Eeeek! It's Christians! And They're Praying!
To hear Canada's far left describe it, one would think that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have transformed Canada into a theocracy.
Murray Dobbin is quite keen to insist as much. As is Antonia Zerbisias.
Sometimes the evidence offered for their panic-mongering is rather thin. For example, Zerbisias points at the National Prayer Breakfast, where denizens of Parliament Hill meet to pray over some pancakes (or something).
The problem for Zerbisias is that there has been 44 such breakfasts prior to 2010. Yet only in 2010 does this render Canada into a theocratic state.
She points also to the other thin gruel offered by she and her fellow panic-mongerers: Conservative reluctance to include abortion in a maternal health care plan for the developing world (contrary to Zerbisias' report, family planning has been included in the plan), the de-funding of a collection of over-political and under-productive women's activist groups, and the de-funding of various other things she likes and the funding of some things she doesn't like (like Bible schools).
Zerbisias is apparently a rather big fan of Marci McDonald and her upcoming book The Armageddon Factor: the Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada.
Like so many of the arguments raised by Canada's far left, the book seems to be an attempt to transplant the panicky arguments the American far left deployed against George W Bush into Canada.
Originality? They're not big on it. Overrated, perhaps.
“All my worries about having to prove my case that this government is intent on cultivating the social conservative constituency in this country were nothing to worry about," McDonald says. "They were doing it so openly that you could hardly keep up with the headlines.”
“This was not a polemic I wrote; I do not reveal that Stephen Harper has a secret altar in his basement," McDonald continues. "But I did try to connect the dots because everybody was telling me this isn’t happening here, not in nice, tolerant, moderate Canada.”
Nice, tolerant, moderate Canada. Where everything's OK until politicians stop refusing to be seen in the same room as an Evangelical Christian. Then it's panic time.
Likewise if they stop obligingly advancing the political agenda of the far left.
Apparently, even something so basic as the cancellation of the Martin government's promised national daycare scheme is evidence of theocratic intentions.
“That showed the canniness of Harper’s strategy," McDonald says. "Most people saw it as, ‘Oh yes the neocons don’t like government-funded social policies.’ What they didn’t realize was that he was also pandering to social conservatives who don’t believe that the government should have any role in child-rearing, who believe that mothers should be at home bringing up their children or who send their children to religious daycares and schools. It was one of those policies that cut across both of his constituencies, economic and social. That would characterize most of his policies.”
What McDonald doesn't seem to appreciate is that, whether she likes it or not, Canadian parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit. If they choose to send their children to a religious daycare, that's their right. They shouldn't have to pay twice for child care.
But this is the bizarre thinking of Canada's far left: if you believe that government has no role in raising children, apparently you're a theocrat.
McDonald also offers up a number of private members' bills on abortion as evidence that Stephen Harper has a theocratic agenda. (Naturally, she omits the fact that it was Harper who killed these bills. Once again, accuracy isn't at a premium with these people.)
“I just want people to know the facts," McDonald insists. (Although, clearly, she doesn't want people to know all the facts.) "It is the connections, the depth of the organizational roots, that these organizations have put down in Ottawa. These are not known. Four years ago, they were not being catered to, they weren’t being invited to VIP receptions, they weren’t being asked for special election events, they weren’t having special letters read out their rallies, they weren’t getting (security) passes to Parliament Hill."
The problem for McDonald, Zerbisias, Dobbin and company is that given how loudly they parrot their claims, few Canadians could not know about the facts.
It's just clear that Canadians don't share their panic about Stephen Harper and Evangelical Christians.
And for good reason. Not only do they treat what is actually a diverse category of Canadian Christians as monolithic, but it's clear that Canadians can do the math much better than these shrill, panicky denizens of the far left.
Two plus two, after all, doesn't equal five.
But even if the math doesn't add up, it seems that Zerbisias, McDonald and Dobbin seem to think there's plenty of reason to panic.
“I think we should be vigilant,” McDonald says. “We have to decide what kind of a country we want to live in. We have to stay on top of these issues because this is a government wedded to secrecy."
“This government has chosen a strategy that risks changing the Canada that most of us have agreed we want to live in and the tolerance that we have built, faulty as it is," she concludes.
Marci McDonald shouldn't pretend to speak for most Canadians.
Apparently, she and her fellows on the far left decided they want to live in a country that is hostile to Christians, and exists basically as a far left ideological construct.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has fostered a country that is more respectful and accepting of Christians -- Evangelical and otherwise -- and has begun to dismantle the organs that have facilitated the institutionalization of the far left ideology.
And Canadians continue to not be outraged.
Antonia Zerbisias, Murray Dobbin and Marci McDonald just cannot seem to take the clue. If this is theocracy, it seems that more more Canadians are comfortable with it.
It isn't, but if Zerbisias, Dobbin and McDonald want to continue panicking, that's their prerogative. It's just time for them to stop pretending that the rest of Canada should join them.