The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Christophobia In Media
If these uppity evangelicals would just respect the system we have in place, they'd convert to Sikhism or Islam where their views have been declared legitimate by the Official Media Handbook On Canadian Religious Diversity, and then take their opinions on public policy to the political marketplace.
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From what I understood of the Globe article they were concerned that people were seeking nominations on a single issue. Gay marriage.
Tony Clement said single-issue candidates aren't going to be tolerated if they don't share the other views of the CPC.
I think the greater concern for the CPC is that a religious ideologue of any sort probably isn't likely to get elected in the liberal multi-ethnic bastion of Ontario.
Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-31 8:32:29 AM
OK, I know I'm gonna catch hell for this, but I can't resist:
Read about Life In Anti-Christian America:
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-31 8:56:38 AM
The CPC didn't write that article. The Globe and Mail did.
The G&M has a Liberal, i.e., a socialist perspective, and rejects debate on issues it considers as 'beyond debate' - such as abortion and gay marriage. This is not 'liberalism' in the correct sense of the term - which requires open individual debate. This is dogmatism. The fact that the G&M, and other Liberals reject debate means that they have moved these issues into a theistic mode; they are 'a priori'; they are not defined as social issues, which must be debated by the population, but absolute Truths.
Abortion and gay marriage are NOT absolute truths; they are social values and must be kept open to debate. Martin has moved these issues into dogma; they are not open to debate. He's wrong. He's actually removing our freedom, as a people, from us. More and more of our behaviour is moving beyond our right to debate, analyze and discuss their values. More and more, our behaviour is being transformed into absolute truths. What's comparable? Communism, totalitarianism, fundamentalism.
These liberties, of thought and decision-making, are gradually being eroded in this country. Witness the erosion of both in the House of Commons.
Posted by: ET | 2005-05-31 9:07:35 AM
A Hermit ("OK, I know I'm gonna catch hell for this, but I can't resist")
Oh, you go girl!
You're so spunky!
You're so brave, you make me all giddy.
Thank you for standing up to all these fascists.
Posted by: Belinda Stronach | 2005-05-31 9:11:38 AM
On the contrary, ET, it's the religious fundamentalists who refuse to debate, or to allow for the treatment of such issues as social issues. The basis for opposition to gay marriage is the fundamentalist belief that they are in possession of the absolute, incontrovertible revealed truth; any alternative point of view is simply not acceptable to them. They are rigth because their Bible tells them so, and you can't have a debate with that point of view.
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-31 9:12:30 AM
I was right! Thanks for proving my point for me "Belinda"...;-)
Did you actually look at the link?
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-31 9:15:28 AM
The Illusion of Neutrality:
The Globe article makes the assumption that their secular belief system is neutral (much in the same way the Librano's assume that their values are Canadian values). However their position is far from neutral. The article assumes that a Christian candidate for political office is dangerous, and Canadians must be warned.
The Globe has followed up today with an online poll asking if a politician should let their religious beliefs guide their political decisions. About 77% of the responses so far say "No". Here again, there is the illusion of neutrality. I would ask a follow up question, "Should politicians allow their secular world view to guide their political decisions?" What makes the secular belief system better than any other? Why should Christians or Muslims or Jews or Hindus have to put up with politicians who let their non religious beliefs guide their decisions?
I am just kidding of course, since some set of beliefs inform all of our decision making (unless you just flip a coin when you make a decision - but even then you must believe that the luck of the toss is better than a logical decision)
I am not sure who at the Globe has been made God to decide which belief systems are acceptable and which ones are not. Everyone has a belief system, be it secular, Christian, Muslim, or whatever. If a belief system does not inform your decision making, then it is pretty much useless, because if your beliefs do not translate into how you live your life, then you will live a life of hypocrisy.
Posted by: TimmyZ | 2005-05-31 9:46:50 AM
I think you're being unfair to the folks at the Globe, Timmy. The problem here is that some people have decided to politicize their religion, and then get upset when they get criticized. This is why religion and politics shouldn't mix. It's one thing to criticize someone's political opinion, but quite another to criticize their faith. But when one makes the two synonymous they shouldn't expect to become immune from criticism.
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-31 9:54:09 AM
To tear a strip out of ET's usual response to progressive or liberal postings:
ET, you say the Globe is socialist, but where's your proof? You have none. Every editorial since I can remember has advocated balanced budgets, fiscal constraint and lambasted the Martin Liberals (and the Chretien Liberals and the Mulroney PCs and the...) for overspending. Socialism, by the way, is primarily an economic dogma and while most Canadian socialist also also very liberal on social issues, communist regimes like the Soviet Union and Cuba have been far harsher on abortion, recreational drugs, gays, etc. than the US or Canada have ever been.
ET, you say that the Globe rejects debate, but again where's your proof? You have none. Pick up a copy sometime and actually read it first hand instead of picking off selected headings. The Globe, I agree, does have a general point of view on these issues, but it has clearly gone out of its way to ensure that other opinions are expressed. Look at some of its columnists like Marcus Gee or Lawrence Martin or its regular contributors like the evangelical articles of Lorna Duek (there is no *regular* religious contributor for any other religion). Preston Manning, Stephen Harper, Gordon Gibson, Norman Spector never seem to have a hard time getting published. Let alone the letters to the editor. So your comment that the Globe tries to shut down debate is a little over the top.
And ET, what irony that you take such a relativistic approach to social issues. What would your conservative counterparts think?!?!
Posted by: TB | 2005-05-31 9:58:03 AM
Non-religious beliefs like common sense and rational thought? What else forms the process of secular thought?
I think that poll easily applies to your suggested second question. There would be no backlash against the secular politicians who leave their religion at the gate when making decisions that apply to other people.
Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-31 10:02:52 AM
Re: "Religion and politics shouldn't mix."
Actually, here also, "THE COURTS HAVE SPOKEN."
A woman was denied intervenor status in a case involving a local schoolboard after she quoted from the Binle.
The BC Supremes ruled unanimously that to deny people of faith from citing their religious beliefs in defense of their political positions would be "an egregious violation of their constitutionally protected freedom of religion."
You people need to get with the times.
This kind of agressive "agnosticism" or athiesm is like, soooo 1987, man.
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-31 10:16:24 AM
"Binle" should be "The Holy Bible"
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-31 10:18:17 AM
Are you inferring that common sense and rational thought can not coexist with religious beliefs? I've found that religious beliefs are supported by common sense and rational thought in many instances. It's seems that many people feel a void of religious beliefs is auto-magically filled by common sense and rational thought. Regardless of religious convictions or not, common sense is far from common and rational thought seems to be closely rationed in today's society. So please don't assume the mantle of Common Sense and Rational Thought because you think you've divorced your religion (or lack therof) from your political or societal actions.
Posted by: Ham | 2005-05-31 10:18:34 AM
Better get a comment in before the thread gets highjacked.
Hey! Your Mitt's posts suggest a not-untypical attitude among the secular illuminati - it is those close-minded Christian (quick, throw down the drop sheet so the dripping sarcasm doesn't stain the carpet) "fundamentalists" that initiated and are the aggressors in the present culture wars. Consistent with this view is the notion Christians are trying to "cram their religion" down the throats of the rest of us by, for example, seeking to have their opposition to gay "marriage" and abortion codified in the laws of the land.
Except, of course, the reverse is true - Christians who, in the last decade or so, have become active in politics have done so largely IN REACTION to the attempts to advance a secular "progressive" agenda when that agenda has included issues like homosexuality and abortion. If I recall correctly, it was "Jane Roe" that appealed to the US Supreme Court to find a constitutional abortion right, Henry Organ-mauller, er Morgentaller who argued the legal defense of "necessity" applied to his highly profitable life-snuffing business (private health care - shudder!!!) and Delwin Vriend who successfully argued it's OK to lie when applying for a position at a religious college with a "code of conduct" consistent with the religion if the lie pertains to one's enthusiasm for homosexual activity. Don't believe any of these "progressive" heros of the culture wars can be regarded as having emerged from the Christian side.
Were he or she to give it any thought, however, 'Mit might, at some point, understand how antithetic is using politics to "cram religion down our throats" to basic Christian doctrine, to wit, each person has a free will to choose to accept or reject Christ. One does not experience salvation if one has had one's Christianity "crammed down their throat" and not one soul will be gained for the kingdom in the event traditional marriage is preserved or the unlimited abortion license is marginally constrained in Canada.
Surely even Hermie must surely concede the highest calling of a Christian is to win souls for Christ, which isn't accomplished legislatively, perhaps he or she can offer up their own theory as to what then might be motivating Christians to mobilize on issues like homosexual "rights" and abortion? Here's a hint:
Posted by: firewalls 'r us | 2005-05-31 10:27:37 AM
There are certain places where using religion to form an opinion or make a decision based in tradition and not necessarily rational thought.
For instance Jews not eating pork is a tradition resulting from the need to protect people from poorly prepared and uncooked meat. These days it is perfectly safe to eat a pork chop, but the tradition still exists despite rational thought.
Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-31 10:37:13 AM
I wholeheartedly agree. Much like Catholics opposing abortion because it is a tradition resulting in the need to protect the unborn. These days it is perfectly safe to kill unborn babies, but the tradition exists despite rational thought. Am I getting this right?
Posted by: Ham | 2005-05-31 10:48:11 AM
Hey, firewalls, I'm not saying no one has the right to base their political opinions on their religion; They just shouldn't whine about it when those opinions are criticized. People can't claim some sort of untouchable status for a political opinion just because they're using their religion to justify the opnion.
One also should avoid lying about stuff; like the Vriend case. He already had the job at that college; worked there for years. The "code of conduct" was written AFTER his sexual orientation became known. And Morgentaler's clinic here in Winnipeg often waives it fees for those who can't pay; in fact I believe it has at times operated at a loss so calling it "highly profitable" seems less than honest. But maybe you've been misinformed. Whatever your opinion on the subject you should at least try to get the facts straight.
And the problem, I'll say it again, isn't with "Christians"; it's with a few people who think that their POLITICAL OPINIONS are representative of Christian belief, even though not all Christians share those political opinions. They do a disservice to Christianity by politicizing it.
The humility and compassion Jesus taught of in the Sermon on the Mount (thanks for the link, but I know most of it by heart) seem to be a long way from the minds of those who try to turn personal faith into political ideology.
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-31 10:58:42 AM
Ah! Rim Hit! wrote this:
"They just shouldn't whine about it when those opinions are criticized. People can't claim some sort of untouchable status for a political opinion just because they're using their religion to justify the opnion."
Perhaps our difference lies in what we perceive to constitute "criticism". I personally am not the least offended when someone offers "criticism" of my faith, including the position I take on social issues like homosexuality and abortion informed by my faith. What does rile me (although I too aspire to Christ's humility and compassion, though not with great success I fear) is "denigration" of those positions wholly because they derive from my faith.
"But maybe you've been misinformed. Whatever your opinion on the subject you should at least try to get the facts straight."
Without conceding the King's College code of conduct was ascribed after Vriend was hired, are you suggesting the bar from engaging in homosexual activities was NOT consistent with Christian Reform church doctrine at the time of his hire? And regardless of just how profitable has been Dr. Hank's abortuary empire, are you simply trying to avoid my proposition that Christians have been reacting to, not instigating cultural war skirmishes?
"And the problem, I'll say it again, isn't with "Christians"; it's with a few people who think that their POLITICAL OPINIONS are representative of Christian belief, even though not all Christians share those political opinions."
This statement derives from "progressive" mantra, i.e. there are all manner of diverse "Christian" opinions on social issues like homosexuality and abortion. As much as I'm sure you'd like this to be true, Mittster, it simply ain't, any more than Osama Bin Laden's existence confirms there are "voices" within Islam that support the return of Spain to Muslim rule. And even if it were, so what - does that fact that a few wingnut religios hold a different interpretation of scripture than the mainstream somehow invalidate the mainstream's position? What then of the considerable percentage of gays that oppose SS"M" - don't they have a voice in this debate equal to the "Groovy and Totally Christian Church of What's Happening Now"?
Posted by: firewall 'r us | 2005-05-31 11:48:59 AM
Ham, you can choose a variety of situations to apply the idea that making religious choices over secular choices are good and I can do the reverse. But imposing a religious decision based on tradition on a secular population doesn't make much sense and most people are likely to see it as irrational. There are all sort of religious decisions that people would agree with such as denouncing murder and theft. There are others that are a gray area and in those instances I’d rather a decision that applies to everyone be made.
As for abortion I think women are perfectly able to make a secular or religious choice on that matter.
Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-31 11:59:18 AM
firewall'r us, I think you are referring to fundamentalism where every script quoted is deemed to be true. Most Christians would probably not follow that mantra.
After all how many Christians have pre-marital sex? And why do so many Catholics oppose that you must be male to be a priest?
Rules no matter where will always be broken by an evolving society.
Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-31 12:08:13 PM
Gamblog, I wasn't suggesting making a religious choice over a secular choice. I was attempting to 'rationalize' your point about invalidating religious beliefs by assigning them to pointless tradition by today's enlightened standards. You state that the Jewish tradition came about through an effort to protect people. Don't you think there may be some current validity to other religious 'traditions' and their altruistic intent in today's society? And in that case, what trivializes these beliefs when the 'grey areas' are discussed?
Posted by: Ham | 2005-05-31 12:16:34 PM
"...they have moved these issues into a theistic mode; they are 'a priori'; they are not defined as social issues, which must be debated by the population, but absolute Truths." ET
Never a truer word. They act like a secular Moses on Sinai (read CN tower) ...
Just because Ontario is a "liberal multi-ethnic bastion of Ontario" - are people of faith supposed to water down their convictions and act like hypocrties to become electable? In other countries that are say primarily hindu,islamic, buddhist in make-up ... no political aspirants are required to deny their religious roots to get elected ... on the contrary, they trumpet their values.
What needs to happen is that the secular and jaded neo-Marxists of Ontario need to be challenged ... and christians, jews, muslims, hindus in Ontario need to stand up for the fundamental values enshrined in their faiths and challenge the secular orthodoxy represented by newspapers like the Globe and Mail.
Posted by: Aidan Maconaghie | 2005-05-31 12:20:26 PM
Ham, absolutely there will be cases where tradition is a grand idea, but gray areas where we have strong debate split along religious and secular lines clearly it might be seen that tradition and rational ideas might be in conflict.
For an MP in this situation to simply vote according to a religious tradition when there is such conflict we have to ask ourselves if this is one of these times where an old tradition doesn't apply anymore.
If a tradition is seen to protect people, who is it protecting? The choice is a religious tradition for the sake of being or everyone else (people of all religions and those with none).
The question that must be asked it what is the harm and who will be most adversely affected?
If there is perceived harm to a group of people then a religious tradition is probably in need of being changed.
Most times I think a balance is struck, such as the moment of silence in classrooms. If you are non-religious you can think about your day to come and if religious you are free to pray as is the tradition.
Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-31 1:04:28 PM
If you make your religion a stake upon which you base your arguements your religion is open for debate.
In this entire thread there is a 300-pound gay guy in the corner in a thong and mesh shirt waiting to get married and nobody wants to mention him.
If you claim "Homosexuals can't get married because God says so," people have no option to argue against your religion. Especially those who don't believe in God.
Many Christians have no problem with homosexual marriage. Isn't the fundemental Christian message one of inclusiveness, not a fire-breathing defence of some percieved cultural status quo?
Here's a better question. Why are overt Christians in politics a problem now when it never was before?
The NDP was full of religious, left-wing populists. Some of them were nutty about religion.
1) society's cultural conscencus has evaporated. 2) Therefore, moral behaviour has become a political football, open to political debate.
3) Right-wing Christians care more about these issues, are more inclinced to engage in this political battle.
If you bring your religion into the debate then your religion will be debated. Maybe even mocked.
"The secular and jaded neo-marxists of Ontario?" Hmm.
Who were those people in Harris's government who were uncomfortable with his divorce. And with the hanky panky some of his cabinet ministers got caught at?
Ontario has had a religious element to its conservative politics for awhile. Religious people are involved in many of the ridings which are now conservative, or might soon become so. They were crucial to Harris getting elected and will be a help ta Harper.
But Aidan wouldn't know that because he trades in cliches and feels more comfortable with mythology than facts.
Posted by: Johnny Rotten | 2005-05-31 1:13:20 PM
Okay - Ontario doesn't have a dominant secular culture that makes it tough any brand, other than *Ontario Tory Brand* to get elected - I'm obviously the one who is smoking something stronger then Marlboro Lites.
Posted by: Aidan Maconaghie | 2005-05-31 2:04:42 PM
Aidan said: " In other countries that are say primarily hindu,islamic, buddhist in make-up ... no political aspirants are required to deny their religious roots to get elected ... on the contrary, they trumpet their values. What needs to happen is that the secular and jaded neo-Marxists of Ontario need to be challenged ... and christians, jews, muslims, hindus in Ontario need to stand up for the fundamental values enshrined in their faiths."
Good point. Let's model ourselves on India where Hindus and Muslims are trumpet their fundamental belief that the other view is from the devil and valiantly blow each other up. Or the Middle East where ultra-right Jews will kill their own Prime Minister because he accepts that Muslims have some legitimate claim, however remote and however far below the Jewish claim, to live on a small piece of land beside the Mediterranean, while young Muslim men and women, in the name of their view of what it takes to get to heaven, courageously and indiscriminantly blow up non-believing men, women and children. Or Ireland where politics and religious "debate" are indistinguishable and the blood is on the street. Or the Balkans. Or Indonesia. Or maybe the example we are looking for is not so far away. I mean it was only a generation ago that Orangemen paraded down Yonge St. in Toronto regularly busting up Catholic cathedrals and expressed their religious beliefs by lynching - yes, even in good old tolerant Canada - the occasional Jew.
I am personally a big advocate of creating far more space in our culture for a discussion of Christian values. I think our culture and our community could do with a bit less focus on consumerism and more focus on family and decency. My big fundamental concern about some - and I repeat some because I know evangelicals who do not share all the views or tone or methodology expressed by others who call themselves Christian - of these fundamentalist call to arms is it will end up exactly that: a call to arms. And you can see that happening in the US where fundamentalist pastors congratulate murderers who assisinate a abortion doctors, backcountry militia openly talk about a Christian revolution and even top military brass who publicly relish the thought of a "crusade" in the Middle East.
Throughout this world, fundamentalist believers are doing just as you suggest, Aidan. I don't want to be a scaremonger, and I don't want to chase a values debate away either, but history and other countries show us where this rhetoric can lead. And that is why mainstream Christians take issue with your overblown rhetoric and your call to arms.
Posted by: TB | 2005-05-31 2:13:08 PM
"This statement derives from "progressive" mantra, i.e. there are all manner of diverse "Christian" opinions on social issues like homosexuality and abortion. As much as I'm sure you'd like this to be true, Mittster, it simply ain't" - firewalls r us
Well firewalls, I guess you'd have to explain that to a lot of my friends and family who call themselves Christians but disagree with you on those issues. I guess maybe they're not "real" Christians, is that it? Who gets to draw that line anyway?
"Without conceding the King's College code of conduct was ascribed after Vriend was hired, are you suggesting the bar from engaging in homosexual activities was NOT consistent with Christian Reform church doctrine at the time of his hire?"
It was not relevant to his job, and he didn't lie about it, as you said he did. Maybe you should check your facts before passing judgements...the "code of conduct" was passed in response to Mr. Vriend's honest response when he was asked about his sexuality. Maybe you think it's appropriate to punish honesty; I dont.
"And regardless of just how profitable has been Dr. Hank's abortuary empire, are you simply trying to avoid my proposition that Christians have been reacting to, not instigating cultural war skirmishes?"
Since you're clearly not too sure about the facts in this case either you might want to be a little less hasty in drawing conclusions. In any case, what you see as a "war" I see as individuals trying to live their lives according to the dictates of their own conscience on one side, and a few moralistic zealots trying to force those individuals to live by someone else's conscience on the other. I don't think the latter approach is healthy in a pluralistic democracy, which is what we live in whether you like it or not.
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-31 2:22:01 PM
TB - I find it remarkable that you refer to my -
"overblown rhetoric and call to arms" based on the above comments. That's an excercise in hyperbole if I ever there was one.
Most of your post has interpreted what I apparently believe with no recourse to my actual opinions on the areas of discussion you have opened up. If I ever start speaking for you and report on what you think - don't hesitate to ask me to hear you out first. I'll afford you that courtesy.
I'm not going to answer your post point by point - I will only say that traditional faith based belief does not therefore imply fanaticism or bigotry. If you choose to make that connection and then apply it to me and others - that's your choice.
I'm actually a member of no church. I don't push any doctrine. I do have spiritual beliefs and I'm in no way a secularist. If that makes me a bigot - then have at it.
Posted by: Aidan Maconaghie | 2005-05-31 2:44:00 PM
TB - I feel obliged to answer your post in more detail because there aren't many people who like to be spoken for.
Let's talk about secularist violence. What about Stalin's gulags ... Mao's inquisitions ... I don't need to go on. By far the largest number of atrocities in the world have perpetrated by atheists.
I come from Northern Ireland, and you casually tossed that off as an example of intercine violence sparked by religion. Either you haven't taken the trouble to study the history of "The Troubles" are you are happy to go along with the popular myths that many buy into.
It was NEVER primarily a religious war at all. The terms "catholic" and "protestant" in the Ulster context are very misleading. My parents, who are protestants, were actively involved with inter-faith worship involving fellow catholics. Many of the truly religious people of both denominations reached out to one and other and struggled for peace and reconcilation.
The violence in N Ireland stemmed from groups that had no religious faith, except a label they used when it suited them. The IRA, Sinn Fein and other splinter groups are composed mainly of Marxist type revolutionaries - people who are "catholic" in name only. I went to University in Belfast with guys from the Ardoyne and Falls Road, they made it clear to me what the ideology of these groups was all about ... and the spiritual values inherent in catholicism had zero to do with it. It was all about power, politics and the gun.
On the other side of the fence Ulster paramilitaries of so-called "protestant" lineage - the UVF, UFF and UDA et al - were also driven by ideology and power.
The faith based people all along have been the ones crucified by these warring factions. They are the ones who have brought relief to the wounded, who have shown compassion to the bereaved, who have worshipped together in inter-faith settings.
For you to attempt to attribute the violence in N Ireland to religion is an affront to me, and the many people who have died in N Ireland. In saying this I speak for the TRULY religious people of N Ireland - of both faiths - who have struggled valiantly for peace.
Posted by: Aidan Maconaghie | 2005-05-31 3:07:03 PM
I agree: faith based belief does not necessarily imply fanaticism or bigotry, and I am not calling you a bigot. If that was the impression, it was not intended. But I do see a more strident, angry voice coming from certain corners of the Christian church, and it, frankly, apalls me and frightens me. Look at history. Wherever you have strongly held religious views being "trumpeted" side by side with other strongly held religious views that are being "trumpeted", you have violence.
We may be years from that here in Canada. We generally are a few years behind the US on such things and Canadians can be a bit weak-kneed when it comes to sticking our necks out (how do you like that mixed metaphor). But there has been a clear escalation in reported violence among Indo-Canadians and Pakistani Canadians in Vancouver. B'nai Brith reports increased signs of anti-semitism (gravestone tippings, swastika spray-painting...). We are heading into tumultuous times and the rhetoric of certain evangelical Christians is, in my opinion, splitting us further apart and making it more tumultuous. And some even gleefully welcome this as a some sort of sign, a necessary step foretold in Revelations.
This is why mainstream Canadians - mainstream Canadian Christians - take issue with the way the rhetoric on the Christian right is taking flight.
Posted by: TB | 2005-05-31 3:15:16 PM
"By far the largest number of atrocities in the world have perpetrated by atheists."
Can we agree that the problem is fanaticism, not religious belief or the lack of it? The Communist fanatics are not representative of all atheists, certainly not of secularisits any more than the European imperialists of the late 19th Century (who were arguably responsible for almost as much death and destruction as the Stalinists consider Belgium in the Congo, for just one example) were representative of all Christians.
We can play "body count" if you like, but I don't find it to be a very productive exersize in these kinds of discussions. We're getting a long way off the original topic, which was the Globe and Mail's report. Which, if you read it agian, only reported the fact that there is a debate within the COnservative party about whether or not it is helpful to have people running for the party who might be perveived as "single issue" candidates.
I just don't see how that report rises to the level of "anti-Christian".
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-31 3:29:30 PM
A Hermit - the text and sub-text of Globe stories for years has shown an anti-conservative and anti-christian reflex. I'm going to jump off this thread because we are going to have to agree to differ. I'll leave you with the image of Jenkins' weekend cartoon which showed Stephen Harper with a MASSIVE wooden cross impaled on his bleeding finger. This image alone is an affront to many believers. Would he have tried it on with a muslim symbol if there an equal number of fundamentalist type Islamic believers in Canada - there is no way in hell. So where does he get off thinking he can use a symbol sacred to many in a fashion some would view as blasphemous. We also have Constable recently producing a cartoon for Rabble that shows the Pope giving a nazi salute to the Virgin Mary. Why is this stuff okay? Why is it not the work of bigots? This double standard slays me every time I read the defenses launched in this room by apologists for these liberal outlets.
Posted by: Aidan Maconaghie | 2005-05-31 3:38:59 PM
I think you're reading an awful lot into the Globe that's really just there in the eye of the beholder. This latest article is a good example. The writer qotes Conservative pooliticians talking about an issue in the Conservative party, and she gets pilloried here for being "anti-Christian"!? It's just silly...Someone up-thread made a good point about all the pro-conservative writers that get lots of ink in the Globe.
As for the cartoons, I could dig up lots of examples of cartoons using other religious symbols, or other images, in ways that all kinds of people would find offensive. That's sometimes the job of the artist; to provoke and if need be offend people.
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-31 3:52:14 PM
I agree with your freedom of expression stand - it's the reactions that baffle me. Attacks on a liberal monolith evoke grave misgivings - the Pope saluting the Virgin Mary (ar an article along the same vein) - a shrug and a wink.
Posted by: Aidan Maconaghie | 2005-05-31 4:48:15 PM
Herr Mitz posts again:
"...I guess you'd have to explain that to a lot of my friends and family who call themselves Christians but disagree with you on those issues. I guess maybe they're not "real" Christians, is that it? Who gets to draw that line anyway?"
Don't know about you, A-H, but I'm pretty confident about "(w)ho gets to draw that line".
Why must you persist in this pointless tautology about who speaks for "Christians" on issues like SS"M" or abortion? Although I disagree, I'll assume for the sake of argument that certain individuals that consider themselves "Christians" are in support of SS"M" and unlimited abortion. How exactly does the existence of these individuals make the official position of, say, the Catholic Church that SS"M" and unlimited abortion are unacceptable less valid?
If your point is that, when the Catholic Church speaks out against SS"M" and abortion, they're not representing all "Christians", hey, no argument there! Frankly, I've never heard ANY church or church organization official make such a statement anyway.
If your point is that we should all prefer the position of the SS"M"- and abortion-embracing "Christians" to the position of the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church of Canada, the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the Canadian Baptist Union, Christian Reform Church of Canada, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Canadian Counsil of Christian Charities, etc. etc. etc., well forgive me if I'd prefer to hear the theological explanation as to why the former are right on these issues and the latter are wrong before I concur.
"It was not relevant to his job, and he didn't lie about it, as you said he did."
Hmmm, you are an instructor at a Christian college, seized with the responsibility of, among other things, grooming your young charges in their faith which, among other things, holds that engaging in homosexual acts is sinful, but it's "not relevant to (your) job" that you yourself engage in those acts. Or is this one of those "Christian" colleges that embrace homosexuality? Or could you (again) respond to the actual point, namely, Christians are reacting, not instigating. The only cramming of ideology down anyone's throat is by the Vriends, Morgentallers and Roes of the world.
And finally this:
"In any case, what you see as a "war" I see as individuals trying to live their lives according to the dictates of their own conscience on one side, and a few moralistic zealots trying to force those individuals to live by someone else's conscience on the other. I don't think the latter approach is healthy in a pluralistic democracy, which is what we live in whether you like it or not."
Ah, where to start. Suppose the "dictates of my conscience" compel me to walk around naked or paint swastikas and swear words on my fence or refuse to curb my dog. Does the fact I'm motivated to do these things by the "dictates of my conscience" make them lawful? Must the rest of society avert their eyes, ignore my fence and watch where they walk in deference to the dictates of my conscience? I hope and pray never to live in a society where everyone is allowed to do whatever their conscience dictates.
And what about the SS"M" debate represents "moralistic zealots" forcing anybody to do anything? Have we m-z's forced gays to stop being gay? Have we forced them away from co-habitating? Have we forced them stop their parades and shut down their bathhouses? What exactly is it you are accusing us of "forcing"?
Furthermore, we m-z's who oppose SS"M" are defending an institution that has been around for millenia and which has NEVER included same-sex couplings - how is it you conclude that it is we who are now "forcing" individuals to live by "our conscience"?
Posted by: firewalls 'r us | 2005-05-31 5:04:00 PM
If I recall correctly, King's College found fault with Vriend because he actually engaged in his homosexuality (living together with his partner), not because of his sexual orientation. I presume Delwin would have kept his job had he remained celibate. Consistent with their policy, King's College would have let go a heterosexual employee who was sexually active outside of marriage.
Posted by: jack | 2005-06-01 12:34:37 AM
Back to the subject of the post.
I do judge people by the company they keep.
Hu Jin Tao: "Jean Chretien is China's best friend in the world."
Paul Martin: "China is the future of the world."
Piere Trudeau: "Mao is the God of China because Mao has defeated the scourge of famine in China."
So who are these communist overlords that the Liberal Party of Canada is so in love with?
What's their attitude towards religion?
* Cardinal Father Shen Tung-bai, a Chinese Catholic...spent half his life in labor camps. ... The Shanghai native was 22 years old in 1958, when he and other Roman Catholics were rounded up and accused of being a counter-revolutionary. He was sentenced to three years' jail and 25 years of hard labor in China's bleak western hinterland.
* "The idea was reform through labor, so we had to endure two main hardships: not having enough to eat and physical exhaustion," Shen, 68, now a priest in Taipei, told Reuters. "We had to go outdoors in sub-zero temperatures and they would shout: 'Work hard! If you work hard, you won't freeze to death'," said the cherub-cheeked Shen, whose family converted to Catholicism almost two centuries ago.
* "People who protested were beaten or chained."
* Shen says Chinese Catholics today have a much easier time than during the ultra-leftist early years of the Communist revolution. But only just.
* When Shen's sentence was rescinded in 1985, he was offered just 300 yuan (then worth about US$100) in compensation for two decades of forced labor.
* "It's very clear in their Marxist-Lenin ideology that there is no God. That's their principle," he said.
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-06-01 2:15:22 AM
The problem, Firewalls, is in identifying a political position as orthodox doctrine. The Quakers allow gay marriage; are you going to tell them their faith is invalid? The United Church and the Mennonte General Conference won't perform marriages for gays, but support the right of gays to be married. There are just two examples of Christian organizations which do not share your political point of view, even though they may share your religious belief regarding homosexuality. Are they not "real Christians"? Who are you to say?
The Vriend case...Mr. Vriend was a science teacher, he was in no way involved in religious instruction. He had worked at the college for several years, received excellent evaluations. Someone at the college asked him if he was gay, he honestly answered yes, after which the College wrote it's new "code of conduct" and fired him. Look it up and get the facts before you try to argue about it.
No one is trying to force you to be gay, or to get an abortion. Those who must make those choices in their own lives should be free, in a free society, to do so.
And following the dictates of one's conscience is obviously limited at the point where such behaviour interferes with the rights of others. But to recognize my elderly aunt's thirty five year relationship with her "lady friend" as a a marriage doesn't interfere with anyone else's rights whatsoever. Failing to recognize that relationship for what it is does interfere with her rights. It's an easy call, in my opinion.
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-06-01 8:41:40 AM
I grow weary of kicking against the Herminator's goads - last post.
"The problem...is in identifying a political position as orthodox doctrine"
Think about that a bit, Hermie. If by "political position" you mean anything that arises in the course of political/legislative discourse, you are essentially banishing faith groups from the public square. What political issue could possibly exist on which a faith group would not have a position based on "orthodox doctrine"? Economic issues? - what about "liberation theology" and "rendering unto Ceasar". Crime and punishment? - seem to recall "Thou shalt not murder" being one of the big ten. Health care? - wasn't "not dead enough" T.C. Douglas some kind of ordained minister?
"Look it up and get the facts before you try to argue about it."
Yet another evasion of the actual point re: who instigated the "cultural war". Notwithstanding our different recollections about the "facts" of Vriend, they weren't of particular concern to Justice Russell of AB QB - she simply took "judicial notice" (not that she's a judicial activist or anything) that gays face discrimination. Look it up before you make tangental and incorrect comments that ignore the actual discussion point..
"No one is trying to force you to be gay, or to get an abortion."
Well, which is it, Ben-Hur Mitt? Are we "moralistic zealots" forcing the dictates of our conscious on others or not? Ain't much of a debate if you take both sides.
"But to recognize my elderly aunt's thirty five year relationship with her "lady friend" as a a marriage doesn't interfere with anyone else's rights whatsoever. Failing to recognize that relationship for what it is does interfere with her rights. It's an easy call, in my opinion."
Three quick points before I rest:
- arguing social issues by anecdote is moronic. Bully for your aunt - I have a lesbian cousin who has also cohabitated for many years and has not one scintilla of interest in having anyone describe her relationship as "marriage".
- how does tossing out a fundamental tenet on which a critical institution of civilization is based not "interfere with anyone else's rights whatsoever". And since when did "it won't affect anyone else" become the slam-dunk argument on whether society should be remade in accordance with the aspirations of a small minority? I suspect apartheid in South Africa didn't "interfere with your rights whatsoever" - should it have been allowed to continue?
- how in the name of heaven does my failure to accept your subjective assessment that relationships like that of your aunt are "marriages" interfere with her rights? Are you now proposing it is my "right" to require you and everybody else to accept how I choose to describe myself? Let's try it - I'm faithful and loyal and like to have my stomach scratched, so I've decided I'm a dog and you will be interfering with my "rights" if you resist my efforts to codify my determination as the law of the land. Talk about sandpoundingly dumb. Here's a little food for thought to chew on - if, for you, this issue distills down to a change of law to include same-sex relationships in the definition of "marriage" is required so that these types of relationships will gain greater acceptance and recognition - IT ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN! Roe v. Wade changed no-one's core opinion on abortion, Vriend v. Alberta changed no-one's core opinion on whether religious colleges should be required to employ homosexuals and Reference re: Same Sex Marriage changed no-one's opinion as to whether "marriage" should include same-sex relationships. If your side prevails, it will have accomplished nothing.
Posted by: firewalls 'r us | 2005-06-01 9:40:30 AM
"If by "political position" you mean anything that arises in the course of political/legislative discourse, you are essentially banishing faith groups from the public square."
Not at all, Firewalls, I'm just suggesting that it's a mistake to confuse a political opinion with a tenet of faith. As I pointed out earlier, there are Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin, yet still recognize that if we are to be true to our democratic principles we can't deny people rights on the basis of one interpretation of one religion. To do so violates the principle of freedom of conscience.
Now, you can argue against SSM on whatever basis you want, but to make that political opinion equivalent to an article of faith (by calling it "the Christian position") is an insult to people of faith who do not share that political opinion.
"If your side prevails, it will have accomplished nothing."
Except equal rights and freedom of conscience...not much to you perhaps, but rather important principles to some of us.
By the way, calling me silly names and blustering might make you feel better, but doesn't help your argument much...
Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-06-01 10:21:42 AM
Alright, Brian. Let's play the who said it game:
China is "a miracle in the world in the past 50 years"
(Recalling his days in China as a US envoy, when the country was “both poor and isolated”) "Thirty years later, the change could not be more dramatic"
“My view of China is that it's a great nation”
One hint: the letter "W". And I bet you dollars to donuts you don't judge him on his own words.
Martin's statement is, while kind of silly in its vapidity, not far from the truth. We would like to think that a non-democratic, non-free market economy can't get strong, but those are dangerous and naive thoughts. China's economy may not be able to sustain itself forever because of central planning, but it took the USSR 80 years to collapse of its own weight and it instilled a great terror on the world in the meantime. China will be much stronger, more calculating and far more influential than the USSR. The sooner we wake up and recognize the threat of an economic giant, xenophobic, totalitarian state the size of China, the better.
Posted by: TB | 2005-06-01 3:13:27 PM
TB, please, it's difficult to argue with an ignoramus.
George W. Bush was never "in China as a US envoy."
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-06-01 3:29:47 PM
And even if your comment had been accurate, it still would have had absolutely NOTHING to do with either my comment or the original posting.
Peddle your irrelevant spin elsewhere.
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-06-01 3:33:54 PM
My slippage. It was his father, quoted recently at a speech he gave. Thank you, oh thank you, Master O'Neill for your kind words of correction.
Posted by: TB | 2005-06-01 3:41:09 PM
According to Tuerculosis, "W" said, "Thirty years later, the change [in Communist China] could not be more dramatic."
- Right. Very dramatic changes. Everyone knows that.
And he said, "My view of China is that it's a great nation.”
- Right. Of course it's a great nation. (Besides that, the "PRC" is not synonomous with "China", and is not a nation.)
Tuberculosis' "quotes" were intended to somehow counter my comment in which I quoted:
Hu Jin Tao: "Jean Chretien is China's best friend in the world."
Paul Martin: "China is the future of the world."
Piere Trudeau: "Mao is the God of China because Mao has defeated the scourge of famine in China."
Those three quotes clearly reveal a nexus of immorality and corruption that should be shameful to all decent Canadians.
Then I went on to relate an example of the extreme religious persecution that occurs in the PRC. This , combined with the three quotes, was by way of illustrating the standards of religios freedoms that guide our Gliberal leaders.
What "W" said or did not say about China (again: not the PRC) has no relevance whatsoever. And even if did, George W. Bush and Condolleezza Rice have made numerous criticisms of the lack of political freedom in the PRC. It is not my job to educate ignoramuses on that.
It is so tedious to have to argue with people who need their hands held along every step of the way, and even then can't figure out where they are.
I would like to repeat my appeal to any intelligent lefties out there. PLEASE give me someone more intellectual to debate with. PLEASE.
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-06-01 3:55:23 PM
In case anyone still needs to be reminded of the kind of dishonest "arguments" that lefties typically put forward, only one of those irrelevant quotes above were actually made by George W. Bush (i.e. Bush 42), and TB was trying to present it as some sort of argument that Bush is soft on China or some such nonsense.
Here's the original quote, in context [keep in mind that the subject of Kate McMillan's original posting was lefist intolerance of religious expression]:
"Bush also said China's growing economy was partly to blame for rising US gasoline prices.
""My view of China is that it's a great nation that's growing like mad. That's one of the reasons why Americans are seeing over US$2 gasoline, because demand for energy in China is huge. And supply around the world hasn't kept up with the increase in demand," he said.
"Bush described U.S. ties with China as a "very complex and good relationship" and said he intended to keep it that way, but said Beijing should welcome religious movements, for example.
""I'm constantly reminding China that a great society is one that welcomes and honors human rights, for example, welcomes the Catholic Church in its midst, doesn't fear religious movements," he said.
""We expect there to be peace with Taiwan," Bush said."
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-06-01 4:05:47 PM
It is good to debate with people with whom one disagrees. But, frankly, it's not very helpful when one of the parties is practically a moron.
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-06-01 4:07:22 PM
And regardless of one's opponent's intellectual deficiencies, it is degrading to argue with someone who has no regard for the truth.
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-06-01 4:10:10 PM
So would it be fair to expect that when (not if) an elected CPC government is every bit in bed with the Chinese as the Liberals, you will similarly renounce them for their immorality?
And Bush is soft on China. Has the US government levied any sort of meaningful sanctions against the PRC for its religious persecution? Has the US government proclaimed its support for the democratic state of Taiwan to declare its independence from the corrupt, godless, totalitarian PRC should the Taiwanese people choose to do so democratically? No, and no are the answers to these questions, because at the end of the day the American position on China is driven primarily by money, and the Canadian position even moreso. Those positions will not change regardless of how liberal or conservative the government of the day may be, unless the PRC government really does act in a militarily belligerent fashion (more belligerent than forcing down a US military aircraft and holding its crew hostage, I mean -- great job Dubya did on holding the PRC accountable for that, BTW). For you to imply otherwise demonstrates either a stunning degree of political ignorance, or a shameful lack of honesty.
Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2005-06-01 4:58:59 PM
Oh, Brian. Away you go on another tirade again. Are you so bent on finding ways to spew angry rhetoric that someone’s point has to be big, dumb and obvious that even you can see the point (let alone understand it)?
OF COURSE Bush is not a great friend of China. The point was that you can pick out a few words here or there from any public figure to prove pretty much anything. You point out that Martin said "China is the future of the world" and THAT is your evidence that “clearly reveal a nexus of immorality and corruption that should be shameful to all decent Canadians.” This is your proof “illustrating the standards of religios [sic] freedoms that guide our Gliberal leaders.”
And if you couldn’t get that point, I would have thought that even you would have understood my larger point: All of our leaders are cozying up to China and it is a dangerous game. The west is being very soft on China and are rewarding that totalitarian, closed-market regime with economic, cultural and political plums. I did veer the subject a bit away from the original topic – that does happen sometimes on a blog, you know – but there is a connecting point. Leaders spew out these kind of meaningless diplomatic compliments. It’s not a sign that they are religiously rudderless but that they are politically gutless when it comes to China, Bushie too.
Posted by: TB | 2005-06-01 7:21:57 PM
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