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Why is it illegal to burn the churches that burned children

Why is it illegal to burn the churches that burned children?


Why is it illegal to burn the churches that burned children?

Blowback, Payback, and Judgement in the Great White North

by Kevin Annett 


Crows Coming Home to Roost: The recently torched St. Anne's Anglican Church in Toronto

“Then the priest took that baby and threw it into the furnace alive. You could hear it cry ‘Uhh!’ and there was a ‘pop’ and you could smell its flesh cooking.”- Irene Favel, describing the incineration of a newborn native child at the Catholic Muscowequan Indian residential school in Saskatchewan in the spring of 1944
“They ran out of ground to do any more burials, so they started burning the kids’ bodies. The priests got us to do it at night so the smell wouldn’t be so noticeable. But everybody knew.” – Geronimo Henry, survivor of the Anglican Mohawk Indian residential school in Brantford, Ontario from 1957 to 1966
“They were tiny, those two little skulls. Baby skulls, right there in the school ovens. I still get afraid thinking about it. The Principal said we’d get burned up too if we told anybody.” – Lillian Shirt, describing finding children’s remains at the United Church’s Edmonton Indian Residential school in the fall of 1963


Last year, after another Catholic church had been destroyed by fire, I received a phone call from an RCMP officer.

“We’re concerned about all the churches being burned down and we thought you could tell us why it’s happening,” he said gruffly.

Unable to resist such a perfect straight line, I replied quickly,

“Well, frankly, I wonder why it’s not happening more often, considering what the churches have done to all those children.”

The cop gave an audible, frustrated sigh, so I added,

“But I don’t need to tell you guys that. You helped them get rid of the kids’ bodies.”

The Mountie hung up on me and never called back.

The recent furor being raised by white folks over the burning of St. Anne’s Anglican church in Toronto reminds me of a story told by Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel.

One day in 1943, the catholic priest in the village next to the death camp delivered an outraged protest to the camp commandant. The priest wasn’t upset about the daily massacres being conducted on his doorstep. What enraged him was that two drunken S.S. camp guards had broken into his church and stolen some golden plates and candelabras.

The Auschwitz Commandant, Rudolf Hoess, hurriedly apologized to the clergyman and had the objects returned, promising to punish the guards responsible. The fraternal relationship between Church and State was restored, the priest went away satisfied, and the slaughter continued.

Then or now, church people hate it when you damage their stuff. People, even children, are expendable, but church property is not. Just ask the Anglican, Catholic, and United Church pew sitters who lament their incinerated temples but not the 60,000 children they helped to murder in their death camps mislabeled “Indian residential schools”, whose average death rate was double that of Auschwitz. 

Of course, the winners of history get to be like that, since they’re absolved of their sordid mess and get to sing happy hymns on Sundays without batting an eye.

That said, I’ll forego getting preachy on you. Instead, let me echo something posed to me the other day by my street buddy Frank Ermineskin. The battered Cree survivor took a long puff on his joint and exclaimed, 

“Why the fuck shouldn’t we burn down those bloody churches?”

When Frank made his remark, I was telling him how all the wealth and property of the genocidal churches are forfeited under the law and can be seized as reparations; at least, in a just world. But not having been tortured with a cattle prod when I was five or watched my brother get beaten to death, I can afford to be naïve. Frank can’t. Better to just burn the fuckers down: so say the ones whom the Christians have begotten.                                 

chucrch burns

Frank’s people are no strangers to torching cathedrals. Traditionally, it’s the only way they’ve stopped their land from being grabbed and their children from getting sliced and diced by the “Let Us Prey” crowd. In fact, trashing temples is a growing trend in the indigenous world, and not only in Canaduh.

Frank’s distant relatives in the Deep South set a record recently. The Mapuche indigenous people of Chile ignited nearly two dozen catholic churches last year when Curious George Bergoglio (aka ‘the pope on a rope’) came to town. The Mapuches even formed their own army to seize and gut catholic churches across Chile and Argentina.

A furious Curious George missed the point.

Blowback is a funny thing. It’s as inevitable as Newton’s Third Law of Motion but seemingly invisible to those who set it in motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That Law of Return is quite simple: you kill a child and someone or something will exact revenge. The bigger the crime, the greater the push back and payback, regardless of all the official cover ups and self-deluding babble about “healing and reconciliation”.

Canadians still don’t get that. They remain as obtuse as Indian Agent P.D. Ashbridge who blithely remarked, regarding the torching of a United Church death camp in 1940,

“It was extremely troubling to see how the local Indians took such great pleasure in watching the Ahousaht residential school burn to the ground. I cannot for the life of me understand their glee. Nor can I believe that the incident was accidental. Yesterday, another one of their protest petitions was ignored by Principal Caldwell. That night, the school burned.” (

Well, no shit, Sherlock.

At the end of the day, burning churches are no more surprising than the twisted values of Christians who are shocked by gutted buildings but not gutted lives. For since when in our corporate culture did human lives matter more than property? And how else have the propertyless ever resisted their oppressors except by attacking what they love?

Ironically, Jesus made the same inflammatory point when he remarked to his friends,

“See! I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it was already kindled! Do not think that I come to bring peace to the earth. No, not peace, but a sword of division … For every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

That incendiary truth is alive and active among us, toppling all the high towers of official crimes and lies. For indeed, what other Judgement is there on a people like us than a cleansing fire, and a burning church? 

The long arm of justice: Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burns 

on Aboriginal Holocaust Remembrance Day: April 15, 2019 

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