Assertion, unsupported by fact, is nugatory. Surmise and general abuse, in however elegant language, ought not to pass for truth. Junius


Supreme Court Rules, Democracy Wins

The papers were predictably full of the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling today. (I started to nod off even as I wrote that sentence.) The Nat Post wore a funereal air, as if a dowager aunt had passed on, the Globe was the usual grey voice of reason, and the Toronto Star was frankly jubilant. The headlines should have read "God's Wrath Postponed, Religious Right Disappointed", for indeed, the skies did not open and the futures market in brimstone was sharply down on the news of God's apparent indifference.

I think Jeffrey Simpson had it exactly right when he said in today's Globe that unless parliamentarians start muttering the dreaded words "notwithstanding clause", go back to sleep.

The ruling, in fact, was a masterpiece in that old Canadian virtue, compromise. Nobody completely happy, but everyone who came to the table got something. The churches were promised they wouldn't have to book George and Daniel for May 28th if they didn't want to (though nobody except for the bullfruit division of the far right really thought that anyway); gays and lesbians got equality; parliamentary surpremacy nuts were heartened by the court's refusal to legislate; and the Government got the excuse to introduce the legislation it wanted to all along. Everybody wins!

More curious to my mind were the various right-wing "pro-family" groups (as if the right holds the copyright on family values) that showed up for the ensuing media circus. For as we all know, gay marriage means the "traditional family" is going to a barbeque at Lucifer's summer cottage on Rousseau. Their various media geeks bent the ear of any reporter who would listen to express their shocked-and-appalledness. "The meaning of family has lost its integrity," they wailed. "What about the children?" (O dear Lord, people. Get a grip.)

To listen to such groups such as Focus on the Family Canada (the Canadian branch office of the American far-right group) and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (the umbrella group for fundementalist churches) --- two of the organizations quoted by CBC Radio One --- you would think gay marriage, along with abortion on demand and stem cell research pose the greatest threat to families since the arrival of rock-and-roll.

Well, dear Reader, I will tell you the greatest threat to Canadian families. It is not gay marriage. It is not stem cell research or abortion or rock-and-roll or even space aliens kidnapping farmers from the back concessions of Wellington County.

It's poverty.

You remember poverty, don't you? Single mothers trying to decide whether paying the hydro bill or the rent is more important. Children living on an endless diet of Kraft dinner and pasty white bread, then going to school hungry. You know all of that and the dreary statistics as well.

Now when was the last time you heard either the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada or Focus on the Family create a media furore, hold a news conference, testify before a Royal Commission or even have a prayer vigil against poverty?

Right, you haven't.

I looked today at the website of the EFC and yes, they have a five para bit on poverty copied from their statement of principles, plus a more substantial document published in 1999 called (facietiously, I think) "Good News for the Poor", which is long on biblical exigesis and short on action. That's it. Compare this offering to the miles of press releases and commentary regarding the minutiae of the same-sex marriage issue and you'll see my point. Imagine a tenth of the energy spent on this issue spent on the issue of poverty!

On the other great enemy of families, on a world scale, war, the EFC offers nada. Instead it worries itself sick about George and Daniel, op. cit.

I won't bore you with long disclaimers and testimonials about all the fine evangelicals I know. It's all true. They are fine Christians, better than I could ever hope to be. But all I hear from their leadership is cant and pandering and complacency in the name of the suffering Christ.

In my mind, groups like the EFC and Focus on the Family have absolutely no credibility to hector all Canadians on the issue of "family values". They want "dialogue" on the issue of same-sex marriage, "time for reflection", they say. Fine. Feed the poor. Comfort the sick and visit prisoners. Take the beam out of your eye.

Then come back and talk.


Blogger ND said...

What causes poverty in Canada? Doesn't the prgressive Canadian goverment already suplement the enpoverished and less fortunate? I did enjoy your jab at the church regarding prayer for the poor...they could pray untill they are blue in the face, however the poor will remain poor.

Saturday, 11 December, 2004  

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