The last few months have been a disgrace for journalism. Especially for Canadian journalism. Especially for liberal Canadian journalism. Unable to tolerate what seems to be losing in the game of democracy and terrified by the possibility of a Conservative majority government, left-leaning pundits decided to blame the participants. Welcome to the hellish world of The Christian Right.
I’ve never seen such flummery and nonsense in all my life. A toxin of ignorance and bitterness suddenly flowed into the media bloodstream and poisoned the body politic. The very nature of free speech and political expression was challenged.
Why? Because the left is frightened of losing. They had to find a scapegoat because they couldn’t come to terms with their own failures. Just as with minorities of old, the best type of scapegoat is someone you don’t really know but really know you’re supposed to hate.
One rather glib Canadian pundit opined “Half of the United States wants to be like Canada, the other half like Iran.” How awfully clever. Yes that’s right, 150 million Americans want to amputate limbs as a form of punishment and sponsor international terrorism.
But in Canada this is accepted as intelligent analysis. It is what we have come to expect from the influential minority group known as The Secular Left. They dominate political parties, are well organized, and are vehemently intolerant. They are also incapable of listening to the inherent contradictions in their own arguments.
It needn’t be that way. The public square should be a place for civil, if occasionally heated debate. No voice need be marginalised and no viewpoint silenced as being extreme or unacceptable. The reality, however, is fundamentally different.
The Secular Left may advocate, for example, gay marriage, abortion on demand, the removal of prayer from schools, more state intervention in the family, lowering the age of consent and full access to pornography on television.
The Christian Right may advocate, for example, against gay marriage and abortion on demand, and in favour of prayer in schools, less state intervention in the family, raising the age of consent, and limited access to pornography on television.
I have views on all these issues but I do not see one as extreme and one as moderate or one as intelligent and one as stupid. It is surely acceptable, indeed laudable, to have differing view on such vital topics in a thriving democracy.
What we have been told recently, though, and what we will be told repeatedly in the months to come, is that the people who hold one of these sets of opinions are righteous and the others are fascists who want to stone people to death for watching The Simspons.
Let me tell you about some members of the alleged Christian Right. The following are real but I have altered their names. The Van Pelts have six children. Their fifth child is a Downs Syndrome boy, Timmy. “You never quite stop grieving for the normal child you lost, even though he never existed,” says Jean Van Pelt. “But the love is overwhelming. It’s like being drowned in love.”
The Van Pelts are not wealthy but their sixth child is adopted. He is black. And, like Timmy, he is also Downs Syndrome. “He needed us more than other children”, says Jean. “If we’re not here to help, there’s no point.” The Van Pelts voted for Harper and will do so again, even though they wish he was more courageous on issues of life and sexuality.
The Burmans lead their church mission to the inner city. They never discuss Jesus unless asked, but they do work with alcoholics, drug addicts and the abused. Both Dean and Cindy Burman have been physically attacked during their work, but they wouldn’t abandon their friends for anything. They both voted for Harper as well.
Rick Kelly is a widower. His wife died five years ago and since then he has raised their four children alone. The tears are less common now, but they never completely stop. Rick’s church has raised millions of dollars to help fights AIDS in Africa and also supports an AIDS hospice in the United States. Rick voted for Harper too.
The Christian Right. Some are saints, some are come up short to varying degrees. They can be intolerant and annoying. Just like, in fact, The Secular Left. But we all have a right and a responsibility to have an influence over our political system. How outrageous that the smug and powerful encourage one group, but despise the other. Thing is, Jean, Dean, Cindy and Rick will forgive them, even forgive the Conservative Party for not truly representing its voters by defending life and marriage. Perhaps it’s this forgiveness that makes the left so very angry. So sad.
Michael Coren can be booked for speeches at michaelcoren.com.