At least ten churches in Alberta, Canada were vandalized on Canada Day, which occurred in the midst of a rise in church burnings across the country.
On the night of June 30, orange and red paint was unlawfully placed on the outside walls of churches in Calgary (Calgary Newsroom). At some churches, windows were broken in an attempt to splatter paint on the interior walls. Most of the churches were found with painted handprints, “215”, and other tags. The event comes in response to the unmarked graves that were recently discovered at defunct residential schools.
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The residential school system that used to be present in Canada cost many Indigenous people their lives and is a painful part of Canadian history. The Calgary police recognized the pain that many have suffered and pledged to participate in reconciliation. However, they added that vandalism is illegal and stirs up more division. Thus, they said they would be going after those who took part in the vandalism.
Religious tension has been high in Canada this year. Several pastors have been fined and imprisoned for holding church services despite commands to stay closed due to the Covid pandemic (Rebel News). Recently, churches across the country have been set on fire. The Alberta premier condemned the alleged arson and called it a “cowardly attack on religious freedom” (City News). President Justin Trudeau called the actions “unacceptable” and said that Canadians all had a role to play in righting past wrongs.