#85– Religion and politics: The Mix.

One of the first lessons learned by a budding young politician is the role of religion in politics.  Like the fiction that party politics are not part of municipal politics, you quickly learn that there are attitudes related to religion that can influence and distort logical voting patterns.

Take the old saw, for example, that Liberals are Catholic and Conservatives are Anglicans.  This is no longer true.  The schism in the Roman Catholic parishes today has driven a wedge between more liberal attitudes and the hide-bound right wing that still believes in the infallibility of an out-of-touch Vatican.  Similarly the Anglican bishops have driven a spike into the hearts of that church’s congregants by fighting over innocent blessings of same-sex commitments.  The right-wing anti-abortion hard liners of the Roman church today make common cause with their equally ignorant cousins in the Anglican Communion.

But it is not just the (thankfully) dwindling numbers of right-wing Catholics and Anglicans who succour conservatism.  The problem is based in the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States.  This is home plate for those who are born-again and accept Jesus as their saviour and damn the rest of us to an everlasting Hell.  Some 16 million strong, these are the religious nuts who put a fool such as George W. Bush in the White House and will try to compound the stupidity in 2012 with Sarah Palin.

As Canada’s Stephen Harper has proved, the hard right are not easily dismissed.  And they are not just the religious right.  The political manipulators of the right, with their mantra of clichés, prey on the stupid, unthinking and uneducated.  Read their justification for eliminating the long gun registry and wonder from what zoo these people escaped.

What is really wrong is that religion, itself, does not deserve the rap.  There are kind, gentle and intelligent religious movements out there for caring people.  There are religious movements concerned for the needs of the sick, the impoverished, the disadvantaged, the mentally challenged, and others whom God’s self-appointed spokespeople on this earth have forsaken.  There are religious movements that seek to further our knowledge and welcome new thinking.  There are religious movements that respect us as caring, concerned individuals. There are religious movements that do not hold judgements over their brethren and seek communion with all.  They are just harder to find.

Here in Babel, the Pentecostals and Baptists of the Barrie Christian Council are the largest single religious group.  They outweigh the weakened Catholic and Anglican congregations of old Ontario.  They are used unmercifully by MP Brown and his ilk as fodder to be manipulated for political advantage.

The next time the Conservative Member of Parliament for Babel appears before the Christian Council to try to influence it, the parsons should ask the Catholic-raised Brown if he is washed in the blood of the lamb?

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to   peter@lowry.me

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