We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own peril

Confronting the horrors of our past and trying to make things right isn’t an easy task but a peace comes from doing the right thing

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own perilIt seems that everywhere we turn we find a new scandal, some memory from the past that haunts us. Though virtually every state and institution has something to hide, there’s something liberating in speaking the truth. While his tenure hasn’t been without controversy, many around the world have been relieved to see the openness and…

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?

Basketball player Jeremy Lin believes you can be the bigger person and still tell someone that their words and actions are unacceptable

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?Jeremy Lin is probably best known to basketball fans for “Linsanity,” the amazing streak of clutch and dramatic moments he had with the New York Knicks in 2012. Many Canadians know Lin for the spark he brought to the court when the Toronto Raptors won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship in 2019. Lin recently…

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?

Basketball player Jeremy Lin believes you can be the bigger person and still tell someone that their words and actions are unacceptable

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?Jeremy Lin is probably best known to basketball fans for “Linsanity,” the amazing streak of clutch and dramatic moments he had with the New York Knicks in 2012. Many Canadians know Lin for the spark he brought to the court when the Toronto Raptors won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship in 2019. Lin recently…

Money isn’t the root of all evil. Greed is

How can a Christian support politics and economics that result in a world where over 700 million people live on less than $2 a day?

Money isn’t the root of all evil. Greed isLarry Richards is a friend of mine from high school who has become a very popular speaker among conservative Catholics in North America. I watched one of his social media posts recently and he made a point that few would disagree with, but it’s a message many may not like. Larry pointed out that according…

Poverty often at the root of racism, hate

Teaching critical thinking skills is vital in promoting honest and respectful dialogue. Yet schools are underfunded

Poverty often at the root of racism, hateEarly-20th-century electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz said, “There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.” Steinmetz is right. Asking questions is vital in seeking truth and finding wisdom. Many things are happening in the world where the narrative perpetrated simply doesn’t make sense. We’re told, for example,…

This is Canada’s moment to change the world

Declaring what China is doing to Uighurs genocide is a good first step. But will Canada follow through?

This is Canada’s moment to change the worldCanadian Parliament recently took a stand on a human rights issue as courageous as Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney’s opposition to South African apartheid in the 1980s and Stephen Harper’s apology for residential schools in 2008. On Feb. 22, by a vote of 266 to zero, the House of Commons voted to recognize China’s treatment…

Baseball showed how racism can be overcome

Racism is pointless and will inevitably fail, as it did in baseball. But it is part of our history

Baseball showed how racism can be overcomeMy earliest memories of baseball revolve around the 1969 Chicago Cubs. Enthusiasm just resonated off Wrigley Field as the great Ernie Banks chimed, “Let’s play two!” Regardless of the disastrous finish to that season for the Cubbies, a love for the game was planted in my soul as a seven-year-old. These heroes were larger than…

Only respect for diversity will defeat extremism

Imagine what the Nazis would have done if they had access to today’s social media platforms

Only respect for diversity will defeat extremismI recently showed Steven Spielberg’s classic film about the Holocaust, Schindler’s List, to a group of students. Watching Nazi soldiers terrorizing and murdering Jewish people, I thought to myself that on some level they had to have known that what they were doing was wrong. Yet they seemed to be unaffected. Were they impacted at…

One step at a time toward a better self, a better world

Choosing to walk instead of drive is good for your body and mind, benefits the environment and ultimately helps the economy

One step at a time toward a better self, a better worldI’ve asked myself this question every day for much of my adult life, and I now realize it’s one of the keys to my happiness and good health: Do I really need to drive to work today? I first began asking myself this question almost out of necessity when living in an overcrowded tropical city…

Integrity and accountability are key to democracy

Failure to accept responsibility, especially by those in government, will create polarization and resentment

Integrity and accountability are key to democracyWhile most people agree that those who attacked the American Capitol buildings on Jan. 6 should be arrested and charged for their crimes, some say the politicians who may have been behind the attack shouldn’t even be investigated. Their argument is that there’s already enough polarization in the United States and this would make the…

What Marx and Jesus have in common

Movements always endure if they embrace equality, justice, pursuit of truth, and a deep respect for each person with no exceptions

What Marx and Jesus have in commonMy favourite textbook in university was entitled Marxism, an American Christian Perspective. Other students would hear me talk about it and ask, “Aren’t those two perspectives diametrically opposed? Didn’t Marx call religion ‘the opiate of the people’? Aren’t the Christian churches opposed to Marxism?” The most fundamental disagreement between the two schools of thought is…

Trump is a case study in bad leadership

Good leaders respect themselves and others, listen, celebrate differences of opinion and understand that winning means creating circumstances where everyone benefits

Trump is a case study in bad leadershipMany people have criticized Donald Trump’s actions in recent months, yet he still received more votes than any losing presidential candidate in American history. Many clearly think he’s a great leader. Perhaps Trump is the Vince Lombardi of presidents. The legendary football coach is known for having said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”…

To protect democracy, we must protect local media

Our 21st-century reliance on tech giants to supply us with information has resulted in fake news, clickbait and polarized societies

To protect democracy, we must protect local mediaIt’s not news to say that our consumption of media has changed dramatically in the 21st century. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look objectively at the impact of these changes and begin thinking about how our media can be improved. For most of the 20th century, the media was controlled by…

The truth has a way of making you feel better

There’s a correlation between social activism and happiness. But which comes first?

The truth has a way of making you feel betterAmerican educator and philosopher Cornel West said, “If you are always trying to do something for a cause bigger than you – connected with serving others – then it’s hard to be guilty.” I can’t listen to West without feeling inspired and joyful, yet he’s not a man who compromises the truth when he speaks.…

A child’s bad behaviour is what they do, not who they are

As a teacher, I have never worked with a bad child but I have seen a fair amount of bad behaviour

A child’s bad behaviour is what they do, not who they areIn the early 20th century, Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town said, “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.” Modern research is proving Flanagan correct. According to York University researcher Stuart Shanker, children often misbehave due to the stress that they feel. If we remove or…

The year the world finally said, ‘Enough is enough!’

It’s difficult to call colonization and the theories that perpetuate and justify it to this day anything but the sinful antithesis of love

The year the world finally said, ‘Enough is enough!’The year 2020 has been like none other. Not only has the world been impacted by a devastating global pandemic, we have finally begun to honestly reckon with the negative impact of colonialism. Boston College moral theology Prof. Mary Jo Iozzio recently stated, “The present state of dis-ease in the United States stems from centuries…

Why being wrong can be a good thing

Life is not about always being right, it's about being on good terms with others, and willing to listen and learn

Why being wrong can be a good thingOne of the great joys of being human is that we are always learning, but that often requires keeping an open mind. In fact, we often find that we're wrong – even if we don't like to be told we're wrong. This normally brings a defensive reaction from us and we become argumentative. However, if we want to…

What happens when capitalism lacks a soul?

Corporations have created a structure that’s unsustainable on political, economic, environmental and even spiritual levels

What happens when capitalism lacks a soul?In recent decades across the globe, the super rich have been getting richer while the middle class shrinks. This is a danger not only to our economy but to democracy itself. Unfortunately, while millions of people have lost their livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic, the richest of the super rich have seen their assets balloon.…

How to raise a generation of moral, courageous rebels

Personality and upbringing play a significant role in developing moral character, but certain aspects can be taught

How to raise a generation of moral, courageous rebelsThe primary goal of teaching Social Studies in British Columbia is “to give students the knowledge, skills and competencies to be active, informed citizens who are able to think critically.” We want to produce students who can think for themselves and have the moral courage to advance our society in an ethical manner. Accomplishing this…

A guide to looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis

A guide to looking beyond the COVID-19 crisisThe world is going through difficult times. COVID-19 is not only testing us physically, it has created an economic crisis for many. And it’s taking a psychological toll on all of us. When facing challenging times, I’ve found that certain resources always provide hope and a way forward. Viktor Frankl wrote his classic Man’s Search …

Attacking activists doesn’t make them wrong

Life doesn't always go well for those who challenge the powerful

Attacking activists doesn’t make them wrongAmerican intellectual and longtime social activist Noam Chomsky has been described by a term that’s deeply offensive: a self-hating Jew. There’s nothing hateful about Chomsky. He’s a sojourner of truth and a voice of reason. In a recent interview, Chomsky talked about the roots of his activism. He was brought up in an educated Jewish…

Shaking off colonial shackles no easy task

Shaking off colonial shackles no easy taskWhen studying historical documents, it’s fascinating to observe that regardless of how a statement was received at the time it was delivered, messages of truth, integrity and greatness endure through the ages. My French class and I recently examined two speeches of note that were made on June 30, 1960, the day the Congo won…

Freedom and responsibility two sides of same coin

Freedom and responsibility two sides of same coinPsychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl made many trips to the United States. He appreciated the sense of freedom experienced by Americans, but added, “I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” Freedom and responsibility seem to mean different things to…

Lose sight of justice and society starves

Trump poured gasoline on the flames of misogyny and racism and put the lives of millions of people at risk

Lose sight of justice and society starvesAmer Zahr, a teacher of Islamic law, points out that while eating pork is forbidden, it’s allowed out of necessity in cases of extreme hunger. Zahr is also a Palestinian-American comedian, and in a recent monologue, he stated that in the 2020 presidential election he chose ham over starvation. He has a point. Much of…

The return of the Armenian Genocide must be stopped

Putting the health of the people in the South Caucasus at risk puts us all at risk. Diseases spread and mutate rapidly in refugee camps

The return of the Armenian Genocide must be stoppedWhen teaching history, it’s rare that an issue more than 100 years old becomes a current events lesson, but that’s what happened as I began teaching about the Armenian Genocide. The Ottoman Empire is responsible for the death of 1.5 million Armenians, primarily under the cover of the First World War. The empire collapsed after…

The beauty of secularism

The beauty of secularismIt’s disturbing to learn that someone in the same profession was murdered while walking home from work. Samuel Paty, who taught a curriculum similar to mine, was beheaded by an extremist outside of Paris on Oct. 16. Paty presented material in previous weeks as part of a study of freedom of speech that some found…

Shedding the destructive legacy of the baby boomers

Someone said, ‘Greed is good’ and we repeated it. But the only thing that matters when you die is your legacy

Shedding the destructive legacy of the baby boomersI have to apologize to the youth of the world for the state we find ourselves in. Yes, great things have happened in my lifetime. We watched the fall of the Berlin Wall and we have taken some steps in the progress of human rights. But the legacy of the baby boomer generation leaves little…

The people versus Donald Trump

When a leader suggests he will subvert the democratic process, voters have recourse. We’ve seen it in the Philippines and elsewhere

The people versus Donald TrumpAn apocryphal story circulated in the Philippines in the early 1980s of a dinner party conversation between President Ferdinand Marcos and Catholic Bishop Jaime Sin. Marcos reportedly said, “I really admire those Americans. They know the results of their presidential elections the day of the election.” In response, Sin reportedly said, “Well how about us…
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