By Craig Funston
I doubt you have met Andre Poulin. You may have read about him recently, like I did. His name sounds like a hockey player from a village in Quebec. Maybe, but apparently he used to live in Timmins, Ontario, so I’m sure he played a lot of hockey, like any normal Canadian kid.
A “normal Canadian kid.” How would you describe that? If you’re asking me, I would say the following: lives in a nice house, eats good food, attends public school, and has a safe lifestyle.
These are pretty broad assumptions, I concur, but this is what this Andre said last year. But his brushes with the law and growing sense of religious intolerance, plus other struggles, led him to choose to leave Canada.
His intolerance for intolerance, if you will, led to him to become a Muslim state freedom-fighter.
Canada, to him (and in his words), became a “a land of disbelief,” so he left, killed, and died, somewhere in Iraq, fighting to create a rogue Islamic state.
If you could sense my heart here, you would understand my burden as I write this. I don’t feel any religious smugness or any cultural complacency when I read his words. It simply bothers me that someone like that can fall through the cracks, as they say, and leave this land for that cause.
Let me focus on that expression “a land of disbelief” for a moment or two. Andre–or his combat name of Abu Muslim–and I agree on this point, though it’s possibly the only thing we agree on. Canada is, in fact, a land of disbelief, no matter how much I want to think otherwise.
It is a land of disbelief for a number of reasons. The key difference here between Mr. Poulin’s approach and mine is the way we have both responded to this state of unbelief.
Andre chose to flee, fight, and finally fall in some foreign soil, engaged in a cause that had no relevance to solve the state of disbelief in his home country.
Denouncing the culture is not the best way to change it, in my opinion. For myself, I have chosen to work at it from within.
My response to a pagan Canada—let’s call it what it is, okay?—is to be a positive, Christian influence wherever I go, walking the walk and talking the talk. There is no question that I have sometimes stumbled miserably in this pursuit, but I am satisfied that I have at least tried.
My “trying” has included establishing a Christian home, obeying the laws of the land, paying taxes, voting for the best political representative I could, getting involved in my community, among other ways. One might even include this column—a weekly compendium of rational and witty thoughts from a conservative perspective—as my contribution to a better Canada.
I know of others who are a mix of Andre and Craig (that would be me, Maurice): They shared a deep concern for the state of disbelief in Canada, but they felt compelled to leave our shores. They have headed to other countries and poured their respective lives into the culture of that foreign soil. I would describe them as positive productive, not negatively destructive.
They don’t preach death, they preach life; they don’t torture, they teach.
They are called Christian missionaries, and, when overseas, they build hospitals that their host country won’t and schools that their host country can’t. They learn the nuances of the language and culture of their new country; and they do all sorts of good things that make their new land a better place.
It would be nice to do that here in Canada, but (remember) it is a country of disbelief, after all, and such acts of kindness are rarely appreciated or understood as such.
You see, it’s one thing to stick it to a society; I do it all the time. But to call out a culture without any feasible solution is lame. Any reader of this column knows I at least attempt to come up with solutions.
Scoffing without solving? Any coward can do that. That’s why I get outraged at student protests in Quebec, native blockades in Ontario, and publicity stunts in the Alberta oil sands. Maybe these people have a genuine axe to grind; maybe there is a basis for their concern. But protests, blockades, and stunts are borderline anarchy, and there is no place for anarchy in a civilized society, whether here in Canada or there in Iraq.
Andre Poulin chose to wage his war against Canadian paganism by heading overseas to kill people there–but that doesn’t solve things here. Canada is no less pagan by his dying overseas.
His death there should be a wake-up call for us here: If Canada is indeed a land disbelief, we need to get back to becoming a land of belief.