“Not the greed of conquest, but native valour, the struggle for civilization, and the love of Motherland were in the fire in their souls that day: Canadian Protestant Rhetoric and the War in South Africa”
The imperial war in distant South Africa (1899-1902) was seen by many in the Canadian churches to be one that would ultimately benefit all involved. Central to the ministry of the churches was the application of justice, the development of the new nation Canada, the unifying and strengthening of the empire, and the spreading of missions. Consequently, concomitant with those four aims was the idea that a British victory would bring tangible blessings; it would be good for Canadians, good for Britons, good for Africans, good for the empire, good for the entire world, and even good for the Boers. How could one not support the imperial effort, so the rhetoric went, with the interests of church and missions, nation and empire, the secular and the sacred, so intertwined? This presentation will provide an examination and analysis of the wartime rhetoric of the Protestant churches.
Professor Heath has been teaching the history of Christianity since 1999, and arrived at McMaster Divinity College in 2004. Besides teaching, he also serves as Director of the Canadian Baptist Archives, the official archives of the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec. Professor Heath is Centenary Chair in World Christianity. Among his published titles are The British Nation is Our Nation: The BACSANZ Baptist Press and the South African War, 1899-1902 (2017), A War with a Silver Lining: Canadian Protestant Churches and the South African War, 1899-1902 (2009), Doing Church History: A User-friendly Introduction to Researching the History of Christianity (2008).
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