Statements made by the Reverend Canon Burgess Carr to the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in Calgary in August  have prompted a number of media articles, comments and reports, and individual reactions by Canadians. Canon Carr, Secretary General of the All Africa Conference of Churches was commenting on the Churches' support of liberation movements in Africa (through the World Council of Churches) and of Christian involvement with what is called "guerrilla warfare" by some, "freedom fighters" by others, as the struggle of "indigenous native peoples for basic rights" or "liberation movements" by still others.
In an effort to clarify the situation a lengthy position paper has been prepared by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and some of its staff members. We enclose the full text of the paper for your information and hope you will keep it on file should there be further interest on the part of your readers or audience.
We would point out several highlights of the paper. Much misunderstanding has been created because the Anglican Church of Canada supports the World Council of Churches which, in turn, makes grants to groups such as the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO). The paper points out that any such grants do not come from General WCC funds or even from the General Relief and Development Fund.
There is, in the WCC, a special Program to Combat Racism, which has a separate fund, maintained by special contributions from individuals, groups and churches given specifically for this purpose from which grants are made. No grant is given until strict criteria are met. These criteria are meant to insure that the grants are used for humanitarian purposes. However, there are charges that the money so provided releases other funds for military purposes. Since the WCC knows what much of the money is used for - support of people in refugee camps, education of children in areas of the country where liberation groups have control, health supplies - they are confident that it is being used for humanitarian purposes which would not, for the most part, be carried out to the same extent if grants were not made.
The tragic situation is that the focussing on these small grants made for humanitarian purposes has diverted attention from the fact that there are governments from both the "right" and the "left" who are quite prepared to provide arms when it suits their purposes, and have poured millions of dollars into military activity in Africa. This in contrast to the fact that the total amount expended by the special fund, not just in Africa but in every part of the world, would scarcely buy one tank if it had been diverted for such purposes, which is not the case.
In its first six years, the fund for the Programme to Combat Racism received and disbursed approximately $1,500,000 to groups on every continent. Roughly one-half of this went to Africa. There is one interesting facet of this for concerned Canadian Anglicans. The Anglican Church of Canada has contributed $10,000 annually to this Programme. Between 1970 and 1976, the Programme to Combat Racism has made amongst its grants, these:
The Inuit (Eskimo) Tapirisat of Canada - 1971 - $2,500.00
The National Indian Brotherhood (on behalf of the Cree) - 1973-4 - $12,500.00
The Indian Brotherhood of the N.W.T. - 1973 - $7,500.00
The Committee for Original Peoples Entitlement - 1976 - $10,000.00
For further information, please contact:
Richard J. Berryman
The Anglican Church of Canada
600 Jarvis Street
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2J6
(416) 924-9192 ext. 253
ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA POSITION PAPER ON THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES PROGRAM TO COMBAT RACISM
Statements made by the Reverend Canon Burgess Carr to the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in Calgary in August  have prompted a number of media articles, comments and reports, and individual reactions by Canadians. Canon Carr, Secretary General of the All Africa Conference of Churches, was commenting on the Churches' support of liberation movements in Africa (through the World Council of Churches) and of Christian involvement with what is called "guerrilla warfare" by some, "freedom fighters" by others, as the struggle of "indigenous native peoples for basic rights" by others and "liberation movements" by others. These groups are all involved in a struggle against "racism."
The Churches because they believe that "God has created of one blood all nations of people," and because they believe human beings are made in the image of God, and are therefore of value and worth have, particularly in the last quarter century pressed for the recognition of the need for conversations between the aggrieved majorities of Southern Africa and their minority governments. This separation has in many instances, particularly in the cases of South Africa and Rhodesia, existed in extreme form because racism has been structured into law. The clear preference of the Churches and the vast majority of those involved in a search for a change has been to seek non-violent change. But within the broadly based groups seeking change there have been and are some elements which have come to believe that the necessary changes will not come about by non-violent means, and also some individuals and groups who under extreme provocation in particular instances have resorted to violence. Such groups and actions are also to be discovered in the historical development of Britain, Canada and the U.S.A. -- in fact of virtually every country in the world.
In Africa some black groups have resorted to war always against huge odds, only when other methods of achieving change have been exhausted -- when they have seen other methods have been increasingly restricted by such actions as banning of distribution of literature, of the right to meet together, and to organize, and now more and more they are suffering personal detention and harassment. The most recent example of this is the case of Steve Biko, a prominent young leader devoted to non-violence whose death occurred during imprisonment.
Stories of brutality by liberation movements have been publicized but these can be matched and perhaps exceeded by stories of brutality involving violent oppression, torture, and death on the part of ruling governments over many years. But trading of atrocity stories accomplishes very little, if anything. Three things need to be recognized.
1. Violence does exist.
2. Violence of itself cannot create a better or more just world, and all too often violence leaders to counter violence in an ascending scale.
3. Today it is recognized that very often there is a high level of violence in many institutionalized structures, particularly in Africa.
But violence has been and is a part of history and there have been times when violence has destroyed a repressive situation and provided an opportunity to develop something new in its place. There have also been times when violence has been used to destroy hopeful conditions and to bring about oppression and exploitation. The place of violence and non-violence in social change is a complex one and one which the World Council of Churches has been studying carefully and, I believe, responsibly (see attached document).
Even as this study has been progressing, the World Council, because of the Christian call to stand on the side of the oppressed and to work for liberation, which was the ter[m] in which Jesus described his ministry:
"And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he opened the book he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord in [i.e. is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." (Luke 4:17-21)
The World Council has sought to take positive action to identify with those who are struggling against racism in many parts of the world through a special program designed to combat racism. This program has three sections.
1. An administrative section with three staff members which initiates studies.
2. A program section with projects undertaken by church groups designed to combat racism as it is found in particular forms and places.
3. Grants made from a special fund which was formed by an initial grant from the WCC and maintained since then by special contributions made by individuals, groups and Churches who give money directly to this fund for its stated purposes. In its first six years the fund received and disbursed approximately $1,500,000 to organizations and groups in various parts of the world, part of whose program is designed to combat racism. Grants to such groups have been made on every continent. They are applied for, but are not given until the organizations agree to use the grants according to strict criteria as follows:
-1. The purpose of the organizations must not be inconsonant with the general purposes of the WCC and its units, and the grants are to be used for humanitarian activities (i.e. social, health and educational purposes, legal aid, etc.).
-2. The proceeds of the Fund shall be used to support organizations that combat racism, rather than welfare organizations that alleviate the effects of racism and which would normally be eligible for support from other units of the World Council of Churches.
-3. (a) The focus of grants should be on raising the level of awareness and strengthening the organizational capability of the racially oppressed people.
- (b) In addition, we recognize the need to support organizations that align themselves with the victims of racial injustice and pursue the same objectives.
4. The grants are intended as an expression of commitment by the PCR to the cause of economic, social and political justice, which these organizations promote.
5.(a) The situation in Southern Africa is recognized as a priority due to the overt and intensive nature of white racism and the increasing awareness on the part of the oppressed in their struggle for liberation.
- (b) In the selection of other areas we have taken account of those places where the struggle is most intense and where a grant might make a substantial contribution to the process of liberation, particularly where racial groups are in imminent danger of being physically or culturally exterminated.
- (c) In considering applications from organizations in countries of white and affluent majorities, we have taken not only of those where political involvement precludes help from other sources.
6. Grants should be made with due regard to where they can have the maximum effect: token grants should not be made unless there is a possibility of their eliciting a substantial response from other organizations.
The geographic area where the grants have led to much discussion is Africa. Southern Africa has received approximately one half of the grants made thus far. Here there has been no case where it was ever proven that the grants were used for military purposes. However, there are charges that the money so provided released other funds for military purposes. Since we know what much of the money is used for -- support of people in refugee camps, education of children in areas of the country where liberation groups have control, health supplies -- we are confident that they are being used for humanitarian purposes which would not, for the most part, be carried out to the same extent if grants were not made.
The tragic situation is that the focussing on these small grants made for humanitarian purposes has diverted attention from the fact that there are governments from both the "right" and the "left" who are quite prepared to provide arms when it suits their purpose, and have poured millions of dollars into military activity in Africa. This in contrast to the fact that the total amount expended by the special fund, not just in Africa but in every part of the world, would scarcely buy one tank if it had been diverted for such purposes, which is not the case.
Three things are clearly evident. One, a hopeful one, is that many people are concerned about the growing use of violence and of how the Churches should be responding to it. As long as violence exists, Churches and Church people must grapple with this reality and try to sort out how to respond to this reality with Christian insights. Christians do not share a common mind about this. The position Christians take is often greatly influenced by the context or conditions under which they live and by the alternative courses of action which are open or closed to them. As understanding of this fact grows the polarization within the Churches becomes less.
Second, certain groups seem clearly involved in opposing the program to combat racism and to focus attention upon it as a way to keep general attention away from some of the underlying causal conditions which lead to violence.
Third, to set violence and non-violence as they relate to social change, as the only two positions and in complete opposition is to ignore reality. They are better viewed as the two extremes of an arc in which there are a wide variety of shades of opinion and of action. The following Social Involvement Rating Scale helps to identify some of the modes of action open to individuals and groups within society and the Church. Studied carefully, it helps us gain a deeper understanding of a complex issue and also to identify where we stand and why.
SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT RATING SCALE
1. 'Non-involvement': Conscious avoidance of any involvement in social and political activities.
2. 'Reactive involvement': Involvement in social and political activities occurs mainly when the church is in an established position but when institutional power is threatened or influence is eroded due to social change processes. Involvement can either by [i.e. be] directly or indirectly political.
3. 'Active Personal Involvement': Involvement is positive (not reactive), but limited to personal issues not seen as related to the social structure. Action is 'non political' and is concerned with individual development and improvement of personal welfare services.
4. 'Active Social Involvement' (concensus) [i.e. consensus]: Involvement is positive, but extending beyond personal issues seeking incremental, gradual change in the social structure and attitudes by educational methods using democratic processes.
5. 'Active Involvement in Structural Change' (conflict): Involvement is characterised by greater political activism using confronting techniques to achieve incremental but more rapid evolutionary changes in social structure.
6. 'Indirect Involvement in Revolution': Involvement by using non-violent techniques aimed at the peaceful overthrow of existing political and social structures.
7. 'Direct Active Involvement in Revolution': Involvement by using techniques aimed at the violent overthrow of existing oppressive political and social structures.
[Graphic showing an arc graph with labels from left to right] Non-involvement, Reactive Involvement, Active Personal Involvement, Active Social Involvement (consensus), Active Involvement in structural change (conflict), Indirect Involvement in revolution, Direct Active Involvement in revolution - Adapted from a scale developed by the Reverend Peter J. Hollingsworth, Melbourne, Australia.