Those crazy Christians are taking over Ottawa!

In a new book, the Harper government is portrayed as a plaything of wild-eyed end-timers

Those crazy Christians are taking over Ottawa

CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson

In 2008, 2½ years into Stephen Harper’s term as Prime Minister, the abortion advocate Henry Morgentaler was awarded the Order of Canada. This bit of history pops up at the bottom of page 167 of Marci McDonald’s book The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada. And by the second paragraph of page 168 it’s forgotten, never to be mentioned again, because in the bizarre Canada McDonald spends the rest of her book describing, the extension of official honour to the likes of Morgentaler cannot possibly have happened.

McDonald is a former Washington and Paris bureau chief for this magazine. In 2006 she wrote a long article for The Walrus (that clause contains a redundant adjective). In it, she took an obvious and interesting fact—the Harper government pays a lot of attention to the concerns of evangelical Christians—and turned it into a risible fantasy: the Harper government is a plaything of wild-eyed end-timers who would transform Canada into a soul-saving factory in anticipation of the Rapture.

The Armageddon Factor is the book-length version of that article. Four years on, there’s a lot more evidence of evangelicals’ influence—and of its limits—within the Harper coalition. Was it too much to hope McDonald would tone down the excesses of her analysis and try harder to take her subject’s proper measure? Yes, apparently, it was.

“What drives [the] growing Christian nationalist movement is its adherents’ conviction that the end times foretold in the book of Revelation are at hand,” she writes. “Braced for an impending apocalypse, they feel impelled to ensure that Canada assumes a unique, scripturally ordained role in the final days before the Second Coming—and little else. That preoccupation with final-days preparations may help explain why nearly a thousand young evangelicals could gather in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, passionately calling for an end to abortion and premarital sex while ignoring the perils of global warming.”

After a while, you get used to reading paragraphs like that from McDonald. It’s a blend of screaming hysteria (“scripturally ordained role in the final days”) linked to something that probably actually happened (evangeli­cals in Stanley Park) over an exquisitely equivocal footbridge of maybe-words. Ambient madness “may help explain” calls for an end to abortion. So could, oh I don’t know, opposition to abortion. As for the loony kids’ insistence on “ignoring the perils of global warming,” it’s even worse than that. The Stanley Park protesters also failed to say a word about slavery, apartheid, Kenny G or the infield-fly rule. Don’t you get it? They’re evil.

But how influential are evangelicals? Here McDonald bobs and weaves a bit. She admits her so-called Christian nationalists are only “one faction,” before declaring it has “gained influence out of all proportion to its numerical heft.” From there it’s only a short step along the maybe-word footbridge to warning that the end-timers are about to take over. “The degree to which they succeed in prevailing over policy may depend”—ding ding ding—“on whether Canadians wake up to the realization that slowly, covertly, the political process is being co-opted by an extremist vision of Christianity—one ultimately shaped by what I call ‘the Armageddon factor.’ ”

I will spare you a detailed explanation of this Armageddon factor, except to note that the numbers 7 and 28 appear on the book’s cover and that, when McDonald finally explains their significance, it will turn your brain to oatmeal. I’ll note only that McDonald offers numerous sketches of devout and earnest evangelicals whose influence she continues, after four years of research, to have trouble demonstrating. All the favourites from her Walrus article are back. The guy who landed an invite, on the day of Harper’s first Throne Speech, to “a prestigious luncheon in the parliamentary dining room convened by Sen. Anne Cools.” The guy who became a big-time Hill insider during “six years as an executive assistant to former Reform/Alliance MP Reed Elley.” Here’s a bona fide Ottawa insider tip: Anne Cools and Reed Elley aren’t clout. It’s odd to read a book about power and religion in Harper’s Ottawa that mentions Stockwell Day more than 30 times, Jason Kenney only seven times and Guy Giorno twice while reserving a chapter for some guy who opened a creationism museum in southern Alberta.

But McDonald is out to fit data to conclusions, not the other way around. She calls Harper’s tendency to end speeches with “God bless Canada” an “aberration,” and explicitly contrasts such gaudy godliness with the styles of Pierre Trudeau and Lester Pearson. Really? Trudeau’s 1982 Constitution Act recognizes “the supremacy of God” in its first line. When the Maple Leaf flag first flew in 1965, Pearson said the day would be remembered “if our nation, by God’s grace, endures a thousand years.” Which nation? “A land of decent God-fearing people,” Pearson said, before concluding, “God bless Canada!”

People who believe in God and vote their beliefs often work hard. That makes them a potent ingredient in any political coalition anywhere. They win some and lose some. Always have, always will. These days they win more than they used to. They still lose a lot. A keen eye for the real weight of things will come in handy, if someone ever tells their story.


Those crazy Christians are taking over Ottawa!

  1. Wells One of the things I like about your writing is that I don't get nature documentary vide when you write about Cons/cons. We know you are big government fan but you always seem to take others at face value and don't judge them too harshly.

    One of the problems with modern liberals/progressives/leftists is that they don't have a fringe where people can have their wild eyed conversations without hurting liberalism. Cons have a fringe – people who say things that don't represent what many other cons think – but Liberals don't so we get mainstream books that are nonsense on stilts but we are meant to take seriously.

    Harper is the worst ever – according to liberals and progressives – except there he remains in power while others flap their gums about how terrible Harper is and watch our for the theocracy he is this close to implementing. Liberals believe this kind of twaddle but see no connection to why they are struggling to get above 30% in polls. The more liberals and progressives behave like moralistic fish wives, the more support Cons get.

    " ….. whenever I read liberals reporting about the goings-on of conservatives I always get the nature-documentary vibe. A liberal reporter puts on his or her Dian Fossey hat in order to attempt to write another installment of Conservatives in the Mist. I've followed this particular brand of reporting for years, it's almost a fetish of mine. Most attempts fail. Of these lesser varieties, there's fear ("Troglodytes!"), mockery ("Irrelevant troglodytes!"), condescension ("I had to explain to them they're troglodytes."), bewilderment ("Why don't they understand they're troglodytes?"), astonishment (Dear God, they're not all troglodytes!"), and a few combinations of all the above." Jonah Goldberg, May, 2003

    • One might suggest that fringe does indeed exist.. you just don't recognize it as a fringe.

      • Thwim falls into the "condescension ('I had to explain to them that they're troglodytes')" category, apparently.

      • The fact is there are many progressives who have a firm believe that Canada should become a nanny state with cradle to grave government programs and put all their effort into seeing this happens. How is this any worse than someone who has religious convictions and wants those convictions included in government policy? Its all right for the progessive crowd to lobby and speak about their wants and desires but somehow it is not acceptable for Christians to have their belief systems recognized in their government.

        I would suggest that today's Greece is a perfect example of how destructive the progressives ideas are. Cradle to grave government and the rest of the world has to now bale them out. The people became lazy and figured the government would support them.

        • The problems in Greece have a lot more to do with people en mass refusing to pay their taxes while demanding more government services than it does any coherent, leftist political ideology. I haven't met many leftists who advocate not paying taxes…

          I know, it's very tempting to see the evil influence of the lefties in everything that goes wrong in the world, but most of the time it just isn't so.

          • I sort of have. Leftists who feel that somebody richer than them should pay taxes, but they themselves take money under the table.

          • Funny thing hollins dear boy – the last time I was in Greece – admittedly a few years ago – it was being run by the generals…might have been a little right wing even for your taste – but left much of the mess that Papendayou (sic?) is trying to clean up…
            shades of Mulroney, or Reagan + TWO Bushes – or the Queen of them all – Thatcher – ALL leave messes behind them.
            Read some recent history chummie!
            Freidmanism is a total crock!

      • "One might suggest that fringe does indeed exist.. "

        You can suggest all you like but what ideas are beyond the pale to people on left?

        Here are a few mainstream ideas:

        Murder weakest members of society is good and should be celebrated (more abortions and euthanasia for everyone!)
        Eugenics (The way to solve Third World problems is to murder even more brown and black babies!)
        Jail makes criminals worse so there's no point incarcerating them (more criminals on the streets, please, because jail does not work!)
        Apocalyptic Visions (Global Warming – you know you are contributing to end of world if you eat that burger!)
        Admiration for largest mass-murderers in history (Mao! Che! Stalin!)

        And these are just a few examples off the top of my head. I would love to hear what topics/subjects are considered fringe for left wing people, Thwim. You insinuate they exist but don't actually provide any examples.

    • Well Done T. ! … and well written too ..

  2. Marci McDonald is totally wrong.

    • I assume you have read the book.

      • I haven't read the book either but will claim that she is total right in an attempt to keep this comment board fair and balanced.

        • Turns out that our sharp right turn here in Canadian leads to a radical church?

          • Perhaps taxing all churches will free them from current restrictions? I mean are they registered as lobbying in Ottawa and if so who are they???

        • Hey Dick, you had a "thumbs up" on your comment so to keep this comment board "fair and balanced" I have given you a "thumbs down" which returns it to zero.

          Cheers! :)

  3. Sorry Paul, I don't buy your arguments. Macdonald's book is meticulously researched, and her assumptions are based on actual documented events and facts.

    If you don't believe that the christian right minority could have any influence in Canada, look at what they accomplished in the most powerful country in the world – the U.S. Bush and his christian supporters made an international mockery of government policies that will take years to turn around.

    Devout Christian activists have been shown to be very organized – and effective – and there is more than enough evidence of concerted structured strategies of gaining political influence in all levels of government.

    A simple Google search and read of some of these organizations' own websites will make your alarms bells go Alert! Alert! Alert!

    I conclude that the writer is either incredibly naive, or a member of this fundamental christian "stealth" movement.

    • Meticulously researched?? Then why does she state that Joseph Ben-Ami is an evangelical Christian?

      • She doesn't. You have obviously not read the book.

        • Ah but he has read Ezra Levant's "meticulously researched" critique knee-jerk attack on the book.

          What more would anyone ever need to do to get by in the world than read Ezra Levant?

          • The book actually goes into quite a bit of detail about Ben-Ami's short lived relationship with the evangalicals in ottawa, which quickly ended over disagreement on issues of tactics.

    • 1. "If you don't believe that the christian right minority could have any influence in Canada,"
      – that is not at all what Well's wrote, its not even the right sentiment. He fully acknowledges they have influence, he refutes that they have the influence McDonald claims they do

      2. "look at what they accomplished in the most powerful country in the world – the U.S"
      Bad example. It should go without saying that the U.S is a completely different country when it comes to the role that religion has played in its history, ideology and politics. The U.S was first colonized by extremely religious people fleeing persecution looking to establish a new Jerusalem. Everything else flows from there. (this is exceedingly simplistic, of course, it is in response to a simplistic comment). The point is, the U.S is not Canada when it comes to the role of religion in politics.

      3. The phrase "a simple Google search" when used as a rhetorical device as an attempt to belittle actual research sets off alarm bells for me.

      • The first Presidents of the U.S. were not extremely religious, as a matter of fact President George Washington was a Deist. President Thomas Jefferson was also a Deist whom clergy referred to as an Athiest. John Adams, the third U.S. President was also a Deist. I would recommend you read the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. …."Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

        I definately agree with your first point, though.

        • 1. Of course George Washington was a Deist. That is why when approached by Indian chiefs on the banks of the Delaware who asked that their children be educated in American schools he replied "You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention."
          2. Here are some other quotes from George Washington on religion: “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” Or “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
          3. That is also why the "Aitken Bible" actually received Congressional Approval (the endorsement was signed by one of the signers of the declaration of independence, Charles Thomson).
          I suggest is a bit of research on your own, concentrating on their actual words, not the words of modern day researchers.

          • I did do my research, it is you who seems to be focusing on the words of modern researchers. Perhaps, in regards to George Washington, you're referring to the following: http://www.pilgrimhall.org/ThanxProc1789.htm
            I'm not against religion, but I'm also not going to spread false quotes to support the belief that some people have that the United States was founded to be a new birthplace solely for Christianity. On the contrary, it was founded with the belief that there should be a separation of church and state, and that people were free to follow any religion without persecution – an ideal lost on some as witnessed by the treatment of Madelyn Murray O'Hare.

          • I have been looking a little at the provenance of some of the quotes but I am a little skeptical about the source of some of the dissenting sites I have checked as they are quoting wikipedia, snopes and members.tripod pages.

            As far as the constitution and the first amendment, it does state a separation of church and state but this does not mean that the founding fathers where deists or athiests. It's intention was to allow it's citezens to follow any faith (or not) without fear of prosecution. It was also meant that the state would never recieve orders from any religeous head (the Pope for instance).

          • Sounds to me like we're in agreement then.

    • Aha! I knew it! Paul Wells is a stealth fundamentalist Christian! I've had my eye on you all along, Wells…

      • The scales have fallen from my eyes! It. All. Makes. Sense. "Right Side Up"??? Clearly a coded reference to both heaven and the political disposition one needs to get there. More sneaky than the Liberal mole, Wells is a stealth theocon!

        • Clearly "Paul Wells" is a pseudonym – "Paul" a reference to Paul of Tarsus, who spread Christianity throughout the classical world just as "PW" seeks to spread it throughout Canada; and "Wells" a reference to his role as a wellspring of faith. You can't fool us, "Paul"!

    • As a member of the Christian right, I am ticked off that I don't have the access to the Prime Minister that everyone else seems to have as far as Marci is concerned. I can't seem to call him up and tell him what to do and seem to have no say whatsoever in the running of the nation. Maybe I can call Joseph Ben-Ami and ask him what to do. Oh! that's right…He's not a member of THE club (nudge,nudge, wink, wink)

    • Look what influence Sikhs have in Canadian politics. Jean Chretien admitted he became party leader because of the Sikh block-vote, and the Sikh religion in Canada is one of the smallest numerically.

    • meticously reseached?

      this piece of garbage has been eviscerated up and down the political spectrum, just for its betrayal facts to fit a preconceived, paranoid ideology held by its author; so far as I have read, only left-wing hacks like Susan Riley at the Ottawa Citizen have given this trash a good word…

      It is a piece of crap and you should be ashamed of yourself for promoting such a work of bigotry?

  4. You got it wrong, Wells. Haprer's policy on Israel, his backwards law and order stance, his war on drugs, his fight against gay marriage, his putting religious conservatives on scientific ethics boards, his recent attempt to gain control of the wombs of African women…these are all areas where Harper and his clan are imposing their fundamentalist Christian views on those of us who do not share those views.

    The Harper government has no respect for the separation between church and state and are a threat to democracy as a result. McDonald merely points that out.

    • "The Harper government has no respect for the separation between church and state …. "

      What separation are you referring to? The Queen, our Head of State, is also the Defender of the Faith. There is no separation between church and state in Canada so I am not sure what you are caviling about.

      Don't Catholics and Anglicans get a say in how the country is run or are only libertine atheists allowed government jobs?

      • "Don't Catholics and Anglicans get a say in how the country is run ….? '
        Sure as long as they are not pulling their policy out of the magic book – okay?

        • Sure, but you have to keep all of your policy ideas derived from "social science" out as well.

          You know, due to the lack of empirical foundations to that "science".

          • Bergkampt – what a load of hooey – "What separation are you referring to? The Queen, our Head of State, is also the Defender of the Faith".
            The Queen is indeed the Head of the church of England – England – you fool! Not the church of Canada (if such existed) – the Anglican church – or any other denomination here!
            If that is the best you can come up with I'd suggest retiring to the seminary and meditating in your cell for a few years!

        • Did a bunch of Catholic schools not just send their students to an anti-abortion protest in Ottawa? Is this kind of thing an acceptable use of public funds. In the past some of these protestors carried Government of Canada signs; I wonder if they did this year since a fuss was raised last time.

          • Yes it is. s.93 of the 1867 Constitution Act says so. Sorry…

            Might not be the best use of funds, but Catholics have a right to their own school system.

          • Do they have the right to spend public money on transpoirting students to a protest?

      • If by "libertine atheist" you mean secular francophone, then yes.

      • Separation of church and state is in the freedom of religion written into our constitution.

    • Reverend Blair is wrong. It is the progressives who are always imposing their liberal ideology on those of us who do not share those views.

      • fully agree. Rev. Blair is re-iterating all the usual "progressive' arguments, that can be easily refuted (as people like paul are doing below–thanks paul!)

    • Hate to disappoint you, Reverend, but Harper was never in control of women's wombs in Africa. Nor should he be. Africa is not run by the Canadian Government, it's run by the African government. Considering that abortion is illegal there, we would be nothing less than criminals if we were to tell their government that they had to spend our aid money on abortions. Can you imagine the uproar of Canadians if we let them dictate our laws?

    • "…his recent attempt to gain control of the wombs of African women."

      That's the stupidest thing I've ever read. It's based on an entire framework of wrong assumptions and ignorance. You need to get your head out of that "live-in-a-bubble" liberal indoctrination you've been spoon-fed and begin to view things as they really are.

      Here's some advice: When you actually understand what you refute it adds weight to your argument. Right now you just come across as some over-the-top, arrogant, small-minded ninny. (complete with ideological blinders. This, by the way, makes people like you dangerous to democracy)

      There are things about Harper's policies I disagree with (e.g. the legalization of marijuana) but I do so with an understanding of where he's coming from.

    • *Haprer's policy on Israel, his backwards law and order stance, his war on drugs, his fight against gay marriage, his putting religious conservatives on scientific ethics boards, his recent attempt to gain control of the wombs of African women*

      The lack of self-consciousness of the promoters of this propaganda `book' is startling: in defence of a paranoid outlook held by the book's author, we get… yet more paranoid fantasy.

      It is, in any case, just a propaganda war against conservatism, part of the elite's efforts to divide and rule everyone through a `culture war' that only they want…

    • Since no one ever seems to bother to check the fact of the matter in Canada, the separation of church and state is an AMERICAN Constitution point which does not appear either in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms or any of our other national documents. Next time anyone blames Harper for blindly following US policy positions should look in the mirror once in a while and check some Canadian reference material.

    • I live in another Dominion (New Zealand). We do not have an established church here, but there is NO separation of the church and state. There is a bill of rights, but parliament is sovereign and can over rule it.

      Separation of the Church and State is a Yankee concept that does not belong in the dominions of Her Majesty Elizabeth, by the Grace of God Queen of New Zealand. Oh, and Canada as well.

  5. They got to Wells!

  6. PW, to be honest, when I saw/heard McDonald on the airwaves, and her references to Rights & Democracy when pressed for evidence of her thesis (most recently yesterday on PowerPlay), I felt she was using your work as a source (as it appears many others have as well).

    But, I do agree with part of her thesis – Harper is courting favour with targeted voting segments (this being but one of many niche examples). On this point, perhaps she is also inspired your own "book-length version of" your "2006"…"long article".

    • I think a problem is that all parties are busy courting 'block votes.' Do something to please fundamentalists, get a bunch of votes. Suck up to the leaders in the Sikh community, get a bunch of Sikh votes. The problem is many Canadians don't belong to structured groups and that's one of the reasons the percentage of those voting keeps going down.

  7. Wow! Did NOT expect to read that. Good job. Make a note, lefties: you can only scream and act hysterical to a point before even your erstwhile allies in the media will throw you under the bus. Speaking of under bus throwing, at a time when women are still struggling for acceptance in journalism and political analysis McDonald is not doing the female gender any favours by playing exactly to the stereotype of left wing female journalists as screaming hysterical hateboxes obsessed with the idea that Christianity is the greatest evil.

    • Speaking of: The Agenda, this past Tuesday. Ideology III – Faith, Fervour and Environmentalism including part time Anglican Minister-in-training Elizabeth May. Environmentalism is also a religion, to some.

    • You do realize that Paul has, indeed, written about the influence of the Christian right on the Harper government.

      What I take from Paul's writings and review of the book is that it needs to be critically reviewed, even if the author may have a point – just as a book lambasting the amoral turns of another political party would be.

      • Ah, but Paul is not a female, so rightwingers don't call him one of those " left wing female journalists as screaming hysterical hateboxes"; other names, no doubt, but this kind of screechy hatred is aimed mainly at women.

  8. If you listened to the Helena Guergis/Peter Mansbridge interview earlier this week, even she made a transparent attempt to appeal to her religious backers by referring to her Christian family while she was in tears near the end of her interview. Was she trying to tell us that "Sure, I married a Muslim, but I'm still just a good old Christian".

    If you go through the list of donors to the CPC on the Elections Canada website, you'll be surprised at the names you find from the evangelical side of Canadian religion – David Mainse and his wife, Feytene Krysko to name but three. It is their right (bad pun) to donate to any political Party they chose, what is not their right, is to try to cram their narrow view of what passes for a Christian (and Christian behaviour) down Canadian's throats. Having life experience within this system, I realize how narrow their viewpoint can become; anyone who doesn't believe exactly as they do, is branded an inferior Christian and is doomed to the eternal fires of hell. I guess it's God's mouth to their ears.

    The Harperites still have close ties to their Reform base and that's where a good part of their agenda seems to be coming from.

    • All strategy from Harper'side, no question about that ! And you are right, their viewpoint is very narrow and scary!

    • I think that it's more cynical strategy on Harper's part. I don't think that he is a particularly religious man, and I don't think that he agrees with much of what evangelicals think; he just throws them a bone every so often to keep them voting for him.

      The Rights and Democracy thing isn't necessarily religious. Support for Israel comes from all sorts of people and ideologies, as does support for the Palestinians. I think it has more to do with Harper et al's ideas about international relations than it does their religious beliefs.

      • Much as I dislike Harper, I think he may be more religious thatn he lets on. The problem is that his church of choice (which is not his wife's church I believe) has regressive attitudes about women, gays, etc. And there is a religious background to the decisions he and his fundamentalist advisors are making.

    • Question, why is it OK to have a public school in Toronto's Annex neighborhood that promotes "activism" (code for religious indoctrination in extreme secular humanism and big-government socialism) but people of a faith-based persuasion have to pay for education that reflects their values out of pocket? (on top of paying their taxes) Am I the only one who sees a disparity here?

      By the way, I've seen equal and/or worse ignorance from the ideological left when it comes to dissenting opinions. As scary as you may find a Right Wing government, it's not nearly as scary as a Left-Wing government running our lives by enforcing "progressive" political correctness and environmental activism. Give them the levers of power and you can kiss your democratic freedoms out the window.

      Anyways, enough of this exaggerating the people you disagree with. It's too petty. (however fun it may be)

      You'll find that the Conservative voting base has too many adherents to small government and that will keep the Cons from over-reaching into the implementation of right-wing social control legislation.

  9. I don`t know if MacDonald still drops in to Macleans offices, but I think Mr, Wells should be wary for the next while…….maybe send Coyne out to the elevator first to see if all`s clear…..it`s the whole wrath of a woman scorned thing.

    • Way to smear an author you don't like because she's a woman. Inferiority complex?

      • Holly, you have once again reaffirmed you are one humourless, bitter……..fortunately you represent a tiny portion of your gender.

    • 'Pure electoral pandering' to the 77% of Canadians that identify themselves as Christians.

      • 77% of Canadians identify themselves as Christian? Really? Why just 77%? If you are going to make up grossly exaggerated statistics, why stop with only 77%? Why not 84 billion % of Canadians identify as Christian, or even 635% if you want to be modest?

        • 98% of Christian Canadians support giving 120% more money to this group

        • Actually, I believe the number is even higher than that. I seem to recall a recent Mclean's survey putting the number of Christians at 80% +

          • Yes, but what percentage are practicing christians? Look at how many Canadians attend church at least once a month. We are talking about less than 20%.

          • Oh, I agree absolutely.

            And worse is the way the right tries to speak for all Christians or tries to claim that only certain views are Christian and that a disagreement with those views is an attack on Christianity.

            The perfect example of that is how it is often claimed that criticizing the fiction of the 6 day creation story or the 6000 year old earth is "an attack on Christians" or how even talking about science and evolution is "an attack on Christians". Pure bunk.

          • But remember that women don't count to the Harperites, so maybe it's 77% of half of Canadians. But then wilson is a woman, so her opinion doesn't count either.

        • Not that I agree with handing money to a religious organization but, 77% is the current number Statistics Canada has.

          I'm not sure where that number will be in the 2011 census, but it will be interesting to see if it moves anywhere.

          • running gag, you rock. nothing drives me more insane than dufuses like johnny b. goode, who gleefully make fun of others, accuse them of "grossly" exagerrated statistics, without caring one fig about the truth of the matter.

            thank you thank you thank you. how refreshing, someone who takes the time to look things up. you are a most welcome element in this forum!

            from a dude who disagrees with you on many points (i have no problem with money being disursed to a religious org–i do it myself!), but will defend "to the death" your right to express yourself.

      • I'm curious as to what percent of those Christian Canadians agree with giving 500 K to Bible translators. Probably not even 77% of those.

        • It is the most influential book in the history of Western Civilization.

          Shall we look at how much money is spent on other projects related to literature? I mean that's the argument right, that arts funding is just a drop in the bucket?

          • And it's probably not hard to find. But they still cut funding to women's groups and give funding to missionary groups.

        • So true. i am a christian that disagrees. it should've been a billion. wycliffe is doing an incredible job at promoting literacy and alphabetization in less fortunate places on earth!

    • The Liberal government also funded this group, so I don't know how it's electoral pandering. I'm also not convinced that the fact that an organization translates Bibles means the organization is not eligible for state funding for some of its activities. If you look at their annual report from 2004, you'll see a decent description of the projects CIDA was funding then.http://www.wycliffe.ca/home/pdf/2004_annual_repor

  10. Sunshine is indeed the best disinfectant. I hope the above comment doesn't get deleted because it's important that these people show the world the true face of the atheist movement.

    • A disinfectant is needed to get rid of the corruption — which is religion's fiction!

      • Interesting how you take so much time to hate something you don't think exists. Where did you develop your concept of evil — your very use of the words "wickedness" and "evil" would seem to indicate by extension a believe in good; yet, if good does not exist from outside itself, ie, God, then good doesn't exist, and your argument becomes peculiarly irrelevant.

        Good and evil are always dictats bestowed from outside; no law exists unless it is given from outside; no judgement has meaning until applied. Weigh it yourself: your argument and rant is baseless and wholly without rational substance.

        • I object to your implication that morality cannot exist without a deity. I happen to spend a great deal of time thinking about my morality, and I don't appreciate you belittling it.

          • I can't belittle something that doesn't exist; if God doesn't exist, morality doesn't exist. I haven't wronged you or belittled you because "belittlement" by its very connotation is a judgement call.

            By your judgement call, you prove that there is indeed a Higher Morality or God, and that this moral motion exists within your mind and causes reaction, however that reaction may be, in the same way your gut responds to hunger or your nose to smell.

            Don't try to fend off the so-called "belittlements" with a straw baseball bat.

          • I can't belittle something that doesn't exist; if God doesn't exist, morality doesn't exist.

            How sad for you. You think so little of your own moral framework that you require approval from a parent figure?

            By your judgement call, you prove that there is indeed a Higher Morality or God, and that this moral motion exists within your mind and causes reaction, however that reaction may be, in the same way your gut responds to hunger or your nose to smell.

            This, of course, presupposes a deity. None of this follows if a deity doesn't exist. Of which, as far as evidence goes, there is no proof.

        • "Amen" Andrew Turner!

    • You're saying that fundamentalists are the same as moderates? Does that mean that all Christians believe in the literal truth of the Bible?

      MB, go away, your trolling reflects poorly on the rest of us.

      • Angry troll is an angry troll

    • Please do not brand all atheists like me with the filth of this one lunatic. It makes you as bad as him.

  11. " They win some and lose some. Always have, always will. These days they win more than they used to. They still lose a lot."

    So who wins when they lose? And who loses when they win?

    …And what game are we playing?

    • Indeed – especially if theya re "a potent ingredient in any political coalition anywhere". Are these people even on the same side as themselves?

      • Actually no. There are people who are hardcore evangelical christians who have very leftist nanny-state sympathies.
        There was a time when the NDP was the most devoutly christian of any party on the hill, and freely blended their faith with a concern for social justice.

        Over the decades, the NDP has basically shifted more towards the idea that religion is the "opium of the masses" and a socially progressive mandate (rather than merely an fiscally progressive one). The social conservatives have been weeded out by the policy makers and the party organizers.

        • "There was a time when the NDP was the most devoutly christian of any party on the hill, and freely blended their faith with a concern for social justice."

          My paternal grandparents were socialists and they believed in mixture of Fabian Society and protestant work ethic. I could go along with my grandparents kind of socialism – the gist was help those who help themselves or those not physically able to care for themselves – but I don't like Communism or the various types of socialism we get in Western World now.

  12. Just a note to say I enjoyed the article and that this: "Ambient madness “may help explain” calls for an end to abortion. So could, oh I don't know, opposition to abortion." made me laugh.

    • I thought that was kind of a stupid remark, really. Paul wasn't thinking too hard when he wrote that.

  13. Could you start a competition for best placard slogans for an anti-abortion and climate change rally? All I can think of is "This baby never got to watch An Inconvenient Truth!" over a picture of an aborted fetus. But somebody out there must have an actually funny idea…

    • How about "God needs more baby warriors to fight Global Warming!"

    • Yes, there's nothing more wildly humorous than making fun of a baby who had her arms and legs ripped off and her skull crushed before being thrown in the trash, all because her mother was a 14 year old high school student who was abandoned by her boyfriend, scared sh*tless, and offered nothing beyond "don't tell your parents, they don't want to deal with this hassle" by her friends.

      • Sure there is! What's funnier are all these patsies like Gaunilon propagating emotional imagery of non-issues like this for religious cults that use them to raise money. A lot of money. What in hell does God need money for? To help extremist fundamentalist minory groups force their anti-scientific opinions down the rest of our throats? I don't think so.

        • im so sorry "real" rob, but i have to dimiss your posts. you're just an overly-developed "non-issue".

      • Gosh, I never thought of all those anti-abortionists as making fun of those fetuses. We should have an "Unborn Victims of Mockery Act".

        My favourite funny anti-abortion slogan is "America is better than abortion!" Which, as Eugene Mirman points out, is true, if offered the choice between having America or having an abortion, most people would probably take America. He then suggests "Abortion: Neither Here nor There" as a competitor for best grammatically ambiguous abortion slogan.

  14. The writer and others miss a major point in this story – that minority fundamental religious groups are having undue influence on political policy in Canada that affects the 65%-70% of Canadians who do not support them.

    We have all seen evidence in the changes that Harper has made to women's organizations, democratic organizations, international aid programs, and so much more.

    Do not lose sight of the fact that Harper's Conservatives are only able to "punch above their weight class" because there is currently a weak opposition.

    If they ever get their holy grail majority, you can bet deeper and more dramatic changes would soon follow. The ultra-right fundamentalists are already salivating on the hill.

    This is not democratic, it's a forced cultural assimilation by stealth.

    • Harper doesn't really do much out of the blue, so I'm not sure the stealth argument works.

      I'd suggest a lot of the incremental changes he's made (like the ones you list) were made from more of a 'big tent' perspective/strategy: many neocons and small c conserservatives endorse things like cuts to women's organizations without being religiously motivated. It's a side bonus that it makes the more fervent Christian base happy too. Put another way, one risks alienating a lot of non-evangelicals by equating all these policies with radical agendas: some voters simply think such moves make sense. (We could even get into the Conservative's very successful courting of various 'ethinic' segments of voters, and how many of these policies resonate in those communities too).

      Also, while it's true that some of these religious groups are pleased with many of this government's policies, they are playing a PR game that means they want to overstate their influence in all of this, and fuel the sense that those policies are gaining momentum amongst the mainstream (that's not a knock against them, as most any special-interest group tries to do the same thing).

      The main exception to this might be the whole abortion-aid thing – but it's hard to think that's the sort of thing Harper would want to repeat very often.

      • "…many neocons and small c conserservatives endorse things like cuts to women's organizations without being religiously motivated…" Maybe true, but many more learn in fundamentalist churches that women are worth less than men and are supposed to be submissive.

    • 'If they ever get their holy grail majority'
      well then that would mean a majority of Canadians agree with the policy and direction of the Cons,
      which is absolutely democratic.

      If every Canadian that identified themselves as Christian (StatsCan) voted Conservative,
      Harper would win a whopping 77% in the next election.

      If every Canadian that thought marriage is between a man and women voted Cons,
      Harper would win a huge 67% majority
      and a 60% majority if those Canadians that think abortion is morally wrong voted Cons.

      If Libs keep up this culture was, they are forcing the issue, eh.

      • "well then that would mean a majority of Canadians agree with the policy and direction of the Cons,
        which is absolutely democratic. "
        Except if they get their majority by pretending to be something (fiscally responsible, centrist…) which they are not. If they actually put out a platform next election instead of campaigning by stealth among the special interests then we will see how truly popular these views are.

        If every Canadian that identified themselves as Christian voted Conservative Harper would win a whopping 77% in the next election **only if all Christians are from the same mould**. They are not – for instance my mother is a life long Catholic and supports access to abortion; so would many if not most moderate United Church types.

        Culture war my foot.

        • Then I guess that means there's no Christian fundamentalist wacko takeover to worry about, right?

          • Assuming that real power resides with the elected representatives in Parliament rather than the PMO and various appointees.

            Of which a disproportionate number are now Christian fundamentalist wackos according to both the author of the book in question and of this review.

      • Identifying as Christian still leaves an enormous cultural/policy gulf between people, so your 77% majority stat is a fantasy. The swath of light shining between Charles McVetty and the average United Church member would brighten a ballroom. Likewise, thinking abortion is "morally wrong" doesn't mean you support the government outlawing it. Many Christians see the world in more than pure black and white terms. And please point me to your "67% same-sex marriage is wrong" stat is from.

        The point is, in spite of the spurious and jumpy nature of Marci McDonald's book, that if Harper were to get a majority, the fundies would have disproportionate influence. Wells seem to completely ignore the fact that the Conservatives are behaving because they have a minority.

        • And if they behaved badly upon getting a majority, they would eventually be unceremoniously tossed out. In this thing called an "election". This is why I fail to get all that worked up about this.

          Marci MacDonald is an hysterical twit. That title of her book on free trade says it all.

          • With a majority that is 4 years – without the burden of having to play centrist in order to get that majority.

            Way too long for most of us if the results of the last 2 "elections" are any indication.

    • What is it with Liberals and "punch above their weight class"? Can you not come up with a new cliche?

    • *The writer and others miss a major point in this story – that minority fundamental religious groups are having undue influence on political policy in Canada that affects the 65%-70% of Canadians who do not support them.
      We have all seen evidence in the changes that Harper has made to women's organizations, democratic organizations, international aid programs, and so much more. *

      right, "real Rob" you were the guy who was spewing up your paranoid garbage above; like all people infected with such ideological rabies, you just can't stop yourself.

      I know this is futile, but could you explain soemthing of your views: `cuts to democratic organizations'? could you explain that? `international aid organizations'? Are two-third of Canadians really opposed to Harper? Please explain, so you don't sound like what you are, a paranoid moron..

    • Did you vote in the last election? It seems a majority of Canadians did not, and they will likely continue to get the government they don't vote for. Or against. Or whatever.

      Go ahead and have your say. Everyone. Please. The only way we all win is if we all take part and all take advantage of the rights and freedoms we have in Canada. If the religious folks are the only ones getting involved, then it's no wonder that religious views and positions are gaining ground.

  15. I've always liked Paul Wells, and had found most of this review to be fair and accurate concerning the tripe passing for perspective and research in The Armageddon Factor. His last paragraph is, however, quite simply bizarre, in that he begins it with an unsubstantiated stereotype that would be very comfortably placed alongside most of the similar statements he just spent 1,000 words or so condemning in McDonald's book, namely:

    "People who believe in God and vote their beliefs often work hard."

    Really Paul? I have more than a few friend and relative believers whom one would be hard-pressed to categorize as industrious or diligent. Where does this kind of statement come from anyway? Are we talking about only the Christian god or any of the several that Canadians actually believe in? And what about those of us hard-working types who find the whole notion of gods or 'a god' (wow, that's so much more believable) to be a childish anachronism?

    For a moment I thought I was actually reading a non-religiously motivated critique of a shallow excuse for religious sensationalism. Obviously, Wells takes these sorts of things more personally and we would all be the wiser to verify some of his own facts and opinions in this or similar contexts more closely.

    Some Canadian secularists, by the way, do approach the erroneousness of gods in our public sphere much more factually and reasonably. Check out the Web site for the Canadian Secular Alliance sometime and you'll find a lot of good reasons why the references Wells notes here regarding Trudeau's Charter and Pearson are no longer in any way appropriate given the religious diversity of the 21st century Canadian population, not to mention the responsibility of our state and its governing bodies to reflect and serve equally every citizen regardless of their religious or non-religious inclinations.

    McDonald and any Canadian would be right to fear or loath any form of specific religious value system informing our public policy at the Federal or any level of government. Any faults in her reasoning in this book are not a basis for defending religious believers, as Wells does here, but they are a basis for re-visiting this topic in general and for working to champion more evidence-based policy making in Canada.

    • [" "People who believe in God and vote their beliefs often work hard."

      Really Paul? I have more than a few friend and relative believers whom one would be hard-pressed to categorize as industrious or diligent. Where does this kind of statement come from anyway?" ]


      Read Wells' sentence again: the *and* part is important. So is the *often* part.

      There are indeed some religiously motivated folks who work hard to influence the system. And yes, they tend to be Christian in this country.

      I don't see why you have your shorts in a knot: Wells was hardly flattering such groups (nor slamming them, particularly).

    • I take it you agree with McDonald and just don’t want to admit it.

    • as a christian and a canadian citizen (like 77% of my co-citizens), i have no problem with my elected officials following the dictates of their conscience in matters of public policy. and, in the case of christian officials, i should hope that their conscience is affected by their faith.

      matter of fact, the "separation of church and state" crew are almost always anti-religious folk, though, ironically, this notion has more to do with public institutions and their governance and little, if anything, to do with elected officials allowing their faith to affect their political allegiances. if you advocate a christian politician NOT following the dictates of her of his conscience, you simply do not understand the nature of the gospel; love your neighbour as yourself.
      What better motto for good governance?

      • "…the "separation of church and state" crew are almost always anti-religious folk…" That is false. They are often women who may or may not be religious, but who do know what it is like to be oppressed by religious bigots who consider women to be inferior and who oppose equality for women. Nobody has a right to force their personal religious beliefs on the people and government of Canada.

  16. Clearly Wells is a right-wing evangelical whack-job. We all knew it all along.

    Anyhoo, good article Wells. I'm not sure why you're giving this book a second thought, but if one has to give it second thought I suppose this is the sort of second thought it deserves.

    There are good debates to be had concerning the direction of the country (not only "where are we headed?" but also "where should we be headed?" and perhaps "why are we in this handbasket?") but they're impossible if people operate on a digital scale where every opponent is deemed to be evil and crazy. Not only does it ruin any debate with said opponents, it even ruins worthy discussion amongst people who share the same views. You can't discuss something intelligently when you're ignoring reality in order to amplify the participants' fervour to a fever (like that?).

    I think McDonald (and some on these boards: see the many "pro-lifers hate women" comments one gets on any abortion-related thread) labour under the delusion that over-the-top slanders will lead others to join them. The fact is, though, that any reasonably normal person can see this for what it is and prefers not to be associated with it.

    • labour under the delusion that over-the-top slanders will lead others to join them

      That's a delusion that seems to know no ideological boundary.

      • True, although on these boards it generally is ideologically bounded.

        • bounded to which ideology?l

    • Excellent post, G.

  17. Macdonald and her supporters consider only the views of right-wing fanatics, a very small minority in the Conservative fold. They then go on to publicize those views and try to paint all conservatives with the same brush and especially Harper. Try as you may, you are still wrong. I know a lot of Conservatives and none of them are religious. Mind you, they have morals which more people should have. The day we are banned from having morals is the day this world comes to an end.

    • Now i know this is going to be a shocker, but there are even conservatives who are religious, but not right wing fanatics (ie who dont think the world will end tomorrow, who believe in loving this planet, who didnt blindly support Bush initiatives, etc…). I know this is a mind-bending concept, but the words "religious" and "fanatical" are not always synonymous! Stop the press!

      the word "fan" comes from fanatic–being a fanatic for something good (whatever you think that may be) is perhaps not such a bad thing after all. So why the negative connotation? Because its connected to christianity?? So im an extreme believer in loving my neighbor more than myself–I guess i didnt get the memo that shovelling my neighbors lane and donating to world vision are dangerous forms of fanatacism…

      Forgive my sarcasm, but im just pointing out the (hypocritical?) disconnect i see: 77% of canadians say they're christian, yet in public forums and social media, "religion" is a four letter word. Perhaps pigeon-holing the religious is part of the (our?) problem?

  18. Also I should point out, that pic at the top looks like it's from the end of Mass at Notre Dame Basilica in Ottawa (i.e. Roman Catholic). Doesn't quite fit with the Evangelical theme.

    Then again, McDonald may not actually know the difference.

    • I assumed it was a Macleans photo; not one from the book.

      The people in the second row of the recession appear to be women – don't usually see that in a Catholic mass. Also, the attire does not look like Catholic vestements. Looks to me like it might be Anglican, but (recovering Catholic as I am) its been a long time since I've been to mass.

      • Regardless, agreed that it doesn't seem to fit the Evangelical theme. Presumably because Macleans needed a photo that immediately suggested "religion" but Evangelicals don't usually go in for all the iconography that Catholics and Anglicans do.

        • That's why we catholics fight vampires in Hollywood movies.

      • It's Notre Dame Basilica, which pegs it as Catholic. The attire is called an "alb" and is worn by laypeople assisting at Mass. "Vestments" are worn by priests, who go at the end of the recession not the front.

        And yes, the people assisting at Mass are often women.

    • Which is why Wilson's 77% comment is meaningless.

  19. What's with those corrupt crosses on the taxpayer funded schools — promoting their anti-gay bigotry?

  20. For decades, we have been dominated by the religion of the left wing – the ideology of feminism, the dogma of global warming, the gospel of minority rights and all the blind faith and zealotry contained within that group. With the dominance of that religious view, has come intolerance and subjugation of the population. Anyone who failed to adhere were brought before their Inquisition Courts (ironically labeled Human Rights Tribunals) for punishment and correction. Where was the outrage from the media when the entire government apparatus was hitched to the left wing ideology? So, now, after decades of living through the tyranny of selfish delights, the population is on the cusp of a renaissance where perhaps, just perhaps, there is something more important than living for oneself. Perhaps, just perhaps, we are seeing a people (who have been marginlized, ridiculed and forced to sustain a culture they find abhorrent under threat from the religious hierarchy of the left) starting to find their voice and feeling their oats. Don't get me wrong – I don't think religion's domination of our public spaces is desirable, I just don't think the religious right would be any more destructive and constrictive than the religious left has been.

    • Ron….well said. However, as you can see from some of the commenters on the board they have no tolerance for anyone who practices a religion other than their own. Its sad really. Culture War. You bet.

    • "…the ideology of feminism, the dogma of global warming, the gospel of minority rights…"

      Are you freaking kidding me?

      Women demanding equal rights is a religion?
      Minorities demanding equal rights is a religion?
      The molecular science of the green house gases and their effect on the ecosystem is a religion?

      Only someone desperate to confuse the these things with the personal opinions of dogma would think to say such a thing.

      Let me boil this down for you: If one is giving reasons to support or reject a policy, and the word religion even comes up, then you know for a fact that this opinion is visceral and not rational. Rational people don't require mythological fantasy to back up their opinions. They use the facts.

      • As a former feminist, and as someone married to a visible "minority" (neither of us think this way, btw – we're both just Canadian), I can attest to the fact that there is a significant percentage of both of those movements where "equal rights" is not the objective; nor did Ron say that. One only has to look at the recent Sikh parade in Surrey, or the divide between Tamils and other Sri Lankans, to see that some of these movements are about more than just "equality". And a look at the stats on child abuse (the majority perpetrated by women) will show the cracks in the radical feminist anti-male stances, which have nevertheless been swallowed whole by our sheepish population.

        The majority of Canadian Christians are quiet, tolerant, reasonable people who just want to live decent lives. OTOH, Evangelical Christians, who seem to be imported from our neighbours to the south, appear to me to be radicals themselves, and do not represent the Christianity that I grew up with in Canada.

        We need to disengage from the influence of radicals – of ALL persuasions – and get back to decent governance and government.

    • If you truly believe what you wrote, I suggest you read the Bible to be reminded that almost all of these 'leftist' ideas against which you rail were espoused by Jesus and his followers. Do 'unto others' and 'judge not' come to mind after reading your comment.

      • And I'll suggest that a bit more "Love thy neighbor" would go a long way towards thinking about how society should approach social problems.

    • Good article. I hope the Liberals read McDonald's book and use it as a template for their attacks during the next election. After all, accusing the CPC of being religious wingnuts has been so successful in the last couple of elections.

      As a non-religious, knuckle-dragging, conservative voting libertarian, I agree with Ron. Progressives do take on the very same characteristics of which they accuse the Christian right. In may ways their Thou Shalt and Thou Shalt Not list is far longer. For instance, AGW has all the characteristics of a religion without the factor of free will and choice. They are a far bigger threat to individual liberty than any modern Christian denomination. Any resemblance to science is merely a thin veneer to cover up the quest to establish their own brand of morality. The language from the UN and Gore is always heavy on fear, emotional manipulation and appeals to authority and light on objectivity and the scientific method.

      BTW feminists and minority *activists* long ago abandoned equality and adopted the idea of privileged status with special laws, special rights and less responsibility. So now, any inkling of cuts to taxpayer provided grants due to ineffective programs or a recession is considered immoral.

      • AGW denialism is a religion of stupidity, so you are not as non-religious as you claim to be.

        • You are proving Bennetts point, Stick. There is little or no room for alternative views in the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) camp. and it is a camp that has become so politicized–the truth was its first casualty.

          Way to go Bennet–couldnt agree with you more!

          • AGW is not a religion; it is an acceptance of reality based on the evidence; much like evolution. The denialists are liars, not scientists, and have never come up with solid evidence that AGW is not happening.

          • check out a website called:http://www.isthereglobalwarming.com

            Especially look for the link to the 70 minute documentary video (aired on the BBC) which, among other things, details numerous scientists who oppose the AGW theory, yet have had their names attached to the research as contributing members, despite the fact that they contributed by dissenting.

          • Another useless denialist website. Try instead a website run by actual climatologists:

  21. MacDonald's book is a symptom of the confusing after-effects of Bush Derangement Syndrome, post-George W. Bush, on some people. And there is still deep prejudice against church-going people.

    • I have nothing against church-going people as long as they don't confuse the church with public buildings or their minority view with a consensus.

      • Okay, but surely you've got a few ideas that would go against the majority of what people want. Everyone does after all, given that most of us are free-thinking individuals?

        Are you going to say that you aren't going to be an activist to try and change people's attitudes towards the issue, or lobby your member of parliament, or try to affect policy towards what you consider to be just?

        Of course you are. So why the hostility to your fellow citizens who want to do the same thing? Why not admit their right to do it, while using reason to try to dissuade them. They can no more put aside who they are when they engage their civic society than you can. So they are going to bring the church to government, and that's not a violation of the pluralistic society.

        • it's easier to just be a bigot, Ted, don't you know that?

          Kathryn is, however, free to be a bigot. let's not forget that. it's a free country.

          • Jane – Please point out the bigotry in my statement. I merely advocate for separation of church and state. For what it's worth I have friends and family who are regular to seasonal church-goers and I have heard the same people express that sentiment.

            TedTylerEzro – I don't see these people trying to change minds as much as going straight to changing policy. Affecting policy is one thing – circumventing the will of the majority is another.

            I don't believe lobbyists of any sort should have the kind of access to the decision-makers in this country as they evidently do nowadays. Whether they be angling for big oil or big Jeebus makes no difference to me.

          • I don't see these people trying to change minds as much as going straight to changing policy. Affecting policy is one thing – circumventing the will of the majority is another.

            While I thought Jane was over the top with her statement about bigotry, the above line caused me to change my mind.

            You are identifying things that all people do. People win elections and then change policy. But when Christians are doing it, you wish to deny them these same rights. And in fact, you fail to identify an instituted policy that does not have the support of the majority, instead you prefer blanket bigoted anti-Christian statements.

            We have a separation or church and state. We also have a constitution, meaning people of all religions can vote for their policies and their convictions.

    • I think this lunacy pre-dated Bush. It's the result of a long build-up of PC culture, the 60s revolution, multiculturalism, socialism, and other movements. We are now seeing the results.

  22. When put to the test, the peoples representatives in the House, a majority voted NO to Cdn taxpayers funding 3rd world abortions.

    That vote was reported as Iffy failing his math class.
    It was much more significant than that,
    but Liberals and their media continue to attack the religious right, ignoring that people of faith vote for all parties.

    • "That vote was reported as Iffy failing his math class." Or Wilson failing his grammar class?

    • That vote was also a freedom of conscience vote, I believe, and I have no doubt that people of all stripess contacted their MPs over which way they wished them to vote.

  23. My sense is that social conservatives influence in Ottawa has ebbed and flowed over the post war years. It was probably at its height in the John Diefenbaker years although few remember Diefenbaker government as a "socially conservative" government. I also find it interesting that little is discussed anymore about Brian Mulroney's efforts to put in place an abortion law and how notable social liberals such as Joe Clark went along with it or Mulroney's self acknowledged "God Squad" containing socially conservative MP and ministers such as Jake Epp. In fact some of the most blatant and boneheaded attempts to reach out to social conservatives have tended to be made by well known social liberals such as the likes of John Tory

  24. I haven't read the book so I can't comment, but how did Wells article end up to be a screaming match about abortion?

    • Well, rightwingers get screechy when they attack lefties who happen to be women.

  25. White christian males can easily dismiss this.

    Those of us who are female or gay or non-white or non-christian or non-believers, or any combination thereof, cannot.

    Or to put it another way, the majority in this country cannot.

    • Something like two-thirds of Canadians self-identify as Christians.

      • It was 77% earlier in this thread. Holy crap, they're losing people by the minute!

        • LOL! The others are probably correct, I was pulling a figure from memory, and lowballed it to be safe.

        • And neither of them match the actual figures.

          In any case, the ones remaining are mostly nominal christians. Not enough nerve to say atheist, but not a member of any other religion either. So they go with 'socially acceptable'.

          • Never let the facts get in the way of an argument.

            Out of curiousity, does your psychic insight provide you with a true figure of Christian believers in Canada? Or just a gut feel?

          • Out of curiosity, why does your psychic insight let you answer someone before you real the entire sub-thread?

          • Answer the question. Those data hardly make your point self-evident. You seem willing to move the goalposts as it suits your argument.

            At what level do you peg Christian believers in Canada, and what evidence do you use to support that figure?

      • Why then, can't Harper get a majority?

    • Your characterization of politics as a battle between "White Christian males" and everyone else is repulsive and non-factual. Smart gays affirm that the non-white community is much more hostile to them, as evidenced by exit polls conducted after the California referendum on gay marriage. Smart women affirm that the many advances that women have made in Canada are seriously jeopardized by immigration from countries hostile to women.

      The greatest advances in both gay entitlements and female entitlements have come exclusively in countries run by white Christian males and that is not a coincidence.

      • The Con party is mostly white christian males. Go be offended with them, not me.

        The greatest advances have come in spite of Con partybots, not because of them.

        • Some of the greatest tragedies have come despite conservatives as well. If it wasn't for conservatives hollering stop, there are many alternate histories this country could have taken that would be worse.

          We could be a former or current socialist state for example.

      • "The greatest advances in both gay entitlements and female entitlements have come exclusively in countries run by white Christian males and that is not a coincidence."

        You're right, it's not a coincidence – they're the power base that put women and homosexuals in the place they were in to begin with! Lets all pat the slavers on the back for letting their slaves go! What heroes! It must speak to their bravery and nobility!

        Forget the fact that women and homosexuals have worked for [i]over a hundred years[/i] to have their rights recognized and to receive equal status under the law. Forget the violence, discrimination, and insults these campaigners have endured, both publicly and privately, to get to where they are today. Forget all of the crap they [i]still[/i] have to deal with today. All hail the noble white christian male, noble jailers who set everyone free (sort of)!!!

    • Ah, the progressive mind. You have reduced it all, as you have no doubt been taught, to class warfare. Think about the immense arrogance (not to mention stunning ignorance) contained in your statement. Who the HE#* do you think you are you to speak for all women, non-believers or homosexuals and people of color? I have news for you – many people stung by Marci's unfair charcterisations of religious fanatic and 'dominionist' (and the support of public institutions like the CBC for that view) are Evangelical women and people of color. Could it be that your assumption that you can make the kinds of blanket statements you do, flows directly from your sense of sitting in the priviledged seat in the social hierarchy? And that you have been taught to justify that privilidge by identifying yourself as a victim?

      • The fact the world is embroiled in a variety of culture wars isn't news to anyone.

        The fact that YOU feel stung shows us who the self-identified victim is here.

        • It's the new Con buzz word "X war"….culture war, religious war….they sure do like throwing it around.

  26. That bogus black book called the bible should be banned.

    It is… in Saudi Arabia. Feel free to move there. I'm sure you'll love it there. You won't miss Canada and its freedoms one bit.

    • The bible; which is fiction — is becoming corrupt within our fine Country!

    • "Amen" to Mike514!!!

  27. It seems to me the reasoning of some people, as best I can determine, runs something like this. We have evidence there are 5 Christian Dominionists in Canada. These Evangelical folks, who make up 10% of the population, are against many of the same things these 5 guys are. It undoubtedly the case therefore, that this 10% of the population is scheming to take over our precious country and turn it into a theocratic state. Want proof? Some of them met in a park to have a rally for one of their causes! There are 6 Evangelical Christians in the Conservative Party!!! George Bush was obviously a born-again Christian. He invaded Iraq. Harper is one of them! The Conservative party has done a 3 things that a majority of Evangelical's might support. How can you not see the connections?

  28. talk about shoving 10 pounds of BS into a 5 pound capacity paper bag…

    • The above man is not only angry, he needs a lot of prayer. If he doesn't change, his anger will eat him up and boy will he suffer later.

  29. I think this book was more the result of a business case than inspiration, and I regret to see it receiving so much media attention.

    The left in Canada adore the evangelical fundamentalist Christian President Obama, why are they so fearful of Christians in their own country?

    • I don't beleive Canadians are fearful of Christians at all. What they're fearful of is policy decisions based on visceral rather than rational considerations.

      The vast majority of anti-abortion opinion is religious. Have you ever asked one of them to defend their position without invoking the name of god? I haven't seen it, and as someone who grew up Christian, I can tell you I've had the debate many times.

      • Sure, I can defend that position without invoking the name of god.

        The human organism begins at conception, as a matter of scientific fact. While the human organism is in gestation in the uterus of its mother, it is both of our species and alive. To kill a living member of our species is murder.

        There you go, no reference to God.

        • And of course the mother is just a disposable container; her opinion doesn't matter. Nature made men dominant and women submissive. It's all scientific. No emotion or prejudice or religious bigotry at all…

        • "The human organism begins at conception, as a matter of scientific fact."
          Correct for the ones that make it through the first 3 months, I suppose. In the typical profligate way of nature however, most are conceived only to expire without anyone being aware. Why don't we have funerals for pregnancies that spontaneously abort?

          "I don't beleive Canadians are fearful of Christians at all. What they're fearful of is policy decisions based on visceral rather than rational considerations."

          Well put Phil King. Canadians voted Tommy Douglas the Greatest Canadian just a few years back did they not? It's not the compassionate, sane Christians that revolt us.

          • "Why don't we have funerals for pregnancies that spontaneously abort? "

            You answered your own (serious?) question:

            Answer: because no one is aware of them.

          • Message <DIV>No you misunderstood – the ones we don't even know about are within the first month and are as nothing more than an extra heavy period.Beyond thatbutthroughfirst trimester most womenare awareof pregnancy and if (as they often do even then) the pregnancy self-terminates she would know that too. </DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV>Further along, it would be hard to miss and not just for the woman herself. Nevertheless, we don't hold funerals for these unborn who you would claim as fully human. </DIV> <DIV>Why not? My question is serious if rhetorical.</DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV>The answer is – we don't actually believe a fetus is the same as a baby. We never have.</DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV>

      • Any serious rational research that fails in finding any pro-life arguments that make no mention of God, is neither serious, nor rational.

    • obama is an evangelical fundamentalist christian because he is prez of the U.S. If you're not, you dont get elected.
      He'll go back to being his normal self after his time in office.

      The canadian left likes him because they know this, and/or because they know most evangelicals arent huge fans of Obama.

  30. Somebody needs a hug.. and a couch.

  31. If one is giving reasons to support or reject a policy, and the word religion even comes up, then you know for a fact that this opinion is visceral and not rational. Rational people don't require mythological fantasy to back up their opinions.

    They use the facts, because the facts speak for themselves.

  32. …So I went to see your blog macbank… let's see, online x 48 months with 0 Followers. That just about sums up your credibility… you are in serious need of a couch… or euthanasia.

    • I don't have a blog macbank … if you want my website go to MACDONALDBANK.com .

      I am standing up against the corruption — of the cross!

    • If you are going by a figure … it's 48 weeks not months and I sure am not looking for followers — that's the idiot pope's goal … to have followers like you.

      • Can I interest you in a ticket to the rapture?

  33. Unless you're a white christian straight male making over 60K a year, this is not the country for you.
    Or soon won't be, anyway

    • Yes, any day now, rogue police are going to kick down my door, put a gun to my head, and force me to attend an evangelical fundamentalist Christian church service.

      I'm not making this up.

  34. After reading Susan Riley's diatribe today you should make sure that you're not on a crosswalk while she's driving for the next little bit. And, after reading a lot of the posts from the loony left I'm convinced that they are becoming completely unraveled and are now taking extreme measures to ensure their rightful place in parliament.

    • When the Right embraced leaders that believe that man and dinosaurs co-existed they lost the right to call anybody "looney".

  35. I think of the word GOD as a universal word, could mean Allah, Jesus, Buddah, The universe, Krishna, whatever you want to call it, whoever you want to believe.

    And would be great to be used in that context, acknowledging people's belief's, spirituality, etc. instead of saying eg "The Universe bless Canada" God seems more fitting.

    • That's where you got it wrong, Claudia!
      Their "god" doesn't include anyone but their 'god' and their 'book' and their 'interpretation' of their book …and so it continues.

      • Perplexed, this is my opinion and how I would like it to be used, I agree with you they see it that way.

    • And yet I have to ask: Why say it at all? What purpose does invoking the blessing of a diety even serve except to speak to one portion of society and deny another in the public political sphere?

      It seems to me that this public political sphere should be secular, not to deny religious affiliation or rights, but to affirm the equal rights of all to be able to communicate with each other on a level playing field.

      Atheists shouldn't deny religionists, nor vice versa, and to do so we require the political sphere to be a place in which rational ideas are discussed for their merits, and their merits alone.

      • I guess because most people believes in a higher power, I don't know if it's right or wrong, personally it doesn't bother me and I am not a religious person, I am a spiritual person!!

        • Doesn't really answer my concern though does it?

          • I find the concern more problematic myself.

            I mean, if I am an NDP politician who belongs to the NDP Socialist Caucus (yes that is a real organization) then why should I be bothered by their references to Marxist theory? If I am a religious politician why get upset if I make casual references to my beliefs? Shouldn't you just vote me out as representative in either case, and not get bent out shape about "not being represented"?

          • I was considering the words of the Prime Minister, who is fulfilling a role that nominally represents all Canadians. I understand that it's hard to separate the professional self from the personal self, as the values one holds certainly reflect one's judgment, but ultimately, the role of the government is to represent everyone, not selective groups, so when you end up in that role, I think it more appropriate to avoid such comments. I think this important nuance is being lost these days.

            All in all, calling on the blessing of "god" is indeed a departure from the established norm, and thus I see it as an intentional act to include some and exclude others.

          • See, but by insisting on a purely secular approach to government, regardless of who is involved in government, you are intentionally trying to exclude some. Which is why we shouldn't worry about discretionary stuff like that, and only worry about the rule of law and parliamentary procedure.

    • I get what you're trying to say, and I know you're not saying it out of bad intentions, but as a Buddhist, I can guarantee you that we don't relate with the word "God" at all. Buddha is not a god, nor anything resembling one. We find the idea of appealing to a God for salvation to be strange (in Buddhist cosmology, they are all subject to death and rebirth, unlike a Buddha).

      God is not a good "catch-all" word.

    • Yes, because people who are spiritual but do not belong to an established religion that exists with a history and roots in the community never cause any trouble.

      • Some of them do, but is the extremists who think they are making a point in this world just like any other religion or beliefs. I think.

        • The problem isn't doctrine, it is the embrace of violence.

          Tradition, doctrine and philosophy is just a spirituality humble enough to seek mentorship and education.

          • Sorry but if the doctrine includes "our faith is the only faith, our god is the only god" then it's a problem. And when it comes down to it, that is true of all the Abrahamic religions ie, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

          • Why is it any more of a problem than "There is no god" or "God is unknowable?"

          • Message <DIV>Sorry I honestly don't get your point.</DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV>

          • When's the last time an atheist flew an airplane into a building?

  36. The pope is hoping the lunatic fringe will save him — not a hope in hell!

  37. Ooops, almost forgot to give you the secret phrase Mr Wells…you the one that the religious right have so we know that we're addressing a fellow "endtimer". Ok here it is "Loony left". (Insert extreme sarcasm here)

  38. The thing about this is that Charles McVity and Marci McDonald are interchangeable. Although from opposite ends of the spectrum both preach or opine on the undue influence of the other. McVity could have written this book by simply changing the names and organizations. Examples of supposed influence by anti religious groups could easily be found by him as was the supposedly religious right influence found by McDonald. In my case I find both a bit scary because in their worlds I may have no place. You see I go to church weekly, do not agree with the gun registry, believe in tougher sentencing for criminals and I am not a great fan of sending massive amounts of money to Africa for so called aid. On the other hand I support the right to abortion, gay marriage and the right for Homosexuals to adopt. As one can see I would not fit into either of these Zealots' camps. This book does do one thing. It ensures that I will never take any story by McDonald at face value again.

    • Excellent post.

    • You seem to be implying that McDonald is describing all Christians instead of those in the radical religious right. If you're a member of the United Church, for instance, she's not talking about you.

  39. My support for Macleans has grown significantly because of Coyne and Wells and this article is a perfect example of why. Coyne is willing to criticize Conservatives when they abandon conservative fiscal principles and Wells is willing to criticize Liberals like MacDonald when they engage in screaming hysteria.

    The most important point of the article is the following: In a free country all citizens have a right to participate, demonstrate, and attempt to influence the course of public policy and legislation. They can do that by running for political office, forming advocacy groups, writing opinion columns, or holding rallies in Stanley Park. Wells realizes this and his voice is an important caution to liberals, especially considering he has often pointed out areas where he feels evangelicals are having influence, and still refuses to call their influence evidence of a vast underground theo con takeover of Canada. The reason pro lifers are trying to change abortion laws is not rocket science. Neither is the reason gay advocates or feminists try to influence legislation.

    Liberals need to be careful because if they choose to speak like MacDonald and many of the posters on this board they will be the ones coming across as the crazy fringe obsessive lunatics and not the devoutly religious people they seek to paint that way.

    • Excellent comment. I wish I had said it so well.

  40. "I am not here to parade my religious sentiments, but I declare I have too much respect for the faith in which I was born to ever use it as the basis of a political organization." — Sir Wilfrid Laurier

    • I love this one!

  41. How about this–apocalyptic incrementalism.

  42. So with books like The Armageddon Factor ,this becomes the beginning of Frank Graves advice to Ignatieff and the Liberals:

    “I told them that they should invoke a culture war. Cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, secularism versus moralism, Obama versus Palin, tolerance versus racism and homophobia, democracy versus autocracy,”
    Graves is reported as having said. “If the cranky old men in Alberta don't like it, too bad. Go south and vote for Palin.”

    With the help of the CBC, McDonald gets notoriety with her book and the battles have been re-ignited by the liberal left,Left vs Right,English Canada vs Quebec,gay marriage,abortion vs, anti-abortion,religion vs non-religion,east against west.

    All the stuff that makes people forget about policies the Liberals don't have.

    • I saw McDonald interviewed on CTV – they've obviously joined the CBC in the Liberal culture war.

      • Yes that McDonald has been trolling all over TV and radio. It's obviously either a culture war or she she's trying to sell her book.

        geo, the culture war you are describing has been waged from the CPC side all these many years they have been struggling toward the ever-elusive Harper majority. Frank Graves was merely suggesting the Liberals fight back.

  43. You have every reason to be proud of your father, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. But that does not have any relevance to the value of religion, nor does it excuse you calling my religion "filth".

    • If your father fought in Normandy, you must be at least in your middle years if not older.

      Why in the heck are you so immature?

    • Your dad fought in Normandy, but he supports banning the bible?

      In other words, he fought for freedom, and now wants to end certain types of freedom?

  44. I was transfixed while watching a recent interview of Ms. Mcdonald on CBC. I have seen people talk out of either side of their mouths but never have I witnessed anyone speaking out of both sides at once with the normal center quite empty except for an occasional peek at a forked tongue. – I kid you not.

  45. I guess Marci's earlier work about Harper and the evil Straussians just never had the effect she was hoping for. She's back on more ground now. The easily frightened progressive hand-wringers will find it much easier to work themselves into a lather over the Christian Right than they would over some obscure dead philospher.

    • That should read "…she's back on more familiar ground now."

  46. Have you ever considered that if there was no God, there wouldn't be any astheists.
    I'll take "Love thy neighbour" over your hatred any second, hour or century. I'll be praying for you.

    • Have you ever considered that if there was no God, there wouldn't be any astheists.

      I'm not sure that you understand the term. Atheism is not believing in a deity. In a world without religion (where no one believed in any deities), everyone would be an atheist. They just wouldn't have a need to define the term.

      • Why do you assume that someone must be religious to believe in a deity? Religion is just another path to Wisdom. After much study of various religions, I can't say that I would follow any of them, however I do believe in a creator. Faith and religion are two different things.

        • I didn't say that a person has to be religious to believe in a deity. I said that in a reality without religion, there would not be people that believed in a deity.

          People like to do things in groups. So, in a reality without religion (people believing in a deity, in a group), it is unlikely that there would be many in that reality that would hold a belief in a deity.

  47. Nice review Mr. Wells. But you didn't answer the big questions I have about the book.
    1)- Are there any Knights Templar in the book?
    2)- If so, how many Knights Templar does it mention?
    3)- Is Stephen Harper a Templar Knight?
    4)- And finally, is Obama a Freemason/Templar

    • I love it!

  48. I am glad that Marci McDonald wrote and published her book. This whole idea of provoking homosexuals and radical feminists into constant outrage mode seems to be working for Conservatives very well. Her attempts to demonize Christian Conservatives bound to bring more voters to Conservative fold then she ever imagined. Her distorted views of Christanity are bound to drive many liberally minded Christians into Conservative camp. At the same time her Gospel of Armageddon of Christian rule in Canada is already driving homosexual activists all across Canada into a frenzy of attacks on Christians in homosexual dominated MSM. As long as Conservatives are under attack in MSM their ability to hold together various fractions of Conservative movement will grow as constant attacks invoke siege mentality in people who are being attacked.

    • Conservatives feel under siege – that explains everything.

      • They insist that they are the victimns, never the perpetrators. what a bunch of whiners.

  49. macdonaldbank1: You shouldn't have taken the brown acid.

    • Wow; sure good thing I had my coffee … if that's what you're referring to. Woke me up to this bogus filth!

  50. Yeah.. what I was saying about a fringe up there? I think this kind of confirms it.

    Generalizing isn't a good argument when religious people do it. It's not a good argument when anti-religious people do it. And hell, I'll admit that I do it sometimes too.. it's easy to forget that there's individuals among the groups, so it'd probably do you better to not get so strident against a group, and save that sort of vehemency for particular individuals among the groups.

    No book should be banned. No organizing of people should be banned on the basis of their beliefs. Made fun of, perhaps.. hopefully educated? Of course. But not banned.

    • Tell that to that evil pope — he seems to be able to spout off against the gay lifestyle!

  51. Thank you Mr. Well for a fair article that doesn't make all Christians look like morons.

    • Well said!

  52. Sorry guys, but politics exists to create public policies to govern ALL of society. No one interest group should be able to impose its views on another, no matter who they represent.

    It is one thing for minorities to ensure they have equal rights, including religious minorities.

    It is a very different thing however to suggest that public policies should tilt one way or another on the basis of appeasing groups.

    If the public sphere isn't balanced and informed by fact and universally agreed principles, it becomes subject to the whims of electoral success, and in a multicultural nation such a ours, I consider that a recipe for disaster.

    • It seems to me that you are arguing for an aristocracy.

      The only way we can have universally agreed principles is if we hash them out through the democratic process.

      • When the Minister of Science is a creationist, he is likely to make stupid,bad decisions about what science should be supported.

  53. THANK YOU Wells. Admittedly I haven't read the book but I did read that late, unlamented Walrus screed.

    I can't believe she was able to stretch that tendentious, paranoid c*** into a full book. Then again, with her standards of proof and connection, I shouldn't have been surprised.

    I think the message of Harper and the party towards faith groups has generally been: you won't always get your way, you will have a say, and we won't treat you like s*** or use you as punching bags like the other parties do. Here's hoping the Liberals never figure out they could do the same.

    • Say why are they cutting funding to womens' groups? Do you think their misogyny is strictly secular-based?

  54. It is misleading, if not downright dishonest, to use a photograph of a Roman Catholic worship service to illustrate the article. Those are not the Christians that McDonald is writing about. Evangelical Christians like to give the impression that they do indeed speak for all Christians which tends to confuse the unaware and frustrate Christians not of their ilk.

    • Amen to that.

  55. Many homosexual activists have a field day today. It is very good that many of them drive themselves into frenzy over this latest book. We need to see and hear homosexuals foaming at their mouth more often it helps Canadians decide who they want to govern us.
    Should we have lefties supported by homosexual activists and radical feminists gover us or Conservatives supported by Christian families?

    • So is your hatred of gays and women based on your religion or is it purely secular?

    • I will take the gays … they are not manipulated by the lunatic religious fringe of wackos.

    • Speaking of foaming at their mouth…

      "Should we have lefties supported by homosexual activists and radical feminists gover us or Conservatives supported by Christian families?"

      Who's this "we" you pretend to represent.

  56. In my personal opinion Marci McDonald with her new book “The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada,” is going to contribute more to Conservative victory in the next federal elections than Dr. Charles Mc Vety ever will, as her very slanted book will be used by both sides; homosexual activists and radical feminists will use it as a tool to scare wits out Liberals and their supporters and Conservatives will use it as evidence of Liberal scare mongering and smear tactics.

    • I think you are severely over estimating the non-fiction book market out here in Canada!!

      I'd love to be proven wrong (or at least she would) but, I don't think this book will sell 50 000 copies. I suspect Christians will not rush out to get a copy in order to reinforce their point of view and beliefs. i suspect many others outside of the Christian movement will not be picking up the book neither. i also don't see it making a drop's ripple in Quebec (whom certainly will not be supporting the Conservatives in the next elections – if the last 20 years are any indication).

      I'm no pollster but I reckon the ''movement'' will need a few of these books to counteract against the effects of, say, kicking a minister out of cabinet and caucus based on.. Well, it's not clear what it was based on!

      The Christian ''neo-con'' movement will never get it!!! Their zeal is the very reason Harper will never get a majority. Plain and simple. Most causes they take up so passionately does not sway the middle any bit closer to them. In fact, it does the very opposite. And when this happens, the ''movement'' confirms it by labeling them (the middle) as the very opponent they wish to take down. If i am made to feel as if I am you enemy, I will likely never board your ship (just as, I reckon, the ''movement'' will never join the ''leftist'' crusade*.

      * the word crusade is not necessarily reflective of this author's interpretation of their (leftist) cause.

  57. ooooooh! scary christians!!!!! run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Well, if you read the rightwinger comments here, they are kinda scarey. Leftwinger Christians are less scarey.

  58. replace the word "christian" with "jew" or "homosexual" or "aboriginal" or "muslim" and you'd be thrown in jail.

    that obviousness aside, shouldn't we be more frightened of secular moral relativists?

    • corky – the phrase "less is more" could not have been more well done than by you! moral relativists are Hitlers todays equivalent. They say its ok to slaughter perfectly healthy 8 month gestation babies, then turn around and say capital punishment for someone who savagely rapes and murders women or children is "inhumane". Ultimately, its all abouot personal responsibility. If there is no God, then there CAN'T be good and evil because we all evolved. All their screaming falls on deaf ears becasue they are saying there are no absolutes while forgetting to understand that position in itself IS AN ABSOLUTE! Well done, well said.

  59. here's a great question for Marci – does she believe in God?

    • She is a Christian, I read somewhere. I don't know what sect she belongs to.

    • What would be the relevance?

      • Good question. Also, why doesn't jane ask Paul Wells what he believes?

        • paul, do you believe in god?

  60. When Marci McDonald wrote a prophetic article for the Walrus in 2006 warning all sane Canadians that the Christian Soldiers are now moving far more comfortably and blessedly in the corridors of the PMO, Paul Wells had written a column making fun of her predictions!

    Well, Paul, I usually agree with you most of the time, but, admit it, you were wrong! The Christian Soldiers are making their blessed presence felt increasingly, and frighteningly, in government these days.

    But tell me one thing, why should the taxpayers be paying $22 billion in fighting the Taliban to restore women's human rights and promote education in far-away Afghanistan when…….the Taliban are already on the Hill!

    This is a disgrace for Canada and Charlie McVety has made a bundle from the Save the Family, Dr. Dobson's dubious anti-abortion Foundation in the States and Harper has given, indisputably (check the facts!) an unprecedented amount in the millions of dollars to establish Christian Theological Studies and Schools, one right next to Parliament, and he has drawn from that deeply disturbing misogynist "talent" bank to fill his own neanderthal ultra-conservative cabinet of puppetry and spinnery to muzzle women's voices in this country.

    Why fight the Taliban and spend billions….they're already here on the Hill!

    God Save Canada!

  61. Dear God,

    Save us from the Christian soldiers and their misogynist "blast from the past" 50s agenda for women's rights in this godforsaken country slowly being invaded by the Devil also known as Dubya and Stephen…





  63. Wells at his best.

  64. God will surely be blessing Paul….soon he'll be appointed a Senator….Duff from CTV did it, although CTV had to apologize to the public for pushing the Harper agenda through its journalist-star, and to that effect had to post an Public Service announcement announcing its slanderous reporting….

  65. Read this column. It will surely turn any half-perceptive political junkie's brain to oatmeal!".

    • clearly it worked with you.

  66. "These are McDonald's Christian soldiers: a failed candidate, a champion of failed candidates, and a pair of devout loiterers. From them she extrapolates "a burgeoning bond between evangelical Christians and Jews" that "could leave [Harper] unbeatable at the ballot box.""

    This is from Paul Wells' Sept. 26/06 column "Well, So Much for the Power of God…"

    Does Paul wanna take some crow wholesale and purchase some digestive enzymes to go with his meal?!!!!

    The busy-at-the-PMO's Evangelicals are having their own Christian soldiers march on the Hill….throwing away hard-fought women's rights and exporting a bigoted Bushian bankrupt ideology that's truly shameful for Canadians who believe God has a place only in….

    Heaven–not the Hill!

    Paul, you are forgiven for your journalistic indiscretions and lapses into wishful thinking of 2006. But, really, what's your excuse for being so myopic in 2010 when the writing's on the wall and bible, eh? May god forgive you….

  67. Everybody seems to forget that Christianity, in its very origin, is an apocalyptic cult which had its origins in Judaic apocalyptic writings and beliefs.

  68. First, kudos to Paul Wells for demolishing Marci McDonald's book. The big question is whether McDonald genuinely believes her own bullshyte. I'm guessing she doesn't–she's being deliberately disingenuous in order to sell as many books as possible.

    There's a word that describes a so-called journalist who fits data to conclusions, instead of the other way around: hack. After reading Wells's review, I am left with the strong impression that Marci McDonald is a third-rate hack.

    • Where does these tweets fit on your hack rating scale?

      # How's that three-week Rights and Democracy audit coming along? Week twelve just ended.http://bit.ly/bqlWyd #idiots #morons #duplicitous 12:17 PM May 14th via TweetDeck

      # Note to R&D board members who follow me: at Week 15 I'm gonna tell the whole sordid story all over again in the mag. Promise. 12:31 PM May 14th via UberTwitter

      # And when I say I'm going to do something in three weeks, I mean three weeks. 12:33 PM May 14th via UberTwitter

      • That's a really odd choice given what C_R said: Wells clearly believes what he's written and is quite passionate with regards to R&D, while C_R is suggestion McDonald is stirring up controversy just for the sake of book sales. I don't see how there is any comparison in that context.

        If you want to argue that its unprofessional for a journalist to get so personally involved in a story, then maybe you've got something, but it is hardly like Wells is claiming to be unbiased. He's done a strong job of stating why he's upset and he's specifically said he's been avoiding this issue as much as possible because it makes him angry.

        • a journalist to get so personally involved in a story,

          Bingo. Judge, jury, executioner.

          • Reading and watching some of Wells' coverage of R&D did make me a bit uncomfortable about that very thing, but as I said, it wasn't like he ever misrepresented himself in any way in any of it nor does his personally being involved do anything to change the facts of the story (which he did a solid job of reporting).

            The only thing that got me about the whole thing was the story on the audits. I believe it was C_R who pointed out that the last audit wasn't a financial audit and as such, the vote of confidence from the last audit doesn't necessarily negate the previous criticisms. Still, if it were the case that there were still financial mismanagement, this most recent audit would have uncovered it and the current board of directors would have been showing the results to everyone who'd listen.

            As such, Wells pushing R&D to release the audit and using whatever leverage he has available to do so seems entirely appropriate to me. It isn't pretty, it isn't ideal, but the public interest is served and it makes for entertaining reading.

          • I believe it was C_R who pointed out that the last audit wasn't a financial audit and as such, the vote of confidence from the last audit doesn't necessarily negate the previous criticisms.

            Actually, I think it was me some many weeks ago. PW and the ex-employees don't appear to understand the difference between financial audits and operational or comprehensive (value for money) audits. You'll note that the HofC is using the same argument to keep Sheila Fraser at bay , claiming their books are already audited (again, only financial controls, reporting expenses in right categories etc.) Here's what I wrote then:

            Ok, I had a look at the National Post summary of the 2007 report that was linked to elsewhere. I mentioned this generally yesterday in another pw blog, but I will reiterate.

            It appears to me that the 2007 audit was a financial audit – which typically focuses on financial controls, reviews invoices, approvals, improper expensing – that sort of stuff.

            The 2008 review is what I would classify as a comprehensive audit – or a management audit – which is subjective in nature and typically includes terms such as "economy, efficiency, and effectiveness." Program outcomes are measured against corporate strategies etc. It is quite a different kettle of fish than a financial audit, although both overlap somewhat in scope.

            I dunno. Mention 2007 but not 2008? Could be just not as important, or an oversight, or edited out due to space. But, I wouldn't read the 2008 audit as being demonstrative that everything was fine since the findings of 2007.

            Anyway, gotta get out cycling. Cheers.

          • I knew it was one of the two of you, apologies for getting it wrong. You'll note I did remember the comment itself, as it was certainly informative and worth remembering.

          • Actually, you were right, because I said it too. Dot and I were making similar arguments about the audit.

          • As Iccyh pointed out, there's a huge difference between hacks like Ms. McDonald and respectable journalists who become "personally involved" in a story.

    • Hey, I forgot to ask you. When you stated "There's a word that describes a so-called journalist who fits data to conclusions, instead of the other way around", were you essentially putting a word in my mouth that I never stated?

      There is a difference between evidence leading to a conclusion or thesis; and a thesis looking for evidence to support it.


      • I think Wells has already stepped beck somewhat from some of the conclusions he made in that widely read piece.

        • He doesn't believe a word he writes. He runs on pure ego.

          • Yeesh.

          • Two things are constant. One, Wells likes to write about how Wells is always right. Two, frogman here likes to agree with him.

  69. How in the world did this country become so so full of bigots towards Christianity.

    • How in the world have some Christians in this country gravitated to such a selfish, self-serving, destructive and exclusive cause as 'this neo-conservatism''.

      They are often found to be the same people who manifest such passionate protection for the ''unborn'' (re. abortions) and, at the same time, scream the mantra ''drill baby drill''. Their protection of the unborn and life in general goes out the window, particularly in the long-term (and every now and then, like now in the Gulf of Mexico, short term). All for what, to upkeep and strive for the easiest way to live and survive (meanwhile, the pope tells the Portuguese infirms that their suffering leads to theirs and others' salvation.

      They are often the same people who speaks of a utopic and heavenly approved society, where it is perfectly defensible and righteous for anyone to be armed with a gun.

      They are often the same people who want it God's way, so long as it's in English (and that they don't have to contribute to the upkeep of anyone else's constitutional rights.

      They are often the same people who speak of themselves as loving, compassionate and charitable but, enough is enough with these Indians…

      How twisted they have become these Christians.

  70. It is really all about the 100 000 young Canadians killed last year by the abortion 'industry'…. the foul offspring of those anti-religion ranters. If it wasn't for those wacky pro-lifers there might be nobody for 'anti-religionists' to fear.

    It makes one wonder just how important is a 'Highway of Heroes'?

    Stop abortion in Canada and see how many 'insane' christians show up in Ottawa every May.

  71. Harperights Colours will soon be EXposed & Scare the Beejesus out of the People .

  72. I can see that all of the conspiracy theorists are out in full force, with their tin foil hats firmly in place.

    What a load of BS. This is simply another attempt to revive the old "hidden agenda" accusation.

    Why is it that Liberals simply can't accept that a significant segment of the population just don't think like them?

    The "conspiracy" exists solely in the minds of the theorists.

  73. I am afraid that if you are moderate or pragmatic, you are immediately labeled with the rest as Christian fundamentalists no matter whether you are Hindu, Budhist, or what else. As with many "intellectuals" nowadays, if you do not think like them then you must not be thinking at all , or if you do- you have to do another thinking to fit them, or why not let them think for you.

    • I sympathize with you, I do…

      I'm afraid that if you are moderate or pragmatic and, you are not in agreement with Christian fundamentalists, you are immediately labeled as any or all of the following:

      – lefty
      – commie
      – socialist
      – ''elitist''
      – unCanadian

      Feel free to add to the list, there are plenty more labels that are slung…

      You see, as with many "Christian fundamentalists" nowadays, if you do not think like them then you must not be thinking at all , or if you do- you have to do another thinking to fit them, or why not let them think for you. In fact, they would even outlaw things pertaining to life decisions concerning you alone, no one else. If you are a woman, your womb is of their concern and, if they could, they would see that only their opinion concerning YOUR womb be valid and/or allowed.

  74. I am not a religious person, but I could not understand why people of faith are demonized and considered uneligible to run for office. As long as their policies are geared towards everybody and not only on some special interest groups, then there should be no problem. I would rather have the government get out of the business of funding any special interest group and concentrate on governing. Let special interest groups find funding themselves and allocate those funding on things that matters like education and health. I am a woman but question why many of those who owns up to representing women( or feminists) are on the bitchy side. Can we have more feminist representatives that behave more like women instead of what we are mostly having right now?

    • If you are non-religious, why aren't you complaining about the religious being a special interest group? So do you agree with making churches pay taxes?

      Are you suggesting women should be submissive? Sounds like fundamentalist religion to me.

    • ''As long as their policies are geared towards everybody'' you say…

      How is insisting on anti-abortion laws ''for everybody''? Many women have sought this procedure for intensely personal and important reasons. Many others are supportive of that choice (the polls seem to indicate a near even split on that topic). Such laws would not be geared towards ''everybody''.

      How is denying gays the right to marry or the right to adopt a policy for ''everybody''? Many gays, some that I know, have re-energized my views on marriage, a view tainted by many fellow straight people I have known (but alas, I am still flat out against marriage, for all). I have also known some gay people to be excellent parents (i have known both, fathers and mothers who are gay). How is excluding them from these joys of life for ''everybody''?

      Aye, i am an ''atheist'', an ''antitheist'', whatever… And, i would not want my children spending their days at a Christan Youth Centre (sometimes, parents ought to be pro-active in protecting their children from abuse)… How is directing my hard earned tax dollar towards a multi-million dollar Youth for Christ Centre a policy for ''everybody''?
      (on the YFC Centre – I'll give, if I get in return… If I decide to raise children in Manitoba, you best make damn sure they have access to complete education in french, as it would be their constitutional right and, according to the wishes of all their ancestors (dating as far back as pre-Confederation).

      Unfortunately, seldom are the policies promoted by Christian neo-conservative politicians policies for ''everybody''.

  75. Hope it's not sour grapes, Paul. Marci's been ahead of the pack on this theo-con business for some time. Harper makes no secret of the importance of the religiously-inclined to Tory electioneering. He's less candid about the extent to which religious beliefs influence government policy. Outside of your reporting and Marci's, the issue has hardly been explored. More light needs to be shed on the Harper government's relationship with the religious right and its impact. Is Harper's support for Israel, for example, less about winning Jewish voters than Christian ones enraptured in prophesies of Armageddon?

  76. A democracy means that we must vote for the candidate that best represents our views. If that is a Christian then he gains power in this country. I find it difficult to understand the uninformed antagonism towards people of faith. In my own youth I once felt that people of faith weren,t too bright. I know differently now. many mensa typesand successful people hold their religious beliefs very strongly. I myself am agnostic but people like Marci are very shallow thinkers if the presume they know better than others based on misinformation.

  77. Hey wilson! what makes you an expert on all topics regardless of what they are besides being a brown nosed Con puppet?

    You like to hand out insults so expect some back.

    • ooooh, good one. you showed him, mister!

  78. Spot on. I'm an agnostic secularist, but I remember feeling quite embarrassed at that article when it was published (though its absurdity made it engaging enough to endure its length; I actually read the whole thing).

  79. Why is it that the right to kill babies is always so important to "progressives"? And is it progress to reward criminality. What exactly are we progressing towards? In a society where criminality, laziness, sloth & immorality are rewarded or advocated for by the political elite class and its institutions.

  80. i'll believe whatever i want and i don't need you telling me otherwise, just who do you think you are? i don't give a dam if your the gayest person alive, it makes no difference to me and I don't care. but you sir, have turned into the very thing that you seem to hate so much, an intolerent homo-bully! constantly yelling about how gay you are and how persecuted you are, give it a rest! did it ever occur to you that the vast majority of people don't care about you or gay people in general, and mabey you get a backlash because you keep yelling in peoples faces and telling them how bigoted they are. if we granted you a little medal "queer of the year", would that shut you up?

    • After being a speech-writer for The Rt. Honourable Brian Mulroney when he was Opposition Leader and thereafter standing up our rights … I take that as a compliment!

    • Good on you, gondwana – possibly speaking for many fed-up Canadians, who keep tolerating this nonsense!

  81. macdonaldbank1,

    What kind of game are you playing? You are the poster grantdude1 who posted the same crap in the Vancouver Sun. I recognize what you said about being " I am a son of a…."

  82. Does it occur to many posters here or indeed to Marci McDonald that the democratic traditions of Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., all came into being and developped while these societies were overwhelmingly Christian? Is there some kind of atheist alternative somewhere that achieved better? The 20th century gave us one living hell after another that was developped by atheistic Communists who believed they were highly advanced and had much better ideas that their fellow citizens. This includes, National Socialist Adolph Hitler who actively encouraged German citizens to abandon Christianity for pre-Christian Nordic Myth. Communists (eventually) disapproved of Hitler but he was no right-winger, he was a man of the left just like all the major 20th century monsters. But the "Christian Right" is a threat to democracy is it? Leftists are, were and always will be the main threat to freedom and democracy and it's important for Canadians to be ever-vigilant of their activities and not be afraid to challenge their propaganda.

  83. The main threat to democracy in Canada and in the West, generally is the crazed violence-loving Left. They are the ones who don't respect democracy and feel entitled to use murder and mayhem to disrupt the work of duly-elected governments, witness the recent riots in Greece, the riots that are staged at every G20 meeting, etc. The airheads who wear Che Guevera t-shirts should be treated with the same contempt as those who might wear Hitler t-shirts. The fact that leftists routinely glorify the memory of a thug who used mass murder to help create a totalitarian state says a lot about who the real threat to democracy is. Why doesn't Marci McDonald write a book about that? Too complicated?

    • When's the last time you saw anyone wearing a Che Guevera T-shirt? Thirty years ago?

      Shame on you for all your lies and wild accusations.

    • And they accuse MacDonald of bring hysterical? Get a grip, Frank.

  84. God save us from the phenomenon of rising influence of the evangelical ideology in Canadian politics. It was devout belief that Politics in Canada were divorced from Religion. We should have an official secularism policy as we do a Multiculturalism policy in this country. It is of absolute and utmost concern of each and every thinking and voting Canadian to find out the source of a party's power as it is that powerful interest group (Christian fundies) that are pulling the levers of power so close to Mr. Harper. But please explain to me if you can, why should we go on to spend over $25 billion of our taxes on a foreign war to bring equality to womenfolk there and rescue them from the brutal neanderthal Taliban, when, in fact, we've witnessed the Taliban on our Hill recently. They're here already….why fight them?

    Thinking Canadian voters (not an oxymoron) should be rushing out to buy Marci McDonald's perceptively timely new book. It's truly a shame that Canada is becoming closely aligned to the Bushian policies of the past. We've always been a fair people–the land of Tommy Douglas, good ole Dief (the CIA forced him to scrap Avrow with misrepresentations), Pearson Nobel Peace Prize winner, Trudeau, Joe Clark, Stephen Lews….Harper belongs south of the border. Trying to transplant these fundamentalist policies up here will NOT work! God Bless Marci!

    Thank you for a most informative and fair comment….

  85. Who ever said she isn't a talented writer? That's not what I mean by "hack" . She uses her writing skills to mask the deficiencies in her argument. She fits data to predetermined conclusions, she crafts shabby distortions in order to make boring things seem terrifying, and her "studies" of current events seem riddled with gross overstatement and comical hysteria. If she's not actually a hack, she's sure doing a good job faking it.

    (Pst. Hacks win prizes, too)

    • You have a very selective memory, or one that seems to blow with the prevailing wind wind. While you currently enjoy Coyne's smackdown of Pauline Marois, if present circumstances provide any precedent, she will withdraw, and in turn smackdown someone else in a similar manner. It's called projection.

      Remember writing this?

      Coyne wins this round, knocking Wells off his feet with a right hook and a blast of reality.

      • You have a very selective memory, or one that seems to blow with the prevailing wind wind.

        Fer cryin' out loud, Dot. By "blow with the prevailing wind wind", you seem to be accusing me of being inconsistent. Why don't you spell out, clearly and succinctly, how what I wrote then is inconsistent with what I'm writing now.

        • It should be fairly obvious shouldn't it, CR? You were critical of Wells then, supporting what AC said about his work on Harpers hard right turn, and now you have flipped, completely supportive of him as he basically does the same thing to MM as AC did to him.

          Whatever currently best supports your partisan bias. Compare that with my stance. I have been completely consistent with my scepticism and criticism of Wells' hypothesis since I started paying attention to this R&D stuff. Yeah, I fall into the camp that thinks he has grapes up his nose.

          • Actually, I was being perfectly consistent. With Wells's "Hard Right Turn" piece, I believed that Wells was overstating the influence of social conservatives on government policy, and reading too much into the significance of a few "baubles" (as Coyne put it) intended to placate this segment of Harper's base.

            In this case, I agree with Wells's critique of McDonald for her "risible fantasy" that "the Harper government is a plaything of wild-eyed end-timers who would transform Canada into a soul-saving factory in anticipation of the Rapture."

            Where's the inconsistency? Both times, I'm being critical of arguments that I believe overstate the influence of the religious right within the current government.

          • MM is doing exactly the same thing as Wells (and some may argue she did it first in Walrus), it's simply a matter of degree. You can't label one a "third rate hack" and the other a "respectable journalist" ESPECIALLY when you are measuring them on exactly the same subject.

          • it's simply a matter of degree

            Well, that's just it. It's my subjective opinion that Wells is at least twenty times the journalist that McDonald is. The difference is that Wells, unlike McDonald, doesn't rely on distortions, gobsmacking hyperbole, and cheap rhetorical tricks to arrive at his conclusions. Also, Wells is willing to reexamine his evidence and assumptions, as he seems to have done (at least partly) since the HRT piece.

          • "Yeesh."

  86. Tell the truth Paul. Did you sleep with her, she scorned you and now you hate her?

    You know, I read lots of articles like this one back in the late 80s. Ie the so-called intelligent class dismissed the rise of the fundamentalist Christian as ever playing a significant role in American politics. Boy were they wrong.

    I have not read this book, but I did read her article in Walrus. You miss the point Mr. Wells. The bible thumpers are patient and persistent. Like their American counterparts who took their time gaining strongholds by convincing school teachers that they should be voting against unions and pension plans because of morality issues. (What's the Matter with Kansas) Canadians too are now being broken down into single issue constituencies.

    Jews are voting for Harper because of his "stance on Israel." (Based upon his Fundamentalist Christian ideologies!) The fact that all his other policies go against what Jews have always stood for appears to be irrelevant.

    You were obviously annoyed by this book, but dismissing her theories and observations about what is happening in this country is somewhere between arrogant and naive.

    I for one have been watching Harper since day 1 and feel like I am living in a Deja-vu of my college years. I think Marci MacDonald is saying what more journalists need to be saying. But like "the intelligencia" of America in the 80s and 90s you can't see beyond your noses and tiny spheres of influence.
    Wake up Wells.

  87. This book is proof that the lunatic Canadian left will stop at nothing to try to destroy anyone that gets in the way of their Socialist agenda. One day it's Evangelical Christians being demonized in this book, the next day, it's Jews being demonized at "Israeli Apartheid Week" at many universities, businesss people of any kind are always devils for wanting to keep some of their money and not being "social activist" parasites like Jack Layton. It's time to start hitting back at the Canadian left and not be afraid to demolish their icons. I'm glad that more and more people know about Tommy Douglas' university thesis in favour of eugenics. It's too bad that not enough people realize how much the NDP did during the cold war to try to take Canada out of NATO and NORAD which made them essentially collaborators with the Soviet dictatorship of that era. It's time they were challenged on why they insist on economic policies that they know perfectly well actually increase unemployment and thus poverty. Even many Conservatives give them a pass as being well-meaning but misguided. They are from from well-meaning.

  88. She's nuts. Christian churches are folding their doors right, left and centre. And the rapture nonsense is a concept entertained only by a few ultra-conservative Christians. This lady is spewing pure weapons grade ballonium, and is using her pulpit to politically correct anyone who may have a different opinion than jack boot pro abortion feminists.

  89. Those who believe that Armageddon is near at hand are extremely dangerous because they have no reason to worry about the real problems of climate change, air and water pollution, overpopulation, extinction of plant and animal species, etc. … they're just wating for/wanting the world to end.
    These people are very well organized and continously flood the governments here and in the US with letter writing campaigns, which are taken seriously by government officials. This is why the US has fallen prey to the fundamentalist Christians for the past 30 years.
    Unfortunately, non-believers and non-fundamentalists of all religions don't organize to do letter writing campaigns.
    How do I know this? I forced myself to watch Christian televangelist programming. I was astounded that people watched this stuff, sent in money, and believed the nonsense preached. I didn't realize they were important.
    Unfortunately, they are important, and the followers of these Armageddon-obsessed cults sway governments far beyond their actual numbers.
    Is Steven Harper truly an end-times believer? If so, Canada and the rest of the planet are in very deep doo-doo.
    The theo-crazies will take over the earth.

  90. *There is no scientific evidence to prove any of the cross related bogus elements of christianity. Civilization goes back 2,000,000 years *

    Response, I doubt any Xian ever suggested that the death and resurrection of Joshua is scientifically proven.

    It is, in any case, entirely hilarious (and fitting) that the scientifically ignorant should refer to `science' when making fools of themselves.

    to wit –

    Civilization – life based in towns and cties – is several thousand years old, not "2 million"
    The human race is only about 250,000 years old.
    The emperor Constantine did not `fabricate' Xianity. It existed hundreds of years earlier. How could his predecessors actively persecute them if Constantine `fabricated' it?

    Get some education pal, you are sorely lacking any

    • There were lots of preachers pre Emperor Constantine … just like the present pope who adds stations of the cross … and will oneday be hailed by idiots as a saint. Constantine was a wiz at marketing aka Walt Disney. Only problem Mickey Mouse isn't as hateful as that piece of shit pope.

      I suggest you become more aware of civilization in Africa which dates back 1 million years and before that.

      Religion has become a filthy word.

  91. "But how influential are evangelicals?"

    You tell me — Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George W Bush, Stephen Harper, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Oprah Winfrey, Preston Manning, Jesse Jackson, Oral Roberts, et al.

    Preaching to the choir, which is what happens in Canada, no longer needs to be a relentless assault of faith. It just needs a stirring once in a while to keep the faithful frothing in belief.

  92. Harper's evangelical right-wing Christian hordes are storming parliament.

    If successful they well roll Canada back to the dark ages of the 50s.

    Bring back the horrible stigma attached to pregnancy out of wed-lock, hide the girl, send her out of town or walk her into a motel butcher shop.

    Its time to pay attention folks

  93. Rights for Lesbians and Gays should be supported and encouraged, however, parades and such should be privately funded. If we fund them, then why not say- other special interest groups as well. It might not cost us that much money looking at one group funding, but multiply it with how many groups – could be way substantial. Right now with the economic crisis and Canada's responsiblites inside and outside the country, we are looking at a deep hole, which tax payers and our economy could not handle. The way Ignatieff says it that we are a rich country and that we should pay for this and that, is so erroneous. Our tax payers are so over burdened that our personal debt burden and obligation is higher than most countries. This has nothing at all to do with religion but the necessity of economics. So many wishes, but minimal resources to go around.

  94. My father fought, and had his leg blown off in Holland, he never said much about the war.
    But he did say this: There were no atheists in fox holes. He was a catholic,lived as a catholic and died as one.
    the greatest thing he ever did for me was to teach me the OUR FATHER.
    Just say one Our father for your father.

    • Oh please; don't assume that others must have that bogus cult — dictate … how our lives are led!

  95. Paul Wells sees some flaws in Marci McDonald's work, but has not discussed a single issue she raises in any detail. She is on the right track. Elected officials or those seeking such office are routinely given a pass for their religious beliefs and their membership in religious organizations that promote very regressive values. Paul Wells and other journalists like him provide cover for these officials by not challenging religious beliefs. For example Stephen Harper and many in his cabinet have membership in an organization that considers homosexuality the most abhorent of sins, even though Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives these people the same rights as any citizen. One only has to attend one of their meetings to determine that they act on this belief in their daily lives in very disciminatory manner. This organization has many other similarly radical principles that would discourage a majority of Canadians from voting for their members if journalists put some effort into making the public aware of these principles. I challenge Paul Wells to write an article for The Walrus or any other publication examining in detail the beliefs of the political tag team of Manning, Day and Harper and their colleagues.

  96. "apocalyptic incrementalism". Is that supposed to be a new scary philosophical term? I say let these silly religionists talk all they want. The more they are heard, the less credible they become, simply because human beings are becoming more ilntelligent. The more informed people become, the less likely they are to be taken in by this garbage of biblical evangelism.

  97. Just watch Rev Impe Ministries or a few others of the Christian Televangelist Right on Vision TV and you will not be so smug about this. They are toxic and anything but Christian… they are an active presence in our culture and should be watched carefully and never trusted. Macdonald is alerting us to a Tea-Party mentality morally equivalent to the KKK.

    • There are always toxic in any society and religion, leftist, rightist and others, no one group is spared. It does not mean that the action of few will disqualify everybody in that society. Otherwise no one will be eligible at all for everybody will disqualified.

  98. What lack of tolerance! Everything we do criticise in other cultures is just what we see in this discussion. Did the Christian and Jewish fundamentals make any good contributions to the Canada, US and UK foundations? Be honest… why 4/5 of the world would move to theese countries if they could? Is it because the welfare? Or the institutions? Or the freedom? Would we take only the "good parts" and simply turn the back to their foundations?Look around…Be honest… why so much hate? Look at the posts… Hate, hate, hate…

  99. The unfortunate part of all extreme religious groups (Christian or others) is their belief in "Moral Abolutism." Everything is black or white.
    Their rigid beliefs would lead to a form of totalitarism which exclude all other beliefs. We need more rational thinking and compassion than what the religious extreme right can offer.

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