Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Harper looking to God, hoping the Christian Right stays on side.

I was planning to write on the pending collapse of Canada's real estate bubble, but came across something a bit more current. I still intend to offer up some analysis about why home values are poised to drop, but I don't see that slide being truly evident until later this year and into early 2010.

What caught my eye? Another surfing session at bloggingtories lead me to reading "Business. Church. Politics" Kevin R. Bourne's blog. His most recent posting is titled: "Christian Heritage Party of Canada- A Viable Option? It reminded me of something I'd written about in February: Will Christian Right Stick With Harper's Conservatives?

I'm not interested in going over the same ground again, so rather I'd like to approach this question from the perspective of a fundamentalist Christian, also frequently referred to as born again or evangelical.

I believe readers deserve to know of an author's biases up front, so here are mine. While I identify myself as being Christian, I in no way consider myself to be an Evangelical, or a fundamentalist. With that being said I have attended numerous Churches such as Pentecostal and Baptist which typically identify themselves as being 'faith based'. As such I believe I have a pretty strong understanding of the Christian frame of reference.

Is the Christian Heritage Party a viable option? That's the question being posed by Mr. Bourne, who incidentally lists among his many accomplishments that of being an ordained minister. In his writing, Reverend Bourne opines that..."they should consider a partnership with the Conservative Party". I must disagree, not from a political perspective, but rather from a religious one.

In his blog the author offers up the Old Testament story of Joseph and the Pharaoh, for those less familiar with Biblical teaching you may wish to reference Andrew Lloyd Weber's ' Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat'. Joseph brought solutions to the problems facing Egypt, and as such was able to attain a high political post, courtesy of a grateful Egyptian monarch.

But Joseph did not seek out high office, it was granted to him because of his faithful adherence and belief in the God of Abraham. Joseph never compromised his beliefs or his faith. The questions a fundamentalist Christian voter should be asking in my opinion, are these.

Do I compromise on my religious beliefs, and vote with a larger party that has a more legitimate chance of attaining power?

Rather than vote for a party which is true to Christian teaching, should I vote for a larger party that comes closest to them?

Pastor Bourne seems to think that political expediency should trump faithfulness to one's beliefs. Obviously the Conservatives, as currently constructed, have a better chance of electing sizable numbers when compared to a party like the CHP. But is that what Christianity is about? Did Jesus instruct his disciples to ignore His teachings so as to obtain power and influence?

Canada's fundamentalist, evangelical Christian population has certainly found a home with Stephen Harper's party. But if significant enough numbers remained true to their faith and voted with the CHP, this small fringe party might very well be able to elect enough members to have the Christian voice heard in government. Like Joseph with the Pharaoh, Christians remaining faithful to their core beliefs and to the teachings of Jesus might very well be blessed, as Joseph was blessed.

What issues are of importance to Canadians who believe strongly in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Bible? One that is certainly front and centre right now is that of homosexuality. For those who accept Biblical teaching as literal fact and absolute truth, it must be very disconcerting to see their tax dollars being used to celebrate that which is considered a sinful and unnatural lifestyle.

Already Stephen Harper's Tories have funded Toronto's Gay Pride festival, as well as similar events in cities across Canada. Sure they denied funding to Montreal's Gay Arts festival, but they have not repudiated their earlier decisions. In an effort to avoid controversy Montreal's organizers were simply told there were too many events applying for funding.

To me it reeks of hypocrisy, something Jesus was none too keen on. Like the Pharisees of the Gospels, Harper and his ilk seem anxious to appear devout, but in reality it strikes me that they're merely paying lip service to their socially conservative base. I strongly suspect Montreal's funding would have gone through had it not been for Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost taking the issue to a socially conservative news service.

With news out that Stephen Harper's Conservatives were doling out big cheques to festivals and such across Canada, festivals that celebrate: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) lifestyles....damage control was needed. Montreal had its funding denied and Diane Ablonczy was sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

That's the operative word here in the final analysis, 'expediency'. Firm adherence to Christian beliefs and principles has never been Stephen Harper's political forte. If it were I don't see how he could have fired the first stone in Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's direction during his trip to Italy. Stones thrown without provocation, ...striking back at the cheek of an academic who questioned Canada's relevance at the G8...not those of the Liberal leader.

Am I suggesting that Michael Ignatieff is more of a Christian than Harper? Absolutely not, in my opinion they are both cut of the same cloth...they're both politicians.

So again I'll return to expediency. Are voters who identify themselves as believers in the true Gospel going to continue to support Harper? Or will they turn to the Christian Heritage Party, a political party in keeping with Evangelical tenets?

In the final analysis some will choose to serve two masters. Some will proclaim fidelity to their Christian beliefs, while holding their noses and voting for Harper's Conservatives in the hope of attaining political power. While others who opt for the CHP will refuse to compromise on their faith.

The only question is: Will Canada's true Christian party garner enough votes to elect any members? Christian voters who refuse to compromise can be thankful that federal funding of political parties is still in place. At least then, even though the CHP may not elect many (or any) members, they'll at least receive increased funding to make their message heard.

I'm sure many Christians would rather see their tax dollars being used to spread the Gospel as opposed to promoting Gay lifestyles.

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