Canada’s Christians have been trounced and their venture into the sacrosanct precinct of secular politics has proved a singular failure, brayed the heathen last week, after the House of Commons endorsed gay marriage by a much bigger majority than when it approved of it last year.
The heathen in this case was a senior columnist in the super-secularist Globe and Mail, who wrote in undisguised exaltation:
“Thoughtful evangelical Christians must [now] ask themselves some hard questions, such as: ‘Isn’t it about time we admit we’ve failed? That, both here and in the United States, our efforts to influence the political agenda have achieved virtually nothing?
“‘That we’ve wasted enormous amounts of money and time electing politicians who have betrayed us, when we could and should have been bringing Good News to the world and offering succor to those in distress?’
“For faith-based politics is not growing in influence. … Nothing has been achieved; the movement has generated no popular support. A fringe it was born; a fringe it remains. Every dollar raised to fight same-sex marriage was a dollar wasted; every breath spent opposing it was a wasted breath.”
Likewise, in the U.S., he said, “Did they get the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage or permitting school prayer? No. Did they make progress in banning abortion? Nothing substantive.
“The evangelical church has lost its way. … They have struggled and failed to impose a Bible-based agenda on Congress and Parliament. … Christ would not have been on Parliament Hill yesterday. He would have been with the lost and poor.”
The author is columnist John Ibbitson. Whether he should be called “the heathen” the reader can decide. Journalists addressing religious questions fiercely object if you ask them their own religion. The possibility that their own view of God – whether there is one, and whether we could know it if there were – might affect what they write they consider outrageous.
One obvious thing, however, is that Mr. Ibbitson is not Christian. If he were, he would know that Jesus was very much involved in the political controversies of his day. He lived in a theocracy, operating under the aegis of Imperial Rome. Its parliament was the Sanhedrin, and its political parties were the Sadducees who were in power, the Pharisees who were in opposition, and the Herodians who supported the Roman authority. The issues of the day were wholly theological since all the laws of the Jews were religious laws.
Jesus, as it happens, offended all three parties in many ways, until the high priest, as leader of the Sanhedrin, put him under oath and demanded that he declare who he was. When Jesus replied with the unmentionable name of God, he was sentenced to death on a charge of blasphemy. To suggest that he stayed out of politics is, therefore, preposterous. On current Canadian politics, Mr. Ibbitson is often very sound. On Christianity, he is clueless.
But he is wrong in another way. Certainly, we lost a battle on gay marriage, and while I wouldn’t agree that we’ve got nowhere on abortion, we’re admittedly a long way from winning. But what does he expect? We are at best only 20 percent of the Canadian population.
However, in saying that all our efforts have achieved nothing, he is very wrong indeed. Notice his interesting error. To him, the resistance to abortion and legally sanctified sodomy is all coming from “evangelicals.” How little he knows of it. Over the last 25 or so years, I have addressed probably a hundred pro-life meetings. The singular most striking fact of them all is the presence of Catholics, evangelicals and Protestants of many denominations working joyfully together. At most meetings, about half those present are Catholics. After 400 years of conflict, we are at last being drawn into a unity.
I once saw this movingly demonstrated at a pro-life meeting in the Immaculate Conception Church in Kelowna, B.C. I had made the observation that it is the habit of God to bring good out of evil. “Tell me,” said one questionnaire, “a single good thing that has emerged from the abortion holocaust.” So I asked: “Would the Protestants in this room please stand up.” About half the crowd arose. “Now tell me,” I said, “can you imagine, say 25 years ago, attending a dinner at something called Immaculate Church and feeling at home?” The crowd broke into cheers. They embraced each other. Some wept.
The heathen don’t know it, of course. But something is definitely being accomplished.
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