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Maxed out

Onward Christian soldiers?

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Canadians aren’t, as a rule, particularly pushy. This is a country of two solitudes, multiculturalism, universal health care and collective goodwill. The west in Canada was never really wild; it was well-managed. Our Indian wars were, with notable exceptions, more misguided paternalism and land swindles than bloody subjugation. We are a nation of peaceful tree choppers.

One of the defining social principles of Canadians’ lack of pushiness is a sort of laissez faire, live and let live, you do your thing and I’ll do mine, go along to get along kind of social interaction. It’s been generations since Canadians have had to repel invading forces and the idea of Canada starting a war is ludicrous.

So what’s an Olympic-fevered mountain resort in a peaceful nation of I’m OK; You’re OK co-dependents supposed to think when an invading ‘army’ is poised to assault its placid, guest-welcoming borders?

Former Whistler councillor Krispi Wells wants to lead an army of Southern Baptists to our happy mountain home to spiritually transform Whistler. This begs more questions than can possibly be asked in one column but one of them is clearly transform Whistler into what?

I know; you think I’m making this stuff up like I usually do. Au contraire, mon cher. It was thus reported in that bastion of hard news, BPSports. BPSports is an online zine of all things Christian and sport, run by the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist group in the world, the largest Protestant group in the U.S. and the second largest Christian club in the U.S. after the Roman Catholic Church — ironically an organization the Southern Baptists don’t view as exactly Christian.

In a piece entitled Planning underway for Winter Olympics Ministry ( http://www.bpsports.net/bpsports.asp?ID=5769 ) in the Feb. 14 edition, Alan Au, director of Vancouver Focus (described as a “church-planting and discipleship initiative sponsored by the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists”) says the Olympics are seen as a great opportunity to “extend our growth into the future.”

Apparently, VANOC agrees. Among all the other things VANOC is doing to bring the 2010 Games to fruition, partnering with the Southern Baptists is on the list. Mr. Au is a board member of the Vancouver Whistler — finally we get some billing — Games Network (VWGN). VWGN is a coalition of churches, ministries and individuals VANOC has partnered with to, according to the BPSports story, assist them in four official capacities: “chaplaincy, lodging for athletes, the use of church parking lots for carpooling to events, and helping the city build a lasting legacy after the games.”

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