May 022011

By Daniel Mallett
Religion and politics — a dangerous mix.  In a lot of ways I feel the same goes for atheism and politics.  In its most basic sense, atheist is a descriptor of an individual who lacks a belief in god/gods/goddess/goddesses or any other type of supernatural being(s).  That is it. There is a healthy debate in atheist circles as to whether the definition ought to extend further than this.  In practise, I think it does.  But I think the formal definition is a very helpful reminder that the only common thread all atheists share is the lack of belief in god.  From there, yes, many of us will share values such as the use of reason and the scientific method.  Many find common values in humanism and believe strongly in the separation of church and state.  Many atheists will be skeptics.  However, there are no guarantees for any given atheist that any of the above holds.  Why the long pre-amble?  Because this is not a post about who to vote for, and I am not assuming that all atheists will vote a certain way.  I simply want to recommend a book ( point out that there is definetely a party in Canada that the fundamentalist Christians are voting for, and there is a reason for that:

In her new book, award-winning journalist Marci McDonald draws back the curtain on the mysterious world of the right-wing Christian nationalist movement in Canada and its many ties to the Conservative government of Stephen Harper.   To most Canadians, the politics of the United States — where fundamentalist Christians wield tremendous power and culture wars split the country — seem too foreign to ever happen here. But The Armageddon Factor shows that the Canadian Christian right — infuriated by the legalization of same-sex marriage and the increasing secularization of society — has been steadily and stealthily building organizations, alliances and contacts that have put them close to the levers of power and put the government of Canada in their debt.   Determined to outlaw homosexuality and abortion, and to restore Canada to what they see as its divinely determined destiny to be a nation ruled by Christian laws and precepts, this group of true believers has moved the country far closer to the American mix of politics and religion than most Canadians would ever believe.   McDonald’s book explores how a web of evangelical far-right Christians have built think-tanks and foundations that play a prominent role in determining policy for the Conservative government of Canada. She shows how Biblical belief has allowed Christians to put dozens of MPs in office and to build a power base across the country, across cultures and even across religions.   “What drives that growing Christian nationalist movement is its adherents’ conviction that the end times foretold in the book of Revelation are at hand,” writes McDonald. “Braced for an impending apocalypse, they feel impelled to ensure that Canada assumes a unique, scripturally ordained role in the final days before the Second Coming — and little else.”   The Armageddon Factor shows how the religious right’s influence on the Harper government has led to hugely important but little-known changes in everything from foreign policy and the makeup of the courts to funding for scientific research and social welfare programs like daycare. And the book also shows that the religious influence is here to stay, regardless of which party ends up in government. 

 Posted by at 9:02 PM