Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

A non-Western-centric view of the spread of Christianity shows the tree branching out from the roots in the Middle East (Judaism), into a trunk that is Orthodox, to branches of many different flavours (i.e. Coptic, Mormon, Jehovah Witness to name but a few), from the Roman Catholic branch breaks out Protestantism, and then subdivides from there (Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, and on we go, then those break down more into the more esoteric-metaphysics movements such as New Thought, Christian Science to the spiritual-aesthetic ala Unitarian-Universalist).

As well off R.C.’s comes the religious life.

That is the beginning of the tree of Christendom. Yet there is two prevalent branches that happened in the Western World that is a thrown into the mix as overarching branches, especially in the microcosm that is North America, and more specifically the Untied States of America and Canada, that has back benched some shaping of national identity: Prosperity and Social gospels.

Now these may look at first blush as new movements starting late 19th-early 20th century.  BUT they are not, they actually can be found in the very root system of the tree. A cursory contextual-anthropological reading of the Hebrew Bible books of Judges-Prophets shows both systems at play.

  • Prosperity Gospel- Those who are in tune with God, and are blessed will thrive and grow in riches.
  • Social Gospel- A community centered movement to care for all of God’s children (widow, orphans, aliens, etc.) in a just world.

What would usually happen is that the blessed nation would get off track in the social gospel end, embracing the prosperity above all, thus creating the cycle of deserving/undeserving of blessing, and a judge or prophet would interject to get them back on track. The wisdom books tried to show the cycles of life detached from this ideal of prosperity being blessed, with the best example being the use of the Satan character to challenge the devout Job to show that bad things happen to good people, and it is what happens in the midst and how the community responds that matters. Are we a Job or his friends that scatter?

It is this dichotomy that can be seen within the religious movements that have shaped social policy in both Canada and the USA.  The official writing of the social gospel came from a writer in New York named Rauschenbush.  In later 20th century in America the movement would latch onto the idea of Red Letter Christians, in Latin America it would become Liberation Theology, still other dubbed theology of the margins would also crop up that would fall into the broad category of Social Gospel.

The Religious Right though would take the strong road of prosperity, and one just needs to look at how the social system of the U.S.A. has been developed, and barriers created to see that outcome. Especially in the battle for something as simple as universal health care, and acceptance of refugees. It underlies the drive of the meta-story of America of coming in to independently achieve the American dream.

In Canada, the Social Gospel really took root in church basements sprouting out labour movements, suffragists, and tied strongly into socialism which brought about politically Progressive Party, Labour Party, eventually convalescing into the CCF federally whose ideas so shook the status quo that it forced the two major parties to shift their focus onto just society, and yes labour rights, women’s rights, indigenous rights and universal health care.  It underlies the Canadian story of working together in a mosaic to create a home for the world.  Highlighted by such stalwarts as J.S. Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas, William Aberhart, Pierre Trudeau, the Famous Five and many others who should be named openly…and I would say continues with many most notably, Elizabeth May.

An aside of experience, is during the rise of the social gospel movement, the movement created a “Christian Flag” to rally behind in protests showing the lie the oppressive forces of the day chasing prosperity no matter the human cost stating it was “Christian” and “ordained by God”. The movement shook the establishment and walked with all to craft a different story.

Years ago in Arizona I was witness to a very fundamentalist church saying a pledge to the Christian flag. It was driven as a pledge with the underlying beliefs that they were to out breed the other religions. It was said as a pledge to support shooting the illegals crossing the boarder as the Gospel of Christ proclaimed. The rallying cry was used for exclusion to ensure their own prosperity would continue. I almost did not get out alive pointing out the history of this artifact and what it was meant for, the fact I was an “ill-informed” Canadian in their mind is probably what saved my life.

That is a small story that shows what happens in the extremes of forgetting who our neighbour is and what it means to love our neighbour and ourselves as we love our God. A very linked triangle that shows all pieces need to be in place for healthy self and society from a faith perspective.

The question in the dichotomous and dogmatic world we live in is one right or wrong? That is dependent upon one’s point of view. Yet is it worth being prosperous, if it means leaving behind many in poverty and pain where they need to decide on simple matters like food/heat or rent? Setting a broken limb of a child or homelessness?

There is shift’s happening, and yes, the prosperity mind set is taking root in the world, but should it? What is the counter? What changes if all move forward healthy and prosperous? What if, as has become a movement in our schools we move from ME to WE not just locally, but hold to our roots and truly live it?

You see, this is the underlying narratives within our nations, though not founded on “Christian principles” as many want us to believe, the stories crafted the narratives of expectations of the people. Now we are in a time when the narratives have allowed hate in some circles to over shadow love in the pursuit of money…

So, what choice will you make for yourself, your family, your community?

If you state you are of faith, what will you choose, prosperity or social gospel?

Individualism or community good?

To end, it is a question asked by Rev. James Shaver Woodsworth, when he was the superintendent of the Winnipeg Mission that was the open doors for the immigrants and refugees to populate the prairies. It shaped his view, his founding of the labour church, his stance against the money-making war machine, and eventually to surrendering his vocation. It is a simple question for you to answer:

Who is my Neighbour?


Ancient silver coin from Cyrene depicting a st...

Ancient silver coin from Cyrene depicting a stalk of Silphium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay a new week, and a new motion from a CONs back bencher. At first blush it appears different than the “when life begins” motion that even the Prime Minister voted against (even if 10 of his cabinet and half his caucus did not).

Now, another CONs backbencher has tabled a motion that at first glance seems a no brainer in the world of the abortion debate… simply put that an abortion of an unborn child (fetus/zygote, insert your own term here) shalt not be performed based on the fact that Mummy/Daddy to-be dislike the gender of the child. Read full article here.

Makes sense right? Yet it opens up the rights of all involved about choice. Is abortion good? No.  The reasons an abortion are chosen are many fold: rape, incest, economic, familial, gender, birth control, disability, disease, mother and/or child health, etc (and yes, these same reasons for someone else may actually empower the family to keep the child. This is not an easy black and white equation)… when one chooses to go down this path we do not know what the reasons are, they are in the family’s heart and soul. The purpose of publicly funded and available abortions through health care is not why this path has been chosen.

The rationale is simple, it is a devastating choice for all invovled, but it is more devastating when the abortion is performed in unlicensed clinics, or aborted through ingestions of poison, or the abuse of others/self. These methodologies more often than not lead to the death of the mother as well, so then two lives are lost. It is about reducing of harm to the mother, and hopefully the child. When done properly also includes before and after counselling and reconciliation work.

So this brings us to this motion? Is it good? At first blush, yes it is and quite common sense. But sadly it crosses the line of harm reduction for  these procedures and as such is a motion that needs to be voted down.

Will there ever be a time I would come out in support of the ending of publicly funded abortions? Possibly, but then the living Body of Christ would need to have built a world where every child conceived is not only wanted, but loved, and able to live a fruitful life free of abuse.

The answer is…


As much as I would like to sit here and say that the Conservative or fundamentalist Christianities were dying and at death’s door…they are not.

Nor can one stipulate that the liberal branches are.

This is the sticky point as some will say, surely you jest writer, just look at the numbers of people leaving in droves, the building sell off, congregation closings…except that is the traditional-conservative-fundamentalit structures that the new inclusive Christianities are stepping out of.

You see, the buildings may go away, traditional style congregations and positions may fade… yet there is a movement of faithful through works, through devotion to fellowship and through syncronicity of faith, holy stories and called to vocation and learnings… that are not quantifiable by any stretch of the imagination.

So unfortunately to the screaming headlines, and butts in pew counters out there, neither of broad tents of the Christianities will go away… why?

Like all other forms of spirituality, ideology, and religion… each of the veins of Christianities draws different individuals into the Holy Mystery.

The question shouldn’t be who the winner will be…

The question needs to be… how do we work together to create the just reign of God here on Earth that Christ called us too in the Gospels?

It does not matter which side of the debate you are on in regards to abortion. I think we should all be able to agree that until a world where every child conceived is wanted and loved, this is more about preserving the health/life of the mother so they do not need to seek abortions in less than savoury environments.
So please read and sign the following from our 3rd Party in Parliament The Liberal Party of Canada

Friend —


Stephen Harper said he would not re-open the debate on a woman’s right to choose.


But 24 hours from now, he’ll allow Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth to put forward a motion in the House of Commons which clearly opens the possibility of re-criminalizing abortion.


It’s up to you to make sure Canadian women and men know about it.


Please sign and share the petition and tell the Prime Minister: Hands off our reproductive rights.


When I began my nursing career in the 1950s in Quebec, contraception was illegal and women had no say over family planning. They had no choice, and some faced desperation.


I saw women come to the hospital, bleeding and in pain, only to discover they’d tried to end their pregnancy themselves.


As a nurse, and later as an MP and Senator, I took part in the hard-fought battles to institutionalize and enshrine the right to choose in Canadian law.


And in 1988 the debate was settled when the Supreme Court ruled: “The decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is essentially a moral decision and in a free and democratic society, the conscience of the individual must be paramount to that of the state.”


If you believe in a Canadian woman’s right to choose, you have 24 hours to speak up and spread the word.


Please sign and share the petition and tell the Prime Minister: Hands off our reproductive rights.


Thank you.


Lucie Pépin


Senator for Shawinigan, Quebec (1997-2011)
MP, Outremont (1984-1988)

Pic for WikiProject Political parties and poli...

Pic for WikiProject Political parties and politicians in Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We tend to want to believe in Canada that we function under a “presidential” style system where we are literally casting votes for the leader of the party to become Premier or Prime Minister.  This is not the case, to be a voter in a Canadian riding is an important responsibility, one to be informed on 4 fronts at least:

1) The needs of your community

2) The character and values of the individuals running in your riding or electoral district

3) the platform, core beliefs and values of the party (do you hold to 50+1% and is the other 49% what you can live with being brought onto your neighbours and self).

4) Lastly, the character of the leader who will become the First Minister (unless we got back to the United Farmers of Alberta time, where individuals ran and then they voted for the leader from the elected caucus).

So as we head towards April 23, 2012 in Alberta, I encourage each and every Albertan to truly make an informed decision through their own conscience.

So I have struggled this election deciding on which candidate to back.  Dear readers all you know for sure from me is it was neither Yvonne Fritz (PC) or Happy Mann (WRP)…

The first stumbling block came when the redistribution of boundaries due to the addition of four new legislative seats moved my household out of Calgary East, back into Calgary Cross (gerrymeandering by the PC’s years ago had moved Rundle out of Cross to East due to us switching from voting en block Conservative to other parties so it aided in propping up the unfriendly dictatorship).

So now back home in Cross, had to reacquaint myself with the field of candidates. With the first two eliminated, it left 3 to choose from:

EverGreen: Susan Stratton
Liberal: Narita Sherman (Facebook)
New Democratic Party: Reinaldo Conterras

Now the strongest bio of all 3 was Susan Stratton’s but she has no local ties to the actual communities she is running to represent. My anthropological/sociological studies of my area during my Master of Arts proved that we are the most culturally/religious/politically/socio-economically diverse area in Alberta… we need local.

Brought me to Narita Sherman and Reinaldo Conterras, two locals. I have worked with both the Liberals (policy writing, volunteer) and the NDP (candidate, councils, policy, volunteer, door knocking) so it was a toss up as both party platforms are impressive:

Alberta NDP Platform

Alberta Liberal Platform

But it appears that the most undemocratic thing possible is happening with the NDP candidate in the area, he appears to be absent or just a name on ballot as no contact has been answered.

Narita Sherman,

while for the next premier we endorse Brian Mason, NDP (I know great ain’t it)…

But do encourage if you have a local Alberta Party Candidate they deserve your votes for change in the way politics are done in the province.



Pic for WikiProject Political parties and poli...

Pic for WikiProject Political parties and politicians in Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Noontime protest on Parliament Hill in support...

Noontime protest on Parliament Hill in support of the Coalition against the minority government (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Globe and Mail brings us this timely reminder in Alberta: here

For reference to all 7 active political parties in Alberta please check my links as they are all there: Wildrose, NDP, Liberals, Evergreen, Alberta, PC, and Communist. Toss in some independents and with how close the Conservative vote splitting is going between PC/WRP and it could very well be a minority government for our province or better yet a progressive upset that can see a coalition of the centre-left or a minority led centre-left government.

What will it take? The 60% that sat out the Stelmach levelling turning up and voting at the polls. This is our right, and a great privilige that many around the world in the Arab Spring laid their lives on the line to have. We have a choice, let’s take time to mark that “X” by the name of our best LOCAL candidate on April 23 and truly show this country how drastically Alberta has entered the 21st Century of Canadianna.

Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Dear concerned Canadian,

I am writing to give you an update on my efforts to demand a full public inquiry into the use of illegal “robocalls” and misleading phone calls during last federal election. I have heard from tens of thousands of Canadians from across the country who were contacted by automated calls and live individuals providing false and misleading information.

As you know, these extremely worrisome actions are an attack upon our cherished democratic institutions.  This is far more serious than the sponsorship scandal and demands an immediate response.

Last May, I submitted a formal complaint to the Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada, Marc Mayrand, regarding the numerous complaints I have received in regards to fraudulent robo-calls. More recently, I have condemned such actions in the House of Commons.

Several weeks ago, I wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons, requesting an emergency debate on this issue.  While unsuccessful in persuading him, I have continued to be a vocal and informed voice on this issue, calling for a formal independent inquiry and changes to our electoral system.

On March 12th, I launched our own campaign to allow the voice of Canadians to be heard on this critical issue. By taking action at, you can help me turn up the heat on the Harper Conservatives and get the independent inquiry into this scandal our democracy so desperately needs.

Those who have conducted such egregious fraudulent calls must face jail time. Additionally, financial rebates for those specific elections must be cancelled and returned to Elections Canada if a political party if found to be responsible. (Political parties who obtain a certain percentage of the vote in a riding can receive up to 60% of their expenses refunded via Elections Canada, and 50% nationally. Combined, this amounts to tens of millions of dollars for the Conservative Party.) Only through such strong measures will we create a meaningful deterrent to these actions.

Lastly, I would love to have the opportunity for you to join my electronic mailing list, so I can keep you up to date on this and other issues that are important to you.  I encourage you to take a moment to sign up by visiting my MP website, and to fill out a survey on your interests.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.

Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada

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English: Stephane Dion addresses a standing-ro...

Image via Wikipedia

We need to realize as Canadians that we missed an opportunity to have a compassionate, astute leader in Stephane Dion, someone who truly wanted our country to be unified.

English: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

Image via Wikipedia

Dear R. Hon. Stephen Harper:

With stories like this breaking everyday:click here it is apparent that the Conservative Governing party whether in a minority or majority is unable to produce our promises in the constitution of Peace, Order, and Good Governance. Due to this scandal and the fact you have not acted on behalf of Canadians, but rather on behalf of your party…I call upon you to be a true leader and resign.

If you will not resign I call upon our Governor General to remove you from office, and to declare bi-elections in the almost 50 ridings effected by this scandal… the root cause needs to be found this is true, the fact that as Prime Minister you have been frozen in decisive action to uncover the truth and rebuild the trust of Canadians in our government, is unforgiveable.


Rev. Dr. Tyler Ragan

Calgary East