Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

What's so bad about having faith in our city?

  • Print

Devon Clunis didn't announce new police recruits will be forced to have full-immersion baptisms in the cop-shop cafeteria. You'd think he had, given the hand-wringing following the revelation he told a Christian newsmagazine he believes in the power of collective prayer.

Until Tuesday morning, when the gotcha mentality took over, his religious beliefs weren't news. It was no secret Clunis is a Christian. He's been the police chaplain for 14 years.

Poll

Could the collective power of prayer help combat violent crime in Winnipeg?

View Results

But the incoming police chief's declaration he thinks prayers for peace in the city -- followed by concrete action -- can help us battle crime in Winnipeg has incited many.

Clunis didn't say Christian prayer or Muslim prayer or Buddhist prayer. He said he believes if all of us, regardless of our beliefs, took the time to pause, think about our hopes for the city and reflect on what sort of community we'd like to live in, we'd be taking a step in the right direction.

He didn't say you have to wear a crucifix or Magen David while you're praying.

Clunis isn't going to replace the rank and file with a cadre of Jehovah's Witnesses. While he might hope we can someday turn swords into plowshares, he won't strip his officers of their sidearms, either.

He's a cop. He knows he faces a tough job and he spoke honestly, if incautiously, to a Christian newspaper about his belief there is power in prayer. What's disturbing is the ease with which some detractors slipped into Christian-bashing, vitriol they likely wouldn't spout publicly at other minorities. Clunis knows a fair amount about prejudice. This time it's not about his colour, because even the most cretinous understand that's off-limits in a civilized society. Somehow, the memo about not promoting religious enmity didn't make the rounds.

The gotcha game continues. Clunis attends an evangelical church that's an offshoot of the church Stephen Harper attends. And from that we can conclude what? That Clunis is a Conservative? That he's heading for a paunch? That he'll dress poorly at international summits? Who cares?

Some eager beaver reporter will likely be packed off to church this Sunday to see if they handle snakes or speak in tongues at the Kilcona Park Alliance Church. You never know what those people are up to, don't you know?

Clunis is a public figure, and some argue that should preclude him from talking about religion. Nonsense. Whether you think God is an illusion or you believe in a higher power, he should not have to hide his faith. We all have the right to religious freedom and expression.

Clunis didn't say prayer alone is the answer to violent crime. He called for reflection, for a way for neighbours to look at each other and search out their commonalities, not their differences.

This city needs leaders who take a stand and stick to their beliefs. Devon Clunis is doing that. Pray or don't pray, but don't dismiss a man who believes "something phenomenal is going to happen in our city" and has the fortitude and faith to lead the charge.

lindor.reynolds@freepress.mb.ca

video player to use on WFP

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 24, 2012 A4

History

Updated on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 10:50 AM CDT: Corrects name of church.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Kenney lashes out at Manitoba's “campaign of fear” on immigration

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A pelican comes in for a landing Wednesday afternoon on the Red River at Lockport, Manitoba - Standup photo- June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS STANDUP - pretty sunflower in field off HWY 206 near Bird's Hill Park Thursday August 09/2007

View More Gallery Photos

About Lindor Reynolds

National Newspaper Award winner Lindor Reynolds began work at the Free Press as a 17-year-old proofreader. It was a rough introduction to the news business.

Many years later, armed with a university education and a portfolio of published work, she was hired as a Free Press columnist. During her 20-plus years on the job she has written for every section in the paper, with the exception of Business. She’ll get around to them some day.

Lindor has received considerable recognition for her writing. Her awards include the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ general interest award and the North American Travel Journalists Association top prize.
Her work on Internet luring led to an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada and her coverage of the child welfare system prompted a change to Manitoba Child and Family Services Act to make the safety of children paramount.

She has earned three citations of merit for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism and has been awarded a Distinguished Alumni commendation from the University of Winnipeg. Lindor was also named a YMCA/YWCA  Woman of Distinction.

She is married with four daughters. If her house was on fire and the kids and dog were safe, she’d grab her passport.
 
lindor.reynolds@freepress.mb.ca

Ads by Google