Thinking Out Loud

February 6, 2017

What it Means to be a “Christian Country”

Canadian and U.S. dollar coins

Greg Boyd’s book The Myth of a Christian Nation notwithstanding, many people believe that the nation whose currency proclaims ‘In God We Trust’ is indeed “a Christian Nation.”

Canada has no such illusions. Religious pluralism is normative across most provinces. We refer to ourselves as “a cultural mosaic.”

However this past week we saw an interesting inversion of national stereotypes. In a front page article Saturday in Canada’s largest circulation newspaper, The Star, Robert Benzie writes:

Ontario is flinging open its operating-room doors to provide health care for foreign children whose life-saving surgeries stateside have been cancelled due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

In the wake of Trump’s temporary immigration ban against citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, which has affected thousands of families, Health Minister Eric Hoskins offered a prescription to help.

“This is a particular subset of children who require life-saving surgery, so, absent that surgery, they will certainly die,” Hoskins told reporters Friday afternoon at Queen’s Park…

…“What we’re saying is that Canada is a country that has always looked to ways that it could reach out and support vulnerable people around the world.”

Hoskins, a former aid worker in the Middle East and Africa and co-founder of War Child Canada, a non-governmental organization that helps kids from war zones, said Toronto’s world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children is on the case.

“SickKids has been approached by a number of hospitals in the United States with regard to a number of cases,” he said, noting most are for “highly specialized cardiac care” for infants as young as 4 months old…

…continue reading the full article at

Obviously this is a developing story and the United States is making concessions in many cases, but in the meantime, the Canadian province is acting consistent with the federal government’s posture of an open door as indicated in the Prime Minister’s tweets:

This at the same time as a prominent Christian author, familiar to readers here, Ann Voskamp shows up in Washington, DC:

Back to the children needing charity, it does appear that the not-so-Christian nation is espousing Jesus-like charity, while the Christian nation is simply sending a confusing message to the rest of the world as to its commitment to compassion.


  1. I think it is important to recognize that you are comparing governmental action, not personal actions. Neither the GOVERNMENT of Canada nor the USA can lay any claim to being followers of Jesus Christ. :)

    Comment by Jim — February 6, 2017 @ 10:22 am

    • Good clarification. And there are people of faith on both sides of this issue within both countries.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — February 6, 2017 @ 10:25 am

  2. Both the comments and the post give interesting thoughts contributing to the conversation. I personally have a hard time with an American “security first” mindset when it’s hard to nail down what exactly we’re preventing or correcting. The anecdotes of those who have been carrying out the pre-Trump vetting of refugees and the available stats on terrorism committed by foreign-born refugees aren’t convincing me that we’ve made a tremendous difference and stopped some great Trojan Horse full of death and carnage. All I see is nebulous fear that, from what I can tell, permeates the way many on the Right see everything and everyone, and subordinates every other priority under the dynamic duo of Safety and Comfort.

    Comment by sonworshiper — February 6, 2017 @ 6:14 pm

    • “Well, we must be wise,” someone will say. Yes, and that means looking at existing policy, getting the first-hand perspective of those who were carrying it out, and considering the facts and statistics about what supposed threat we’re trying to counter.
      If saving Americans is our priority, we would better spend our money and efforts on building a weather machine to reduce deaths by lightning strike. If that sounds ridiculous (and it does), then we should rethink the policy we’re pursuing.

      Comment by sonworshiper — February 6, 2017 @ 6:18 pm

      • I honestly think that fear among Americans over refugees is more of an anger thing, not fear at all. And that anger is not really directed at refugees. It is more directed at those in leadership and power. This became an issue last year. The attack in France and the ISIS promise that they were sending their boys in with real refugees, was where it started. The voter, who has limited understanding of all the behind the scenes stuff that goes on, wanted the government to slow down. Rather than slowing down and trying to bring the country up to speed, President Obama doubled down and utterly ignored the will of the people. If he had not ignored the real concerns of real Americans, this would not have blown up into such a huge thing.

        Now, I will readily admit, publicly even, that I could be totally wrong on this, but that is how I see it.

        Comment by Jim — February 6, 2017 @ 8:35 pm

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