Saturday, May 28, 2005

Harper Refuses to Answer Stupid Question

If they'd have dropped it, I'd have dropped it.

Yesterday the Globe & Mail took the non-issue of Christian canadidates being nominated in their ridings and put a sinister spin on it. Be afraid . . . be very afraid . . . Christian Activists will 'penetrate' a riding near you.

Apparently the very clever Gloria Galloway thought she'd found the smoking gun of the Conservative 'hidden agenda' -- who'd have thunk it -- Conservatives --- actually vying for their riding nominations (almost unheard of in this country). Wow, this is news. That a small percentage of those Conservatives also happen to be Christians is what makes this story inkworthy to the big-brained Ms Galloway:

Christian activists have secured Conservative nominations in clusters of ridings from Vancouver to Halifax -- a political penetration that has occurred even as the party tries to distance itself from hard-line social conservatism.

She goes on by quoting a failed candidate in a riding, who despite his failed bid, apparently speaks for the entire party:

Some Conservatives argue that the selection of a large number of candidates from the religious right is an unfortunate turn for a party that was accused in last year's election campaign of harbouring a socially conservative "hidden agenda."

"The difficulty, from a party perspective, is that it begins to hijack the other agendas that parties have," said Ross Haynes, who lost the Conservative nomination in the riding of Halifax to one of three "Christian, pro-family people" recommended by a minister at a religious rally this spring in Kentville, N.S.

Our party spokesman wasn't finished yet either. And of course he wasn't talking out of his own disappointment. He has the best interests of both the country and the party at heart:

Candidates who are running on single issues such as opposition to same-sex marriage "probably can't get elected because they certainly don't represent any mainstream population view," Mr. Haynes said.

So apparently the economy, corruption in government, the democratic deficit, health care, child care and all those other non-sex related issues are the exclusive domain of non-Christians.

The Globe has attempted to make this like an exposé. They've started with the assumption that Liberal Christians will act in the best interests of the country and that Conservative Christians will compromise democracy.

I thought they'd had their fun trying to 'out' the Conservatives, but they were back at it today:

Mr. Harper, who was touring a Toronto housing and recreational complex, would not answer questions about a separate issue relating to concerns that Christian activists are organizing to nominate Conservative candidates who will fight against same-sex marriage.

Stephen Harper, a man who's known for not suffering fools -- wouldn't answer a stupid question! Did they really think he'd stand there and try to justify people within his party, exercising their rights within a democracy?

Isn't it better that the party leader doesn't interfere in the local nominations process? Or do Gloria Galloway and Karen Howlitt prefer the Liberal practice of hand-picking and parachuting candidates, circumventing the local nominations process altogether.

Perhaps the Conservatives should have people fill out a quesitonnaire before they are allowed to join the party to weed out the undesireables. If they check the little box that says: 'Are you now, or have you ever been a Christian?' then you know to burn the membership or at very least their nomination papers.

Instead of this being a debate about how we are going to structure one of our fundamental institutions, it has become a monologue. The Globe continues to play into this with their anti-Christian inferences. If you're not onside with the gay agenda, you must be homophobic.

The left has framed the question in a manner that silences and marginalizes a good portion of the population -- not just born-again Christians ----people of all religions and people with no religion who have legitimate reasons for objecting to same-sex marriage.

Galloway and her ilk are fuelling the fires of intransigent anti-Christian zealotry. They openly pander to left-wing conspiracy-theorists. In any other public arena, against any other group, these small-minded fantasies of a subversive plot to over-take the political process would be mocked and scorned.

There aren't that many sources of news in Canada. The ownship of our various outlets are concentrated in very few hands. The Globe's prominence and national base demand a responsible handling of contentious issues.

If Galloway wants to be cheerleaders for the Liberals, that's her business, but if the Liberals were truly worthy of support, she wouldn't have to do it by Christian-bashing.

Galloway uses emotionally charged words like 'infultrate' and 'penetrate'. She asks loaded questions, and suggests by her tone that Christians should be stopped -- and that Stephen Harper won't answer the call.

And Canada either shrugs or applauds.

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.... There is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such a twilight that we must be most aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."-- William O. Douglas, US Supreme Court Justice from 1939-1975


Friday, May 27, 2005

Politics and Religion -- Again

Religious freedom is usually the first thing expunged in a dictatorship.

They need you to worship the party.

It's usually done through state controlled media and an organized (often violent) campaign to eliminate troublesome elements in society. Think China and fallon gong.

In Canada, none of that is even necessary. Religion will be destroyed without the messy violence less nice countries perpetrate, and the government can claim clean hands because no concerted effort is even required on their part.

Major media in Canada already worships at the altar Liberal, so the job's half done. Our government need not impose its worldview on the media as it must in other one-state countries -- the media is dutifully trotting along ahead, clearing the way for their masters.

This sort of 'expose'- type writing -- on a story that could not and would not be written about any other minority group -- should outrage 'moderate' voters. And it will. They'll think how typical and revolting that those damned Christians are allowed to be involved in public life. 'Moderate' conservatives like mindlessinottawa (whose rants against born-again Christians would be considered hate-speech if directed at any other group) will go over the top in their rages at those who would dare allow their faith to impact on their actions and politics.

The liberal media is partly responsible for the arrogance that allows Liberals to think they are the 'natural governing party'. But 'moderates' are complicit --- when instead of questioning the motives for such an inflammatory headline and topic in the mainstream media -- they agree that Christian values have no place in the political arena.

John Reynolds is right. This article could not have been written about any other group.

Christians participating in politics shouldn't be a turn off, but the tone of the headline, and the article itself, tells the reader it is.

Conservatives have to stop apologising for the values of our fellow conservatives. If we don't, people will think there is something about being a Christian that should make us ashamed.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sounds Good On Paper

When the Civil Marriage Act becomes law (which I believe it will) we are assured that nothing will change. Churches will maintain authority over their own visions of marriage. The fact sheet explains the rationale behind this.

This week, 'Peg City Kid and I exchanged views for and against same-sex marriage. Needless to say, neither of us leave this debate with changed minds.

Peg believes that equality in marriage is a 'rights' issue. He argues that denying gays and lesbians the right to marriage is tantamount to sending them to the back of the bus. He further suggests that clergy will be protected by this new law, but that government has an obligation to protect gays and lesbians so they can freely participate in their religion:

Peg said: Is marriage not a part of Christianity? Judaism? the teachings of Islam? . . . The Canadian government cannot force religious establishments to perform gay marriage.However, the Canadian government has the responsibility to make sure that the right of the individual are upheld and they are not discriminated against.How can the government ensure a persons right to practice there own religion if that person has been descriminated against in part of that religion. That is the point. It's not about civil unions, it about the right for an individual to practice religion.

I argue that marriage is not a 'right' and that if it were, then the other excluding elements (age, number of persons, familial relation) would have to be removed as well, because they are discriminatory. I don't believe gay and lesbian couples meet the criteria for marriage, therefore the institution should not be adapted to them, but another institution created to allow them the same benefits that marriage would bring.

What I find interesting is the one thing on which we both agree. If marriage is a 'rights' issue, as 'Peg says, then allowing churches etc. not to marry them based on 'religious reasons' would be the same as sending gays and lesbians to the back of the bus.

'Pegs paragraph above spells it out very clearly. "It's not about civil unions, it's about the right for an individual to practice religion."

Now 'Peg is not just speaking for himself. He is speaking for all those who champion this law. His talk is their talk. And he's correct -- it isn't about civil unions, it's about stripping religions of their autonomy.

In the year or two following the passage of this bill, the challenges to religious institutions will start coming. A gay Roman Catholic couple will approach their church and request a wedding. When it is denied, they will sue. They would argue that they are not being treated the same as their opposite-sex peers. They would say that they have a right to practise their religion, and for their religion to prevent them from participating in a sacrament which is offered to others, is no different from blacks having to use separate facilities during segregation. Lawyers would call it 'religious Apartied' to allow churches etc. to discriminate in the name of 'freedom of religion'.

What side do you think the government will come down on? A priest might be protected from a lawsuit, but religion is not protected from state interference when rights and discrimination are in play.

Anyone who thinks this issue is black and white is mistaken. Religious freedom is precarious. In Canada, it depends on judicial consent. Many people think the concept of 'separation of church and state' is a measure to protect states from religious interference, when in fact the opposite is true.

I don't believe marriage is a rights issue, but our current government does. If marriage is a right, then should religions and religious institutions be allowed to discriminate based on 'freedom of religion?'

If not, if religions must change their core understanding of marriage and its sacraments to reflect the 'moderate' worldview imposed on them by a government, then they no longer serve their intended function. If they are simply another apparatus of the state -- why not just save time and abolish religion?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Answering My Critic -- Part 7 -- Last Part

16. You're right though, things across the border did not happen over night, it took years of oppression, close-minded idealogies and total disdain for the international community. You have no idea how hard I have to fight the urge to rattle off a paragraph of insults, as that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. That really is just a stupid comment. Canada has spent decades trying to define it's self as an indepentant and distinct nation (especially in terms of foreign policies) and you want to go jump in the American's lap?

Canada has so many years defining itself as ‘not American’ that we are losing what it really means to be Canadian. By pulling away from our traditions and roots, we are denying our founding peoples and the underlying principles and values that enabled these two great warring empires to co-exist on the same soil.

Do you really think that by stripping away our heritage in order to not be American, will make us any more Canadian? That is not independence, it is petulant self-mutilation. Trying to accommodate special interest groups in the name of being ‘progressive’ or ‘enlightened’ is tantamount to kicking out a pillar of a building and suggesting that the architecture did not match current trends. The pillar represents stability. Removing even one factor of societal stability will inevitably lead to the crumbling of societal norms. Like it or not, societal norms are what enable societies to perpetuate and flourish.

The problem is the generation who looks for instant gratification. The how does this affect me group. This isn’t about you. The effects of this will not be known for a couple of generations, just like the effects of the Residential Schools can only be determined now, from a distance. But the damage will be done, and in this case, it will be more pervasive and wide-spread because it will be systemic and nation-wide.

Societal institutions are put in place for the benefit of society, not for the comfort of individuals as we so often believe. Altering the institution of marriage, allowing it to yield its very meaning to accomodate a fashionable interpretation, leaves it open to further dismantling in the name of 'rights' and 'equality'. Recognition of this does not make me a bigot or a fascist. It makes me a Canadian who is concerned for the future of our country. I believe the SSM law will pass, and I hope that my concerns have been for naught. In the meantime, they are my concerns and I will not be silenced.

17. Just as an end note, I'd just like to point out that the Liberals managed to get re-elected in the midst of the scandal. Instead of accepting that this is the government the people want, you chalk it up to Liberal "deceit" and "lies". I'm sorry Canadianna, but that's just not it. You can point as many scandal, mistakes and whatever else you want about the Liberal government, just as I can do the same for any government before them, it doesn't change a thing.

I agree that the Liberals are the choice of some people (not most people and certainly not the people) – despite their assaults on democracy, their theft of billions of dollars, the concentration of power in the hands of a few (mostly unelected) advisors to the PM, the squandering of taxpayer money and the perversion of truth on so many levels. Canada’s willingness to accept the unacceptable, and defend the indefensible only serves to prove my point. Most people choose the status quo if 'it doesn't affect' them. By now, dissent is not safe in this country because it exposes you to the ridicule and wrath of those who control the press, the governing elite and the conforming masses. So, most people stay quiet in order to stay out of the crossfire.

It doesn’t mean they approve.

It means they are afraid.

Answering My Critic -- Part 6

13. anonymous, You got some serious thinking to do. This is an issue of pride. This issue is about whether or not Gay or Lesbians will have the "pride" to be recognized as equal to any other Canadian under the law. We, the majority of Canadians, have made it clear we will not tolerate an "equal but different" mentality, That is a preposterous and backward view.

So this is about pride? I thought is was about principle. The principle of equality in a free society recognizes our individuality -- pride is self-indulgence.

Sorry Peg. Truth is self evident. Laws are not going to make anyone who doesn’t agree with SSM change their minds. As matter of fact, it will likely entrench positions. Try as this socialist state might, you can’t legislate thought, principles or values. You might not agree with my principles, thoughts and values, but passing a law that says they are wrong is not going to change them.

And, sorry to burst your bubble ‘Peg. But we are 'different but equal.' Isn’t that what multiculturalism, gay pride, feminism and asymmetrical federalism are all about– different but equal? Or have the Liberals been handing us a line of nonsense for forty years?

14. Bob, Before you say something, make sure it's not a load of crap.

When you come to my comments section, please don’t insult my guests. If you disagree, fine. Do so respectfully. I have allowed you your say (although why, if you are so passionate you didn’t just put it on your own blog, I don’t understand) Being rude doesn’t strengthen your argument, it just diminishes your credibility.

15. Mcguire, We are Canadians, not Americans, and we have absolutley no intention of becoming Americans. In order for a government to be considered "middle", the people have to agree with them.

In Hitler’s Germany, in Stalin’s Russia, in Communist China, in Amin’s Uganda – the majority of people went along with the government because it was the easy route. That doesn’t make it the middle. It doesn’t make it right. It keeps you from having to form your own opinion. It keeps you from standing out in a crowd. It makes it safe.

. . . and the band played on.

Answering My Critic -- Part 5

9. Why this issue is even being discussed in parliament befuddles me.To me, a silly left-minded individual this seems like progress, we are adapting to a changing society. The direction we progress in is up to the people, if the people didn't like it, they wouldn't vote have voted Liberal. THIS is how democracy works.

This issue was brought up in parliament in 1999 because of court decisions resulting from charter challenges. Traditional marriage won. The radical left just keeps bringing it up and bringing it up until they finally feel the government ‘got it right’. An unelected, unaccountable judiciary has decided this – despite their own findings as recently as 1995 that marriage is ‘one man one woman’. The government is no longer allowing free-votes on this issue of conscience. This is not how democracy works. This is how dictatorships work.

A person might have voted Liberal because they preferred their stand on child-care or health-care. Their re-election is not implied endorsement of every policy they have – or else you would be saying that Canadians endorse corruption, theft and lies and we all know that’s not true, right?

10. Your right, wanting to ban same-sex marriage doesn't make you "intolerant" it makes you a fascist.

Do you even know what fascist means? Don’t throw words around because you think it makes you look clever. Go, look it up. Who’s the fascist? Also, don’t resort to name-calling. It weakens what little argument you have.

11. Oh, and Canadianna, in regards to your worry that they will "main street" same-sex marriage, same-sex couple have already been granted the right to marry in 10 provinces.

Again, you have misread me. I said –If gay-marriage is not the domain of the radical left, what is? And whatever it is, watch out, because it won't be long before they main street it.

When all things are marriage, nothing is marriage. If it is discrimination to exclude same-sex, then by the same logic it is discrimination to exclude polygamy, incest, child-adult unions. Don’t say ‘but that’s different’. To those whose ‘rights’ are being denied, it is exactly the same. They will do as the militant gays have done. They will lobby, they will ridicule, they will scorn – until their ‘rights’ are recognised. It may not happen in my lifetime. It took over forty years for the gay agenda to be advanced. But it will happen. There’s no stopping it once marriage becomes a ‘rights’ issue.

Now I will begin to address your comments to my guests:

12. Chris, you are way off bat, so far off in fact that your opinion is offensive and dangerous. Just for your information, the first establishment to perform same-sex marriage in my city was a synagogue, don't drag us into this, as I can assure you, a majority of Jewish people do not agree with you.

So, if the synagogue performed a same-sex ceremony, then SSM can’t be against the Judaism. Therefore, when a SS couple wants to get married in a synagogue where the rabbi does not believe in SSM, if the couple wants to challenge it under the charter, it can and would likely win. If something is against a ‘religion’ then all arms of the religion – each temple, each rabbi, must be following the same book, right? See the slippery slope we're on?

Never speak for the majority, Peg. You’ll find you’re very much alone.

Just a few more folks.

Answering My Critic -- Part 4

Anyone who is reading this gets it by now, so I'm dispensing with the explanation.

7. What the Conservatives have purposed to do is deny same-sex couples the right to marry by singling them out using the 'not withstanding" clause. hence denying them the right to practice there own religion. This is not a "Liberal scare tactic" this is the truth, this is the result.

Wrong. The notwithstanding clause is not necessary to maintain the traditional definition of marriage. Buy into the propaganda if you want, but constitutional scholars say it isn't (link to document-- THIS IS A PDF) Besides, the notwithstanding clause is a valid tool for government -- apparently the drafters of the constitution thought it was both valid and necessary.

And -- denying who the right to practice their own religion? --- what, there's a religion of gay now? or is that cult-Liberal.

8. Religion is something that has long been separated from the state, and where as the people want it to remain this way, the Conservatives want to change it. If the people agreed with them, the Conservatives would have won the election. I don't think I have to point out they didn't.

Like the US, we don't have a state religion, but we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognizes the supremacy of God. The constitution, BTW was written while we were under a Liberal government. The tenets of this Charter of Rights and constitution are derived from our Judeo-Christian heritage.

You are implying that everyone must agree with SSM because the Conservatives didn't win the election. I am saying the Conservatives didn't win the election because the Liberals cleverly marginalized the moderate position. Many members of the Liberal party don't agree with the Liberal position. They voted against it, and many others would have if they'd been allowed a free vote, but they weren't because Mr. Democratic Deficit knew that if they could vote their consciences the bill would fail and then the Conservatives couldn't be painted as bigots, because they would have to concede that if Conservatives who are against same-sex marriage are bigots, Liberals who are against it must be too.

. . . only a few more to go.

Answering My Critic -- Part 3

'Peg City Kid, a frequent commenter on my site, has posed challenges to my post "Myth of the Moderate".His comment was long, and passionate. I intend to divide his challenges into 8 individual posts, in which I will answer each of his concerns, two in each entry. The numbered, italicized portions are 'Peg's unedited comments, under which is my response.

5. Marriage is a "religious" idea, citizens of Canada have the right to practice their chosen religion. It is the responsibility of the Church to decide whether or not they accept gay marriage, it is the responsibility of the government to uphold rights.

If marriage is a ‘religious’ idea, why is the government getting involved at all? Why not withdraw from the ‘marriage business’ and allow religious institutions to handle marriage as they see fit, rather than imposing SSM on all of society. Separation of church and state should cut two ways.

The government has the responsibility to uphold rights, but this marriage bill, especially as written, does nothing to ‘uphold the rights’ of any persons of any religion. The solemnization of marriage is a provincial issue and the federal government will not be able to protect clergy, marriage commissioners and Justices of the Peace from potential lawsuits for not performing marriage ceremonies against their conscience. When push comes to shove, this government, and our unelected, unaccountable, judiciary – have demonstrated that the individual and collective rights of gays and lesbians trump the religious rights of others. Examples are well documented. (Link to relapsedcatholic re: Kempling)

The government has an obligation to promote and support the stable perpetuation of society. Marriage is the most stable environment for the nurture and rearing of children. Bad marriages and infertile couples are not at issue. Two parent opposite sex families are optimum for rearing children – otherwise, evolution would have made it so procreation could take place regardless of gender – because that’s what evolution does, right? It promotes the strongest, most positive qualities and establishes them as the dominant ones? It adapts species to their needs and environment? Or, is it just that nature and evolution haven’t caught up with the enlightened Liberal mind?

6. I'm sorry that you some how feel allowing same-sex marriage is detrimental or encroaches on our rights, but like any opened-minded individual, I'm going to ask you to prove it. Like many Canadians, I'm not prepared to accept the denial of someone's rights based on an opinion, nor am I able to accept it based on a 2000 year old book.

In the post on which you are commenting, I never stated my personal opinion on SSM. Read it again if you don’t believe me. I simply stated that the middle ground on this issue is the compromise solution of civil unions.

You are asking me to prove the unprovable. Okay, Peg City Kid – you want to change a centuries old universal norm – prove to me it is NOT detrimental.

None of my arguments are biblically based. Whether homosexuality is or isn’t a sin is not the issue. That’s for God to deal with, not me. But I would argue that marriage is a child centred institution, and that although people get married for reasons other than having and raising children, that in opposite-sex marriages the potential for procreation is there (potential being the key word).

Placing children with SSM couples is a social experiment. Like residential schools, some day, it might come back to haunt us.

As for denying someone’s ‘rights’. You’ve just proved that you’ve bought into all the propaganda. There is no ‘right’ to marriage. If there were a ‘right’ to marriage, then NO limitations could reasonably be put on it under the law – meaning that polygamy, incest, child-adult unions – would all be equally valid – because discrimination is wrong, isn’t it?

Challenges/Response on the next entry.

Answering My Critic - Part 2

'Peg City Kid, a frequent commenter on my site, has posed challenges to my post "Myth of the Moderate".His comment was long, and passionate. I intend to divide his challenges into 8 individual posts, in which I will answer each of his concerns, two in each entry. The numbered, italicized portions are 'Peg's unedited comments, under which is my response.

3. Yes, whether or not you can accept it, the Conservatives ARE far Left. You have a very skewed view of where the "Centre" is. It's almost as though you think the world revolves around you.

Again. I am to the right of centre. My argument is that the centre has shifted. You can agree or disagree with my opinions, but to argue that the centre position in this debate has not changed is just wrong.

In 1999 the House of Commons (including the majority of Liberals) voted overwhelmingly in favour of maintaining the traditional definition of marriage. At the time, they called this the 'moderate' position. Most who voted 'yea' were in favour of establishing some form of civil union to protect the rights of gays and lesbians in committed relationships.

You can't argue that this position wasn't the 'mainstream', 'moderate' position just six years ago. What's changed? The Liberals are embroiled in yet another scandal. Unlike HRDC, Somalia, APEC, EI, etc. This one is not going away. They have a formidable opposition now, demanding answers and accountability. The Liberals have not changed their views on SSM (people of principle don't change their views like they change their socks, something momentous must have happened for them to throw away their entire belief system and do an about-face) So, if the Liberals have not been suddenly enlightened. The only other explanation is that SSM is politically expedient. By shifting the debate, they can make everyone who disagrees a bigot, worthy of scorn and ridicule. They keep their clutch on power by squelching debate and calling anyone who disagrees 'unCanadian'. Gays and lesbians are being used as pawns in this power struggle because if you ask most Liberals what they personally believe about SSM, most haven't changed their opinions.

4. Since, I obviously don't understand your point if view, maybe you could explain to me how allowing same-sex marriage is detrimental to me. How does re-defining the definition of marriage effect me in a negative way? in anyway? How is this idea "radical", since church and state have theoretically been several for quite some time now?

In you previous statement, you suggested that I thought the world revolved around me. Apparently, you were wrong. It revolves around you. Are we to start legislating and believing in things only when they affect ourselves?

SSM is radical because it deviates from a universal, societal and cultural norm, established in all civilizations, and by all cultures before there were things like nations. Marriage goes beyond religion and is consistent in one aspect in every culture and religion --- that one thing is the opposite-sex requirement. Some religions/cultures allow polygamy, some allow child marriage, some allow marriage to close family members --- but universally, marriage requires the opposite-sex component. Moving away from that is definitely radical.

As for how it affects society? Countless ways. Once same-sex marriage becomes federal law, it follows that teaching against it will be illegal. What does that mean for parents who are religious but not covered by the tenuous protection offered to clergy under the law. And what about public schools. They teach sex education. Gay sex will inevitably be part of the curriculum, and the only option for parents who disagree will have is to pull their kids out of public school. And there is no guarantee that the teaching and learning of gay sexuality will not become manditory. Think 'sensitivity-training'. Alarmist? No. Pragmatist.

You also assume that anyone who disagrees with SSM is doing so on religious grounds. My religion has deferred opinion of SSM. They have taken no moral or spiritual leadership on this issue. My concern is that anyone who dissents on this issue is being branded as bigots, and you are proving my point.

You (and other like minded people) are proposing a major change to the fundamental understanding of marriage --- an understanding that has endured centuries and civilizations. The onus is on you to prove to me that this change will not adversely affect society -- not for me to prove that it will. Sorry, but your assurance that 'it won't', just doesn't cut it.

Challenges/responses continued on the next entry.

Answering my Critic -- Part 1

'Peg City Kid, a frequent commenter on my site, has posed challenges to my post "Myth of the Moderate".
His comment was long, and passionate. I intend to divide his challenges into 8 individual posts, in which I will answer each of his concerns, two in each entry. The numbered, italicized portions are 'Peg's unedited comments, under which is my response.

1. You kill me Canadianna!! "People of Principal and Compassion" That's what brought around residential schools, the Christians "compassion" for the native people and the "Principle" that directed them to "help". Very good, Canadianna.

So you believe that social engineering was wrong in the case of Residential Schools, but now you are supporting it through gay-marriage? There’s no consistency to your argument. If Residential Schools were wrong (which they were) because they were trying to impose a social norm through indoctrination and re-education, and in the process it destroyed a culture, then surely same-sex marriage should be wrong for precisely the same reasons. Unless of course we are employing a double standard here. Your premise seems to be that the cultural and societal norms of the Judeo-Christian value system should be destroyed at the whim of government and radical interest groups --- not because it is the legal, valid or logical thing to do, but because we, the inheritors of these values, are the majority-- so there is no intrinsic significant importance in maintaining our heritage, history and traditions. I beg to differ.

2. You have done exactly what the far left loves to do, ignore the opinions of those who disagree, and replaced them with words you concocted with no purpose other than to show them in a negative light for your gain.

First of all, get an education. If I am on any side of this issue, it is the political right. And, as I have argued, it is right of centre, not far right.

Next, I have not ignored the opinions of those with whom I disagree. If your arguments don't hold up it is because you have not argued well, not because of anything I have said or done.

And everyone uses words to advance their argument. What would you have me do, send out thought waves? I have no desire to put your opinions in a negative light, but I believe this is still a free country – and I am still allowed to challenge the government line (and given that you are parroting their words, your line) – particularly on my own blog. It’s called free speech, and you know what? It's also for people who don't agree with you.

Besides, not once in my post did I give my personal position on SSM. My premise was that the political spectrum has shifted. I believe the reason the spectrum has shifted is not because SSM is the right thing for society, but because the Liberals are trying to distract Canadians from other, pressing and disturbing issues related to their own deplorable governance.

Why do you suppose the introduction and passing of the SSM bill was at the forefront as soon as the Liberals took office last year? My answer -- Because it’s a divisive issue, and it’s one where uneducated people, unskilled in critical thinking, will automatically respond with fear and ridicule when they are told (wrongly, in my opinion) that denying the ‘right’ to SSM will end by 'taking away' equality rights for others. This is not to say anyone who agrees with SSM is uneducated, or that they are not critical thinkers. Many on the ‘pro’ side present valid and challenging arguments, but they are not the people the Liberals are targeting with this issue. The government is targeting those whose reaction will be anger or fear, rather than an openness to dissent or debate.

Challenges/responses continued on the next entry.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Myth of the Moderate

The Hijacking of the Centre by the Radical Left

When an magician performs, his task is to keep your attention from his actions by distracting you with his words. The Liberals are masters of illusion. To keep our minds from the havoc they are wreaking on the democratic foundations of this nation, they are not above rending the social fabric and founding principles of Canada.

Somewhere, between 1999 and now, a seismic wave shifted the political spectrum. Views and values which, until then, were considered moderate and mainstream, are now denounced as being extreme and hostile. The ideology of the radical left has renamed itself 'moderate' and shoved aside conventional values and ideals.

There are further extremes on both sides, but the middle ground, the moderate position was the one in which both sides of the argument were respected and a compromise made to accommodate the extremes.

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Belinda Stronach's departure from the Conservative caucus has sharpened the focus on social issues and the Conservative party. Critics denounce the party as extremist -- unable to appeal to the moderate (read urban) voter. Stronach's stance on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion put her to the left of the CPC's base. The natural conclusion seems to be that if her position is to the left of the conservatives, then she must be in the middle-ground area. That conclusion is wrong.

Slowly, with the help of mainstream media, the Conservative Party of Canada has been painted as a bastion for hard-line, right-wing, bible-thumping, Neanderthals. Pro gay-marriage is not considered the radical position that it actually is; it is also touted as the only reasonable position, or in Lib-speak, the only position. People of principle and compassion, who for whatever reason, value upholding the tradition definition of marriage are ridiculed or castigated as anti-freedom, anti-gay rights, uptight, rigid, heartless, and unCanadian.

I believe the 2000 election campaign was the tipping point for social politics in this country. It might have begun with Warren Kinsella's infamous sneer at Stockwell Day. The Liberal strategist appeared on television and suggested that Day, an evangelical Christian, believed the Flinstones is a documentary.

From that day forward in the campaign, the HRDC scandal, Shawinigate, the APEC disaster, Business Development Bank debacle and the EI fiasco (these just from 1997 - 2000) all became irrelevant, because in the minds of the Canadian public, Stockwell Day became irrelevant. Pundits claimed that Stockwell Day self-destructed, when in fact what damaged Day's credibility was a poisonous, small-minded cabal of governing elite, bent on maintaining the power status quo.

After that, religious beliefs and mainstream values became fair game in politics.
This Liberal government has been rotting from the inside out for the better part of a decade. Their stranglehold on power exceeds their vision for governance. Lies, corruption, extortion, graft and ineptitude are the defining characteristics of the Liberal machine and yet the Canadian public prefers it to the alternative. Why? Because with one hand they fiddled the books, stripped away free speech and sold patronage appointments to the senate and judiciary, while with the other, they spun a crafty web of sweeping social reforms packaged as the 'centrist' position.

"Whose rights are you going to take away now, Mr. Harper?" asked Judy Sgro last year, during one of the many campaign stops ambushed by Liberal ministers or their cronies. And people were afraid. The right to resist the Liberal machine was squelched by widespread media adherence to the Liberal line. Whose rights indeed. Only our right to resist the perversion of our very societal foundations by a party so desperate to cling to power it diverts attention from its malfeasance by tearing the country asunder.

When did defining marriage as a union between a man and a women become radical? When the Liberals said it did.
Belinda Stronach is called a 'moderate' and Harper is told that he should be trying win over moderates.

Despite what the Liberals say, the Conservative position on same-sex marriage is the compromise position -- same-sex marriage is the extreme.

If gay-marriage is not the domain of the radical left, what is? And whatever it is, watch out, because it won't be long before they main street it.

Conservative=moderate. The Liberal spin can't change that.


Monday, May 23, 2005

My Media Rant

***I was still working on this entry when 705Tory came out with an excellent post called The Anatomy of Spin--Tactics of Brain Washing. Discussed is the complicity of the press in the perpetuation of certain prejudices against the Conservative Party in general and Stephen Harper in particular. That post is a must read.***

When we decry the liberal bias of the media, we are offered the National Post and the Sun papers as examples of conservative bias in the media. Apologists for MSM will point to criticism or condemnation of the Liberals in publications and by broadcasters that we perceive as left-leaning, and they're right. All major media outlets condemn the Liberals for wrong-doing, because to do otherwise would be to expose their biases and sacrifice credibility to indulge partisanship.

Sometimes, as in the Star editorial of May 20, they are unable to control themselves and give way to ugly bursts of naked conservative bashing. They grant approval of Martin's barely legal tactics to stay in power, and lay blame for Martin's unseemly behaviour squarely at the feet of Stephen Harper. It's their paper, their editorial page -- their business.

Columnists come in with a bias. We know where they stand and we read them because of it -- either because we want an argument or an advocate. They can't pump their side too much, lest they come off looking like cheerleaders, and most try to give the impression that they are politically neutral. Here are four pieces from the National Post's Adam Radwanski. Has Harper's Time Come? (May 20th) and Sucking them in, Blowing them off (May18) Stephen Harper's Tipping Point (March 18) Harper has five weeks to prove he's PM material (May 2004 -- this one you'll note, was written early in the 2004 campaign, when Radwanski says the press was being 'easy' on the Conservatives) When you read them, remember that despite its ownership, the Post is considered by liberals to be a conservative paper. Radwanski's liberal history aside, he is trying to appear impartial -- and this is fairly representative of 'impartial' media.

Editorials and columnists are meant to show bias. They express the viewpoint of the author and the editorial slant of the paper's owners/shareholders/advertising base. But when opinion goes beyond the comment pages, it stops being bias and begins to be propaganda.

Back on May 16, headline bias jumped out at me, and I collected these headlines:

Prime minister calls for civility; Conservatives call for election campaign -- National Post

PM calls on Harper to resume respectful dialogue -- CTV

PM calls for return to dignity -- Globe & Mail

PM calls for civility -- Toronto Sun

PM to foes: Let's 'raise the tone' -- CBC

I was struck by the accusatory tone of CTV in particular.

Anyone who watches Parliament, knows that both sides give as good as they get, but that when things get particularly nasty and personal, it is often a Liberal mouth burning a Conservative ear. Where Conservatives are like attack dogs worrying any scrap of scandal, the Liberals go for the acid splash. A mild example from May 18, in response to a question from Diane Albozy, Scott Brison replied:

"I know I'm not allowed to say that's a stupid question, because Mr. Speaker, you've already told me I can't say it's a stupid question. I will say it's an obtuse question . . . "

He went on ripping into Albonzy with venomous enthusiasm, about how stupid she was without ever quite coming out and saying it. All the while, he apparently felt very clever indeed. So, although the headlines make it clear the PM is trying to restore civility to the House, his MPs carry on in the same old way, and no one notices.

Beyond the headlines are the nuances of language. English is such a rich language that there are often many words to describe the same things, and each word evokes a slightly different meaning. Earlier this week I visited Civitatensis, who had pulled an interesting quote from the Globe & Mail from May 19th.

Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe accused Mr. Martin of persuading Mr. Cadman by saying how awful it would be if the separatist won the vote.
But he said his party would continue to vote on an issue-by-issue basis.
“When we think a bill is good for Quebec, we will support it,” Mr. Duceppe said.
Mr. Duceppe refused to admit his party was wrong in forcing a confidence vote, adding the Liberals lacked the “moral authority” to govern.
“In the coming months, we will see that we were right, and that this government does not deserve to be here,” Mr. Duceppe said.

This quote is taken from a news story, not a columnist, not an editorial.

Admit is a word we use when we are implying guilt or blame. It is synonymous with: accept, acknowledge, avow, concede, declare, grant, own up.

The writer could have said: Mr. Duceppe still believes forcing a confidence vote was the right thing to do. But he didn't. He used a simple word to convey a very important meaning -- forcing a confidence vote was wrong.

It's subtle, but it is pervasive in the media. Taken with the boldly biased headlines, and the unabashedly biased editorials, one is left to wonder how the Tories manage to pick up even 30% in the polls --- and the polls . . .

It is a fallacy that polling companies engage in market research. They are well-paid advertisers. A poll is commissioned, the ask loaded questions to a random sample of people who bother to answer their phones to 'unknown caller', they release the results which are picked up in the media and advertised to the public. Advertising works and the public buys in.

It's a stacked deck. No wonder Stephen Harper has a reputation for being stand-offish with the media.