Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving for the Gift of Initiative

G-d Has Placed Our Best Gifts in Our Human Hearts

It's what my Milestone Monday feature celebrates. It is that part of the human spirit that makes it exciting to get up and go to work each day. This Article by Michelle Malkin puts a face to that wonderful characteristic of human initiative. There are people who don't sit around waiting for 'the government' to do it for them. When they see a need they creatively seek solutions.

Indeed, their pursued vision through the ages has created the bounty we thanked the Master for yesterday. I really write Milestone Monday to remind myself that there is so much more to being human -- created in the image of the Most Creative: Immagio Deo, than we can ever imagine. For that I am truely grateful to the Almighty!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The 'Common Course and Condition'

America's First Experiment with Socialism

When the Pilgrims first set up their economic system in Plymouth they opted for a system where all the results of their labor were held in common. All of the colonists then drew from the common store what they lived on. The Common Course and Condition, as this system was called, resulted in some bad feelings on the part of those who produced effectively and some lack of initiative on the part of those who were happy to have the food without the work.

The system produced constant shortages and a man who rose early and worked diligently came quite naturally to resent his neighbor who slept in and contributed less effort. Friction was high among the colonists and in 1623 Governor William Bradford declared the common course a failure.

The colonists were next assigned plots by families. Larger families were given larger plots. Everyone was responsible for the production of his own land and growing food for his own family. The results were noteable. Far more crops were planted and tended. There was plenty instead of shortage and all in response to this new sense of ownership.


A Native American's Amazing Story

" ... a special instrument sent by God for their good beyond their expectations ..." -- William Bradford

Today millions of Americans will dine on turkey and celebrate Thanksgiving. Most people will realize that it has some connection to the Pilgrims in Massachussetts, but the story of G-d's provision and the reason for the celebration seem to have faded in our collective memories.

The Pilgrims came to the New World for their kids. They were a Christian group who sought to live for G-d rather than be seduced by the culture around them. They lived in Holland for a while but they saw their children falling away from the faith.

So they moved. They sought passage on a ship bound for Virginia. The ship went off course and they landed in Massachussetts instead. They had a rough time of it their first winter and almost half of them died. Still, when offered the chance to return to Europe, they declined. Then one of the indigenous people walked into camp and spoke to them in English!

The man's name was Samoset, and he introduced the Pilgrims to Squanto, who taught the Pilgrims many things to help them survive in the new world. Squanto spoke even better English than Samoset. His story is amazing.

Squanto had first met Europeans around 1605 when Captain John Smith made his famous voyage. He travelled to England with him but when he returned to America he was captured into slavery and returned to Europe. Spanish monks bought his freedom and sent him to England where he found passage back to America. Sadly, his village was now gone, the people wiped out by disease. He found people nearby to live with but one day heard that a new group of people were living where his old village had stood. What's more, they spoke that funny new language that he had learned.

Samoset made the introduction and the rest, you might say, is history. Thanks to Squanto the Pilgrims survived and began to do quite well in the new world. Their relations with the Native people were quite good and their Thanksgiving was for the amazing provision they found in Squanto, of whom it was said:

" ... He desired honor, which he loved as his life and preferred before his peace ..."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The First Amendment Under Fire

Recent Attacks on Basic Rights Suggest Where the Battle Will Take Us

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

When James Dobson and the American Civil Liberties Union agree that a piece of legislation is dangerous, take note! Such was the case with Senate Bill 1, Section 220 as it was introduced in 2007 after Democrats regained control of Congress. The legislation, basically lobbying reform, strayed from the path when it laid out clear provisions for criminalizing 'grassroots' lobbying. It would have required grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress, as lobbyists must do. Substantial penalties were perscribed for non-compliance. The bill was amended January 9th, creating criminal penalties, including prison sentences, for someone who "knowingly and willingly fails to file or report."

The Bill Put Undue Burden on 'Grassroots' Lobbying Efforts while exempting larger entities such as Unions, Corporations and Entities with Large Memberships.

2009 may well see an attempt to reinstate the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine' in broadcasting. It was done away with in the 1980's and that led to a whole plethora of programs devoted to discussion of issues. Most notable was the Rush Limbaugh Show, where an alternative viewpoint actually was offered to the so-called 'mainstream media.' The demise of the 'Fairness' Doctrine actually led to more and varied program formats. I was riding in a cab in Seattle when the driver clicked on a rather left-leaning program, obviously an attempt to provide a Limbaugh-like forum for the more liberal perspective. Clearly neither program would have happened under the old 'Fairness' Doctrine. The fact that both exist proves the legislation is unnecessary.

No doubt, the reinstatement of the 'Fairness' Doctrine would push talk shows and their listeners to the internet. An even more chilling effect of this legislation is the very real possibility that Religious stations would be forced to air "opposing views." I'll leave the full scope of what that could mean to your imagination, but the recent ruling reqiuring Christian dating site: E Harmony to provide Gay matchmaking services should serve as some indication. The same judges might decide what "opposing views" should consist of, effectively eliminating Faith-based media. That tramples on two clauses of the First Amendment as I read it.

The protection of basic liberties will require some heroic effort in the days ahead.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Real Heartbeat of America

Pundits Do Well to Step Back and See the Big Picture

There has been much ink spent over what the 2008 election results mean. This Column by Robert Robb is one of the most thoughtful.

Most Americans don't read publications like City Journal and Jewish World Review, so I suspect they have little more framework to go by than "things are working," or "things aren't working."

Going into the 2008 election, scenario #2 was in play. Thus it was easy to run against the 'status quo' -- that's Latin for 'the mess we're in.' The ecomomy had to be the biggest factor.

Without the Fannie/Freddie/Financial meltdown the War was actually being won, the surge was working. Governor Palin actually was invigorationg moral conservatives and limited government folks as well. The only independents she turned off were probably voting for Senator Obama anyway.

The most important point Robb makes is that the American people probably don't think in complex absolutes. Their intentions are good but they don't have well framed, worldview driven principles to guide them in the complexities of the process. Here I'll blame the so-called 'mainstream media.' Good analysis is hard to find between the soap opra discussion of wardrobe budgets. Now the same people who brought us 'closetgate' are going to tell the Republican Party how to revitalize itself? Hopefully those who create policy will consider the source and ignore it.

'Tolerance' vs Respect

Wacky 'Virtue' in a Relativist World

I've always been skeptical of the whole concept of 'tolerance.' I 'tolerate' mosquitoes in order to enjoy the woods, likewise black flies at the beach. But I have no RESPECT for the critters!

The latest 'victory' for the purveyors of 'toloerance:' This Lawsuit of E Harmony. Michelle Malkin reports that the whole issue was basically to force the gay agenda down E Harmony's throat. What happened to the concept of 'Live and Let Live.' Obviously a relative society still makes value judgements about one group over another.

If you are not familiar with E Harmony, it's a Christian matchmaking website. Our Vet found her husband on it and it does a wonderful service by introducing people with shared values to each other. There are many other sites that do this, Jewish, secular and even by shared recreational pursuits. Gay people have their own sites. There is no dearth of dating sites requiring the forced reworking of E Harmony.

That is why I love the concept of RESPECT. I disagree with you, but we disagree in a climate of RESPECT. You have the right to operate your business as you see fit within a very basic framework of law. If I want a specific variant of your service, it may already exist [as it does in this case], or I am free to start one. My 'civil rights' are not compromised. It bears no resemblence to racial discrimination.

Consider this: when the conservatives again are in power, we do not want thought police from that side overreaching either. Thus a society should promote respect and healthy discussion by limiting the use of law to impose selective agendas.

Respecting Conscience

Our Country has enjoyed a long history of respecting matters of conscience. Mennonites and members of the Society of Friends are exemted from military service for this reason and they are considered no less good citizens. Recent rulings such as the one against E Harmony pose a serious threat to this noble tradition. Consider the Case of Catholic Adoption Agencies in Massachussetts. A similar court ruling required Catholic Adoption Services to give children to same-sex couples. Conscience demanded that the adoption agency shut down rather than violate its beliefs. Thus such 'judicial tyranny' actually kills diversity by making it impossible for good people to continue operating in violation of their own principles.

Pharmacists also face similar pressure. The development of abortion by drugs created a situation where pro-life pharmacists would violate their beliefs if they dispensed these drugs. It seems that common sense would dictate that those objecting pharmacists would be respected. There are alternative sources of these abortion drugs, but the intent is clearly not diversity but the imposition of a new civil morality that overrides Judeo-Christian principles.

Thus the new'tolerance' flies in the face of the basic guarantees of the First Amendment. The so-called 'alternatives' they seek to promote already exist in our pluralistic society. Such judicial initiatives only serve to silence opposition.

This 70 Million Dollar Lawsuit Against Thomas Nelson Publishers and Zondervan is further evidence of how the 'gay agenda' is working through the courts. The specifics of this case are important to consider. The two publishers are being sued for 'publishing Bibles containing passages condemning homosexuality.' That's a Catch-22 for any publisher who seeks to provide unaltered original text to their customers.

There are plenty of 'politically correct' translations available to those who want them. When Thomas Jefferson found parts of the Bible objectionable, he published his own severely edited version. He did not seek to supress the publication of the original texts but offered his own alternative reading. Today you can find gender-neutral translations if that is what you prefer and versions that skip over the parts of Leviticus that bother some activists. Once again: "...the intent is clearly not diversity but the imposition of a new civil morality that overrides Judeo-Christian principles."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin

She Gave a Voice to Many in this Election

Governor Sarah Palin
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

You would think that with the election over, the Neanderthal sport of Palin bashing would cease. Obviously she is still threatening in the minds of her foes or they would quietly forget her. If you've been under a rock for the past few months, may I remind you that Governor Palin came from nowhere to energize a particularly deflated campaign and drew large crowds, not so much because she is a woman, but because of what she believes.

Her honeymoon with the press was the shortest ever for a vice presidential candidate. Charlie Gibson was unable to curb his bias and the editors cut her remarks mercilessly in the hopes of snuffing out the resonance of her message. If you could find an uncut Palin interview it was refreshing to listen to. She is what Jefferson envisioned as a citizen-legislator, one of us who's gone to Washington. Groups like The Our Country Deserves Better Committee are working to make sure this truth is not lost.

It's a hard fight. Sarah For America, a true Palin supporting website reports that Anti-Sarah Websites Get Better Rankings. Is Google showing bias? Read Her Analysis Here and you will stop believing in 'complicated algorithms' as an explaination. Google founder Eric Schmidt is on Obama's advisory board. The news media have obsessed about things like Palin's wardrobe expenses, a fraction of what it costs to outfit a female anchor on any network, while giving no perspective to the President-elect's statements supporting Cap and Trade -- a policy that would bankrupt sectors of the energy industry! Is it any wonder slogans like 'hope and change' work without specific explaination. We're not being taught to ask the hard questions.

Governor Palin deserves a lot of respect for interjecting the ideals many of us still believe in into our National dialogue. She stepped up to an impossible task with enthusiasm and did a wonderful job with it. She has my heartfelt thanks!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another American Milestone

The Land of Opportunity

The First Family
The First African American First Family.

I can't wait until Monday to congratulate Senator Obama. History has been made with his electon. Although we disagree on many issues, I pray and believe that he and I share the desire to give a good Country to our chidren.

Tuesday I was working at the polls for my candidates and had an interesting conversation with Hal, my Democrat counterpart. Hal expressed a desire that political debate would become civil again. I bit my lip, thinking of the unfair treatment of Sarah Palin and her family by so-called 'compassionate' people, and instead expressed agreement. But I went on to say that there were some issues that I could not 'compromise' in the name of politeness. I'm pro-life, I said and that one is non-negotiable.

I opined that we could argue strong positions and when it was over shake hands and have lunch together, but the discussion of issues was essential to the process.

So today's Milestone Monday will take us back in time to one person who had a vision, long before Martin Luther King had a dream. It is this vision that has come to reality.

Meta Warrick Fuller
Sculptor and Visionary

Meta Warrick Fuller envisioned a better world for African-Americans.

The year was 1907. The place was Jamestown, Virginia. Virginia's first [and only] World's Fair took place and featured a pavilion dedicated to the African-American people. Meta Fuller was a sculptor who had studied in Philadelphia and Paris. She created a series of dioramas for the pavilion that examined the past and held out hope for the future.

Beginning with a depiction of the first twenty-four slaves arriving in Jamestown in 1619, Fuller depicted other history such as a fugitive slave's journey.

But then Fuller looked into the future. She envisioned a future where education and literacy created opportunity and her final diorama showed the modern black family enjoying the fruits of literacy and labor.

The World's Fair Pavilion, complete with classical columns!

The new President-elect will ride down Pennsylvania Avenue, laid out by Benjamin Banneker, a free black man who learned surveying in the employment of the Ellicott Brothers. Yes, I know Pierre Charles L'Enfant laid it out based on the hunting gardens at Versailles, but Banneker's photographic memory and design skills were put to the test when the tempermental L'Enfant rolled up his drawings and walked off the job.

The inauguration will celebrate the vision of many heroes, some well known and some obscure, who worked to bring this moment to be. How many people remember when In 1952 Billy Graham Desegregated All His Crusades?

Some Sobering Thoughts
We Forget History at Our Own Peril

"I would be willing to speculate that a person who feels the need to write an autobiography in their mid-thirties might be entertaining an exaggerated sense of self-importance." -- Matthew Edward Roberts

Mr Roberts Gives an Interesting Analysis in this Article. Thanks again to Sarah for America. If you could get your hands on a football team's playbook, the final sections discussing other team's play is sometimes called "Tendencies." Some of us 'back of the book' readers have been somewhat concerned with recent developments. Unfortunately Mr. Roberts thinks there is reason for our concern -- and he's not focusing his analysis on US!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less...

"For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is G-d."

Last night our small group Bible study was discussing the wonderful promise found in Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21 and 22. It is the promise of a renewed Heaven and Earth where G-d is the light that illuminates human activity. This morning I read from Hebrews 11 and 12. As much as we labor to build human institutions and invest in their success, they are bound to fall short of our hopes for them. History tells us so.

Here is a promise that will carry the believer through the most difficult and uncertain times. Here is the passion to carry on:

Hebrews 11

1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

7By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. 24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

31By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. 32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. 34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 12

1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

16Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. 18For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

20(For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

25See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29For our God is a consuming fire.

[King James Version]

Monday, November 3, 2008

William H. Howland

The Mayor Who Made a Difference

An Article for the June 1996 Deep Cove Crier
by Reverend Ed Hird, Rector,
St. Simon’s Anglican Church, Used with his permission.

So often, Toronto functions as the city that other Canadians feel the most ambivalent about. The proverbial expression "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" readily comes to my mind as I think of Toronto. And yet ironically, the nickname "Toronto The Good" points to a side of Toronto that has largely been forgotten in the Canadian amnesia about our own heritage and roots. I was talking recently to Phyllis Beck, the Deep Cove Crier Seniors Columnist, about Toronto roots, only to discover that her daughter-in-law, Barbara Hall, is the current Mayor of Toronto. I commented to Phyllis about the recent discovery that my Great-great-grandfather, Thomas Allen, was a senior Alderman in Toronto during a period of 19 years. When I was in Toronto a few months back, getting a first-hand glimpse of the "Toronto Blessing", I kept driving back and forth past Allen Road. My ignorance about this road named after my Torontonian ancestor reminded me afresh of our Canadian forgetfulness about some of our own heros.

William H. Howland

One such hero was Mayor William Howland of Toronto, a public servant who was so dedicated to helping the disadvantaged that he gave away most of his wealth. Son of the Honorable W.P. Howland, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, William was possessed with a bubbly enthusiasm and phenomenal capacity for hard work. By the age he was 25, William was president, vice-president, or a director of more than a dozen companies in the fields of insurance and finance, electrical services, and paint manufacturing. When he became president of the Queen City Fire Insurance Company in 1871, he was the youngest insurance company president in Canada. As well, Howland was President of three influential organizations: the Toronto Board of Trade, the Dominion Board of Trade, and the Manufacturer’s Association of Ontario. Out of his love for his country, he served as Chairman of the Canada First movement, personally financing its weekly newspaper "The Nation".

At age 32, Howland was led to Christ by his priest, Dr. W.S. Rainsford of St. James Anglican Cathedral. His life-changing experience gave him a new passion for helping the poor. He became involved helping with the Hillcrest Convalescent Hospital, the YMCA, the Haven Home for Unwed Mothers, the Prisoner’s Aid Association, the Central Prison Mission School, and the Toronto General Hospital. Night after night, Howland visited the slums, going from house-to-house, and reaching out to the poor, the sick, and the alcoholic. He also purchased 50 acres to start an Industrial School in order to steer youth away from the life of crime. Other initiatives were his building an alternative school for drop-outs, and a Home for the Aged and Homeless Poor. When he began to teach an interdenominational bible study for 100 young men, his new priest J.P. Lewis objected to Howland’s involvement with non-Anglicans. Out of this rejection, he began the interdenominational Toronto Mission Union, which operated seniors’ homes, convalescent homes, and Toronto’s first-ever home nursing service.

Because of his great compassion for the poor, he was elected as Mayor of Toronto in 1885, with a strong mandate to clean up the city. Howland signaled his arrival in the mayor’s office by installing a twelve-foot banner on the wall, reading, "Except the Lord Build the City, the Watchman Wakes but in Vain". Despite fierce opposition, Howland was so successful, that Toronto became nicknamed "Toronto the Good". As champion of the poor, Howland and his Alliance friend, Rev. John Salmon, would tramp the lanes and alleys, feeding the poor, praying over the sick, and comforting the sad. With a population of just 104,000, Toronto had over 800 licensed and unlicensed saloons. Over half of all criminal offenses recorded in 1885 were related to drunkenness.

Howland is described in Desmond Morton’s book "Mayor Howland: the Citizen’s Candidate" as the first reform mayor in Toronto’s history. Due to bureaucratic corruption, municipal garbage collection was all but non-existent. Even City Hall’s own garbage was rarely picked up. Rotting garbage fouled the alleyways, yards, and streets, giving Toronto a reputation for flies, stench, and disease. With no general sewage system, Toronto lived on the verge of a typhoid epidemic. Children swam in the same Toronto harbour area into which raw sewage was flowing from the ditches. Toronto’s fresh water supply was sucked through leaking and rotting wooden pipes, half buried in the sewage and sludge of the Toronto harbour.

Howland believed that we didn’t usually need more laws; we just needed to enforce the ones that already existed. He shocked the city bureaucrats by enforcing the already existing bylaw which forbid the depositing of garbage within the city limits. After he threatened to send the city commissioner to jail for breaking this bylaw, garbage miraculously began to be collected! Howland also worked hard in the construction of a trunk sewer system, to redirect the sewage away from the Toronto Harbour. He had such a dramatic impact in reducing the crime rate that other mayors began visiting Toronto, hoping to imitate Howland’s miracle.

During his re-election campaign in 1887, all the taxi cabs were paid off by Howland’s opponent so that they would refuse to take Howland’s supporters to the polling stations. Women however (2,000 widows and single women with property) had just been given the vote. So they held up their long Victorian dresses, and trucked through the snow to give Howland the moral reformer a second term. When Howland was re-elected by a landslide, over 3,000 of his supporters at the YMCA hall spontaneously burst into singing "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.".

After he unexpectedly stepped down as Mayor after two terms, Howland became the founding President of the Christian Alliance (which later took the name C&MA: Christian and Missionary Alliance). The unique interdenominational nature of the early C&MA allowed Howland to be its president, while still remaining an Anglican. When he died unexpectedly at age 49, his funeral involved Anglican, Alliance, and Presbyterian clergy. With more than a thousand mourners on foot from all social classes, it was the largest funeral procession that had ever been held in Toronto. A poem published in the Toronto Globe said of Howland: "And not Toronto mourns alone; All Canada his fame had heard; His name is dear, a household word, And far and wide, his worth was known". May William H. Howland continue to be a living symbol of the difference that just one Canadian can make.

Reverend Ed Hird, Rector,
St. Simon’s Anglican Church

Toronto in the late Nineteenth Century.