By Murray Dobbin, 17 May 2010, TheTyee.ca
The PM is fomenting a culture war, but his opponents barely seem to realize it.
Christian end-timers welcome Armageddon and The Rapture that follows for them. If you’ve ever heard them go beyond defending Israel to hoping for an all out conflagration in the Middle East you could almost be forgiven if you dismissed them as marginal whack-jobs good only for a kind of black humour entertainment.
I said almost forgiven. Because as Marci MacDonald points out in her new book, The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada, if you don’t take these people seriously you may be quietly contributing to the demise of democracy and all the social democratic programs it has created in the past 50 years. (See her 2006 article on the subject here.)
Stephen Harper takes them very seriously, to the point where he has encouraged and facilitated the rapid build-up of a powerful Christian right political machine on Parliament Hill and beyond, a machine that is getting its way more and more with the Conservative government. The way McDonald explains it, Harper suffered a serious erosion of support from the neo-liberal crowd when in 2008 he buckled to NDP and Liberal pressure to spend billions to stave off a serious recession — and brought the country its worst deficit situation in decades.
To replace that part of his core vote, Harper had to reinforce and activate the other half: the Christian right. Attacks on science; excluding abortion from his maternal health program overseas; an escalation of his assault on women’s equality; more attacks on human rights institutions; the continuing get-tough-on-crime agenda (including a new law eliminating the concept of a “pardon”); a bare-knuckled assault on the godless CBC; the most fierce pro-Israeli policy of any Western country and his general contempt for the institutions of democracy all play to this extremist Christian constituency. So do Harper’s massive tax cuts because they effectively starve government.
- Anon: Fun facts from the forbiddden Gospels… Christ was born 5,500 years after Adam, he was to mark the midway point, well it’s 2,000 years later kids, we still have 3,500 to go….
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