Us, Them & Mount Rushmore, Part 1

I enjoy freedom. Freedom to think without penalty, to express without being judged by the law, to follow God without condemnation from religious laws, freedom to choose my friends and to reach out to them. I don’t know about you but in my life these freedoms did not come easily or automatically, and not without consequences.  But the older I get the more I enjoy a free life.

Recently I was watching the inauguration of a new American president and noted again how different Canada is from the United States.  The ceremonies in Washington involved no fewer than six praying clergy people, five Christian and one Jewish, and other clergy among the invited guest list. I’ve never seen that in Canada. Many Canadians would think that would be quite out-of-line.  We may love our country and think it’s the best in the world but we just don’t see ourselves as God’s “shining city on a hill” to bring the message of Canadianism to a thirsty world.  The clergy at the inauguration, however, did paint such a verbal picture, and they would have even if the new president had been a Democrat.

At this event, as well as at other American political events I have witnessed over the years, God and the mandate of “American exceptionalism” received frequent mention by clergy and by politicians.  Whether it is a conservative Republican event or a liberal Democrat one the expressions of personal faith in country are virtually the same, and each political side has its own Christian cheering section full of belief.

How different this is from what we might expect in their northern neighbor.  Can you even imagine a maple leaf version of the Mount Rushmore memorial — way up in the Rockies or Laurentians the giant-sized heads of four Canadian prime ministers?  Sir John A.,  Wilfrid Laurier,  Mackenzie King,  Joe Clark?   No, that would seem just too un-Canadian, even a bit idolatrous.  And yet that’s not to say that Canada is oh-so superior. No, we have our own challenges.  The awful personal attacks and negativism we see in American elections is here too, though in a slightly more subdued Canadian way, and the religious communities have contributed their strong views in our history just like they have done (and still do) in the U.S.

Just thinking.  Just sharing some of my thoughts about freedoms and citizenships, whether on earth or in the skies.  Look at the visual illustration above.  I’m coming to that.  I’ll explain the picture and round off these thoughts in the next article.

Illustration above:  showing L to R – Red Cloud and Sitting Bull of the Lakota (Sioux), Joseph of the Nez Pierce, and possibly Big Bear of the Plains Cree.


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