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BTC: This week in God


 

Conservative Bev Shipley quotes uncomfortably from scripture.

(Related: “Two-thirds of Canadians (66%) believe it is inappropriate for political candidates to talk about their religious beliefs as part of their campaigns.”)


 
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BTC: This week in God

  1. Regardless of party, that’s disturbing.

  2. …AND they (yes, logo ergo they) screw with the passage to stretch “we” to (possibly? likely?) mean those in authority. very professional.

  3. I should not have read that article, I knew it before I even started.

    “However one feels about the separation of church and state”

    Where is Dean Steacy to talk about ‘american concpets’? Our head of state is also a head of a rather large church.

    When they write sentences like “One presumes these verses” you would think they would remember the queen because that’s exactly how she talks.

    I am surprised there is not a flashing strobe/ siren like Drudge does on his most newsworthy stories. You just know CBC producers are, at this minute, pitching an idea to their bosses about 4 part documentary about Christians and their malign influence.

  4. Yes, it’s so disturbing. And here I thought that we had freedom of speech and religion in Canada. Guess not.

  5. Good grief : a church handout has a political logo on some literature. This is completely outrageous as Evil Conservatives and right wing fundamentlist doukhabours are plotting to take obver the country … I have had it up to my kneck and that’s it I demand a Public Inquiry and what did the PM know and when did he know it – Alas I know what to do sick Kady on them I mean after all there must be a circus I mean committee somewhere where we can interview every conservative MP and find out if they are part of this outrageous conspiracy!

  6. “Yes, it’s so disturbing. And here I thought that we had freedom of speech and religion in Canada. Guess not.”

    As politicians answering to the electorate the Conservatives are free to rewrite scripture all they want.

  7. Dennis – we do have freedom of speech in Canada. It is not against the law to say things. However just beause we are required to tolerate a certain behaviour does not mean we have to APPROVE of that behaviour.

    So, yes, Mr. Shipley can quote from Scripture and can say that he hopes to govern according to a Scriptural Foundation. All allowed. However, freedom of speech does not mean that I am forbidden from making judgements based on what he says. And I do not like the connotation that he feels that Canada should be governed according to any “Scriptural Foundation” be it the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud or a book of Confucian sayings. I don’t believe in the Bible, so I would prefer that the country not be governed according to its precepts. And I would not vote for anyone who wants that.

  8. I gotta tell you I think its funny to hear that Canada is founded on scriptural principles because at the time of Confederation the scripturally founded nation that prompted it was scaring the hell out of us.

    I guess I’m just twisted that way.

  9. Until the last bit of the bookmark I was prepared to dismiss it as the quaint affectation of a backwards rural riding. Wishing divine benevolence on our leaders is all well and good, but saying you should govern within a particular religions doctrine should raise all kinds of red flags with both reader and writer.

  10. I love it how some people go ape at any mention of religion and politics, despite enshrined human rights of freedom of faith and speech — as well as apparent Canadian virtues like toleration and inclusion.

    Citing scripture has nothing to do with enshrining a constitutional order based on one faith. In fact, it’s a nonsensical accusation, but it doesn’t stop some people from going ape.

    Gotta tilt the political debate any way we can, I guess.

  11. I’m not religious, but I’ve no problem with the bulk of anything that was on the bookmark (covet my prayers all you want! It’s nice to be wanted). However, even aside from its questionable historical accuracy, the redundancy of the “Scriptural Foundation on which this country was founded” part does betray a certain lack of facility with the English language. I’d prescribe more time reading the King James Version, less with the PR-wallahs of the campaign war rooms.

  12. As to the survey cited: I think it’s very appropriate for candidates to talk about their religious convictions, but only if they plan to be guided by those convictions in the Legislature. Otherwise, it’s a recipe for ugly, ugly politics.

  13. Some of you might be interested to know that in a PROPER translation of that passage “we” is the church not the state.

    “we” (peaceful, holy etc.) as the church is Pauline. “we” as those in authority (Shipley, for example) is Oliver Cromwell all over again.

    there’s nothing new under the sun.

    what DID they do with that adverb, anyways?

  14. “I love it how some people go ape at any mention of religion and politics”

    Dennis, I wonder if your reaction would have been the same had Shipley been a muslim.

  15. I have relatives in that part of Ontario and they would not find that handout strange in the least. That two thirds group most assuredly does not come from rural southwestern Ontario.

  16. I thought the handout was rather sweet, particularly his request for prayers for the opposition parties.

    I particularly like the phrase “I covet your prayers”.

    I expect that if all religious positions were so wholesomely presented, we would be a lot less anxious about it all, regardless as to whether we viewed them as signs of mild mental illness or the written word of God.

  17. Bill, however well intended they may have been, it simply goes against the basic fundamentals of democracy to have a politician ask his constituents to help him “lead according to the Scriptural Foundation upon which our country was founded.”

    Can you imagine yourself being Jewish and being handed this by your representative?

  18. That we may lead according to the Scriptural Foundation Upon which our country was founded”

    heh

    I was wondering what they did with it. Too bad that’s not what Paul said.

  19. “Too bad that’s not what Paul said.”

    correction. GOOD THING that’s not what Paul said. Too bad more folks can’t figure that out.

  20. I don’t know – all he did was ask his fellow congregationalists to pray along with him in his quest for a righteous world.

    It is not as if he was accosting Jews and and others in the street demanding they join him in establishing the inquisition or something.

    Being godless, I am not much moved by the Bev Shipley’s of this world, but I find it hard to see where anyone could take offense at this message.

  21. Boudica: it simply goes against the basic fundamentals of democracy to have a politician ask his constituents to help him “lead according to the Scriptural Foundation upon which our country was founded.”

    Well, no, it doesn’t. It’s bad politics, sure, but when he’s up front about his guiding principles, there’s nothing wrong with it. It would be un-democratic were he to lie about it, or place his theological interpretations above the constitution. A poorly written line on a promotional bookmark is hardly a fundamentalist manifesto.

    But to ask his church going constituents (remember where this was handed out, after all) to pray for him? Very low on the Threats To Our Way Of Life scale.

  22. “Well, no, it doesn’t. It’s bad politics, sure, but when he’s up front about his guiding principles, there’s nothing wrong with it. It would be un-democratic were he to lie about it, or place his theological interpretations above the constitution.”

    Actually, some may argue that his theological interpretations could very well be above our laws. There are quite a few items in our charter of rights that fly in the face of what christian theologians preach.

    I don’t have a problem with Shipley being a good Christian. I do, however, have concerns with his need to state on a leaflet passed on to his constituents that he believes that this country’s leadership should follow a “scriptural foundation.”

    What would be the difference between that and say… Sharia Law?

  23. Boudica – absolutely no difference. And so what? It is open to anyone to propose any type of law they like (the more openly the better) and for us hapless voters to respond accordingly.

    Isn’t democracy wonderful?

  24. There is a clear double standard here. When a Sikh police officer insists on wearing a turban while in uniform, it’s a matter of an individual expressing their religion. When a Christian politician quotes a bible verse, it’s somehow an infringment of the seperation of church and state.

    A true multicultural society does not require that we purge religion from public discourse, but allows every religious tradition to be celebrated. And given Christianity is such an important part in our national character, I find it mystifying why so may secularists in Canada are so hostile to it in particular.

  25. “…so may secularists in Canada..”

    -Me

    Make that “many”. As you were.

  26. “…all he did was ask his fellow congregationalists to pray along with him in his quest for a righteous world…”

    on that point I disagree. I’ll give you two reasons why.

    1) If that’s all he was asking then 1 Tim 2:2 he’s quoting the wrong passage because in it Paul is imploring Timothy to pray the state afford the church the freedom it needs to live righteous lives in peace.

    2) In the book of Luke Jesus is quoted as saying “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” In that context there’s only one way “lead according to the Scriptural Foundation”.

    What it boils down to is that bookmark, twisted scripture and all, is saying “Vote Christian”.

    I wonder if Shipley’s the trial balloon for a larger distribution at that Ottawa rally that’s coming up.

  27. What would be the difference between that and say… Sharia Law?

    None whatsoever. Or a great deal. Who knows? If this guy were intent on turning Canada into a new City on the Hill, I suspect the nuance and detail of such a plan requires more space than a bookmark to spell out. A promotional placemat, at the least. I’m sure we could ask him: he’s making no effort to hide his beliefs.

    I cannot rouse myself to be bothered by this because if he wants to run as a Christian, and people elect him, than we have to accept it as one of the less pleasant by-products of democracy.

    If he honestly believes the BNA act was a scripturally inspired document, that makes him ignorant, not a fanatic. In that, he’s in good company, secular and religious.

  28. Crap – forgot to close the italics tag.

  29. Oh dear, now we are quoting scriptures. This will end badly, since there is a quote for every view and purpose to be found in there.

    Either way, let the voters decide! Vote Christian! Vote Islam! Vote Flying Spaghetti Monster!

  30. “Oh dear, now we are quoting scriptures.”

    Oddly enough, “now” is the right word, because Shipley sure wasn’t.

  31. What would be the difference between that and say… Sharia Law?

    Oh, I don’t know – I suppose the fact that Christianity believes in monogamy, while Sharia allows Muslim men to have four wives . . .

    Or perhaps the different way Christianity and Sharia deal with moral failures. For example, Christianty suggests people ask the Saviour for forgiveness, while Sharia condemns adulterers to death.

    Those are just some differences I could think of.

  32. So what’s next people the HRC tribunals and thought police are sent after you if you discuss your politics in a church … good grief … Imagine that a politician has religious beliefs and actually has the temerity and outright effrontery to actually let people know his thoughts in public and even worse in a church that’s outrageous you would think he was exercising a right like freedom of expression, freedom of religious beliefs or something, this is completely unacceptable. The next thing you know he will start saying he is against same sex marriage or something and then we all know what will happen next will be Sharia Law and our women folk will have to start wearing Burqa’s.

  33. Is it just me or is the hyperbole slightly one-sided in here?

  34. I think, Wayne, the difficulty people are having is his statement “That we may lead according to the Scriptural Foundation Upon which this country was founded.”

    He can of course have any beliefs he wants. The problem is, he shouldn’t be leading by those beliefs, but rather by facts, and the values of his constituents. After all, if he tries to lead according to “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”, we’re talking Charter issues. People are naturally somewhat uncomfortable with that kind of thing.

  35. Thwim, why not? We have parties in Canada based on all sorts of things, including race (First Nations Party), recreational drug (Marijuana Party), humour (Absolutely Absurd Party), and the neorhino party (??).

    Harper may have a problem with one of his own pronouncing that the old bearded guy upstairs has said “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”, but I don’t.

    Why is religion any less valid as a basis for a political party than a host of other irrational beliefs? And why should we care?

  36. “Thwim, why not?”

    I’ll field that and personally speaking…

    Because the Christians he’s serving have no problem with the Conservative Party of Canada bastardizing scripture putting together a glossy that suits their agenda.

    Because the policy director of the PMO should be the first one to call them on that to the point he’s willing to retire to maintain his integrity but as a matter of priority won’t.

    Because assuming power of the sword in the name of Christ looks nothing like Jesus on the cross.

    of course, like I said earlier, as politicians they can misquote all they want. its a free world.

    There’s nothing about being a Christian that prevents anyone from being a good citizen but at the same time there’s nothing about it that proves he is. Using it as a calling card is just that.

    using.

    and Jesus wept.

  37. Given the past history of the current PMO director of policy, I somehow doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon.

  38. ” When a Christian politician quotes a bible verse, it’s somehow an infringment of the seperation of church and state.”

    That’s simplifying things a little, Ben Hicks. I don’t have an issue with him quoting Bible verses. What gives me pause is his notion that the Scriptures should form the basis on which this country is led.

    THAT cannot be tolerated in a democracy. This is the same government who went apoplectic over women wearing veils at the voting booth.

    “And given Christianity is such an important part in our national character, I find it mystifying why so may secularists in Canada are so hostile to it in particular.”

    I’m not a secularist. I’m a Christian and it is BECAUSE I am a Christian that I believe it to be vital to Christian interest that a government not be allowed to imposed its version of the Scriptures on others.

    Very bloody wars were waged on less than this. Have we not learned anything from history?

  39. “Or perhaps the different way Christianity and Sharia deal with moral failures.”

    To view politicians as moral leaders is so american. I want my politician to formulate sound economical, social and environmental policies. I sure don’t expect any of them to give me pointers on morality.

    This is where people get in trouble. Look to the law and not the Bible or Torah or Qran (sp?) or whatever else when drafting legislation, please.

  40. “Why is religion any less valid as a basis for a political party than a host of other irrational beliefs? And why should we care?”

    Are you serious?!?

  41. Boudica
    Absolutely! Is there a test required to become a political party? Do you have to prove your beliefs and proposals are rooted in reason and sound economics?

    Bev Shipley is not only entitled to his beliefs, he is entitled to promote them through any legal means, including forming a political party (or joining one) and running for public office.

    The fact that I consider his beliefs to be absurd, deluded or whatever is completely irrelevant.

    It is up to the voters to decide or am I missing something?

  42. “Given the past history of the current PMO director of policy, I somehow doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon.”

    You can take THAT to the bank, and not to tell you how to do your job or anything but I suggest you do.

  43. “It is up to the voters to decide or am I missing something?”

    Why yes, Bill, you are. Shipley ALREADY belongs to a political party which happens to be governing this country.

  44. That’s simplifying things a little, Ben Hicks. I don’t have an issue with him quoting Bible verses. What gives me pause is his notion that the Scriptures should form the basis on which this country is led.

    I assume you are aware that the movement in western democracies towards separation of church and state itself has it’s roots in the Bible (“Give to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, and give to God what belongs to God.”) I would say this is an example of how lawmakers can rely on scriptures to colour their decisions in a way that is both acceptable and benefitial in a liberal democracy. Another might be encouraging their Christain constituents to pray for those in positions of power.

  45. “I assume you are aware that the movement in western democracies towards separation of church and state itself has it’s roots in the Bible.”

    I have to disagree with you on that one, Ben. My history books tell me that this movement stems from religious oppression perpetrated by governments who used religion as rule of law.

  46. “…Another might be encouraging their Christain constituents to pray for those in positions of power.”

    and WHY, may I ask, should they do that?

  47. Geiseric, because they are going to need all the prayers they can get, I guess.

  48. Boudica,
    So there you have it. YOU don’t want your local MP to be reading his script out of the bible, but obviously his constituents are quite happy about it.

  49. “Geiseric, because they are going to need all the prayers they can get, I guess.”

    I’ll give you a hint. That Shipley bookmark might throw you off but you shouldn’t have to guess.

  50. O Lord our God, we humbly beseech Thee
    To protect our good Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
    To soften his malice and mitigate his unrighteousness;
    Extend Thy sheltering finger, O Lord,
    Unto our Members of Parliament, that they may
    Hop thereonto and be lifted up from pettiness;
    Do not overlook the mute and the deaf,
    Dion and Harper, nor their benighted followers,
    Who long secretly for Thy forgiveness;
    O Lord, remember too the MPP’s and MLA’s and MNA’s,
    And every other acronym which Thou in thy goodness hast seen fit to create,
    That we may aspire to federal politics;
    And remember the Municipalities and their leaders, Lord,
    And overlook, on the day of Thy wrath, their incorrigible corruption
    And selfish opposition to Thy righteousness.
    And most of all, Lord of Hosts, smile in Thy heaven
    Upon one Bev Shipley, M.P., who in his woe
    Cannot even afford a campaign manager
    And turneth to Thee for Thy strategery,
    And coveteth Thy aid even as he coveteth our prayers.
    O Lord, hear that prayer, and smite him not
    For his presumption.

  51. “Boudica,
    So there you have it. YOU don’t want your local MP to be reading his script out of the bible, but obviously his constituents are quite happy about it.”

    Not so fast, Bill. You keep talking about scripture quoting/reading when everyone else is referring to his suggestion that christianity be the guiding principle in how Canada is led.

    It is obvious that his constituents don’t have an issue with it (in that, I am assuming that he has made his views known to all before getting in office) but I do.

    This penchant for scriptural foundation-like policies is becoming more and more apparent in the way this government makes decisions. Bill C-10 is but one example. Don’t get me started on Ken Epp’s C-484.

    Anyone who embraces democracy and freedom of religion should be very concerned about this.

  52. Aww Jeez, there goes Mitchell with his poetry again. Although I have to say that I much prefer this one, Jack.

  53. Shipley ALREADY belongs to a political party which happens to be governing this country.

    Yes, yes he does. And yet I’m still free to fornicate with whomever I choose. And, no amount of bookmarks seems likely to change that.

    Believing the country should be ruled by religious principals is not inherently anti-democratic, if you are committed to democratic means of accomplishing your goal. There are plenty of countries with explicity Christian/religiously based parties that manage the trick of governing both according to their faith and democratic principals.

    On the other hand, banning people with different ideas than you, as you appear to be condoning when you wrote What gives me pause is his notion that the Scriptures should form the basis on which this country is led. THAT cannot be tolerated in a democracy is anti-democratic.

  54. Mark, get off your high horse as your forced outrage isn’t impressing anyone.

    Give me pause does not equal a ban. Grow up.

  55. Jack is the man!

    “Extend Thy sheltering finger, O Lord,”

    Sheltering finger?

  56. I figured it would only take one finger to shelter the lillputians in the Lower House.

  57. Forgive me: I read “Gives me pause” as “Cannot be tolerated” – even after I cut and pasted. Must be my browser.

    Sorry to be a let down to you. Perhaps I’ll be more impressive after puberty hits, and then I’ll be able to debate to the high standards for which these comment threads are justly known.

  58. Very funny Jack and very well done! especially this bit : Do not overlook the mute and the deaf,
    Dion and Harper, nor their benighted followers,
    Who long secretly for Thy forgiveness;
    O Lord, remember too the MPP’s and MLA’s and MNA’s,
    And every other acronym which Thou in thy goodness hast seen fit to create,
    That we may aspire to federal politics;
    = very droll – have you thought of running for politics though your sense of humour might be a handicap I would vote for you!!!

  59. Two things of note:

    1) Shipley was misapplying a scripture meant to refer to the congregational hierarchy; i.e. pray for church leaders to do the will of God.

    2) There was a time when lawyers and politicians quoted extensively from the Bible, because most people expected these educated people to be familiar with the most widely published book in the world, and more importantly, because the vast majority of people agreed with Biblical teachings.

    3) While times have changed and we now live in a largely secularized society, knowledge of the Bible should indicate intelligence and education, while a complete ignorance of it should indicate the reverse; even opponents of the Bible should want to understand something that has had such a massive influence on world history and still resonates with large portions of the population.

    Final – Quotation of the Bible is not indicative, in and of itself, of being a close-minded religious zealot. Misapplication of scripture to self-aggrandize is offensive both to those who a) value the Bible and b) hate the Bible, and thus is an asinine thing to do.

  60. “1) Shipley was misapplying a scripture meant to refer to the congregational hierarchy; i.e. pray for church leaders to do the will of God.”

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think you’ll find most noteworthy commentators to render “those in authority” to mean state officials. These days that would mean magistrates, regulators, police, stuff like that.

    Its probably less ambiguous in the Greek.

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