How Silent Were the Canadian Churches?
Alan Davies and Marilyn F Nefsky. How Silent Were the Churches? Canadian Prostestantism and the Jewish Plight during the Nazi Era, Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1997
Ever since the Canadians Abella and Troper (None Is Too Many, 1982) exposed the antisemitism behind Canada"s refusal to allow Jewish escapees from the Third Reich to immigrate, the Canadian churches have been under a shadow. Were the churches silent or largely silent, as alleged, or did they speak?
In How Silent Were the Churches? a Jew and a Christian examine the Protestant record. Old letters, sermons and other church documents yield a profile of contemporary Protestant attitudes. Countless questions are raised: How much antisemitism lurked in Canadian Protestantism? How much pro-German feeling? How accurately did the churches of Canada read the signs of the times? Or did they bury their heads in the sand?
Davies and Nefsky discover some surprising answers.The theologies and the historical and ethnic configurations of Protestant Canada, encompassing religious communities from the Evangelicals to the Quakers, are brought into relief against the background of the Great Depression, the rise of fascism in Europe and the resurgence of nativism in Canadian society. The authors conclude their study with an evaluation of the limits of Protestant influence in Canada and the dilemmas faced by religious communities and persons of conscience when confronted by the realities of power.
Alan Davies is a professor of religion at the University of Toronto and an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada. His other books include Antisemitism in Canada: History and Interpretation (WLU Press), Antisemitism and the Christian Mind and Infected Christianity: A Study of Modern Racism.
Marilyn F. Nefsky, currently an associate professor in the Department of Sociology/Religion and coordinator of Liberal Education for the University of Lethbridge, has published widely in the areas of antisemitism, racism and religion.