Bishop Mark MacDonald. © WCC/Peter Williams

Bishop Mark MacDonald. © WCC/Peter Williams


*By Kristine Greenaway

The nuclear attack on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945 revealed the brutality and dangerous logic of war, money and power, according to an Indigenous Anglican bishop from Canada.

“That such a thing can make sense in any universe gives insight into what is happening in the world today,” says Bishop Mark MacDonald of the Anglican Church in Canada. “The forces that led to the bombing of Hiroshima are at work now in the destruction of the climate.”

MacDonald, an Indigenous Canadian who is the North American president for the World Council of Churches (WCC), made his comments in response to the WCC pilgrimage of church leaders to Japan last week marking the 70th anniversary of dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Due to a scheduling conflict, MacDonald was unable join the pilgrimage where he was to speak from the perspective of Indigenous peoples.

In an interview with WCC Communications, MacDonald says that Indigenous Elders (leaders) “are critical of money and power that are so clearly manipulating science in the service of some of the most basic human inclinations. Science that is supposedly value-free is put into the service of the idolatry of greed and power.”

“Our Elders are critical of the almost blasphemous understanding that human beings have control over nature: it makes the Creator subservient to human beings and ignores the beautiful logic of God and of Mother Earth. The alternative is the same logic as that of colonialism, and the on-going threat to Indigenous peoples’ lives is still potent in Canada and around the world,” says MacDonald, who became the first National Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada in 2007.

Referring to traditional Indigenous practices of creating “zones of peace” for discussion among enemies, Macdonald believes the church is called to create space for the well-being of all.

“The role of the church today is to confront the destructive gods of greed and power. We Christians need to return to our roots, proclaim the truth of God and challenge these powers,” the bishop states.

* Kristine Greenaway is a former WCC Communication Director with extensive experience in covering stories about global and local ecumenism.

WCC pilgrims remember atom bomb’s deadly destruction 70 years ago in Hiroshima (WCC news release of 6 August 2015)

WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

WCC project “Churches engaged for nuclear arms control”