Stephen Harper doesn't talk about his evangelical religion. But its footprints are all over his policies. Andrew Nikiforuk writes in the Tyee:
Most Canadians still don't even know that Harper has been a long-time member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, an evangelical church established by a Canadian nearly 100 years ago. It has a wide following in Alberta.
Harper's church believes that Jesus Christ will return to Earth in an apocalypse that is "imminent." It does not support abortion and homosexuality and believes that those who aren't born-again are "lost."
The publication Christianity Today has called Harper "The Smartest Evangelical Politician You Never Heard Of." But take a look at his policies and his legislation and you'll see what drives him. Consider his policy on Israel:
The Israeli press understands Canada's new religious reality. During Harper's celebrated state visit to Israel in 2014 the local press published an analysis noting that views of "the devout evangelical Christian prime minister" probably played a key role in Canada's new strategic union with the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Under Netanyahu, anti-Arab harassment and hatefulness have reached dangerous heights. Even the conservative Israeli president Ruvi Rivlin has despaired about the racism, extremism and "thuggishness that has permeated the national dialogue" in Israel.
But that's not what Canadians now hear from their evangelical prime minister. His government has declared a "zero tolerance" approach towards groups that support boycotting Israel to protest its dealings with Palestinians, conflating criticism of state policies with "anti-Semitism." That meant the Canadian government has identified as enemies such boycott backers as the United Church of Canada, Canadian Quakers, labour and student groups.
It's not just Harper's policy towards Israel that shows the influence of Evangelicalism. Domestic policy is full of it:
Religion explains why Harper appointed a creationist, Gary Goodyear, as science minister in 2009; why the party employs Arthur Hamilton, as its hard-nosed lawyer (he's an evangelical too and a member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance); why Conservative MP Wai Young would defend the government's highly controversial spying legislation, Bill C-51, by saying it reflects the teachings of Jesus; and why Canada's new relationship with Israel dominates what's left of the country's shredded foreign policy.
It also explains why Harper would abolish the role of science advisor in the federal government only to open an Office of Religious Freedom under the department of Foreign Affairs with an annual $5-million budget. Why? Because millions of suburban white evangelical Christians consider religious freedom a more vital issue than same-sex marriage or climate change.
Like the Puritans of Salem, Harper believes that if he can't convert you, he should destroy you. Those who see themselves as God's agents are a clear and present danger.