If you’ve followed Canadian news recently, you would have heard about an appointment by the Liberal government on January 26, 2023 of Canada’s first “special representative to combat Islamaphobia”. According to Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, “Islamophobia is defined as racism, stereotypes, prejudice, fear, or acts of hostility against Muslims.” I found it curious that the first reaction to that appointment was Quebec’s vocal objection that the appointee had written a prejudicial, hostile, stereotypical, fear-driven article against the people of Quebec, and today after much political wrangling, she issued an apology.
My mind goes to the letter James wrote. “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1) The analysis of racism, stereotypes, prejudice, fear, or acts of hostility is that such acts happen “among you” because of the war that arises “within you”. The very people charged with dealing with prejudice are themselves prejudiced because the war is driven by demonic entities bent on “confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16). The same demonic work is expressed when a man drove his truck into a Muslim family here in London, Ontario, as it is in the multiple deadly attacks on Christians worshipping in churches in northern Nigeria, or militants recently bombing a mosque in Pakistan. Lives are lost. Peace is broken. And you will find such acts of demonic chaos even in the very pews of the church – accusations, gossips, marital discord, record keeping, score evening. James calls us to combat such demonic work with wisdom that comes from God (James 3:17, 18). It brings peace not from policies or policing but from the transformation of the heart that only Christ can bring. He puts it simply, “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil.” (James 4:7). Nothing else short of that will work.