Every winter Mennonites across the frozen Canadian prairies are faced with a challenge to their faith – do they stay and violently fight the cold weather or flee for the south as Weather Objectors?
“When I was a young child I made a commitment to the Lord that I would never touch a snowblower,” says 71-year-old Weather Objector Stan Barkman. “I’m not going to compromise that position no matter how wicked the blizzard is.”
As the province of Manitoba loses more and more people to warmer climes, the government has now imposed a draft, which could force young people, including Mennonites, to stay at home during the cold winter months and battle against the frigid northern climate.
“They’ve got this judge,” explained Barkman. “Young men will be asked to defend their faith as WOs in front of him. I sure hope they’re prepared. I’ve heard he doesn’t really like Mennonites. He thinks we’re just cowards.”
Early reports suggest the Judge has asked deeply personal questions to test whether or not the Mennonites are really committed to their non-winter faith.
“They ask if your own mother was snowed-in, would you dig her out?” said Barkman. “How about if your best friend’s car needed a jump, would you be willing to touch booster-cables then?”‘
There are also growing rumours about so-called “Weather Objector Camps” being set up in remote areas across the prairies.