Happy Easter

I just got back from five days in the good ol’ US and A (to quote Borat).  This is Easter Weekend and, of course, the stores down there are full of secular treats such as Peeps and chocolate bunnies.

However, it was what floated in the ether that intrigued me most, the sound of traditional Christian hymns, turned into musak and played endlessly over stores’ P.A. systems.  These were not mom and pop stores, but rather national retailers.

And taking a look around, there were shelves and shelves of Christian paraphernalia such as Gospel CDs and Christian books.  It struck me that America is, at least at the retail level, a Christian nation.

By contrast Canada, and most of the rest of the world, has been moving away from religion towards a more secular society.  Church attendance in Canada is way down, in fact a lot of churches around Toronto are being quickly turned into condos.  Contrast that to our neighbours to the south where mega churches draw mega crowds every Sunday and no serious candidate for office could think about running without taking a photo op with a televangelist.

Up here religion just doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, in fact, suspicion that a candidate might have a religious agenda could cost them a lot of votes.

So why is the attitude so much different when you cross the border?  Diversity I think plays a big part in it.  We have opened our doors to immigrants from all over and offered them the opportunity to enjoy our great country without having to sacrifice their traditional values and beliefs.

Hell, the most Conservative city in Canada has to be Calgary and they elected a Muslim mayor last time around.

Since 9/11 the U.S. has made it more difficult for immigrants to get citizenship.  They seem to be intent on rolling up the borders and pulling in the Welcome mat.  Where we see opportunity in diversity they see threat.

Maybe it was eight years of fear after 9/11 when the ruling government stoked panic instead of inspiring leadership.

And then there is the idea that “values” only come from the new testament and certain books in the old.  Instead of taking the lesson of a loving God some have perverted their belief to the point where they feel they have to do God’s work, including killing doctors who perform abortions and protesting at soldier’s funerals that “God hates fags!”

So on this Easter weekend as we hunt for chocolate eggs in the backyard and nibble the ears off rabbits I, for one, am proud and happy to have been raised in a land where we are free to practice whatever belief, or lack of one, we choose.

And I give extra thanks that I don’t have to listen to an instrumental version of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” while I am picking up a bottle of Metamucil at the drug store.

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