Christchurch, New Zealand is a long way from Vernon, but mass murderers and terrorists are not defined by geography but by their thought world.
Sadly, there are people right here whose thought world has much in common with the Christchurch terrorist.
Regardless of any religious or other rationalization, the root of terrorism is fear of the Other: the one who is different, who cannot be reasoned with, and, in the extreme, whose very existence is seen to be a threat. So it is not enough to condemn terrorism; we must also condemn the habits of thought and speech that fertilize the soil in which terrorism grows.
We must not spread inflammatory posts and memes on social media. We must not characterize people, especially groups, as being all good or all bad, and we must challenge those who do. We must learn how to respectfully and strongly disagree. And finally, when we find ourselves condoning violence, we must take a step back and look for how fear has taken control of our emotions and our ideas.
We at All Saints appreciate that our local Islamic sisters and brothers will be feeling the terrorist attack in Christchurch very acutely, just as any of us would if people like us were specifically targeted for violence and murder. You will be especially in our prayers.
Peace be upon you.
The Rev. Canon Chris Harwood-Jones