Re: “Grassroots activists slam Youth for Christ once more” (Jan. 20, page 3)

In response to Grassroots activists slam Youth for Christ once more, published January, 20, 2011.

I wish to contextualize a comment in this article where I was quoted as believing Youth for Christ is reminiscent of the Indian Residential Schools (IRS).

This was not an attempt to equate a non-existent youth centre with the IRS experience, and this statement, out of context, is extremely disrespectful to the survivors of the IRS and their families.

Rather, my “belief” is that the mission of YFC is reminiscent of and embodies much of the same intentions that were behind the IRS system – that is, teaching the word of Christ in replacement of another culture, thereby stating the Christian faith is above all others.

Thus, my problem with YFC lies with its mission, which, on their website, states is to teach every young person in Canada the word of Christ and bring them into the Church.

To me, this is problematic for many reasons, not only as a non-Christian who is being told their religion is wrong, but also because YFC is working in an area with a large aboriginal population – a population which because of the IRS experience remains on a path to healing.

The aboriginal community is resilient, though one that is still struggling with the intergenerational impacts of the schools and the continuation of colonization today. I do not claim to be an “expert” on this subject, but what I do know is that there are many community organizations that are working from an Indigenous perspective to both heal their communities and rediscover their cultures, many of which are struggling to keep their doors open.

So, why was it that YFC, an evangelical Christian organization, received a bulk of government funding while other Indigenous community-based organizations continue to struggle for funds? This, to me, is the problem.

Lissie Rappaport

Published in Volume 65, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 3, 2011)

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