Saturday, February 23, 2013

Buying Votes

This week, Stephen Harper launched his Office for the Promotion of Religious Freedom. Tasha Kheiriddin is puzzled:

Of all the Conservatives’ initiatives to date, the most bewildering is its newly created Office for the Promotion of Religious Freedom. The Tories are deploying five million dollars of taxpayers’ money — ostensibly to promote not a particular religion, but the freedom to practice religion in general. Not in Canada, mind you, but around the world, in places from Turkey to Tibet.

But the office is more than puzzling. It strikes at the very heart of Canadian democracy. Kheriddin writes:

True, most Canadian laws are derived from Judeo-Christian principles: do not steal, do not kill, love thy neighbour as thyself. But we have no state religion. While our tax system does allow exemptions for faith-based organizations, government does not otherwise promote the practice of religion in general, or of one faith in particular.

Even in our own country, we subordinate faith groups to general rules regarding respect for human rights. Our courts have held that the right to freedom of expression, the right to equality and the right to security of the person supersede the right to religion-based practices, or to prevent others from engaging in acts which offend religious sensibilities.

We tolerate religion in Canada -- all religions. But we have erected a wall between Church and State. The Catholic Church has forbidden abortions. The five prime ministers who preceded Stephen Harper were all Catholics. But abortion is legal in Canada. Mosques dot the Canadian landscape. But our courts are not guided by Sharia Law. We believe in freedom of religion. And we believe in freedom from religion.

So why have an Office of Religious Freedom? Mr Harper tells us that its mandate will be to promote freedom of religion abroad. Just how much freedom of religion will five million dollars buy abroad? The truth is that the OPRF, like all Harper initiatives, is about buying votes at home. That's what the GST cut was about -- even though it set up a structural deficit. That's what the Canada's Action Plan ads were about -- buying citizens' votes with their own money.

It's the perfect con.


Dana said...

And nobody is easier to con than a religious person. They've already bought into the biggest con ever perpetrated.

Owen Gray said...

When Faith trumps Reason, Dana, you get the Scopes Monkey Trial.

The Mound of Sound said...

No Freedom Of Religion without Freedom From Religion. Religion has to be put back in the box of, well, religion. Do whatever you like, just leave me out of it. Yet, when religion enters the political sphere, as it does under people like Harper, that infringes on my right of freedom from religion. At that point religion becomes fair game as much as any other political player.

Owen Gray said...

These folks are really the 21st Century version of Bible Bill Aberhart's -- and Ernest Manning's -- Social Credit Party, Mound.

Preston was merely following in his old man's footsteps. He wanted to save your soul as he saved your government.

No thanks.

Anonymous said...

Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation Party of 1989. He was linked with Christian Fundamentalists.

I read. Christian Fundamentalists are also terrorists. Harper shutting down, the busiest Search and Rescue Base in Canada? Means what?

Harper most certainly, is no Conservative either.

We will wait and see if, Harper's buddies put up condo's, on the Kit's Search and Rescue Base? Christy also works for Harper, as did Campbell did before her. Wonder what part she played, in this bizarre venture?

Owen Gray said...

If the polls out in B.C. mean anything, Anon, Christy's ventures are about to come to an end.

e.a.f. said...

stevie slime had no business using tax dollars to establish this "new dept." . The person he annointed to head it is nothing more than a christian taliban leader. I really do object to the use of my tax dollars in this manner. This is just another example of stevie and the slimers trying to impose their religious views on all Canadians. We see it when cons put forth their private members's bills which insult the women of this country. time for stevie and his slimers to go to hell.

Owen Gray said...

When government gets in the business of saving souls, e.a.f., we are in trouble.