Flag should never have flown

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The governments of Newfoundland, St. John’s and Mount Pearl recently decided to display an Anglican-affiliated religious flag on public property. This emblem commemorates Christian “martyrs” and excludes non-Christian victims of persecution.

Telegram letters

I am ardently opposed to all religious violence, but I can’t support a public display that endorses one set of religious beliefs as preferable to all others.

The involvement of  the Anglican Church makes this particularly galling. This is an organization that is directly responsible for the murder of hundreds, if not thousands, of “heretics.” When has the Anglican Church ever flown a flag to commemorate its own bloody history?

Considering the Anglican Church’s history of endorsing religious violence and its ongoing role in the suppression of gay rights, I believe it’s wrong for our secular governments to align themselves with this organization.

Until these churches acknowledge their own role in propagating religious violence, their efforts to commemorate a specific class of “martyr” can only be seen as disingenuous and self-serving. Commemorating Christian victims while ignoring non-Christian victims (particularly victims of Christianity) will only amplify divisions and separate the world into “us” and “them.”

Had I been alive during the height of the Anglican Church’s power, it’s likely that I would have been brutally murdered for disagreeing with its claims. To this day, the Anglican Church has not repudiated the parts of their religious text which explicitly call for the murder of non-believers like me, and they have not issued an apology to their many victims.

If our society is going to commemorate victims of religious violence, let us commemorate all of them — even those the Anglicans would prefer we forget.

Marc-Andre Brien

St. John’s

Organizations: Anglican Church

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Recent comments

  • Randy
    March 29, 2016 - 18:42

    O come on, what happened literally hundreds, thousands, of years ago, has what effect on today?????How silly some things people argue,,,,

  • tom
    March 28, 2016 - 10:01

    The atheists and social justice warriors who promote tolerance are often the most intolerant.

    • Colin Burke
      March 29, 2016 - 16:23

      Right you are. Many who ask for tolerance of their position are virtually admitting that there is no real reason for a rational person actually to approve of it: the best they can expect is that people simply put up with them, so they feign to themselves that tolerance is tantamount to endorsement, just because they endorse tolerance.

    • Skeptical
      March 30, 2016 - 08:01

      The SJWs have more in common with the religious than either group would like to admit. Both groups rely on blind faith rather than evidence when it comes to their core beliefs. And both groups stick their fingers in their ears and scream oppression when the people they've been stomping on challenge their beliefs using civil, rational discourse.

  • A
    March 28, 2016 - 08:40

    Fly no one's flags. No exceptions.

  • Saucy Face
    March 27, 2016 - 20:43

    Well now, I'm a Catholic but aren't you lucky that you weren't 'alive then' as you put it? I suggest that instead of mouthing off about the past that you count your blessings that you are fortunate to live freely today in such a terrible Christian society. Maybe you'd rather be hiding in a garbage bin like a rat under ISIS rule to avoid being decapitated or burned alive in a cage for expressing your views.

  • There is none so blind!
    March 27, 2016 - 15:12

    Everything in NL is equated to LGBT and Gay Rights. So sad ! The Anglican religion has been a great force for advancement and truth in NL. They have a great History, some sad parts of course. I am Catholic and we too had major challenges. Yet when it came to pulling together will all did. Religion aside. The perpetuation that everyone is persecuted is insane. Ok we have these so called disenfranchised , well do something and then u will earn others respect and support Stop whining its sickening. and the journalists are feeding this nonsense!

    • Donna J.
      March 28, 2016 - 15:47

      Your concern for the "so called disenfranchised" reeks of the same Christian "compassion" they greeted the Native peoples with when they took over the New World, or the "love" they leveled against gays, women, non-Christians, other Christians, Muslims, Jews... Persecution in the Americas carries a cross, a gun, a bible, and a flag -- Whether you want to acknowledge these crimes or not.

  • Dr. Brian Sharpe
    March 27, 2016 - 11:10

    Very well said! There are many who share this sentiment and it is rewarding to hear one of us expressing it in such a clear and coherent manner. I also shudder to imagine life as it was under a more powerful church. There are still many places in the world where non-believers are killed for expressing these sentiments.

  • grin
    March 27, 2016 - 00:16

    If the author of this very closed minded piece would have actually listened to the reasons the flag was being raised by the people who actually raised it he would have realized how far off base the points he made are. Governments are publically funded and therefore all inclusive. I'm sure they would fly a flag of your group or faith if you were celebrating something. You should not try to stifle others just because you don't agree with them. The Anglican church of today has many followers in this province, in Canada and throughout the world.

  • Jason MacKenzie
    March 26, 2016 - 17:12

    I see you have still not posted my comment. You folks at the Telegram are cowards. You know that you cannot stand up to the arguments of knowledgeable people, so you choose to suppress them and continue spouting your ignorance. Very well, I leave you to wallow in your mire, then. Good day, and God bless you.

  • P M Shaw
    March 26, 2016 - 13:19

    How many wars can you name that were NOT caused by religious differences & ignorance?

  • Ev
    March 26, 2016 - 08:38

    Unfortunately the so called Christian Denominations back hundreds of years ago were over exuberant in trying to convert heathens to believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus was a man of peace, not violence, He said to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to do good to those that hate us. He did say to go into the whole world and preach His Gospel, but not with violence, this was man's idea because man's heart is evil. Jesus died for our sins, His sacrifice covers all sin, but those that will not accept this and believe in Him and the cross, are still in their sin and will be responsible to pay for their sin when they stand before God at the Great White Throne judgement. If you hear the Gospel and reject Jesus as Saviour, you will be lost, you will have no excuse why you never bent your knee, every knee WILL bend on judgement day and confess Jesus as Lord.

  • Bill
    March 26, 2016 - 07:42

    I guess Dwight will learn quickly that you can't do everything that everyone asks of you when you're in government. You have to show a happy medium. It's a little different than in Opposition Dwight where you can say anything because you don't have to be accountable. You can see the cracks already.

  • mary
    March 26, 2016 - 05:02

    Mr. Brien! You sound very bitter and full of hate! If a family member is seriously ill, who will you pray to? Allah? I am an Anglican and very proud of it! I cannot rectify the misgivings of my ancestors, however, The Almighty is a God of love not hate! God bless you Marc Andre Brien!

    • Donna J.
      March 28, 2016 - 15:52

      Allah is the same god as the Christian god -- you would know that if you were at all literate in Abrahamic religion. Please explain how Mr. Brien is full of hate. Is it because logical argument is in complete contradiction to irrational faith?

  • Jason
    March 26, 2016 - 04:16

    Pray, do tell what these "parts of their religious text which explicitly call for the murder of non-believers" are? If you're referring to certain passages in the Pentateuch (Torah), your point is moot since, as all Christians know, the Old Law had been superceded by the New. Please point to where in the New Testament Our Lord tells us to kill all non-believers.