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'Dark Days for Religious Liberty': Journalist Likens Canadian Church Arsons to 'Kristallnacht'

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As the fires continue to burn in Canada, one right-leaning journalist is likening the rash of church arsons to the early signs of the systematic persecution of Jewish people in the lead up to Nazi Germany.

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Ezra Levant, founder of the right-leaning outlet Rebel News, shared his concerns Wednesday, during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

“I’m reluctant to use the word ‘Kristallnacht,’ because we’re not there yet,” he said. “That was the ‘Night of the Broken Glass’ in pre-Holocaust Germany, where they smashed and burned and killed Jewish synagogues. It was a precursor to the Holocaust.”

“Obviously,” Levant continued, “we are not that far gone yet. But what do you call it when literally dozens of churches are being systemically vandalized, torched?

The conservative commentator’s remarks come as several churches — mostly belonging to Catholic or Anglican denominations — have been burned to the ground amid the discovery of unmarked graves at erstwhile schools for indigenous children.

Roughly 150,000 indigenous Canadians were forced to attend the “Indian residential school system,” which was largely operated by the Catholic Church, over a period of 120 years. In 2015, a government commission concluded the system was guilty of a so-called “cultural genocide” against indigenous people groups.

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Since May, more than 1,100 unmarked graves of children have been discovered on the former grounds of those long-shuttered schools in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered a soft condemnation of the attacks in late June, saying “destroying places of worship” is “not the way to go.”

He offered a bit of a stronger message late last week, calling the arsons “unacceptable and wrong,” adding, though, that he “understand[s] the anger.”

“But I can’t help but think that burning down churches is actually depriving people who are in need of grieving and healing and mourning from places where they can grieve and reflect and look for support,” the prime minister said.

Despite Trudeau’s comments, the leader of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, endorsed the arsons, calling for even more churches to be set ablaze.

“Burn it all down,” tweeted Harsha Walia, executive director of the association, according to CBN News.

And Gerald Butts, the former Canadian principal secretary to Trudeau, described the arsons as “understandable.”

First Nations leaders and members, though, are calling for an end to the church fires. Jenn Allan-Riley, an indigenous Pentecostal minister, said such actions are “not our native way.”

“We do not have people,” she said. “We do not spread hate. We love people. We do not destroy other people’s places of religion. We’re asking for people who are setting these fires to stop now.”

Levant, for his part, rebuked Trudeau for not offering a bolder condemnation of what he described as an “anti-church hate crime wave.”

“Justin Trudeau, who is normally the first and the wokest, waited a week before saying anything,” he explained. “And he literally said, ‘That’s not the way to go.’ That was as tough as he got.”

Levant took a dig at the prime minister for being more focused on banning free speech on the internet than on ending the assault on churches in Canada, including one Protestant congregation of Vietnamese refugees.

“I think these are dark days for religious freedom in Canada,” he concluded.

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church