The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.

Beware the Tory God Squad

The problem with pre-programmed politicians.

By Rafe Mair 13 Jun 2005 |

image atom

Last week I offered, as one of the reasons the Tories will lose the next election, the fact that they are being hijacked by the religious right, just as has happened to the Republican party.

At last count there were some 15 actual or probable Tory nominations to fundamentalist Christians.

When I raise this question on air, I can expect a barrage of email asking: “Why are you afraid of fundamentalist Christians? And wouldn’t it be better for the country if we had men and women of Christian morality in office?”

My answer to the first question is that I fear any politician whose views on anything are unbending and depend upon a philosophical commitment that is unbreakable.

Am I saying that I want politicians who change their minds with every shift in the prevailing wind? No, not quite that. I just don’t want them preprogrammed. To me, fundamentalists of any religion are the reverse side of the communist coin. Each looks to accepted (by them) written authority when making a decision. Neither the Communist Manifesto nor the words of Mao and Lenin, however interpreted, should guide public policy. Nor should the writings in the Bible.

I make one exception to the latter statement – if the politicians guiding principle is “love thy neighbour as thyself”, no one can complain.

Fundamental questions

But let’s look at the fundamentalist Christian and ask them some questions.

On questions of homosexuality, why are you so unconcerned with their civil rights? That you have the right to refuse them membership in your church goes without saying but upon what precedent of civil law do you deny them equality before the law?

Many of you write me and talk about biblical injunctions against homosexuals but you don’t explain this: If homosexuality is against God’s will, why wasn’t He specific? In fact, while adultery is dealt with in the Ten Commandments, homosexuality is not.

If you are to believe that those who disobey God (according to your lights) must be punished, why not turn your attention to adultery which is specifically forbidden in the Ten Commandments? Adultery was unlawful in this and other Christian communities at one time and is certainly a sin, big time, amongst Islamic fundamentalists. This question takes on practical significance for while I accept that none of you would jail adulterers, will you censor that which deals with adultery in other than a condemnatory way?

What’s your view on the Little Sisters’ Books case? May I assume that you support the right of customs officials at the border to censor that which you believe God will find objectionable?

Thou shalt not kill, says the Good Book. What about abortion? Do you believe that women should be refused abortions bringing back illegal abortion clinics and back alley self abortion with a coat hanger?

I know you’ll see this as a silly question but if it is, you brought it on yourself. Are you in favour of slavery, a practice mentioned causally and never condemned by the writers whose other tenets of faith you accept as binding? What do you propose ought to be done to those who take the Lord’s name in vain? Or fail to keep the Sabbath?

I know the answer will be that some things are too late to rectify. But that’s not good enough, for while you might not be able in practice to punish adultery you certainly can prevent the further right of women to a full place of society and find plenty of Biblical quotes to support what you do.

How would you deal with prostitution? As a matter or morality?

What about drugs? As a morality issue only? Not a health problem?

What about your position on war? Your Bible is chock-a-block with battles and military slaughters. “Saul has slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands” says the Good Book. Will you support wars brought in the name of God, which most are?

Pulpit politics

The most prominent fundamentalist in America is Reverend Jerry Falwell, a man many churches in Canada treat as a quasi-leader. Do you agree with him that gays can and should be taught to be “straight” and that homosexuality can be cured?

Of perhaps even more important, in my view, is this: Do you agree with Jerry Falwell’s anti-Semitism?

I suppose the overarching fear is that fundamentalists believe that the entire Bible is the word of God, such that the Constitution of the country can be trumped by some religious zealot’s reading of a book that very few of us are prepared to take literally.

Render unto God that which is God’s; render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. When in a Canadian parliament, the member is doing Caesar’s work.

Rafe Mair, a regular columnist for The Tyee, can be heard every weekday morning from 8:30-10:30 on 600AM, His website is  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Coverage Would You Like to See More of This Year?

Take this week's poll