Saturday, October 07, 2006

Time to Gently Push Back

David Asper, Chairman of the National Post, wrote an outstanding editorial today, decrying the interim Liberal Party leader's attack on Darrel Reid this week and calling for the end to the ideological tribalism that seems to mark the Liberal Party of Canada in regards to their demonizing of social conservative Canadians. He writes:

I am not a social conservative. But I am a proponent of the Charter and the principles it contains. We are a diverse society, and our diversity is reflected not merely in the languages we speak or the colour of our skin. An essential aspect of diversity in any democratic society is recognizing that reasonable people can embrace diverse ideologies. Unreasonable people also fall within the protection of the Charter unless what they say can be justifiably limited. Whether one thinks the views of evangelical Christians are reasonable or otherwise, when politicians began demonizing an entire branch of mainstream thought, treating it as a badge of bigotry and ignorance, that goes beyond partisan politics. It is ideological tribalism.

Let us imagine that the Liberals were applying the same intolerant attitude to a different group. Say, for example, they were picking on a group of aboriginal Canadians who embrace native creationism and rely on that view as part of their rationale for asserting land claims. Imagine that the Liberal party put out a press release mocking the Creator, reincarnation and multiple spirits as nothing more than modern-day paganism. Imagine the uproar.

Of course, this would never happen: To some Liberals, this category of victim would be politically inappropriate. (In other words, they could not get away with it.) But Mr. Reid is an evangelical Christian. As such, certain Liberal elites see him as a soft target. As the Liberals (and too many of their supporters) see it, the only faith you can make fun of is the one embraced by a majority of religiously observant Canadians.

This trend should be frightening to all Canadians, regardless of their political stripes. Social conservatives have as much right to express their views on the issues of the day as any other Canadians. They should be able to speak their minds, and participate in public life, without federal politicians targeting them with demagogic hit jobs.

Asper is absolutely correct. But what I like about this editorial most, however, is that at the end, he includes what I like to call the "So What? Factor." He suggests that every candidate in the current Liberal leadership contest should answer a basic question: "Do you agree that social conservatives have the right to express their views without fear of being humiliated by your party?"

Good idea. But let's take it one step further. May I encourage you to make sure that they are asked exactly this question by ordinary Canadians? The contact information for all of the candidates can be found on the official Liberal Party of Canada's website. If you do get a response, please pass them on to me. I would like to hear what their response is.

It is time to gently push back against the intolerance that has come to mark the party that has long claimed to be the defender of our country's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is time to hold them accountable and ask whether they really believe that Canadian evangelicals have the same rights to public expression as everyone else.


Anonymous said...

I posted your blog post on to see what the response would be.

Glenn Penner said...

Thanks. I will look to see oif they post it and, if so, what the response is