Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stopping Stephen Harper & The Radical Religious Right & The Neoconservatives

Update:2:42 PM
Stephen Harper : Here For A Good Time Not A Long Time

Anyway if I was the praying kind I'd pray Harper and his band of Theocon Thugs either win no knew sits or lose a few at the least. Harper has been in charge of a minority government and yet he's all out of gear because he couldn't ram every wacko policy he had upon an easy going, tolerant, polite society like Canada. Those policies were not original to him or even to The Calgary School but were borrowed from Bush and Cheney and Karl Rove & Paul Wolfowitz Leo Strauss and other Magical Thinkers. Strauss believed that most people are trapped inside a cave and cannot discern the shadows on the walls from reality and only a few could fathom the truth and so it is their duty to lead the rest while keeping them under control through lies and propaganda and big dose of Religion to keep them in line . Stephen Harper believes himself to be one of these Philosopher Kings or Tyrants able to use the power of his voice to subdue a nation to his will. ( a bit of Hyperbole ?)

On Freedom of the Press- Harper Believes in controlling News Conferences in the same way as Bush & Cheney & McCain & Palin etc, have done.
Stephen Harper brings US style media control to Canada-February 13, 2007 CBC The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos
Ottawa Press is anti-Conservative-

In his speech at the Democratic convention Barack Obama laid out plainly the choices before Americans, pointing out the failure of George Bush neo-con policies on almost every front. Canadians will soon have a similar choice to make. Stephen Harper is, perhaps more than Bush himself, a George Bush style neo-conservative. Harper's policies are essentially the same as those of George Bush even when those policies benefit the US and harm Canada.

From, August 30, 2008Time to Unite Against Stephen Harper

For Harper, the courtship of the Christian right is unlikely to prove an electoral one-night stand. In 2003, in a speech to the annual Conservative think-fest, Civitas, he outlined plans for a broad new party coalition that would ensure a lasting hold on power. The only route, he argued, was to focus not on the tired wish list of economic conservatives or "neo-cons," as they'd become known, but on what he called "theo-cons" — those social conservatives who care passionately about hot-button issues that turn on family, crime, and defence. Even foreign policy had become a theo-con issue, he pointed out, driven by moral and religious convictions. "The truth of the matter is that the real agenda and the defining issues have shifted from economic issues to social values," he said, "so conservatives must do the same."

Arguing that the party had to come up with tough, principled stands on everything from parents' right to spank their children to putting "hard power" behind the country's foreign-policy commitments, he cautioned that it also had to choose its battlefronts with care. "The social-conservative issues we choose should not be denominational," he said, "but should unite social conservatives of different denominations and even different faiths."

From: Stephen Harper and the Theo-cons /ELECTION 2008 / The rising clout of Canada's religious right by Marci McDonald / Originally published in the Oct 2006 issue of The Walrus magazine / National / Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Harper's combination of bellicosity, slash-and-burn attitude toward Canadian social programs and religious fervor makes many Canadians nervous. Unfortunately for Canada, Harper has a lot of American help. James Dobson has set up a Canadian branch of his Focus on the Family three blocks from the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The organization, called the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, provides political expertise to and otherwise supports Harper's allies in the bid to turn Canada into an Americanized Christian state. Dobson, who rails against Canada's defense of gay rights and legalization of same-sex marriage, buys radio time in Canada to attack the nation's tolerance of gays and calls for legislation to roll back these measures. The proliferation of new Christian groups is dizzying, with organizations such as the National House of Prayer, the Institute for Canadian Values and the Canada Family Action Coalition, whose mission is "to see Judeo-Christian moral principles restored in Canada," publishing election guides, working with sympathetic legislators and mobilizing Canadian evangelicals in local and national campaigns. These groups turn frequently to American Christian leaders like Jerry Falwell, who came to Canada two years ago for an "Emergency Pastors Briefing" to rally 400 evangelical ministers against a bill before Parliament that included a provision making it a hate crime to denounce homosexuals. Other stalwarts, like former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed and televangelist John Hagee, have come north to spread their toxic message to the newly energized Canadian evangelical church. And in the Harper government they have found not only a willing convert but an important ally.

Harper's hold on power, like that of George Bush, is shaky. He too has no clear mandate to transform Canada, but this has not stopped his minority government from steadily undermining social programs and a once enlightened foreign policy that liberal Americans could only envy. The tools he is using are familiar to many Americans, who stood sleepily by as Pat Robertson and other religious bigots hijacked the Republican Party and moved into the legislative and executive branches of government. As I walk the windy streets of Toronto I wonder if those who push past me will wake up and see in Harper's government our own malaise or watch passively as Canada becomes a demented reflection of George Bush's America.

Chris Hedges the Nation Letter From Canada: The New Christian Right Nov 9, 2006
Anyway it is strange that the Canadian media are for whatever reason reluctant to talk about Stephen Harper's connections with the Religious Right and the Neoconservatives. So I'd like to elaborate a bit on a few important issues which are affected by Harper's Neoconservative Ideology and his connections to the Religious Right or Conservative Evangelical Christians.

The Religious Right have helped to shape and control Stephen Harper's governments agenda. They believe as does Stephen Harper in a literal reading of the Bible. They also read the Book of Revelation in the Bible as if it were a literal blueprint of the future or future events & of contemporary events. Reading the Bible in this way has consequences on public policies and foreign relations. It also means that the Religious Right has a tendency to see everything in terms of a cosmic spiritual battle where the battle lines are clearly drawn. With this sense of certainty they see every issue as black and while as holy or unholy and therefore there is little or no room for compromise. But a democratic open society which believes in tolerance and understanding is one of give and take where the people and their government where ever possible attempt to forge a compromise on various public policy issues. In a democracy one of the basic beliefs is that of protecting minorities from the Tyranny of the Majority. These include domestic issues such as women's rights , Gay rights, the rights of minorities, education, and the environment to name a few.
At the moment in Canada and the United States abortion is legal and is seen as a private matter and as seen as an issue of the rights of women or Reproductive Rights. The argument is that a woman has certain rights concerning her own body. A pregnant woman therefore has the right to terminate a pregnancy . The so-called rights of the fetus are secondary to the rights of the woman. Women therefore have choice in the matter. Yet the Religious Right in its rhetoric often seems to suggest that women are being encouraged through persuasion & undue pressure and propaganda by Feminist who in their view have a radical and strident agenda. But before abortion was legal women who wanted to terminate an unwanted pregnancy had to do so with the help of well meaning medical professionals or by means of back alley amateurs or using dangerous so called home remedies or by more drastic means such as a planned accidental fall down the stairs or the use of a coat-hanger. It was because so many women suffered greatly or even died using such procedures that it was felt it would be better to legalize abortions so they could be performed in more hygienic surroundings by trained personnel.

The Religious Right are Pro-Life and anti-abortion because they believe that at the moment of conception there is a soul or human being in existence though not wholly formed. Therefore the Religious Right and the Pro-Life movement are against abortions in all cases since they believe that abortion constitutes murder. This means they would also be against the " morning after pill" or even the use the Birth Control Pill because in both cases an embryo or Zygote is destroyed which again is the death of an individual soul or person. The more political savvy of the Religious Right in order to get more public support may be willing to accept some sort of compromise by backing legislation which would allow abortions but there might be limits on when it would be proper to perform abortions or by allowing for a number of exceptions for the performing of abortion IE when a woman's health physical or mental is at risk, in cases of rape & incest or of girls under a certain age or if the fetus' health has been severely compromised. They would also be concerned with certain legal niceties such as insuring that the legislation passed would not contravene the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Constitution. But such legislation would be as the saying goes " the thin edge of the wedge" since later on they would push for more restrictive legislation so that there would be fewer exceptions except for those rare instances where the mother's life would be at risk .Sarah Palin for instance names only this one exception which she could approve of since she does not approve of abortion even in cases of rape or incest. There are also those Pro-Lifers who would not even allow for an exception in the case of the woman's life being at risk.

As for women's rights we have already seen how the Harper government has cut the budgets for various agencies which are aimed at helping women. Even shelters for battered women have come under attack by the federal government and provincial governments especially by the tactic of underfunding. This tactic of underfunding has also been used to attack Early Childhood Education and Daycare. The Religious Right is not interested in helping out women who are physically or psychologically abused by their boyfriends or husbands because to them women are supposed to submit to the authority of their boyfriends or husbands since this is they believe based upon Biblical law. A woman who refuses to obey her husband can be berated and disciplined by her husband including the use of spanking and beatings. Though they might admit that a man might go to far but the burden of proof is on the woman in such cases. The rape of a woman by her husband in their view would not be recognized as being rape since a woman must obey her husband and fulfill all of his needs so she can't arbitrarily refuse to have sex with her husband. As for a man raping a woman he is not engaged to or married to the burden of proof would be on the woman making such a charge. It then becomes just like in earlier times a woman would have to prove she had not led the man on and that she was not "a loose woman " having had many sexual partners or that she was not a prostitute. Men they would claim have less control over their sexual urges so it is up to women to keep men on the straight and narrow as it were. So women should not act or dress in ways which would lead men astray. So a woman would not be encouraged to report that she believed that she had been raped .

As for Gay Rights the Religious Right is adamantly against Gay Rights . To the Religious Right or Conservative Evangelical Christians homosexuality is an abomination which they believe is condemned by the Bible. They have developed different theories about homosexuality . Sometimes they speak about homosexuality as if it were an affliction or a psychological or psychiatric problem which might be cured by various forms of therapy.Other times they will refer to it as a life-style choice and therefore something one chooses and that one is therefore capable of choosing otherwise. To choose this life-style or to refuse to undergo therapy or seek spiritual guidance to help one abandon such evil actions is therefore a willingness to go against ,in their view, God's Law and so to willfully sin.

The Religious Right are therefore against Gay & Lesbian marriages and would seek legislation to prevent such marriages as being recognized by the Canadian government. They begin the argument that no church should be forced to perform Gay Marriages or to recognize such marriages whether performed in a church or in some secular civil union ceremony . Since the purpose of marriage is to unite a man and a woman in a union before God so that they can then have children which is the main purpose of marriage. It then follows that the union of same sex couples cannot be sanctioned by God or the Church since such unions cannot lead to the ultimate goal bearing children.

But again the issue of baning Gay Marriages is just a start for their anti-Gay agenda. Next they would want the federal government to deny spousal rights or benefits and to deny Gay couples the same taxation rights as heterosexual couples.They then would have legislation passed if necessary to allow governments federal, provincial or municipal & private businesses to deny Gay employees' spouses or companions the same benefits as those of heterosexual couples .The Religious Right would then go on to deny Gay couples other rights such as adoption or the right to equal employment opportunities or the right to rent an apartment or buy a house. So if a government agencies or an NGO or a company does not want to hire Gays that would be perfectly legal. In the end Gays would be forced back into the closet as it were as more and more restrictive legislation was passed limiting their rights to hold jobs , or legislation allowing various businesses the right to refuse to serve them etc. The ultimate goal of the Religious Right would be to force Gays into treatment centres to overcome their sickness or sinful nature through prayer, counselling , drugs, aversion therapy etc. If they persisted in engaging in same sex physical relationships they could then be imprisoned or institutionalized if not executed or to be " stoned " to death. Nothing like a community " Stoning " on a Sunday afternoon ,I guess.

Under a Religious Right regime religious minorities would not have the same rights as Christians . There are a multitude of ways the rights of religious minorities could be affected. For instance the size of a house of worship of non-Christians could be legislated as they were in the past. So a Muslim Mosque, a Hindu, Sikh , Taoist or Buddhist Temple etc. might have more building restrictions as to height and dimensions or its outward look so it would not stand out or be for instance stand higher than a Christian Church. As for Holy Days and celebrations by those of minority religions could also be restricted . For instance school age children would not be permitted to have time off during their religious groups High Holidays nor would employees who belonged to a minority religion be given time off during such holidays. A concern for Muslims would be the broadcasting of the " Call to Prayer " five times a day whether by the a human voice unamplified or by lod speakers. Towns and cities could pass by-laws to prevent such a vocal call to prayer. Again it should be noted for those unaware of it that in the West there are historical precedences for such actions on the part Christian authorities.

or see current controversy over the use of loudspeakers for the daily " Call to Prayer " in Oxford England
Mosque's plan to broadcast call to prayer from loudspeaker 'will create Muslim ghetto'Daily Mail 14 January 2008

Muslim elders at an Oxford mosque have said they intend to push ahead with plans to broadcast a call to prayer from a loudspeaker despite fierce opposition.
Local residents have attacked the idea saying it would disrupt the peace and turn the area into a 'Muslim ghetto'.
But the elders said they still intend to seek planning permission to install the loudspeaker.

as for the Environment we have discussed previously Stephen Harper has little interest in environmental concerns whether its pollutants from automobiles or from smokestacks at Industrial plants or power plants or the destruction caused by clear cutting of forests, or strip-mining or the tar sands . As any good Ultra-Conservative or Neocon profits come before the environmental risks or risks to people's health. As an Evangelical Christian Harper believes that God gave the earth to man to do what he sees fit. That is " Stewardship ". If there are fossil fuels which can be exploited these are in fact gifts to man from God. As for such fuels running out well God Will Provide and if not then that's part of God's Plan. environmental or ecological disaster such as Global Warming is also something foreseen by God and so we must merely adapt to it since God acts in ways beyond our comprehension. In the meantime there are profits to be made. And those who prosper the most are those whom God favors.It is therefore difficult to argue with such Theological beliefs.

And now for a little irreverence as it were -

I have discussed the problem that the Religious Right or Evangelicals and Fundamentalists have with modern science and Darwinian Evolution. Let me just point out once again that because these Evangelicals or Pentecostals or whatever their brand-name is at the moment believe in a literal Bible which means that the Bible is true and without error. The world they claim was created in six days each day being 24 hours long and this Creation took place around 4004 BC. So the earth is only about six-thousand years old. There are now several variations on the dating of Creation. Some will allow for an older earth but most believe that humans and dinosaurs inhabited the planet at the same time.

The Religious Right used to refer to their scientific theory as " Creationism " or " Scientific Creationism " or " Creation Science " whereby God Created the world and the universe. They then argue that " Scientific Creationism " was a scientific theory equivalent to Darwin's Theory of Evolution . In any case some of their arguments for "Scientific Creationism " didn't hold up so well so they changed tactics as it were . How for instance did God or they know how long a day was before the Sun was created. Were Adam and Eve created at the same time each molded out of the Earth or was Adam made first and then Eve since several versions are detailed in Genesis. And of course where did all those people come from to do all that " Begetting " busy little buggers. And did some Angels descend and mate with the daughters of men to create the Nephilim and are Demons and Angels all around us ; is Demon Possession real. If the Bible is literally true then these Angels disobeyed God.

But Now the more savvy Evangelicals mostly refer to their theory as " Intelligent Design " which basically says that since their is design in the universe and in animals, plants and humans there must have been an intelligent designer. They refer to many of the basic processes at work which other scientists refer to but they then postulate " The Designer ". Their next distinction is that human beings are a result of Special Creation. That is God createn Homosapiens in a single act of creation so what we are now is what we have always been. The issue is that Creation may have taken longer than six days but the creation of humans happened on one particular day if you like . But all the other animals and plants on earth were also created at the same time possibly out of some sort of primordial soup which had taken millions or billions of years to form. But that primordial soup was a result of God's first act of Creation which might be termed " The Big Bang ". So out of nothing God created something which then developed and later he was able to use this " stuff " to create life as we know it on Earth. But the Evangelical literalist rejects notions such as chance or accidents and mutations but rather sees there was a design inherent in the universe from the very beginning.They also then argue that their theory is as good as that of Evolution and so should be given equal time and treatment in text books and the public schools in science classes. I think it is more of a philosophical theory as in Metaphysics since there is no way to prove or disprove that an Intelligent Super-Being called God actually exists or that this being created the Universe as we know it. One could argue, for instance, that maybe he was experimenting and created many such parrallel universes or many different Earths to see what would happen . For all we know humankind is one of this Super-beings failures. Or to put it another way this is a religious belief and not science. If we were to teach it as science then science would also be reduced to some sort of belief system which could neither be proved or disproved. But theories being scientific must be able to not only be proved but can also be disproved if certain facts come to light.But there is no way to prove or disprove either " Scientific Creationism" or " Intelligent Design " .

On the other hand there are still major problems for the literalist in trying to explain Noah's Ark - there are a number of books written by Evangelical Scientists and Engineers who come up with some rather fanciful though unbelievable explanations of the size of the Ark and how many animals it would hold and what they would do with the animal waste or secretions on such a voyage . But one wonders what happened to the dinosaurs had they already gone extinct or were they killed in the flood. Were they among God's mistakes or is the fossil record just a big hoax or God's little joke on us. But anyway so then there was a flood and Noah found land and there appeared in the sky the first Rainbow which God created especially for that occassion. Anyway as one goes through the Book of Genesis the questions and doubts multiply. So it isn't that God created the world and left it alone as in the view of Deist but rather God continually steps in causes things to happen as he did at a particular battle and made the Sun stand still so the Sun at that point revolved around the Earth but God later changed this and made the Earth revolve around the Sun and so it goes- and God smited this guy or that or turned them into a pillar of salt destroyed whole cities - ordered his followers to murder whole peoples men, women & children and all their animals and this was a sign of Love or Compassion or just egotistical hatred & revenge and so now for two thousand years these wonderful Christians have mass murdered millions for not bowing down to their God for their God is a Jealous God and therefore a flawed God who can't control his temper-
And why should anyone believe in this particular view of Creation & the story in Genesis as opposed to the stories, myths or explanations found in other religions IE humankind escaped from a seashell dropped by a mischievious crow and so on-

see: Climate scientist claims Stephen Harper's government has muzzled experts
By Charlie Smith sept. 25, 2008

Harper's letter dismisses Kyoto as 'socialist scheme'
: Tuesday, January 30, 2007

CBC News
Prime Minister Stephen Harper once called the Kyoto accord a "socialist scheme" designed to suck money out of rich countries, according to a letter leaked Tuesday by the Liberals

For more check out Harper plays populist tune on arts cuts No point funding programs 'people actually don't wan't' JAMES BRADSHAW Globe and Mail,September 11, 2008

also see: liberal website Bush/

Tory ad takes potshot at NDP
Edmonton-Strathcona incumbent targets 'biggest competition' in marijuana radio spot
Trish Audette, The Ottawa Citizen Oct. 10,2008

And on the issue of the Liberal Party using attack ads but if its the truth is it still just a low blow attack ad. Jerad Galling

and check out: Arts cuts 'niche issue': Harper by Andrew Mayeda and David Akin Ottawa Citizen /Complaints made at 'rich galas' don't resonate with ordinary Canadians/ September 24, 2008

US War Resister faces deportation from Canada/Canada Border Services Agency, continues to routinely effect deportation orders of US Iraq War resisters/ from The Real News Network , Oct. 10, 2008

and: The campaigns to stop Harper/Rick Salutin: Canadian Web sites promote strategic voting as Conservative lead narrows/Oct. 10,2008 The Real News Network,Part 1

American Theocracy by Kevin Philips , pub.2006

American Fascists by Chris Hedges, pub. 2007

Restoring The Faith :The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture,

Edith L. Blumhofer, pub. 1993


Leo Strauss: An Intellectual Biography, by Daniel Tanguay, pub. 2007

The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss, (updated edition) by Shadia B. Drury, pub. 2005

Terror and Civilization: Christianity, Politics, and the Western Psyche, by Shadia B. Drury , pub. 2004

Jacoby, Susan : The Age of American Unreason, pub. 2008

Goodell, Jeff: BIG COAL; The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future, Pub. 2006


The Assault On Reason: Al Gore, pub. 2007

and so it goes,

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