Letter: Cross on Tzouhalem not needed

I hazard to suggest that support would be lower now than it was decades ago

Cross on Tzouhalem not needed

In response to Mr. Perry Foster’s letter concerning the restoration of the cross on Mount Tzouhalem, allow me to begin by identifying myself as a white Christian male, 75 years of age. One might therefore anticipate that I would share Mr. Foster’s view on this matter, but I don’t.

While appreciating that he is articulate in making his case for considering the restoration “a welcome and encouraging sign”, I do not find it convincing. For example, while stating that “reasoned discourse and respect for all sides” played no part in the removal of the cross, I submit that he offers little evidence that the same standards were met in its original erection and recent restoration. These expectations cut both ways. And given that the ‘bum count in pews’ is generally falling (a fact to which Census figures and my personal experience attest), plus the growing disaffection of Canadians in general for the Christian church, I hazard to suggest that support would be lower now than it was decades ago.

Mr. Foster references a respected local indigenous leader, Chief William Squtxulenhuw Seymour, saying that “it is refreshing to hear (Chief Seymour) say that he didn’t mind it being there and (had) missed seeing it”. I suggest that is a less than ringing endorsement. Finally, I repeat a point I made in earlier correspondence: neither a cross, nor any other cultural artifact is needed on the site, for the mountain speaks of God, beauty, power and grace, in the language of every person who engages with it on such matters.

Mr. Foster also describes today’s Canada as deeply divided. Though I would substitute the term ‘differences’ for ‘divisions’, I have certainly witnessed this on a variety of topics and to various degrees throughout my life (eg. our current flag, Quebec independence, NAFTA). Public opinion and community values change over time which, in turn, results in a fear of loss. I think this experience is endemic in the human condition, but, I also believe that (putting aside consequences such as the violence we are witnessing in Ukraine) something better often follows (eg. racial equality, improved working conditions, universal suffrage). This optimism is expressed in words from Ecclesiastes 3:1-3, with which many readers will be familiar: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose…

A time to breakdown and a time to build up…”

Gregg Shoop