It is that time of year when emails fly around about taking Christ out of Christmas and prayer in schools. I recently received an email asking me to vote "no" for a poll that no longer exists. The media has moved on to something else contraversial but the fallout is still hanging around. Here is my response:
Thanks for this email. I researched and researched and cannot find a poll to vote, so CTV is on to something else to rile people up. I believe it was a limited question that was posted to the CTV website and is now gone. There is very hot debate over this question (should schools provide a space for Muslims to pray?). I do believe it stands that Islam is not going to be taught they are strictly looking to provide space for the children to pray so they do not have to leave the school grounds. (Do you think if we provided chapels in public schools Christian children would be there 5 times a day? Few Christians pray in their homes let alone children doing it on their own at school) A devout Muslim prays five times a day, silently under their own volition. The Christian prayer removed from school was in respect of all faith traditions, not strictly Islam. At Emmanual College, the seminary where I am attending, there has been provided a small room for the Muslim student to pray. The chapel is available to all people as is this small space with a door for privacy. Emmanual College is offering a stream of study devoted to better understanding our Muslim Brothers and Sisters and I am in classes with Muslim students most days.
My concern here is the "we/they" attitudes. It is frightening when there is this distinction. We are Christian, you and I, but Canada is a pluralistic society made up of immigrants from all over the world. Many who follow Islam have been in Canada for generations so when are they allowed to become "Canadian"? Canada's original immigrant population was Euro-centric settlers who practiced Christianity so it appears Canada is a Christian nation. The missionaries did what they did to the Native people in order to force Christianity on the Native people. The time is coming where Christianity cannot bully its way into the hearts of people.
You and I will continue to say Merry Christmas and pray. We will continue to believe that Jesus is the revelation of God as the Messiah and the way, the truth, and the life. But as I study and work and pray with my brothers and sisters who are of the Jewish faith and Islamic faith I do so with reverance in my heart. We are all followers of the same God, we are all stemming from Abraham, and we all have faith that the world will one day be united.
Canada is a country of immigrants, historically and now. There are fanatical Christians (Waco Texas, the man who wanted to burn the Qu'ran, and the Jamestown suicide masacre) and there are fanatical Muslims (World Trade Centre). Try not to let the hatred of humankind taint your Christian heart. Jesus is the centre of Christianity as the revelation of God, a God who is central to other faiths. Islam honours Jesus and speaks of him with love. The Jewish faith honours him as well.
Solid faithful people can live together and find God together. Shout your prayers from the roof-tops, be a Christian with purpose and do so with the love of Christ in your heart. Pray as you want to and if you can get young people to pray then you are doing a good thing. If we put our efforts forward in love, emails like this would not be necessary. They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, they will know we are Christians by our love.