Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

LETTER: Please, some respect for what you have taken

Abbotsford-raised pastor rails against ‘constant condescension’ of Dr. Henry

Dear Minister Dix:

It goes without saying that your tenure as health minister has been the most challenging in the history of British Columbia, and as a citizen of Canada and resident of the province of British Columbia, I thank you for all the seen and unseen efforts you have made on all our behalf.

That said, I feel compelled as a faith leader to request that people of faith be given the respect that is so overtly presented to every other particular group in this great province.

The constant condescension by Dr. Henry, purporting to tell us “what faith is” and the endless patronization – as if the government “understands” anything at all about what constitutes faith itself, let alone its practice – has long past worn thin.

It is apparent that you, sir, have some part of you that does understand faith, that does comprehend and appreciate that effectively closing houses of worship for most of the past year – denying fellowship, and lamely proposing anemic alternatives – is embarrassing and beneath all of us. I appeal to that part of you: give faith communities respect.

I appreciate that you may, in your position, both believe and feel compelled to maintain your position in terms of health orders. That is your purview, and is perhaps beyond your ability to do otherwise.

However, what you have the liberty to do in this season is to please stop pretending that videos and emails are in some way theologically, spiritually, and humanly sufficient to “carry on.” Surely your Anglican roots impressed upon you the critical and vital appreciation that Immanuel – God-With-Us…Jesus – came physically to engage the visceral humanity in all of us. There is not only no replacement for the physically proximal, but to remotely convey such condescension is unconscionable and, in fact, inhuman.

Good sir, I beg you: at the risk of alienating permanently the approximately two million British Columbians who practise religion, at least stop pretending that there is somehow a virtual replacement for thousands of years of physical, incarnational ministry. Tell us this is wrong. Tell us this is not OK. Tell us this is, in fact, an evil, however necessary, and stop with the platitudes. We are in your corner, but cannot for much longer be told this “isn’t a big deal” when it comes to practising a faith more than a dozen times older than the nation of Canada itself.

As an authority over us, we pray for you. As fellow human beings, we see the toll on you and your peers. What I ask of you is not to change a thing, other than the simple act of changing the way you speak to religious people. This endless charade of containment has robbed the approximately two million-plus residents of B.C. who participate in regular worship of vital, irreplaceable and hard-won freedoms that are deeply wounding to have taken from us. I believe you in some way appreciate this.

Today’s offer of a government-hired “guru” to “help us figure out” how to “do our holidays” was frankly, a PR disaster. Faith leaders from traditions dating back to Ancient Rome or earlier don’t require the province of British Columbia to find or source us “help.” We can manage, thanks. But what we would appreciate is some respect for what you have taken from us, the cost to our people, and an acknowledgment that nothing replaces what we have laid down in order to support you and your efforts.

Rev. Aaron Dyck

Gateway Baptist Church, Victoria

(raised in Abbotsford)

(Editor’s Note: Rev. Aaron Dyck was initially connected with Gateway Baptist Church in Surrey, when in fact he is from the Gateway Baptist Church in Victoria.)

CoronavirusReligion

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Surrey Fire Service is on scene of a fire in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue Saturday morning (April 10). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews on scene of house fire

It happened in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

Surrey RCMP are looking for these two men after a bank in the 12800-block of 96th Avenue was robbed on March 12. (Images: Surrey RCMP)
Police release images of two men suspected of robbing Surrey bank

Robbery happened on March 12 at bank in 12800-block of 96th Avenue

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

People stroll through rows of tulips in bloom during the Tulips of the Valley Festival on May 2, 2017. The colourful spring event, now called Chilliwack Tulips, opens on Sunday, April 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fraser Valley tulip attraction returns this weekend for 1 month

More than 6.5 million bulbs in all at this year’s colourful Chilliwack Tulips event

Most Read