York University claims Christianity fuels colonialism
York University claims Christianity fuels colonialism

Toronto’s York University claimed in its recently released “Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy” document that Christianity fuels colonialism – and referred to the religion practiced by millions of Canadians as an “ideology.”

York’s anti-Christian statement comes amid hate crimes against Catholics being on the rise in Canada, and Christianity continuing to be the world’s most persecuted religion.

The university report claims colonialism “is driven by an excessive need for power and control of land, people and resources to achieve economic gain” and that colonialism “dominates all aspects of life.”

“Colonialization is violent, and in many countries, including Canada, it is ongoing. Colonialism is built on racial hierarchies that justify the displacement, enslavement and forced assimilation of colonized peoples,” reads page 9 of the document. 

The report then lumps Christianity, describing the religion as an ideology, with “white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism.”

“Fuelled by specific ideologies, including white supremacy, Christianity, capitalism and imperialism, colonialism depends on the judging of people Indigenous to the lands being colonized as inferior and requires the colonizers to assert superiority as justification for their actions,” the report reads. 

Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity Director Ryan Eras told True North that York’s claim is more ironic than surprising, noting that “the very idea of the university – which York seems to have no difficulty self-identifying as – is inherently Christian.”

Eras added that Christian missionaries have fought to end unjust practices around the world, citing the example of William Carey, who laboured for equal treatment of men and women in India, with his work for the abolition of the traditional cultural practices of widow-burning (sati) and sex-selective infanticide.

He also noted that “diversity is only valuable insofar as it participates in and contributes to unity.” 

York Deputy spokesperson Yanni Dagonas defended the university’s claim that colonialism is fueled by Christianity in an email to True North. 

“Decolonization is foundational to this work and requires a deeper understanding of colonialism, including an acknowledgement of the systems of ideological power that created it, including religiously Christian organizations that have historically oppressed Indigenous peoples,” said Dagonas.

“This should not be seen as commentary on individuals of Christian faith, but rather as a recognition of the responsibility to examine traditional power structures and to address unfair treatment of any community member within these structures.” 

Dagonas added that “York is proud to welcome students from many religious backgrounds, including Christian students. We remain committed to providing a safe environment for our community to live and learn” and that the university “condemns all forms of discrimination, racism and hate, which are contrary to our foundational values as an institution.”

The 2021 Canadian census found that a large number of Indigenous Canadians identify as Christian, with many being Catholic and Anglican. In Quebec, more than half of Indigenous peoples identify as Catholic. 

The Gospel Coalition also notes that many survivors of residential schools continue to practice Christianity.

York’s “Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy” document also touches on the implementation of several woke initiatives and policies in the pursuit of EDI ideology, including “creating spaces for equity-deserving groups”, as well as dedicated spaces for what it calls “chest-feeding.” 

The university also wants social justice training to cover “microaggressions” like “misgendering,” as well as how to “disrupt whiteness.” The document also discusses engaging in more equity hiring.

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