Politics before God - Macleans.ca

Politics before God


Glen Pearson struggles with with the intersection of faith and partisanship.

For people of faith, the imperative is there to combine our efforts to live honorable lives, especially among one another.  We either set a new and noble example or we fail.  Politics in Ottawa is hard, mean and downright oppressive right now. Faith, on the other hand, is meant to bring us together for a greater good, to transcend any particular political branding for the sake of making this world better.  When the two come together, as they did this morning, there wasn’t one person there who wouldn’t have admitted that love for God and our fellow human being, as expressed in our faith, is meant to trump politics at each and every turn.  We are meant to put that belief on the line by casting aside the meanness of partisanship to embrace, in humility, a common bond. We can disagree, but in respect.  It’s not a love-in, but it’s not a rugby match either…

If faith is going to matter, it has to matter in the House of Commons and be lived out in lives of humility and service. Some at the breakfast practice that kind of faith; others of us don’t.


Politics before God

  1. Because lots of good generally comes from injecting more religion into social and political discourse.

    • Well it might if people actually practised what they preach. But since they mostly don't i'm inclined to agree with you.

  2. There are lots of reasons besides faith to put aside the 'meaness' of partisan politics. Common decency, for instance.

    • Exactly. They don't owe it to God; they owe it to us, to the country, and to themselves.

  3. Is faith not partisan? Which "god" are we referring to?

  4. As an evangelical Christian and a Tory supporter I could not agree more with what Pearson is saying in regards to faith within the political arena. If we who claim to be Christians cannot even keep partisan politics out of a breakfast prayer meeting than we have a lot to learn about what it is to be a follower of Christ.

    I can't help but feel that if the House had more people like Pearson it would be a much more productive and civilized place.

  5. Mr. Pearson is a rare breed. I have the utmost respect for him. Following his blog, there's never a post he makes that doesn't leave me with something important to consider.

  6. If we put aside the mean and exploitative nature of politics and religion, both would become redundant.

  7. Agreed regarding Pearson. It makes me wonder why the MPs who are respected by all sides of the House (and these boards) are the backbenchers.

    What is wrong with our system that these people are never promoted to cabinet, and certainly never make the party leadership?

    As to his point, this is why I'm down on organized religion. Every religion I can think of talks a great game about not judging others, living your life with compassion and charity and with a specific moral code. As far as I can tell, it is then perfectly okay to become complete hypocrites–just as long as you talk the talk.

    • s to your last point. The most visible example is Harper himself. A self-professed Christian. Good! Now start living up to your beliefs in the political arena. Lying for political reasons is a sin…is it not?

    • "Every religion I can think of talks a great game about not judging others, living your life with compassion and charity and with a specific moral code."

      Religion in politics is bad. Every country living under a strict religious code is nothing short of a repressive barbaric totalitarian dictatorship. The most secular countries in the world have the highest life expectancy, lowest infant mortality rate, and are richer. Religion may talk of love, peace, and compassion; but they also speak of ethnic cleansing, genocide, slavery, the buying and selling of women, a higher dictatorial authority by which you have no say on what you are allowed to do in the privacy of your own home, etc. If you take all the nice things from the bible, you have to take all the bad things as well. Morality and solidarity isn't dictated, it's innate.

      And then we get to the question of who's religion is THE religion. Would you be saying the same things if a Muslim said what Pearson said? When politics is a social issue, violence all ways ensues. Muslim's killing Israeli's and vice-versa, Christian's killing Muslim's in the Balkan's and vice-versa. And sects of the same "faith" as well; Protestant's killing Catholic's and vice-versa in Ireland, Sunni's killing Shi'ite's and vice-versa in the Middle East (isn't it nice how the same religions love one another?)

      The further away religion is from the state, the better off we'll be.

  8. What happened this morning?? What is he referring to?

    • Click on Aaron's link (the word "struggles" in red) and go read the entire piece — it's well worth it. It isn't just that Pearson struggles with the intersection of faith and politics: he decries how easily some MPs put their partisanship ahead of their faith, as evidenced at a breakfast prayer meeting today.

  9. Glen Pearson is one of the good guys. When it comes to Ottawa's partisan bloodsports, he simply refuses to play the game.

    • I guess he learned from this misadventure early in his political career:

      Liberal MP Glen Pearson, who invited Ms. May, an Anglican minister-in-training, to speak to his church after defeating her in the byelection in the London NorthCentre riding, likened the Green party leader to an Old Testament prophet.

      However, Mr. Pearson said yesterday that he was not comfortable with Ms. May's Nazis analogy and he believed it perhaps crossed the line for proper discourse in a church.


  10. And regrettably, he will never make if off the back bench because of it — a loss for all of us, really.

    I am not a person of faith, but I do respect it — heck even envy it — when it's put forward as with Glen Pearson, not to hurt or bludgeon or judge others, but only to help understand differences, and learn to work within them.

  11. Pearson is a liberal I would vote for if I could. Remember their is a difference between faith and religion. As I like to put it, "Religion is against my Relationship!"

  12. This is the reply I made at Glen Pearce's blog (slightly amended):

    It was sad reading your post. Why was politics the center of discussion at a prayer breakfast? Maybe that was the first mistake. I guess when one is immersed in politics, it is difficult to leave it at the door at anytime, but it seems that it would have made more sense to have the discussion centered around faith than the ‘voting trends in Canada'. Too bad the MPs can't, even at a prayer breakfast, leave politics behind and broaden their horizons and spirits.

    One other thing, I think nothing is worse than mocking a person's faith. Yet that's what happened to Stockwell Day. To his credit, Mr. Day didn't allow it to beat him down, but has risen above it. However, those (and the party that allowed it) who mocked him should be ashamed. I wonder if anyone has ever apologized to him, or even, seeing he was upset, showed the same sympathy to him that your fellow-MP showed to you.

    What's the 'golden rule'? 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'.