The Poppy and the Cross

In Canada today, the two most dramatic symbols representing our society, our freedoms Рeven our very identity as Canadians Рare arguably:
– The poppy, which we wear with pride around Remembrance Day (November 11) annually, and…
– The Cross, which we revere every day of the year.

So it should be no surprise that BOTH symbols are under fervent attack by secular humanism and the rise of false religions, more than any other in Canada today.¬† For if the enemies of everything we hold dear simply strike at our foundations, this entire structure we call “Canada”…

…will come crashing to the ground.


Canadian troops at the Second Battle of Ypres, April 1915, and in Afghanistan, December 2008 (Credit: Canadian War Museum – http://www.warmuseum.ca)

THE POPPY

We are NOTHING as a country, if we choose to ignore the individual and corporate sacrifices, (in ‚Äúsweat, blood, toil and tears‚ÄĚ, as Winston Churchill once said), of the brave men and women who have served in our Canadian Armed Forces with honour for 152 years and counting.

On Remembrance Day annually (November 11), we pause for a moment at 11:11 AM local time, in whatever part of this HUGE country’s we may be in, to commemorate the moment when, on that date and time in 1918, the Great War – the “War to End All Wars”, the “Seminal Catastrophe”, or the “European War” as it was known, finally came to a close.

This was the first global war in world history.  Starting in Europe on July 28, 1914, and carrying on for 1,567 days until November 11, 1918.  70 million troops marched onto battlefields in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history.  It was also the deadliest, claiming 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians, as a direct result of the war, and over 20 million others from diseases like the Spanish flu, that claimed another 50 to 100 million, starvation and scattered genocides that followed.

Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France – where the names of the 11,285 Canadians who lost their lives in France and who had no known grave are recorded.

We wear a poppy to commemorate what our soldiers did there because it MATTERED.¬† Our young boys stepped into living Hell on hardened battlefields, that had equally hard names to pronounce and spell –¬† like Ypres, Festubert and Givenchy (1915), The Somme (1916), Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Lens, Passchendaele and Cambrai (1917).¬† In every situation, we did things beyond our training.¬† We successfully completed missions that France and England, who had 1,000 year old military histories, couldn’t do.¬† Canadian soldiers often did the unthinkable – at times, even the impossible – for 1,567 days (from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918), and we assisted the Allies in defeating the Central Powers, which included three Empires (German, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian), as well as¬†Bulgaria.

Little Canada was not even 50 years old when the war started.¬† Only 8 million residents in the whole country then.¬† ¬† We grew up into adulthood before the eyes of the world.¬† So foundational was our input in World War I that the last 100 days, from August 8 to November 11, 1918, are known today as “Canada’s Hundred Days”.¬† At one point during World War I, 7% of Canadians were in uniform, one of the highest participation rates by any army in any war in world history.¬† ¬†If the US had that size of army based on population, it would number 22 million.¬† If China did, their armies would have number 97 million.

The installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London, commemorating the centenary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War . (Credit: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)

We wear a poppy to show solidarity with the everyday Canadians who fought for us so long ago.¬† They were us.¬† A total of 619,636 Canadians enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the war, 424,000 served overseas – and 59,544 died during the war (51,748 as a result of enemy action, and 7,796 from “friendly fire” incidents, accidents and disease).¬† ¬†Hundreds of thousands more worked in the war effort back home, in administration, factories making munitions, equipment, tanks, planes, ships, uniforms, and growing and packaging food and medicine.¬† There wasn’t a familiy in Canada that was untouched by the war – there were likely few in the country that didn’t know someone overseas.¬† Many also knew someone who died there.

And this war was not as advertised – it did not “end all wars”.¬† In fact, just 21 years later, the world would once again be set on fire, with battles raging on three continents, as Hitler and his Nazi hordes attempted to conquer the world.¬† By the time the final bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki on August 8, 1945, and the two wars had finally ended in Europe, Africa and Asia, over 60 million people had died, including 25 million Russian civilians alone.

We wear a poppy to remember that Canadian soldiers changed the world.¬† And Canada had become a new symbol of freedom and hope in the world.¬† ¬†We sent over 1 million soldiers to Europe, many of whom didn’t come home for 6 years in World War II.¬† Tens of thousands didn’t come home at all.¬† We declared war on Hitler just one week after Great Britain and France did, on September 10, 1939.¬† We weren’t forced to – the King had told our government that we had free will to determine if this is was a cause we wanted to send our boys into harm’s way for.¬† We debated it in Parliament, we thought about it, we prayed about it.¬† And we did it.¬† Once we declared war on September 10, we had troops on the ground in Europe just 2 weeks later.¬† And our boys volunteered for it.¬† It took the US another 820 days before they joined the war, and their troops had to be drafted, even then, to do so.

We wear a poppy over our hearts, because we loved these young men, and because they gave all they had, with all their hearts, for us.  We honour the heroic contributions of our soldiers, over the last 1.5 centuries, to the building of our nation.  And to the freedom enjoyed by the entire Western world.  They were literally a force for good that stopped the forces of evil spreading across the globe.

Speaking of which – there are some misguided Cretans who introduced a rainbow poppy this year, just before British Armistice Day – like the gay community wasn’t getting enough attention during commemorations for our war dead?¬† Attempting to turn the poppy into a culturally misappropriated gay symbol is outrageous.

These are likely the same morons that wear a pink triangle as a symbol of connection with the LGBT community – not realizing that the symbol was introduced in the Nazi concentration camp system, along with the yellow star, to help sort out which prisoners were which.

It is also truly disgusting that some in the Muslim community boycott the sale of poppies because they consider it a symbol of “racism”, and some Legion branches in the UK stopped selling them in “certain areas” of Britain to avoid offense, though they have been selling them throughout the UK since 1921.¬† This vocal minority of Muslims try to extinguish the symbol altogether – yet they are hardly the spokespeople for racial tolerance in the world.

THE CROSS

In Canada, our freedoms are only authentically maintained when our people still hold dear to the sacrifices symbolized by the POPPY – and we must ‚ÄúNEVER FORGET‚ÄĚ to STAND AND SALUTE those who shed their blood for victories over dictators and despots.

However, that freedom only truly exists in Canada and indeed in EVERY nation on Earth, when the people hold EVEN MORE dear to the Sacrifice actualized by the CROSS of JESUS CHRIST – and we must ‚ÄúBE IN REMEMBRANCE‚ÄĚ to KNEEL, BOW AND CLING to the One who shed His blood for our final victory over the Devil and even Death itself.

I STAND to honor the anthem and the flag, and symbolically pin a poppy OVER MY HEART today, with pride and thankfulness.

But first…

I KNEEL and BOW to honor the Cross, and literally invite the Saviour of the World, Jesus Christ, to LIVE INSIDE MY HEART, with humility and thankfulness.

Because of the sacrifices of Canadians – on far off battlefields – many individual freedoms are enjoyed today by the Canadian people.

But without the Sacrifice of Christ – ‚Äúon a hill far away‚ÄĚ – WE HAVE NO FREEDOM AT ALL – either on this Earth or eternity to come.

‚ÄúSo if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.‚ÄĚ (John 8:36)

‚ÄúIt is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.‚Ä̬† (Galatians 5:1)

‚ÄúIn him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.‚Ä̬† (Ephesians 3:12)

‚ÄúI will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.‚Ä̬† (Psalm 119:45)

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By Shawn Jorgensen,  Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted:  November 10, 2019
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]

America: Persecutor of Christians?

For the first time ever, the United States has been added to an annual list of the world’s persecutors of Christians and countries that are regressing in religious freedom.

We respect their opinions and can see why they would be concerned. ¬†But¬†we’re also very concerned about what harm this messaging brings.¬†


obamanochristiansThe United States, Mexico and Russia¬†have been¬†listed as ‚Äúnew and noteworthy‚ÄĚ nations in the 2016 ‚ÄúHall of Shame Report‚ÄĚ published by the Washington, D.C., based human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC), the operators of the website¬†Persecution.org.

The ‚Äúworst of the worst‚ÄĚ countries for Christian persecution ‚Äď the ‚Äúmost egregious state persecutors‚ÄĚ ‚Äď included Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and North Korea.

Others listed as ‚Äúcore countries‚ÄĚ ‚Äď or nations that are less egregious in their persecution but are ‚Äúperennial abusers of religious freedom‚ÄĚ ‚Äď were Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China and India.

While ICC notes ‚Äúthere is no comparison between the life of a Christian in the U.S. with persecuted believers overseas,‚ÄĚ the group noted a number of ‚Äúworrying trends as an alarming indication of a decline in religious liberty in the United States.

ICC President Jeff King explained:

“We felt it was very important this year that we highlight three countries where religious discrimination and persecution are deemed unusual but have reached a certain threshold of concern. These are Mexico, Russia, and sadly, the United States.

While conditions in the U.S. are in no way comparable to other countries on the list, a certain segment of the culture and the courts seem to be intent on driving faith out of the public square. There have been too many court cases with bad decisions to miss the clear trend line.

I personally think this is absolute nonsense, and the Church is now being named the fool as a result.¬†¬†One group has latched onto this concept, and are “making hay while the sun shines” – left-wing nutjobs¬†, like the ones at RightWingWatch.org.

This narrative has become an important rallying cry for a movement that has found itself on the losing side of many of the so-called ‚Äúculture wars.‚ÄĚ By reframing political losses as religious oppression, the Right has attempted to build a justification for turning back advances in gay rights, reproductive rights and religious liberty for minority faiths.

blog_culture_warSee, this is why I hate special interest groups. I don’t care whether they’re on the right wing or on the left wing side of life, both sides usually prepackage or repackage or even manufacture news to begin with, to justify their position or belief. ¬†And ironically, the left is using this as a rallying cry for THEIR twisted, sick purposes as well.

It was completely unhelpful of Persecution.org to say that the United States is now a persecutor of Christians in the same league as Russia!  That was just stupid.  Have Christians lost some of their rights, some of their freedom of speech, some of their right to assemble, and freedom of worship?  Perhaps, but as a comparative with RUSSIA?  How idiotic.

And any backpedalling of freedoms in society is partly the American Church’s own doing. ¬†If the American church is losing rights, it’s because it doesn’t speak up and fight back.

Televangelist financial scandals, and massive money-making corporations run under the guise of charitable works,¬†for example, has brought shame and reproach to the body of Christ – and it’s wrong.

Some pastors¬†and evangelists¬†run nonprofit societies, yet they live in million-dollar mansions due to¬†the sale of their books and CDs – which they hawk through said non-profit ministries. That’s wrong, and may even be considered tax evasion.

The accuser woth her grandparents, the accused Crouches, onher wedding day. (Credit: Daily Mail)
The accuser with her grandparents, TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch, on her wedding day. (Credit: Daily Mail)

For example, in March 2012, ¬†London’s Daily Mail newspaper reported that two¬†former employees of the world’s largest Christian television channel, Trinity Broadcasting Network, founded by Televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch, accused the non-profit of spending millions of dollars of its funding on extravagant personal expenses. Among purchases were a $50 million jet, 13 mansions and a $100,000-mobile home for Mrs Crouch’s dogs. ¬†Their accuser? ¬†Their granddaughter, Brittany Koper, 26, recently filed her allegations in court after a brief appointment as the network’s chief finance director in July. ¬† Pretty hard to ‘blame the Devil’ or excuse this in any possible way.

I recently even read in America some pastors stating that if they lose their tax-exempt status as a church or as a charitable entity, they will withdraw their services from society and let the city or province or state or whatever see just how much that service has given to that state or province free of charge.  What a travesty Рwe were called to reach out to society whether they acknowledge it or not, financially or otherwise.

This is what we have become? A money-making whore that demands society look the other way while we¬†generate revenues in exactly the same way as secular society does, but tax-free? ¬†Is a tax-free status a Christian right? ¬†Hardly. ¬†Jesus said, concerning taxes: “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and give unto God that which is God’s” (Mark 12:17) ¬†Is it a good witness to disobey or even break laws around charitable institutions? ¬†NO.

If the American Church lost its charitable non-tax status across the board, it would be a gift in disguise.  How many churches suffer financially while televangelists bring in $50+ million per year?  Are any of those evangelists truly necessary to the body of Christ?  Sure, a few РBilly Graham, James Robson, Reinhard Bonnke, Greg Laurie and a few others are changing the world.

THIS is what Christian persecution looks like.
THIS is what Christian persecution looks like.

Governments’ response to some Christian ministries’ tax-robbing ways is not persecution. ¬†We are also taxpayers, which means that everytime a ministry steals from society like this, we all pay for it anyway. ¬†Misusing¬†the label ‘persecution’ is the most ridiculous thing of all, and mocks the real suffering of believers worldwide.

According to a September 20, 2015 report2 in the Daily Express newspaper,  a Christian is martyred every 5 minutes by Islamic State terrorists alone.  Believers are often singled out, tortured and faced with the brutal choice of converting to Islam or being slaughtered, according to Christian Freedom International.  Those who refuse to comply have reportedly had their limbs cut off or have been crucified.

Research by CFI found that more than 200 million Christians are facing persecution in 105 countries, making Christianity the most at-risk faith group in the world.  More Christians have been martyred in the 20th and 21st centuries than during the previous 19 combined, the organisation has claimed.

Don't like the guy or what he stands for but in this context, he's dead-on.
Don’t like the guy or what he stands for but in this context, he’s dead-on.

Not everyone agrees with this American Church persecution assessment either.  For over 60 years, Open Doors has been a respected international organisation with a mission of advocacy for persecuted Christians in 60 countries around the world.  I note that in their 2016 list of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith, America was not found.

North Korea has ranked #1 for 13 years because it is illegal to be a Christian in North Korea, and Christians are often sent to labour camps or are killed if they are discovered.  I was, therefore, both shocked and inspired to see that regardless of this verdict, North Korea has over 300,000 Christian believers.  God, keep your hand on all of them, wherever they may be.

Are these the only countries where Christians are persecuted?  Sadly no.  Open Doors says that there are more than 65 countries where Christians are persecuted.    If the American Church focused on their plight instead of its myopic own, they could change that dynamic for many of them.

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted January 8, 2017

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Canada…Still Glorious, Still Free

Canada is more than a location, a huge land mass, a country, a set of borders, a group of people with a common language, government and currency. Canada is an idea: the founding of a collection of souls from around the world into one fold, with a common set of values, a common bond of pride in who we are, what we have done and where we are going.


images (3)As Canadians from sea to sea to shining sea gather together today with their friends, families or entire communities to celebrate the 149th Birthday of the Dominion of Canada – the land we love so much – a few things popped in and out of my head as I thought about our homeland.

I’m happy to report that this morning, as I did last Canada Day morning 2015, and as has been the case every other morning of our lives in Canada thus far…. we all woke up free.

Having a hard time grasping how precious that is, or what that even really means? I completely understand and could relate – until, that is, I got on a jetliner and headed to Australia, France, Spain, North Africa and all over the United States. And suddenly, it all became incredibly obvious how blessed we are as Canadians to live in a mosaic of cultures that still works.

Victoria, BC on Canada Day
Victoria, BC on Canada Day

It’s true that on this Canada Day perhaps more than any other in modern history, we are threatened by groups that want to wipe us off the planet, and the occasional drooling Neanderthal from this illiterate lot occasionally sneaks into our country to try to do so. ISIS has even threatened to kill Canadians in their own bedrooms in the past.

But we are not afraid. We have heard this all before. We heard it in the 1930s and 1940, generally followed by shrieking “Sieg Heils”. Adolf Hitler had 20 million soldiers in his Armed Forces – our entire population wasn’t that large. Regardless, our teenage boys and young adult men went over there by the hundreds of thousands – in fact, nearly 1 million Canadians total – and we barrel-rolled over his goose-stepping goons in France after storming the beaches of Normandy. Then we liberated the Netherlands before pushing the Nazi beasts all the way back into Germany, where their ultimate defeat awaited.

Look, some Canadians have lived through a record -81C temperature, and we all suffered under Free Trade, a 69 cent dollar, 20% interest rates, a 13.1% national unemployment rate and the GST. Pierre Trudeau (shivers)… and now his idiotic offspring. There’s really nothing out there that’s bigger than we can handle.

IMG_2473On this Canada Day, as with the 148 before it, Canadians will have a day of lawn chairs, hot dogs, and fireworks – and have you noticed how sunny Canada Days tend to be? But the day really begins the moment we catch a first glimpse of our iconic flag – snow white and crimson red – painted on a cheek, draped as a cape, emblazoned on a T-shirt, or hanging from a balcony.

As far as the experts in marketing will tell you, it’s one of the most brilliant, simplistically designed brands in the world – and the whole global village knows who it belongs to the moment they see it. Like the Red Cross flag it closely resembles, it speaks safety and healing and security to the masses of wounded, terrified, displaced peoples everywhere. Canadians have a reputation for quiet patriotism – until the flag comes out. Then it’s all bets off how emotional we are going to get.

We live in a peaceful land with a federal government which has never been overthrown or even temporarily supplanted in an internal coup. In fact, the very idea of Canadian democracy itself has never been truly threatened – not ever. In the 149 years of our national story, no foreign power has ever overrun our borders (except maybe Wal-Mart) – not once, not even for 5 minutes.

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Former Prime Ministers Jean Chretien (Liberal) and Stephen Harper (Conservative), political foes, enjoy a laugh together as they flew 18 hours to Nelson Mandela's funeral last year.
Former Prime Ministers Jean Chretien (Liberal) and Stephen Harper (Conservative), political foes, enjoy a laugh together as they flew 18 hours to Nelson Mandela’s funeral last year. They were joined by Canada’s first female Prime Minister, Kim Campbell (Conservative) and Brian Mulroney (Conservative) – the four lead Canada for nearly 30 years total.

And you can be absolutely certain of one thing – in Canada, the wider the pendulum swings back and forth, the quieter the streets will be the next morning. We have never protested the results of elections being won by illegal means or so ridiculously close to call we waited days for the results – because it’s never happened. If Canadians are happy with a government or have no reason to be mad, they could stay elected forever. But if we are furious with them, we wipe them off the face of the earth or whip them back to the doghouse and give the other side fair chance to prove themselves. There are no dynasties or guys that we just can’t get rid of. We took Brian Mulroney’s massive majority government down to two seats in the next election. We’d never wipe out a ruling party though because we know eventually they’ll be needed again. Our politics are just that logical.

There have been no riots on election days, no rubber bullets, no tear gas. If our guy loses, we get up and put our pants on the next morning one leg at a time as we always have, perhaps grumble at the water cooler when we get to the office – then graciously accept the fact we’re gonna be slightly irritated by the new Prime Minister for his entire term – unless of course, he surprises us by doing something out if the ordinary that we can actually relate to, and he becomes “our man” (perhaps for that hour) as well.

IMG_2474Since the founding of Canada in 1867, we have had 149 consecutive years of total peace within our borders – there has never been a war or rumour of war. I am not sure that any other country on earth can make such a claim.

Our military is small but mighty. We dared to stand tall even the United States of America in the War of 1812, crossing the border and setting many public buildings on fire including the White House (which we burned to the ground – sorry about that!), and then successfully returning all our troops home.

  • In World War I, just 50 years along as a nation, we conquered Vimy Ridge when no one else could. We mobilized an army that was nearly 8% of our entire country’s population. We were often used as cannon fodder, and far too many of our boys died in places like Passchendaele, Ypres, and the Somme, that we could barely spell or pronounce. But we fought for King and in so doing, we became a country.
  • In World War II, our farm boys from Saskatchewan and city slickers from Vancouver and Toronto all stormed the same Juno Beach together, and were the only country on D-Day – June 6, 1944 – to successfully land our troops and push into Nazi territory, completing all of our ordered objectives. Then we waited for our British and American allies to catch up. We continued the push across Europe and almost single-handedly liberated the Netherlands from Nazi tyranny. It should be again stated that Hitler’s armies numbered nearly 20 million – larger than our entire Canadian population. But we were not going to be defeated. Oh, and by the way, the Netherlands still celebrates a special “Canada Day” ever year, as their eternal thanks for their liberation. It makes me emotional even to think about it now.
  • We served in many other conflicts, liberating captive populations and policing others in Korea, Kosovo, and Kuwait. We became known as the peacekeepers – we were the ones that no one wanted to mess with privately, but publically, oh they may have made fun of our older weapons and tanks and planes. But we have a secret that makes all that new-fangled, high-tech equipment today mostly irrelevant anyway. There have been very few moments in history when any other nation on earth has ever wanted to actually harm us. But shhhhhhh, keep that under wraps.

Oh yes, the world laughs at us for being so polite. We apologize…sometimes several times… when someone else walks into us, and I’m sorry I have to even admit that to you. We’re so mild mannered and boring up here, there were actually some Americans over the decades who believed we were closed on the weekends. The entire country.

Terrorists don’t generally want to blow us up. They barely remember we’re here. No one goes on television or radio or stands in large rallies and screams “Death to Canada” or brags about the missiles they can launch now upon Toronto or Montreal. It just simply doesn’t happen. EVER.

And you know why? Because they love us. Deep down, they all really do love us.

Canada Day fireworks over Parliament Hill, Ottawa
Canada Day fireworks over Parliament Hill, Ottawa

The 2015 report from the Reputation Institute ranked Canada as the #1 most reputable country in the world, based on a variety of environmental, political, and economic factors. Oh, and we have been one of the top two countries EVERY year for the last 10 years in a row.

Our former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, said it best on Canada Day 2013, when he described Canadians as..

“Compassionate neighbours, courageous warriors, and confident partners, a bastion of freedom in an un-free world, a standard-bearer of goodwill, in a time when too many choose to hate, a land of hope in a sea of uncertainty.”

May God keep our land…glorious and free!

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
‚úí Posted July 1, 2015. Updated July 1, 2016

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