You cannot be a person of faith without being political, says Paul Dewar, the New Democratic Party MP for Ottawa Centre. In early 2009, Dewar spoke to my Faith and Public Life class at the Ottawa School of Theology and Spirituality. “Faith and politics are congruent and we have no option but to be political if we are going to live the gospel,” Dewar said. “We have to constantly question what the Christian message is, and we can never stop trying to change the way things are in society.”
Not an endorsement on my part, obviously. Although I also have nothing against such sentiments. I'm a damned empiric, so religious inclinations all strike me as a bit silly. But if your irrational beliefs inspire you to attempt to do good in the world, rather than, say, bash immigrants, than I will support you accordingly.
Oh man, that takes the all the air out of the Dewar balloon right there.
Well, I think it puts Dewar in a better position to speak to those 80% or so of Canadians who aren't (like we three) Atheists. They do vote, you know.
I'm an atheist but I've known people of faith whose politics were impeccable, or as close to it as anyone else I've known. And it was obvious to me that their faith informed their politics. If they got to the right place, who am I to sneer at the journey that led them there?
I've long said that a person of faith can't leave it at the door, and shouldn't. Faith is just a system of beliefs. You just have to delve into which of them he subscribes to.
And Omar? Living the Gospel is a good thing. The gospels say to feed the poor, clothe the naked, heal the sick, don't let the moneylenders (read: banks) fuck everyone over, and just generally don't be a douchebag.
The ones who are living the Old Testament are the ones you have to watch out for!
Should the NDP not welcome people with religious beliefs and value systems? The party invites Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Sikhs to run as candidates. Why not Christians? Yes, people always talk about the separation of "church" and state. Pardon the pun, but it should not mean that political people should have no "soul"--that people should only have non-religious morality and beliefs.
Based on the quoted passage, Paul Dewar spoke about questioning Christianity (or at least its interpretation). Any Christian can "live the gospel." We should not assume that living the gospel only belongs to right-wing born again Christians. I look at Reverend Hawkes who officiated Jack Layton's funeral/celebration of life ceremony. I would hope that the Reverend believes that he is living the gospel.
The NDP can do whatever the hell it wants, but I'm done with the religiously deluded and would not vote for anyone who is placing their so-called faith in such prominence. And yes the Old Testie is by far the more nefarious, but there is plenty in the New version to be wary of as well.
Pardon the pun, but it should not mean that political people should have no "soul"--that people should only have non-religious morality and beliefs.
I have no problem with religious people wanting to get into politics. I think what makes people nervous is the idea of politicians imposing their religious beliefs on people. Not all religious politicians do, especially in Canada. The Catholic church threatens to deny communion and the Eucharist to politicians for supporting abortion, but that doesn't stop Catholic politicians like Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty from being pro-choice. A Sikh leader told Canadian MPs that they should vote against same-sex marriage, but Navdeep Bains argued for same-sex marriage rights.
In almost all of these cases, though, the politicians emphasize the civic -- the Charter, individual rights. Chretien once put it as having to live up to his "responsibilities."
Social gospel types want to impose their religion on us just like so-cons. That Im more sympathetic to one does nothing to remove the stench of religious irrationality from the reasoning of both.
To make matters worse these social gospel types set back the cause of secularism by providing cover to the so-cons.
Do you remember the big stink conservatives raised about Paul Martin other progressive politicians being denied communion because they did not advocate for any change in the abortion laws? And what a good thing it was to deny them?
I'm wondering what those same folks think about Jim Flaherty and Jason Kenney and other Catholics in a party that has vowed not to raise the issue and not to even allow a private members abortion bill to be passed. Funny how quiet they are now.
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