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I
would like to think that the actions
of British univer-
sity lecturer and socialist politician Eleanor Jackson were
unique, and confined to a country 3,000 miles away. But,
alas, it’s not the case. Earlier this year, the absurd woman per-
suaded the local council in Somerset in the beautiful, rural
west of England to remove the cross of St. George flag from
its premises because, according to Jackson, “it was used dur-
ing the Crusades 1,000 years ago.”
She continued, “My big problem is that it is offensive to some
Muslims, but even more so that it has been hijacked by the
far right. My thoughts are we ought to drop it for 20 years.”
Frankly, love, it’s pretty clear that you have a lot more prob-
lems than this!
Oh my God, where do I start? Actually, the original Crusader
flag was not a red cross on a white background; but it doesn’t
matter if it was. It’s the flag of England, and this crazy lady
lives in England. If it offends anyone, the answer is to move
to another country. As for the so-called far right – about 10
people and a dog – this would be like removing the Canadian
flag because a white supremacist in his mum’s basement
somewhere outside of Red Deer puts it on his never-visited
website.
The rainbow flag of the gay community is still to be flown
by this particular council, of course, and Islamic festivals are
to be properly commemorated, but the flag known by men
who died fighting the Nazis and one that represents nation,
tolerance, democracy and decency is to disappear. Those still
living who did indeed fight fascism, and the families of those
who are no longer with us, were not consulted.
To their credit, several Muslim leaders did describe the action
as absurd and extreme, which is a welcome departure in that
similar flags have been taken down from police stations and
public buildings due to Islamic complaints. There was even a
failed attempt to change the England soccer team’s cross of
St. George badge to the three lions because then, a Muslim
spokesman explained, “we can give the team our support.”
One would have hoped that being born in England would
have automatically meant support for that country’s sports
team.
It’s not really about England or a flag, of course, but about
a new and petrifying sensitivity to anything that may cause
offence to the Islamic faith. And if you think that Canada or
the United States is immune to all of this nonsense, I’m afraid
you’re going to have to think again. It’s why Justin Trudeau
condemned the Harper government when it described fe-
male genital mutilation and honour killings as“barbaric,”why
commentators and politicians are so reluctant to describe
Islamic terrorists as being Muslim, why public schools will
donate rooms to Islamic prayers but forbid a Christian minis-
ter from speaking to a class.
In a way, I don’t blame Muslim activists from pushing ever
harder at the door, because they know that it will general-
ly be opened wide. We’re the problem here, not them. We,
whatever our faith or creed, who are supposed to believe in
truth, moderation and the traditions that made the West as
magnificent as it is. But even stating that the Western world
is magnificent will send the usual types into paroxysms of
anger. Canada has a tradition based not on passing fashions,
not on socialized health care, not on Margaret Atwood’s nov-
els, not on the CBC, not on peacekeeping and certainly not
on political correctness.
The country is far greater and far more permanent than
that. And an essential ingredient of what makes the nation
great – leading to so many people wanting to come to it– is
a Christian essence and a history that is woven deeply into
the West, the enlightenment, and Europe. Canada is a con-
stitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy, a country
based on Biblical values and virtues, even if these are implicit
and not everybody attends church. In the past, immigrants
accepted all of this and came to Canada because of it; we
have a right, a duty, to merely ask the same of those who
would come in the future. You are welcome, but welcome to
Canada, as it is.
St. George had a way with dragons and, in a metaphorical
sort of way, we need to learn how to deal similarly with the
scaly monster of extremism and intolerance. Lances
all around, and a wave of the flag of common sense.
with
Michael Coren
Opinion