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Don Cherry did it again — he said something controversial and off-colour. Only this time, his comments reached far and wide and well outside ‘hockey-nation.’ This isn’t really a typical blog topic for me, but the concept of ‘free speech’ is definitely present in this conversation and that topic continues to be connected to faith as well.

I had a professor in Seminary who claimed to once pastor Don Cherry in his congregation. I have no reason to think he didn’t, as he used to share how Don Cherry would pick apart his sermons in typical hockey-commentary fashion after each service he attended.

So, in Cherry’s honour, let me give you three points to consider regarding the Don Cherry chaos:

1) Cherry is correct – Everyone needs to wear a poppy.

Don Cherry has always been a huge advocate for supporting our troops and keeping a focus on our veterans. In fact, I’ve always been impressed by how he always made time for shout-outs and encouraging remarks on Hockey Night in Canada.

The fact is, we should all wear a poppy! We should teach our kids to wear a poppy! We should teach our kids to donate, and thank military personnel and veterans when we see them.

Our freedom has significant meaning when we strategically remember the cost.

Wear a poppy.

2) Cherry is incorrect – It’s not an immigration issue.

I’m not sure why or how immigrants were even brought into the conversation. It’s really his only error. Why would he even describe immigrants as the main ‘non-poppy wearers’?

Any Immigrant I know is very grateful to be in Canada and shows a great deal of respect for the freedoms they enjoy.

If anything, it’s the ‘entitled Canadian’ — who’s lived in freedom for their entire lives — that’s who needs the reminder.

Either way, the focus of any such reminder has to be general so as to actually speak to the problem itself — not wearing a poppy. Otherwise, you’re making harsh (and in this case racial) comments that tie so many innocent people to the problem. And in my humble opinion, that does so much more harm than good. 

I would argue two things: First, the actual problem then never gets addressed. No one is talking about the problem, only the mess the comments have made. Second, it turns people against each other. Immigration can already be a touchy subject. Now we’re adding ‘not wearing a poppy to the list.’

It’s simply not necessary or helpful.

3) Free Speech doesn’t mean consequence-free.

There’s no need to ‘Stand with Don.’ He has his passionate views and he’s a grown man who chose to share those views on a network who had a different set of views. I would lose my job as well, if I publicly went against the shared views of the company.

Everyone has the right to share their own views (free speech). In the same breath, everyone must also know every shared view often has a consequence associated with it (good or bad).

It doesn’t mean you don’t proceed with sharing those views. It simply means we should expect a consequence when we share them. Take a stand, but know the stand could cost you something — especially if those around you disagree. After all, it’s their right and freedom to disagree as well.

We are fortunate today because of the many soldiers who have fought for our freedom. The fact is, we can speak freely in Canada without fear of imprisonment or severe punishment.

But that doesn’t mean we can say or do whatever we want and not expect someone to question it, or stand firm on their views and understandings.

For you fellow Christians reading this — you should know this concept very well. Many have stood firm on their faith, and have experienced many opposing views. It’s both a freedom and expectation.

I’m glad I live in a country where I can share my views, I’m glad Don Cherry felt confident enough to share his, and I’m glad there’s room to question someone’s views when they share them. I just wish Canadians were wise enough to navigate that freedom when it actually happens.

Keep your head up!

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