Northern Exposure: The Religious Right Is Rising In Canada

Found a link on Facebook today to this article from the Toronto Star:

How Canada’s Christian right was built

mcdonaldIt’s by Marci McDonald, a multiple award-winning Canadian journalist, and author of new book, “The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism In Canada” a new book about the rising influence of the Canadian version of the Christian Right.

From Stephen Harper’s refusal to fund abortion as part of his G8 initiative to the outcry that forced the cancellation of Ontario’s sex ed curriculum, the religious right is making its growing muscle felt on the political landscape.

stephen-harper-kitten[For the benefit of my clueless fellow-citizens, Stephen Harper is the conservative prime minister of Canada. There are nasty rumors about him and kittens, which will certainly not be repeated here.]

McDonald wrote:

“From the moment I began this book, I was confronted by skeptics who insist that a truly influential religious right could never take root in Canada. For some, that denial seemed like an exercise in wishful thinking, a refusal to face the possibility that the idea of the country they cherish — liberal, tolerant, and not given to extremes of action or belief — might not be in sync with the changing reality. . . .

 But surely Jesus wouldn’t return to Toronto before He came to Houston, or Lynchburg. That would be Un-American of Him.

“Read it and weep,” says a Canadian Friend who passed on the link, “- then do something, like prepare for the next election.”

Well, having read the piece, dry-eyed, I have a different reaction, and different advice to our northern brethren and sistren: prepare instead to build a rival infrastructure that can outlast the next election.

In the states, the longtime progressive activist obsession with “the next election” is a study in self-disempowerment. It’s rooted change that drives electoral politics, not the other way around. That’s one of the key lessons the “Christian” Right has learned here, and learned well.

The sender goes on,

“With the stroke of a budgetary pen, [Harper] has defunded agencies such as the Status of Women Canada and the Court Challenges Program, leaving both feminists and gay activists without resources to take on hostile government policies, while his cutbacks to scholarly granting bodies have helped silence environmental critics in academia and science.”

Which reinforces my point. When all or most of your progressive agencies depend on money from the government of the day, they do not really control their own destiny, and their influence on society is contingent on the goodwill of others, especially politicians. That won’t last. Build a base you control and support.

One of the major Canadian social conservatives, Joseph, ben-Ami, said it more aptly, in McDonald’s piece:

“In the real world, you measure success not so much on whether you won or lost but where the centre of gravity is,” Ben-Ami says. “And I think in this country, it has shifted somewhat to the right.”

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Looks like you have some catching up to do up there, friends. We Yanks certainly did (and still do).

The Psalmist said it right: Ps 146:3 “Put not your trust in princes.”

One thought on “Northern Exposure: The Religious Right Is Rising In Canada”

  1. It must also be noted that Stephen Harper, and most of his political bedfellows/colleagues/caucus members, are members of the Christian Missionary Alliance, long considered to be a closed, high-demand religious group.

    The Progressive Conservative party is also NOT the real Progressive Conservative Party (a la Brian Mulroney); the present-day Progressive Conservative Party, that is using every dirty trick in the book to hang onto its minority power for just a little while longer (Proroguing parliament, anyone?), is an amalgamation of the Reform Alliance Party and the Christian Conservative Party, which Harper was in charge of, and which is why he can impose such religious rule on the country as he is today….Reform came to power in the early ’90s as the Official Opposition; they didn’t have enough seats, and so banded together with the Christian Conservative Party…they then adopted the PC brand, although both parties are far from resembling anything even remotely Tory.

    And this has been your Canadian political perspective from one on the inside….

    You all up there better send that guy on his way soon, or I’ll have noplace left where I can seek asylum!

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