language to try to isolate the issue (and to shift blame exclusively on the Catholics, as they are keen to do), but that’s just irresponsible on their part. This issue is much, much bigger than residential schools and reveals the degrees to which white supremacy is ingrained into Christian culture. Converting the heathens and “saving souls” has always been the excuse for genocide against indigenous people, using scare tactics on targeted people groups to steal them away from their own cultures in order to be “civilized.” 

Danish polar explorer and anthropologist (and “father of Eskimology”) Knud Rasmussen’s journals, for example, reveal how missionaries up north stole all the meat supplies for Iniut tribes and only fed those willing to convert. I’ve personally had conversations with Tlingit women whose tongues were cut in such a way by their missionary teachers so that they couldn’t speak their “heathen” language. This was not a “Catholic” problem either– regions of the North were distributed among Christian denominations so they could divide and conquer. We may be shocked at what we are discovering about these residential schools, but it is only the beginning — mark my words. 

And let’s be clear: These atrocities were committed in the name of Jesus. If there is no other name given to men by which we must be saved, experiencing hell on Earth in His name has historically been a great first step toward salvation — especially if you’re not white. Evangelicals will tell you that if those traumatized by the Church do not accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, they will burn in Hell for eternity — that despite the horrible experiences the Indigenous peoples endured, it doesn’t hold a candle to the eternal suffering waiting for them when they are cast into Hell by their loving and perfect Father for not accepting Jesus. I’d argue that if that version of God was real, He wouldn’t be worth worshipping if He didn’t have a little grace toward those tortured in His Son’s name.

Meanwhile, as more and more mass graves are uncovered in these schools, a verse from Ecclesiastes comes to mind: “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (12:14)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s