FTLComm - Tisdale - May 28, 2001


It should come to no one who has paid any attention to national politics that for once the Canadian voter made a wise and proper decision. Recognising the danger in electing a person to the leadership of a country based on his fundamentalist Christian beliefs, the voters of Ontario went with the Liberals. There is probably little danger in electing any person of whatever religious leaning provided they keep their religious practices and beliefs separate from their role in the political process. However, the Alberta finance minister who became the leader of the Canadian Alliance was able to achieve his run for the leadership of this new party because he said he would stick to his religious principles and so was backed financially and in every way supported by the advocates of this religious portion of the Canadian electorate.




Now, realising he meant what he was saying all along, the pragmatic politicians who now sit in Parliament with him, have revolted. What they are revolting against is hard for them to explain and when Deborah Grey, his deputy house leader, abandoned his cause, she mumbled something about a way of doing things. The base of their problems is that the fundamentalist Christian beliefs of their leader rely very heavily on authoritarian one leader, one decision maker direction and conduct of party affairs. The simple issue is that his religious belief has imposed itself on his conduct and he does not and never did have any respect for democracy.




Members of parliament and members of the Canadian Alliance have been shocked at the personal attacks, telephone calls and threats they have received from the holy alliance supporters of the party leader but they should not be, the use of coercion is the hallmark of authoritarian regimes Get used to it, saying that you are doing the will of "God" gives you a rather extensive mandate.




It is regrettable that this sounds so much like an attack on one particular aspect of organised Christian religion, because it is perhaps more correctly the mind set and thought processes that seem to have developed around this segment of religion. So it might be instructive to reconsider the basis for the religious concepts that seems so front and centre in this issue.




By the fourteenth century, the Christian church, centred in Rome, had reached a point where a large number of practices and religious dogma had crept into this religion. The church was financing its building programme in Rome by selling tickets to heaven (indulgences) and the church's hierarchy had decided that it and it alone had the right to interpret the word of "God" and determine the way people should worship. Though there were many who were feeling increasingly uncomfortable, it was Martin Luther who took action and nailed a protest to the church door. Then a decadent king of England, smarting at the amount of money leaving his kingdom, and ticked off because the church refused to grant him a marriage annulment, took England on its own religious direction. The movement that developed was the "Protestant" reformation. It was primarily a movement to allow every believer to find their own way to salvation.




Now seven hundred years later we see the Protestant Christian churches themselves struggling with the very reasons they originally split with Rome. Tickets to heaven and religious dogma are once again at the forefront and in both Canada and United States we have seen the issues moved from the pulpit to the political arena. In Canada the voters of the East rejected the movement while in the United States it came down to a dead heat and the Protestant Right wing candidate squeaked through.



true path
of progress

Fundamentalism, be it Jewish, Moslem or Christian seems to produce some serious problems. Things are taken to extremes and there is in all cases the most serious threat to civilisation, de-intellectualisation. Israel was moving toward peace when a Jewish fundamentalist assassinated the country's leader and their has been a state of civil war since. In Iran and Afghanistan the atrocities committed in the name of religion have even rivalled those carried out by Catholics attempting to stamp out Protestantism One would think that in the course of human history we would learn from our mistakes and realise that the true path of progress is always through education, the sharing of knowledge and freedom to debate and express oneself




The Canadian Alliance Party has now moved from the present to the past, doomed and no longer worth wasting words, or thoughts upon, the quicker we realise this the better it will be for us all. By clinging to power, the Alliance leader is guaranteeing destruction, one can not unite with division.