Quebec Mosque Shooting

As I write now I don't know how to feel. A mosque has been attacked just outside Quebec City. It was attacked, allegedly, by a man who's motives are as of yet unknown, but who has been a vocal supporter of the new US President: Donald Trump.

America is seemingly descending into a nightmare led by a lunatic who would make himself king. Fear and hatred has returned to Canada to such an extent that even I am finding myself tense and a little fearful.

I walked my daughter to school today. That's not uncommon. We live a couple blocks from our local mosque so we run into our Muslim neighbours a little here and there. My wife has attended World Hijab Day (she intends to go again this year, February 1st) and is going to a vigil tonight in support and solidarity of the Muslim community. I wish I could be there too, but my schedule prohibits it. What is uncommon about my walk with my daughter this morning is my own reaction to walking past a couple of (presumably) Muslim guys on the sidewalk.

The two men were in their early-mid twenties and one of them happened to be wearing camouflage pants and hiking/combat boots; the same style I was almost wearing today. We walked by each other without incident. One of them smiled at me and I said "Good morning."  Any other day and that would have been the end of the story.

But not today.

My mind raced through a number of worst-case scenarios that I am, truthfully, embarrassed to admit crossed my mind. For some reason I'm now expecting, subconsciously, some sort of retaliation to come. I can't even force myself to write that "Deep down I know there won't be any retaliation." Because deep down, when it comes to the behaviour of others, I don't know what to believe anymore.

This is what happens when hatred is given legitimacy and when bigotry is given power. 

There are a number of publications reporting that the alleged shooter is a Christian. This much I can say with confidence: He is no Christian. 

Christ never killed nor sought to kill his opponents and enemies while He was ministering on the earth, in fact He died in their place. As Christ gave up His own life, we Christians are called to do the same. 

A number of years ago I wrote an op-ed for a newspaper in Kingston after a self-proclaimed "Christian" was harassing and threatening a lesbian couple in the city. I said then that that is not how Christians ought to behave and it's not how Jesus behaved. I stand by those words. But I received my own share of hate mail for not categorically denouncing homosexuality as a sin. 

My friends, there is a time and a place for such things, this is not it.

Jesus calls us to love our neighbours. Our Jewish neighbours, our Muslim neighbours, our Atheist neighbours, and even our racist and bigoted neighbours. How we do that will vary from person to person and situation to situation. Going into the future, one thing the church needs to remember is that is anyone is to suffer, and if anyone is to die, its us. We die for others like the Lord died for us.

Then they left the presence of the councilrejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. -Acts 5:41

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