My Sauce Got Goosed

Here in Southern Ontario, we recently had two men charged with terrorism.  They were Muslims who had immigrated here, gone to the trouble to become citizens, and then allegedly plotted to load a train passenger car with explosives.  The Big Bang was to occur when the train was half-way across a railroad bridge above the Niagara River, on its way to the United States.  The loss of life and property damage would have been horrendous.

Fortunately, police got wind of the plot, and arrested the two before they could proceed.  One of the pair immediately lawyered up, and denied the whole thing.  The other genius is demanding a lawyer who will argue that he should be tried under Sharia law.  He claims that the laws of the country should not apply to him, and that the Koran should be the only book to judge his actions.  Good luck with that!  Even Muslim lawyers are backing away, because they know that the Canadian Penal Code must be the one to apply.

Opinions online, and in op-ed letters are unanimous.  How dare you think that you can use your religious beliefs and your holy book to justify illegal activity!  You live here in Canada.  You have to obey the laws of Canada!  Okay now, come along with me.  We’re going to take a little trip to visit KayJai, in Newfoundland, for another lesson in religious entitlement and intolerance.

Several years ago, the Province of Newfoundland did away with Catholic separate schools.  They were rolled into an all-encompassing Provincial school system, and the pertinent laws stated that no religion would be allowed to display any religious symbols in the now-secular schools.

Recently, a parent filed a request to the Provincial School Board, to have a Christian cross removed from above the door of a previously Catholic school in St. John’s.  Saint Matthew’s School, if you care.  The school board has acceded to the legal request, but, oh, the howls of Christian anguish.

In an attempt to stick a finger in the dike, to keep special religious treatment and benefits from leaking away, the female spokesman       (-woman?, -person?) for the parents association has started asking stupid questions.  “What harm is a cross doing to the student, or the complaining parent?”  The same, but opposite harm that taking it down would do to you.  The complainant does not have to give a reason, but you must obey the law.

“Why do we have to take down our cross, when only one person has complained?”  For the same reason that I have to stop robbing banks, even if only one bank manager has complained.  It’s against the law, and you don’t get to obey just the laws that you like.  “What’s next?  Will we have to take down our Saint Matthew’s name, too?”  Well, if you keep bitching and dragging your feet on this request, that might indeed be next.  Cut your losses and play nice with others.

I’m not saying that hanging a cross and blowing up a bridge are equally serious offenses, but they’re both firmly planted on the Yellow Brick Road of religious intolerance and social disobedience.  If attitudes and actions are not modified, it doesn’t take much to proceed from one to the other.  I am reminded of the book-burning scene in the movie, Footloose.

I am both amazed and disgusted that Good Christians will decry and deny application of Muslim sharia law, and the validation of the Muslim holy book, but will haul out Catholic benefits and the Bible to justify their own selfish and illegal behavior.  They both equally feel that the laws of the country should not apply to them, and their holy book should supersede Provincial legislation.

The Bible may be a great book, and Christian principles may be grand, but, they don’t hold a monopoly.  They should not be shoved down others’ throats, just because they’re nice.  Everyone has the right to go to Hell in his own way.  In the Bible, Jesus ordered that we are to “Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s.”  Cast off your feelings of inferiority and insecurity!  Live, and let live!

End of yet another anti-bureaucratic religious rant!  We will return you to your regularly scheduled program of fun and foolishness in a couple of days.

In a sad post script, a Good Christian couple in Pennsylvania believe in “Divine Healing”, but not in obeying Man’s laws.  They have caused the death of a second son in three years from pneumonia, by not taking them to a doctor or hospital.  Accommodation of religious beliefs does not extend to allowing the death of children, even your own.  They have been charged with third degree murder, for failing to provide the necessities of life.

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California, Here I Come

This story took place in Canada.  It’s about the east coast, not the west, and it happened to my parents, not me.  Other than that, it’s exactly like the title.

My parents wanted to see and enjoy as much of Canada as they could, while they were still strong enough to make the trips.  The year after they made the trip out to B.C., they decided to drive to the east coast.  They got as far as Montreal the first day and stayed at an inexpensive hotel.

After supper, dad thought they might have a drink.  He found a vending machine where he could buy Coke, as mix, but couldn’t seem to locate an ice machine.  On his way back to the room, he encountered a man with a bucket of ice, and asked him where he had got it.  The guy said he had to ask a hotel employee, who got it for him.  Dad complained that he had asked two different employees.  They had mumbled something in French and walked away.  The guy told him to wave American money.  If they think you’re a Yankee, they’ll fall all over themselves.

There was no bridge over to Prince Edward Island at that time and Dad didn’t want to take the ferry to see a whole Province that’s smaller than Southern Ontario.  They drove through New Brunswick and on into Nova Scotia.  They drove north and followed the Cabot Trail around Cape Breton.  On a whim, Dad decided that they would take the ferry over to Newfoundland. There is actually a legal Canada Post outlet on the ferry.  You can buy postcards and stamps and deposit mail in a receptacle.  At the end of the ferry’s day, the Canada Post employee gathers all mail and takes it ashore for sorting and shipping.

They bought several postcards and began addressing them, one to Mom’s younger brother, one to my half-sister, one to my brother, and then the problem struck.  They knew my name, of course.  They knew the name of my city.  They even knew my house number, but, do you think either one of them could remember the name of the street I lived on?  Now that I’m almost their age, I understand the mental block.  They pondered and thought, then Dad got up and wandered away.  Mom was thinking, Oh sure, leave it to me while you go socialize.  A couple of minutes later, Dad came back.  Frederick Street, he says.  Oh, you remembered.  No, I asked that kid over there.  Mom wanted to know how some teenager on a ferry to The Rock, knows where her son lives, four Provinces west.  Simple, Dad says.  He’s wearing a U of Waterloo (our twin city) jacket, so I described where the street started and where it went, and he knew.

They landed and drove off the ferry, and north to Corner Brook.  They’d been living and showering in hotels/motels for over two weeks.  My mother used to have her hair done at a salon every Friday, so she told Dad to keep an eye out for a hairdresser.  As you enter the city, you do so on a one-way street.  About a block ahead, Dad saw a car pull out of a parking space on the left hand side.  He pulled into the recently vacated spot and looked toward the businesses.  They were parked right in front of a nice hair salon.  Mom went on in to see if they could take her, and how soon.  Dad would have put money in the parking meter, but it still had time on it.  The ladies inside weren’t busy at that moment, and took her immediately.  An hour later they climbed back in the car, and there were still a couple of minutes left on the meter.  The word is synchronicity, a collision of possibles, so unlikely, that it almost seems to imply Divine intervention.

Having come this far, they decided to drive across the Province to St John’s.  They drove and drove, and drove, and drove.  The views were breath-taking, but Dad used the term, boringly beautiful.  Oh look, another mountain.  Newfoundland is the end of the Appalachian Chain.  It’s not The Rockies, but it’s still mountains.  They climbed one long hill, and, just over the ridge was a garage/diner/rest area.  Dad gassed up, and then they went into the restaurant, for a stretch and some lunch.

As they came out Dad said, he could hear a car laboring up the long hill just over the ridge.  Just as it reached the top, there was a bang and a lot of smoke.  The car had thrown a piston rod down through the oil pan.  The driver managed to coast it into the garage area.  The attendant examined it and gave him the bad news.  Can you fix it, the owner wanted to know.  Oh yeah.  No problem.  How long would it take?  “Well,” said the mechanic, “If I can get the parts from St John’s, two to three days.  If I have to wait for parts from Halifax, it’ll be two to three weeks.”

Fun’s fun, but, being stuck on this rock for two or three weeks isn’t it.  Or, hire a ride to the airport, fly home, fly back when the car’s repaired and hire another ride out to the middle of nowhere.  The cost would be more than the car was worth.  Discretion being the better part of sanity, Dad turned around and headed back toward the ferry dock.  There’s a reason life moves a little slower on Newfoundland.  If they’d had friends and family to help, it would have been a different situation.  Dad just wanted to get back to civilization the mainland.