Polonium Pandemonium

A few months ago Time magazine ran an article entitled The Spy Who Knew Too Much. It had to do with suspicions surrounding the death of the Russian dissident, Alexander Litvinenko. Doctors suspected that some kind of radioactive agent was causing his illness. Unexplainable things were happening: his body was disintegrating, his hair was falling out, and his bone marrow was failing. Under medical evaluation, gamma spectrometers picked up nothing unusual in his blood system.

However, atomic experts discovered alpha particles, which after entering the bloodstream will destroy everything that they touch. They isolated the alpha particles and found them to come from the rare isotope polonium 210. A nuclear reactor was required to make polonium, and some ingenuity was needed to turn it into a magic capsule that would induce slow death.

Alexander Litvinenko had been poisoned. Just one microgram (one-millionth of a gram) is enough to kill most people. A microgram weighs less than a grain of salt and is more difficult to spot than a period at the end of a paragraph. Once ingested, it leaves an unmistakable dye that can be traced. Put into a drink it produces vapors that can be inhaled by those around.

I have been hearing for years from the experts of our society that a little bit of pornography cannot hurt you: it might even help. A fling on the wild side of marriage may be a good thing and could create a healthy spark to a deteriorating sex life. A few swear words, mixed into television conversation, never hurt anybody: that’s life. A puff of marijuana never killed anybody: let’s legalize it.

Forgive me please if I gag! I am tired of this baloney. I am sick of seeing our children used as guinea pigs as society experiments with theories. I am fed up with the deteriorating health of Canadian people, marriages and families. Just as ingesting a small amount of polonium culminated in the death of Alexander Litvinenko, so accepting a little bit of immorality here and there is increasing the mortality rate of our nation.

I have been a pastor for many years. I have ministered to men who are addicted to Internet porn. I have visited them in prisons as they tried to kick the habit that caused them to molest a child. I have wept with couples who were now dealing with the pain of the discovery of hidden sexual sins. I have counseled children who can hardly speak English but have adopted trash talk as the core of their vocabulary. I have worked with the heroin addict whose journey into drugs started with one joint.

For years I have had to deal with the experts who say that there is little to no connection between heroin and marijuana, pornography and incest, adultery and divorce. Say what? Who is coming up with these stats? Ask your neighbour what he or she thinks? Common sense tells us otherwise.

Many Canadians I speak with are disturbed by the loss of civility in our nation. In Charlottetown, a high school principal took a stand against the “casual profanity” of his students and was hailed as a hero by parents and educators alike. Researchers have found that one in eight people will leave their jobs as a result of incivility: ie. desk rage, verbal abuse, rudeness, profanity.

Yet, we have defenders saying we should not stifle what is a natural cathartic outlet for frustration. It’s better to be sworn at than hit, they say. That sounds good. Let’s follow that logic a little further: is it better to be hit than knifed? Is it better to be knifed than shot? Is there anyone home out there? None of it should be acceptable: swearing, hitting, knifing, or shooting.

I know that we are supposed to be a tolerant people, but tolerance has its levels. Just a little more tolerance of a poison can kill you, as Litvinenko found out. There are some things eating at the healthy DNA of our nation. How long do we play as a people with poison? How long can we allow people to change the labels on the bottles of poison?

What will it take before we recognize that things have gone too far? Who is willing to take a stand against the degrading, deteriorating toxins infiltrating the DNA of our social system? Is it possible that the tide is beginning to turn?

It has been said that evil prospers when good men say nothing. Are there any good men out there? Is there anyone who sees the danger when we as individuals and as a culture imbibe just a little bit of immorality?

 

Castanet Article
Thursday June 7th, 2007
Oh! Canada! Column

Guarding Canada’s Spiritual Legacy

 

 

Canada.com’s headline ran, “Firebrand, Rev. Jerry Falwell of Moral Majority, dies at 73.” For many Christians, both north and south of the 49th parallel, Falwell’s death was considered a tragedy. His passion for preserving and protecting the Christian and moral heritage of his nation was an example to many of us.

He was a man of great conviction. At times, his emotion caused him to say things he would later regret, but he loved people and cared about the future of America. He was renown for asking three key questions concerning every social, legislative or judicial issue: “Is it ethically correct? Is it Biblically correct? Is it morally correct?”

 

 

 

Falwell understood something about culture. He knew that once a law was invoked as law by the legislative and judicial branches of government, that law created a sense of moral rightness in the people of a nation. That belief in moral rightness sooner or later created a social sense of conscience, making a belief or behavior normal. In other words, what was seen as legal became moral, and what was accepted as moral became a social norm.

Anyone standing up against a law and pronouncing it unbiblical [ie. against the moral law of God as defined by the Bible] invites great criticism. As a matter of fact, to describe the turning of the tables on Christian activists, once the law was intact, opposition to it would be considered illegal, immoral and abnormal. Go figure!

Falwell was a man who was unafraid of the public challenge, and became a voice of reason in a sea of compromise and indifference. I applaud his efforts, and many Christians feel a deep sense of loss over his passing. He will be missed.

Ron Godwin, Liberty University’s executive vice-president stated that Falwell had a “history of heart challenges.” I say this respectfully when I state that these “heart challenges” were not just physical: they were emotional, moral and spiritual. Falwell felt deeply about the wayward direction his country was going and desperately desired America to return to its Christian roots.

Canada, as does America, has an unquestioned spiritual heritage and Christian root system. Few would call Canada a Christian nation today, but that does not undermine the historical reality of the Christian story line. Canada was birthed, from its earliest inception, in a belief in the Christian God and a commitment to the principles of Bible law. Though little is written about that fact, and few textbooks or teachers in our schools allude to that, it is indeed the truth.

Our history is filled with heroes of the Christian faith who forged our mighty rivers, climbed our highest mountains, found ways to travel our land from east to west, and persevered through many difficult circumstances. They believed. They prayed. They dedicated land. They sacrificed their lives to see God’s laws become the law of the land. They prophesied into this great nation’s future. Did you know that?

Faytene C. Kryskow, a young woman with a passion for our nation, wrote a book entitled Stand on Guard. It is a must read for anyone who loves and prays for our nation. In it she reveals the results of her investigation into Canada’s “righteous history” and uncovers its “Biblical foundations.” Much of her research emerged from books covered in the dust of apathy right in the bastion of our national library.

Did you know, for example, that the earliest European settlers who planted their roots in this land were commissioned by the King of France to establish a Christian colony that would bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the First Nations? Some, like missionaries Jean de Brebeuf, gave their lives in martyrdom to establish a Biblical belief system in early Canada.

 

Did you know that the Fathers of Confederation clearly gave Jesus Christ access to the affairs of government? They chose the “Dominion of Canada” as this nation’s name directly from time spent in prayer and in the Bible, referring to Psalm 72:8 where David writes, “He (meaning God) will have dominion also from sea to sea.” Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, writing to the Queen of England explained that “the name was a tribute to the principles they earnestly desired to uphold.”

There are people alive today in Canada who believe that our nation has to be called back to its original, divine intention, the purpose for which it came into being as a nation. The early fathers of confederation had a godly dream for this nation, one that should be honored and respected from generation to generation.

Disrespect this spiritual and moral legacy, and Canada will suffer horrendous consequences for doing so. Reject God’s dominion, and this country will run the risk of dealing with its corporate rebellion. The degree to which Canada is reconciled to Canada’s original godly intention, the quicker Canadian society will be healed and its righteous foundations restored.

Maybe, just maybe, we need more Canadian men and women, youth and children, who carry a passion to see our nation become a righteous nation like Jerry Falwell carried for his. Unfortunately, and contrary to post-modern Canadian history, bringing faith into government today has become a politically incorrect act.

I know we cannot go back but we must choose carefully how we go forward!

 

Castanet Article
Thursday May 24th, 2007
Oh! Canada! Column

Guarding Canada’s Most Valuable National Asset

I have had the privilege of visiting our nation’s capital on numerous occasions over the years. Ottawa is an incredible place. A stroll down Confederation Boulevard is an experience in itself. Within a very short distance you can be introduced to some of Canada’s most valuable assets: the National Gallery, eight National Museums, the Royal Canadian Mint, or the National Library and its archives.

As I have walked the halls of these huge complexes, one is aware of their importance to Canada’s past, present and future. Police stand guard. Security cameras abound. Access in and out is monitored. One is constantly aware of the value Canada’s government places upon what is contained within their walls.

However, as valuable as these assets are, they do not, and never will, compare to the worth, the welfare or the potential of Canada’s children. Who is standing guard over this national treasure? What security is in place that would make our children truly safe within our borders? Who is monitoring the potential threats to their welfare?

The Canadian government introduced Bill C-22, “Age of Protection” on June 22nd, 2006. The intent was clear: protect Canada’s children from sexual exploitation of adults. The Bill was debated in the fall of 2006, and then sent to the Justice Committee for consideration. That sounded all fine and dandy until I read that the Bill was created to raise the age of consent to engage in sexual activity to 16 years of age.

I thought, “If it has to be raised, where is the age of consent at now?” I was shocked to hear that it currently stood at 14 years of age, one of the lowest ages of consent on the planet, and well below the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child standard of 18 years of age. Did you hear that? 18!

As of this writing, Canadian law permits a child of 14 to consent to sexual activity with someone older than him or her, no matter the age of their partner. The new law raises the age to 16, with a close in age exception of five years regarding consensual intercourse with 14-15 year olds. This means that, under the new law, no one over the age of 19 or 20 will be allowed to have sex with young teenagers.

I am blessed with seven grandchildren, three of whom are beautiful young granddaughters. The law, even at the new levels, makes “children who are facing an emerging sexuality” called puberty vulnerable to child prostitution, child pornography and child abuse. “Consensual” sex between minors does not necessarily mean that they are responsible and well-informed, or even aware of the long-term ramifications of their actions.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, an organization representing 40 denominations, wrote in a submission to the Justice Committee, “Many rights and responsibilities accrue to Canadians at the age of 18. Lifestyle choices which entail some risk, such as purchasing cigarettes or alcohol, are regulated according to age and prohibited for those in their early to mid-teens. Other activities, which require mature forethought and responsibility, such as operating a motor vehicle, are similarly prohibited for those considered too young.”

Where was the logic behind 14? Who postulated this for our kids?

It is amazing – no, astounding – to me that three other groups (Egale, Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (Planned Parenthood), and the Canadian Aids Society) all lobbied against the bill to raise the age of consent. They also lobbied that the government lower the age of consent for anal sex from 18 to 16.

Had that amendment been added (which it wasn’t – it was thrown out), and if the bill had passed (it is still in process), then not only would this Bill have increased the age of sexual consent to 16 (good) but it would have decreased the age of consent for anal sex to 16. A Bill focusing on protecting our nation’s youth from exploitation could quickly have become a Bill advocating anal sex with minors. Go figure!

Who are these people? What is going on in their minds? Where is responsible thinking here? What health physical, sexual or medical stats do they have to support their argument? Everything – and I mean everything – that I have read tells me that premature sexual involvement in young teens leads to many unhealthy life and lifestyle consequences. These organizations are certainly not the ones I want to be guarding over my grandchildren’s mental, emotional and sexual futures.

Bill C-22 was debated in the House on May 3rd and was passed unanimously in the House on May 4th, 2007. That is great news. Someone up there is standing guard. It now goes to the Senate. Maybe they will do their duty and stand on guard for our children too. Here’s hoping!

Canadians need to step up to the plate, and be looked up to as a world leader in protecting its greatest national asset, its children, from sexual exploitation. Canada must not allow legal loopholes to exist that permit our nation to become a haven for pedophiles, child pornographers, and Internet sexual predators.

We will have our children to answer to!

 

Castanet Article
Thursday May 17th, 2007
Oh! Canada! Column

Who Posted the Guards over our Freedom?

For our nation of Canada to remain strong and free Canadians must take their duty to “stand on guard” seriously. That is the responsibility of young and old alike, professional and blue collar worker, single mom and family man, student and member of parliament, minister and immigrant. If all of us do our job, there will be enough ears to hear, eyes to see, and minds to protect and guard over our Canada.

What bothers me is this: it appears that we all think someone else is doing the job of standing guard. What was supposed to be everyone’s responsibility in general has slowly evolved into becoming no one’s responsibility in particular. As a result, the doors have been left open to the Canadian house, and for many Canadians, there is this sense of vulnerability.

Is it possible that some who have been guarding our nation’s life and future have sounded the alarm over the years, and we have apathetically turned over in our beds and hit the snooze button? If so, our slumber in the time of danger is going to cost us plenty. Drifting, when we should be swimming, can result in being taken where we may not want to go.

Have those who have been commissioned to “stand on guard” for our nation been sleeping on the job? Or, is it a possibility that the wrong guards have been appointed to their post? Something’s wrong – too many things are slipping by our sentries. Who is guarding the guards? Who holds them accountable?

A lawyer recently commented on CBC Radio that free speech in Canada was not an absolute right. That’s funny. Doesn’t Section 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms state that “Everyone has the following freedoms:…freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including the freedom of the press and other media of communication, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.”

The jurisprudence of the Supreme Court has attempted to provide guidelines for the Canadian community as to what values are worthy of protection, and what defines the scope of the expression of those values. Much has been written about the judiciary’s role in Canadian society. Some are feeling that their “guarding” of our rights has been detrimental, that a judocracy – rule by the Supreme Court, is replacing a democracy – rule by the people – in our land.

When Parliament passed what the religious right called a ‘chill bill,’ effectively preventing churches from using the Bible to preach against homosexuality, the Catholic Civil Rights League wrote: “With the passage of Bill C-250, Canada has now embarked upon a course of criminalization of dissent.” Many are feeling that members of Parliament had left their posts and were not “standing on guard” either!

Do we have to be reminded that unless free speech is guarded, someone or some group of people, may come in and remove it from our nation? And, if they were successful in gaining entry in one situation to take precious rights, is it possible that they may return again for some other precious right?

In 2001, the Newspaper Guild in Canada had to fight a gag order imposed upon its journalists. Journalists gave a warning of what they saw as a real potentiality in our great country: “If we as journalists don’t fight every attempt at censorship and thought control, this country will gradually lose its democratic freedoms.”

I guess the real question is, ‘Do we really care?’ We tend not to care until not caring hurts us personally. We need to care ahead of time. It is very possible that we have entered the battlefield of what may become the costliest battle in Canadian history, and it will have to do with our personal right to freedom of speech.

We as Canadians need to wake up and get up. It is a time to watch, pray and be willing to fight for freedoms that were purchased in the blood of fathers and sons. Freedom of speech is the inherent human right to voice one’s opinion without fear of censorship or punishment. That right is enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In Article 19, it is stated that “everyone has the right to opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” International law protects that same liberty through the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Our Charter has limited free speech under certain situations, subjecting it to “such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” (Section 1). I guess a reasonable question would be this: who determines what is justified?

Who’s on guard for Canada? Are you willing to take your post? Do you know what to look for as regards illegal entry? What are you willing to do to protect this nation’s destiny? The doorways into our nation’s heart and conscience need to be guarded: will you be trained for this vital assignment?

 

Castanet Article
Thursday May 9th, 2007
Oh! Canada! Column

A Civil War of Ideas

As citizens of Canada, we have been called to “stand on guard” for our country. There has never been a greater need for national vigilance than now. Canada is under siege. We have never faced such a clear and present danger.

You may ask,

“Why the great concern?
Why stand on guard?
What are we defending Canada against?
Where is the threat coming from?
Who, or what, is our enemy?”

You may remind me that the War of 1812 was our first and last major threat from a sovereign power, against The United States of American, and we won. You may point to the world’s longest, undefended border, along our 49th parallel, and to the longevity of peace Canada has known within its sphere of sovereignty.

However, there are many things that cross our borders that cannot be easily monitored. They enter our nation inconspicuously. Their source of origin is seldom determined. Their purpose for coming is not checked. The baggage associated with their coming is not processed.

They enter at key points, gain access to physical territory, swarm our bastions of power, and then exert an influence that has the potential of dominating our nation and deciding our destiny. They do not show their colors right away. Sometimes, their presence takes years to manifest in our culture, and generations before their intentions are revealed.

What deeply concerns me is that much of this is happening without one word of dissent, one act of resistance, or one spirited charge to attempt to question what I believe to be potential threats to our society. Instead, they are met with a hand shake and a smile, with a polite “welcome to Canada,” not realizing that our peace as a people may be dramatically shifted forever.

I am not referring to a people group or some foreign power. What I am speaking about are ideas. Napoleon stated that ideas were more powerful than armies. Victor Hugo stated that there was one thing stronger than all the armies of the world and that was an idea whose time had come.

Ideas affect individuals, but they also change worlds. Ideas have created, and now control the society and culture we live in. When an idea is conceived, it is called a thought. When a thought evolves, it is termed a concept. Concepts are the materials that philosophy is made of. Those ideas eventually become somebody’s ideology or reality. Ideas must be challenged, sincerely and aggressively.

The civil war I am referring to in Canada right now is a “war of conflicting and dividing ideas.” Our citizenry have lost the meta-narrative of the Canadian story: ie. the plot of the play is missing, the rules that make sense of the game are absent, the center that holds society together and makes sense of Canadian life is collapsing. The anchor has lifted and we are drifting as a nation.

Believe me, this war of ideas is real. There are winners and losers. There are enemies and there are allies. There is blood shed. There are POW’s. There is post traumatic stress. Sometimes the extent of the impact of this civil war can not be seen in real terms for generations, but the cost of this war will be hefty.

Oliver Holmes stated, “The ultimate good is better reached by free trade in ideas. The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” I agree. I sincerely believe that we must bring every idea to the light, and let truth triumph and create new realities in our culture.

I invite you to join the journey of discovery as we “stand on guard for Canada,” and over the weeks to come, challenge some of the ideas that I believe are “enemies at our gates.”

Castanet Article
Thursday 26th, 2007
Oh! Canada! Column

We Stand On Guard!

I am Canadian, through and through. I love Canada: it is my nation. I was born in New Brunswick, raised in Nova Scotia and Quebec, and educated in British Columbia. As a youth I had the privilege of traveling across this great nation, meeting its people, experiencing its traditions, tasting its food, learning its languages, and visiting its historical sites.

I have a vivid memory of our family taking time to stop and take pictures on Parliament Hill. As I stood beside one of the RCMP officers who was guarding the entry to the Parliament buildings, my young heart was profoundly impacted. I remember thinking that I too had to do my part to “stand on guard” for Canada.

For the last 25 years, I have lived, worked and connected with the citizens and culture of this region. Our children have been raised here, have taken up work and made Kelowna their home. To this day I remain “on guard” for Canada, as a citizen and as a Christian leader: for my sake, their sake, my grandchildren’s sake, for generation’s sake, and for the destiny of Canada sake.

Sometimes that passion to “stand on guard” for my nation has taken me to the nation’s capital, speaking with members of Parliament, addressing committees, representing moral positions on social issues. I remain passionate about the need for Canada’s citizenry to take “standing on guard” seriously.

If there was ever a time when Canadians needed to take up this challenge, it is now. Canada’s future is at stake. It is under siege, from within and from without. We are facing a civil war of values. Canada’s corporate conscience is bleeding. It has been suffering from a lack of ethical direction. It is morally afloat, unanchored and drifting. The tree of Canada needs to be rooted again, or it’s leaves will rot.

“O Canada” was proclaimed Canada’s national anthem on July 1, 1980, 100 years after it was first sung on June 24, 1880. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallée, Canada’s national musician. I can remember, when attending public school as a child, that every day started with a reading from the scriptures, a prayer from the principal over the intercom, and the singing of “O Canada!”

You remember the words, don’t you? “O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the True North, strong and free! From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free ! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”

Have you ever asked yourself this simple question: “How does one ‘stand on guard’ for Canada? What does that mean?” Or, even better: “Have I stood on guard for Canada? Have I protected it’s integrity and honor?” We are supposed to, aren’t we? I hate singing anthems that don’t have their root in reality and truth.

Are you standing on guard? Do you know the issues? Do you care? Are you willing to pay the price to be informed, educated, form a position, and care about the future of our people by doing something? If not now, when? If not you, who? If not, why not?

During the following weeks and months, we are going to investigate areas that appear undefended in our nation’s development right now. With God’s help, it will be my desire to help us together raise the standard of defense, the shield of faith over our country, and to protect its future from that which wants to destroy its great destiny.

Castanet Article
Thursday 5th, 2007
Oh! Canada! Column