Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our Right to Know - Political Religion in Canada

Marci McDonald's The Armageddon Factor isn't the easiest read on the bookshelf. It's a plodding work packed full of seedy Christofascists who are far more annoying than intriguing. What makes it a worthwhile read is that it is immensely important to those of us who don't share the fundamentalist Christian nationalists' view of what Canada should be and are concerned at the underhanded way they intend to achieve their goals.

Some of their names are known to us - Manning, Day, Harper and McVety. More are less well known and more yet are barely known if known at all. They resemble a classic "fifth column," a group that seeks to clandestinely undermine secular Canada and traditional Canadian values in order to substitute their narrow Christian nationalist theocracy. They operate by stealth and by guile and outright deception. They conceal the very beliefs they hold superior and wish to enshrine as our national ethos. They're a despicable gang of Sneaky Petes, real Back Door Charlies.

If you're planning to read Armageddon Factor do yourself a favour. Go to your library and first read Phillip's American Theocracy followed next by Chris Hedges American Fascists and, perhaps, Sharlet's The Family. These books make Armageddon Factor far more digestible because they trace the birth and rise of Christian nationalism in the United States, its insinuation into the halls of power and the threat it poses to American democracy and the world. It is from American Christian nationalism that the movement spread into Canada, the movement of Manning, Day and Harper, the very movement they work so hard to mask.

These Christofascists, like religious fundamentalists of other faiths, are extremists in the sense of Barry Goldwater's Cold War rhetoric when he proclaimed that "extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice." The seminal distinction is that the Christian nationalists aren't seeking to defend your secular liberty but to eliminate it whenever it conflicts with their fundamentalist beliefs. They seek to impose their stamp on Canada much as the Roman Catholic church imposed its own on rural Quebec up to the end of WWII.

It troubles me when anyone hides from us in open view. I find real hostility in those who seek to use guile and deceit against me. Surely that sort of person is my enemy for they can wish me no good in that which they conceal from me. There is no benevolence in subversion, no honesty or fairness in the clandestine. Those who do these things are not your fellows nor, in any sense, are you theirs. You are not an equal in their narrowly exclusionary world.

As Hedges reveals, the Christian Right, the Christofascists, are at war with America and, like it or not, their northern brethren are intent on waging war on our Canada:

"Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told us that when we were his age - he was then close to 80 - we would all be fighting the "Christian fascists."

"The warning, given to me nearly 25-years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global Christian empire. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality of leaders in the Christian Right who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors in America had found a mask for fascism in patriotism and the pages of the Bible."

The key to this whole business is in Hedges' term, "a new political religion." After all that is the essence of theocracy, a political expression of a religious belief. Think radical Islam - Salafism and Wahabism; think Shinto; think radical Zionism. Think radicalism.

Yet it's not every aspect of secularism that they reject, at least not while it works for them. One tenet of secular tolerance is to place a person's religious beliefs "off limits." Each to his own. This is the shield of Christian fascism. What they reject is the corollary, no one faith above another. For it is not all faith they wish to enshrine in power in Canada, it is theirs alone. They want to become a state religion, theirs is a genuinely political religion.

It is precisely because fundamentalist Christian nationalism is a political religion that we are entitled to forget the "off limits" rule. We are entitled to scrutinize the political dimension of this faith and we're entitled to full and candid disclosure. If those who wish to wield their religion as a political force in our country perceive Armageddon as a welcome thing, the herald to The Rapture, their political expression of that belief has to be laid out before the public. If those who want our consent to govern this country think the end of the world is just dandy, we have a right to know that. If environmental catastrophe is readily accommodated within their religion, we have a right to know that. If they see the expansion of Israel to its Biblical domain essential to fulfilment of prophesy, they must come out and say so. If Canada's domestic and foreign policy is to be lashed to their religious beliefs, they have no right to conceal their quest. To be less than open about their political religion is to be at war with Canada, at war with the Canadian public that lives beyond their theocratic coven.

If these people wish to foist their magical thinking, their radical Christian nationalism on our Canada, we owe it to our country and to our people to expose them and to push back just as hard as it takes. That begins by confronting them, rejecting false flags and demanding they state their intentions. We have to accept political religion as a force at work in our Parliament and that begins by those who practise it coming clean with the rest of us.

The Americans saw the evil inherent in state religion when they first amended their Constitution to enshrine separation of church and state. Jefferson was plain on the intent to create a wall of separation between church and state. Now that political religion is spreading its tentacles through our Canada, we deserve nothing less than outright, express and constitutional separation of church and state.


Okie said...

Not really on topic but in keeping with things which fit within the term FUBAR; an update on Capt. Semrau's court martial

Among the inconsistencies and new revelations was this comment from Max the interpreter;

"Max said a helicopter shot the insurgent, blowing one leg completely off and leaving the other mostly gone. He said the man also had a gaping wound in his stomach."

The Mound of Sound said...

I read that. It seems the interpreter was the prosecution's star witness yet he's contradicted everything the prosecution advised the court martial he would say. Were they set up by the interpreter? Who knows? Did their investigators pressure the interpreter to go with their narrative? Is the interpreter simply unreliable? Who's to say?

If the defence demolishes that star witness, each and every fatal flaw in the prosecution case re-opens. No one knows who this guy was or even what happened to him. No evidence of actual death much less cause of death. No evidence of bullet wounds. Even if there were bullet wounds no evidence they weren't the result of bullets fired into a corpse. There is simply no evidence of several essential elements of the offence charged. The court martial can only convict on clear evidence and the prosecution bears the obligation to adduce what they so plainly haven't got.