Happy 150th to Canada
My wife and I were lucky enough to spend a few days in Montreal last week. Although Canada does have problems as all countries do, I wanted to thank Canada for being hospitable to immigrants and refugees and showing Christ’s love to others at a level much greater than the United States of America. US Policy over the past 50 years has been to cut back on immigration due to economic reasons. Economists worry that the supply and demand for jobs would be altered with immigration, and then there is the narrative about letting terrorists into our homeland. The economic angle rightly suggests that the USA values money over people and the terrorist narrative is rooted in fear and ignorance. In fact, many universities (including the one where I am employed) are continuing to see declining International Student growth as even student visas into the USA are harder to come by.
We Americans conveniently forget that we are a nation comprised mostly of immigrants: most came by choice, but others came under duress as slaves. The Native Americans have been largely treated with very little respect and the reservation system is borderline prison. We need to accept that we tend to be comfortable with racist thought and narratives. Why were German immigrants not taken to Internment Camps during World War 2? Japanese were! Why was our early immigration policy devoted to allowing quotas from countries that had already sent immigrants? Instead of celebrating diversity, we will purchase fireworks, gorge ourselves with hot dogs, and drink beer and wine to celebrate the 4th of July. Has the United States become a caricature of people lacking critical thinking, encouraging policies and legislation that favors the rich and privileged, and consuming an problematic sketch of the melting pot as a way to forcibly assimilate people of various diversities into the culture of wearing red, white, and blue and embracing a violent and selfish vision of Patriotism? Is this what America has become?
While in Canada, we were able to meet and interact with people from many different ethnic backgrounds. We had Vietnamese food, I got a haircut in Little Italy, we shopped in a Chinese district, and we (as a heterosexual couple) were welcomed in gay neighborhood. Although these experiences are available in the United States, because of our collective xenophobia and interest in cultural homogeneity, they can be a bit harder to find.
President Trump ran a campaign that was largely embraced by the “Christian Community” of the United States. Since in office, he has consistently worshiped money and fame, and turned his gaze away from the poor, oppressed, and our neighbors. I fear many Americans have become blind and lost touch with the Christ’s message. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Although most figures show that there is greater attendance and adherence to Christianity in the USA than Canada, who is being more welcoming and interested in social justice? Happy Birthday Canada on July 1 as you turn 150! Keep being welcoming and embracing diversity. And to the United States, let’s wish for a wave of compassion and peace to come across our population as we celebrate our 241st birthday 3 days later.