The 3Rs of Theo-cons: Religious, Right, and Rude

If there was any doubt that the Christian Right is alive and well and living in Canada, turn on your browser and check out www.ChristianGovernance.com. There you will find the stuff we usually associate with Religious Right radio and TV from the US, including harangues about “the fascistic agenda of totalitarian homosexualism” and secular “euro-american” governance, “a kind of fornication theme park for corrupt and lazy bastards.”

The website is authored and maintained by Timothy Bloedow whose goal, apparently, is to turn Canada into a theocracy – a kind of religious theme park for Christianized social conservatives if you like. Bloedow is the Legislative Assistant for Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott.

He also operated (in 2010) www.NoApologies.ca, a Christian Right news site patterned after the American www.etruth.com. No Apologies, like eTruth, would help you think about the news correctly. It seems the Chief Justice of Canada’s Supreme Court is a leftist radical; human rights commissions are persecuting Christians; and feminism enslaves women to perversion and superficiality. There is also a very large “Advocacy” section which helps organizations and individuals to lobby the government on a range of issues.

Hmmm. Is it my eyesight or is the line between inside staffer and outside lobbyist getting blurry?

Another Con, Russell Ullyatt, leaked confidential pre-budget documents to five friendly lobby firms from inside Conservative MP Kelly Block’s office. He was fired, but not before at least two of the firms passed his leaks on to their clients. The revolving door that let exiting staffers right back into the Parliament Buildings as lobbyists might have been shut by the Accountability Act. But now it looks as though they are setting up ersatz lobbies even before they leave their bosses offices.

Jesus Saves in London ON

But I digress. Politics is as politics does, to paraphrase Forest Gump. Religion is another matter, especially when it is brought into politics. Marci McDonald, in The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada, does a good job of revealing how Christian conservatives have knitted themselves and their theologically-driven agenda into the Canadian political fabric. Mr. Bloedow, by the way, gets a lot of ink.

Canadian theo-cons follow their American godfathers pretty closely: those who oppose more jails and mandatory minimum sentences don’t care about victims of crime; opponents of the war in Afghanistan don’t care about our troops; anyone who doesn’t share their own, rather narrow set of values doesn’t care about family. We liberals are godless secular humanists and the “opposition party to God” (says Ann Coulter, although I don’t see how we can be both); the media are our handmaidens (have they read Maclean’s lately, or the National Post?); global warming is a either a hoax or a divine signal to get ready for The Rapture (yes, you can have your cake and eat it too); Rush Limbaugh is a hero (for mocking Michael J Fox, I guess) and Sarah Palin is presidential material (words fail me).

In his 2006 book American Fascists, Chris Hedges, an ordained Presbyterian minister and liberal handmaiden, lays out the Christian Right’s philosophy, often in their own words. Here, for example, is how Benny Hinn, a popular healer, lambasted one of his liberal critics: “Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun. I’d blow your head off!” Presumably, Benny would be Christian enough to raise him up again.

What was it Jesus said to the mob about to stone an adulteress? “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

So how is this mob so self-righteously certain? By faith. Faith seems to be the one thing that sustains most of those in the Christian Right. Well, faith will get you only so far says Paul: “if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

The loving Jesus I know might be in their theology somewhere, but if he’s there, he is keeping a low profile. I’ve looked, but I can’t find the Jesus who refused to pick and choose whom he saved, who talked to prostitutes and priests with equal respect, and who healed even the servants of centurions.

Angelina Jolie in Wal-Mart: Our Lady of Consumption

Now I’m not about to go into what kind of Christian I might be or even if I am. Neither I nor the state has any business in the bedrooms or the pews of the nation, and vice versa. But as soon as people start to judge me from the pulpit of their own brand of religion, or when my government begins to craft public policy based on scripture rather than evidence, then I will stand on the steps of their church and say, “I protest.”

Because that’s where Ann Coulter, Jerry Falwell, George Bush and their Canadian copy cats leave the loony land of truthiness and cross into territory much more dangerous. That’s when they cease to be curmudgeonly prophets and become bludgeoning ideologues. It’s not godless liberals we have to worry about anymore – they’re a spent force anyway. It’s God-smacked theo-cons.

And that begs a question: who will answer them? We liberals so love the Constitution that we would not want their Charter right to free speech violated. (I know, how secularly human of us.) But they do need to be spoken to, sharply, as school-yard bullies do. And that, I think, is a job for main-stream Christians.

December 4, 2010
© David McLaren
David McLaren is a free-lance writer.

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By the way, in case you’re wondering where our name (Dominion of Canada) and our motto (A Mari Usque Ad Mare) came from, check out Psalm 72:8. “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”

Samuel Leonard Tilley, the Premier of New Brunswick told Sir John A that his Bible had, that very morning, fallen open at Psalm 72. Sir John, perhaps pleased to have dominion to the ends of the earth agreed to call Canada, not a Kingdom as he originally wanted, but a Dominion.

Perhaps he also fancied verses 7 and 9:
“In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth,” and “They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.”

Whatever our first PM thought about his own destiny, Psalm 72:8 was inscribed inside the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. On the Queen’s Birthday, the 24th of May 2006, the old clock in the Tower, which had, for 28 years, taken a lickin’ but kept on tickin’, stopped precisely at 7:28. The theo-cons took this as a divine message that Canada had gone off track; that we had, with all those Liberal governments, mislaid God’s plan and thank God, Stephen Harper was PM to lead us back from the wilderness—never mind that the clock stopped four months after he was elected.
(in Marci McDonald, The Armageddon Factor, p118f)

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About David McLaren

David McLaren is an award-winning writer. He has worked in government and the private sector, with NGOs and First Nations in Ontario. He is currently writing from Neyaashiinigamiing on the shore of Georgian Bay and can be reached at david.mclaren@utoronto.ca. In February 2015, he won the nomination for the NDP to represent the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound in the 2015 federal election. See that page for writings during the campaign.
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