The Church and the Commons


Paul Dewar discusses the impact of his faith on his politics.

Dewar’s background is as a teacher, but his call to politics was heavily influenced by the religious beliefs passed on to him by his activist parents, Ken and Marion Dewar, and by the Ottawa church the family attended for decades, St. Basil’s Roman Catholic.

“Faith and politics are congruent and we have no option but to be political if we are going to live the gospel,” Dewar is quoted as saying in the forthcoming book Pulpit and Politics: Competing Religious Ideologies in Canadian Public Life by Ottawa author and former NDP MP Dennis Gruending. “We have to constantly question what the Christian message is and we can never stop trying to change the way things are in society.”


The Church and the Commons

  1. Another one who’s confused his political party with his religion….!

    I’m not NDP, but if I was this guy would definitely be OFF my list of possible leaders.

    No revival tents in parliament please….separation of church and state.

    • Agreed, but the hypocrisy is still going to be staggering – an awful lot of people who’d (rightly) freak right the balls out if Harper started explicitly talking about “living the gospel” in government, or promoting a “Christian message” in Parliament, will let this pass without a second thought.

      • I would hope most people would see it in the same way….Cons are old testament christians and Dippers are new testament christian,  so Cons are big on ‘smiting’ and Dippers are big on ‘giving’…but I realize it’s probably a forlorn hope.

  2. This comment was deleted.

    • …Yyyyyeah. And how do you feel about Zoroastrians or Wiccans in government? What work ethic do they promote, exactly?

      That full-on old-fashioned Social Darwinist-Klan anthropology? Crossing the line, even for you.

      • According to you, I am KKK type because I think Buddhists and Hindus make better bureaucrats than Catholics. Do you have any idea of what you are talking about?
        What exactly is social darwin-Klan anthropology and why do you think I am one of them? 

        Maclean’s: Why is it fair to delete my comment while AVR gets to call me KKK member? If you read my comment, all I wrote was that some religions make better bureaucrats than others. AVR has problems with reality but I get punished because he gets knickers in a twist?

        • You made a blanket statement, apparently unironically, that all members of certain religions should or should not have any role in government – based on what, I don’t know; asserting that work ethic is unalterably tied to religion is absurd.

          I don’t like religion much in general, but individuals have free will, and can be as good or as bad employees in the public service as the public service culture itself allows. That culture makes a far bigger difference than the bureaucrats’ religion, to whether we have a good or bad public sector.

          (The Catholic-baiting in particular is a very Klan thing to do – the modern organization was explicitly founded as an anti-Catholic group; the shift to focusing entirely on racism was a little later.)

          • You have made my day, avr, because I surely do love to be accused of racism by someone who thinks KKK is anti-catholic, not racist. 

            My maternal side of family is Catholic – I know and love many Catholics and most of them have strong desire to help downtrodden – which is terrific because someone needs to help needy – but Catholicism also can be similar to communism. Catholics are terrific when it comes to charity and doing good deeds but are terrible pols because they freely spend money and promote sloth.

          • Uh-huh. “Some of my best friends are,” etc. And perhaps you could also explain to us, per your original claim, why Buddhists are all excellent bureaucrats, but Sikhs can never be, for instance? And why that’s not a racist generalization?

          • “Uh-huh. “Some of my best friends are,” etc. ”

            Maybe you doubt my Catholic creds because I am anti-abortion? My maternal grandmother old skool and very devout Catholic who took me to many Mass which were all in Latin because my nan thought Vatican II changes were going to send everyone to hell. And than there was my paternal Protestant nan from glasgow who talked about popish plots and told me numerous times to warn her if the papists ever tried to enlist me in their nefarious schemes.

            “And perhaps you could also explain to us … ”

            Srsly? You would know why I think Buddhists make better bureaucrats than Sikhs if you weren’t an asshat and had my first comment deleted. Are you sure you want me to write my answer – it won’t send you off running to mommy again?

            I am classic liberal, I believe people have to help themselves and not rely on others. Protestants, Buddhists and Hindus have similar beliefs while Catholics, Muslims and Sikhs are more socialist and believe State should improve people regardless if they want to be improved.

            Free will people make better bureaucrats than socialists.

          • You are a ridiculous man.

  3. Separation of Church and State means the state cannot endorse any particular religion as the “State Religion”.  It does not mean that individual politicians may not belong to any religion or be influenced by their religious beliefs when deciding their positions on issues.

    They should be up-front about their religious beliefs, the same as anything else which will influence their decisions.  If a candidate tells voters “I am a member of religion X and will vote accordingly on certain issues”, the voters can decide whether or not to vote for him/her based on that knowledge.   Hiding their religion would be just as wrong as hiding any other influence on their decisions.

    • That’s American, and has no place in Canada.

      Canadian politicians have kept their religion to themselves, and managed to separate their job from their personal beliefs. It has never been an issue here.

      • I agree.  Politicians should talk about their values, or even better, demonstrate their values.  State their positions on policy.  Use logic and reason in their arguments.  Leave faith or religion out of it.  We don’t really need religion in public policy and governance.

      • OriginalEmily1 – do you live in Canada or America? Hard to tell with your twaddle about separate church/state.

        CBC ~ Nov ’99:The United Nations human rights committee says Ontario’s policy of fully funding Roman Catholic schools, while denying full funding to other religious schools, is discriminatory.


        Lutherwood is a non-profit organization founded 40 years ago by Lutheran Church-Canada to provide practical support to young people dealing with mental illness … She says that while Lutherwood receives government funding for a significant portion of its work, there are some staff positions that are funded entirely by donation, including the Christian chaplain, a recreational therapist and a musical therapist.

        Wiki ~ Defender of Faith:

        In her capacity as queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II is styled, “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith”. The title “Defender of the Faith” reflects the Sovereign’s position as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England ….

        • Tony….go have another coffee, and cease posting nonsense on here.

  4. First of all, consider that the guy spent some time in Central America … which has
    been a life-changing experience for a number of people I know.
    Then google Liberation Theology.
    As a bonus feature google Ivan Illich.
    Or Development & Peace, which was an element of Kairos .. remember them ?

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