After seven years of writing this column, I have an admission to make; I am a Christian. Not perfect by any stretch, probably not even a good one, but a Christian none the less. My articles have already revealed all that.
On Friday, April 14, or Good Friday as I know it to be, I woke up feeling good about life in general, so with coffee in hand and some good music playing, I did some reading and just generally reflecting on life as I often do in the early hours of the morning. I can’t sleep, so I might as well read and reflect.
I was reflecting on what it means to be a person of faith; to be able to have a faith that is strong enough to run a soup kitchen; strong enough to help start a temporary sleep shelter; strong enough to support a food bank; strong enough to support a pregnancy care shelter; strong enough to support a counselling service, and strong enough to agree with any agency that promotes life instead of death.
If I didn’t value life, I wouldn’t be in the soup kitchen business, nor would I support a lot of the agencies that promote life. Then why do I so often feel under attack for what I believe to be right? Whatever happened to this beautiful land that so promoted tolerance and diversity? I see much more sympathy for a cat that was stolen than a life that is snatched away by drugs or alcohol or for convenience sake.
I see a mistrust of refugees that have been granted asylum in this land. I see an intolerance of people of different backgrounds and faiths rather than the acceptance this country so prides itself in. I may not agree with someone else’s beliefs, but I feel I have an obligation to accept and promote them as fellow residents of Canada. One of the tenants of my faith is to treat others as better than yourself; not to diminish what I believe, but rather to honor others as just as worthy as I am to belong here.
I guess my question here is, why do I have to defend myself from people who would see my faith destroyed? Why would a school board that believes in the absolute sanctity of life have to compromise its stand just because it is publicly funded? So much for the freedom of expression.
Why, when I know in my heart that the legalizing of a drug, even more harmful than cigarettes is wrong, do I have to accept it just because a politician banked his election on the promise of this action? As you might well know, I have always called this a gateway drug, and I will not sway from that position. The scientific evidence of the harm it produces should have been enough to stop even a politician. Also, there will be so many fingers in the pie that prices alone will be the dictatorial force that encourages the black market. The street dealers will just lower their price to accommodate the ‘legal’ market, and they won’t have to drop it much.
Are we so far off track in Canada that we feel compelled to fight against anyone or any action that defends life or prevents harm to our fellow citizens? I have never felt the urge to be a Lemming, but I don’t feel that my concern for others about to jump over a cliff, like those on the street, or an uninformed expectant young mother, should be curtailed simply because of a particular belief that shows concern or places a value on life.
So, there you have it; that’s what I do early in the mornings when I can’t sleep. Here I am, take me or leave me.
Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potter’s Hands in Red Deer.