Monday, 28 March 2011

Some parallels between political and religious dogma

Like most nerds who keep up with (Canadian) politics, I'm extremely excited about the open market of ideas that the Canadian federal elections offers us.

Yesterday I had the news on most of the day somewhat in the background, and at some point a piece caught my attention. An Albertan was asked by one of the CBC reporters who he'd vote for, and his answer was that, like in every election, he'd vote conservative but was resigned to the fact that he'd invariably watch the conservatives make idiots of themselves and forget what they got elected in for.

How very unfortunate for that man to think that "tradition" and not his personal views should decide his politics for him. An otherwise decent and hard-working man, to be sure, whose politics he regards as if it were religion (or more likely, too lazy or cynical to bother with reading up on who actually deserves his vote).

In Richard Tarnas', The Passion of the Western Mind, he writes:

"From the Enlightenment onward, the continuing development of the Western mind's social conscience, its growing recognition of unconscious prejudices and injustices, and its increasing historical knowledge shed new light on the actual practice of the Christian religion over the centuries. The Christian injunction to love and to serve all humanity and high valuation of the individual human soul now stood in sharp counterpoint to Christianity's long history of bigotry and violent intolerance - it's forcible conversion of other peoples, its ruthless suppression of other cultural perspectives, its persecution of heretics, its crusades againt Moslems, its oppression of Jews, its depreciation of women's spirituality and exclusion of women from positions of religious authority, its association with slavery and colonialist exploitation, its pervasive spirit of prejudice and religious arrogance maintained against all those outside the fold. Measured by its own standards, Christianity fell woefully short of ethical greatness..."

Now, I'm not against Christianity or the Christian faith (I was raised an Anglican and believe in many of its tenets) nor am I against any religion for that matter. But if we replace all references to "Christianity" in the above quote with the so-called "Religious Right" ideology of Harper's government, we can see clearly where ring-wing reactionaries (who dress in august conservative torys' colours) come from and what they stand for.

Biard was on a CBC program and he asked honestly why the "leftist" Canadian media and the liberals were picking on women ministers (Oda), and more recently the Secretary of State for Seniors was very dismissive of an online poll that was taken by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons regarding the last proposed Harper budget claiming that most seniors are too computer illiterate to take such a poll (or too poor to afford computers in any case).



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