The American Disease Moves North
by: John Tyrrell
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The currently ruling Conservative Party has retained power in Canada by carefully crafting a message which attracts both economic conservatives and social conservatives – and it needs the votes of both to remain in power. However, in governing, their policies have largely favoured economic conservatives, while resolutely refusing to engage in social conservative hot button issues such as abortion and gay marriage. The leadership of the party knows that if they moved on these issues, the more moderate economic conservatives would reject the party and they would lose the next election. And the party has exercised a heavy hand in silencing those Members of Parliament who have tried to bring up these issues in Parliament.
My own Member of Parliament, “Dr.”* James Lunney announced this week that he was leaving the Conservative caucus and would sit as an independent because of what he saw as a deliberate attempt to suppress a “Christian worldview.”
What Lunney does not get is that there is no such thing as a “Christian worldview.” Every denomination has its own worldview, and relatively few of the individual members of each denomination buy completely into their own denomination’s worldview. The various Christian perspectives on social conservative issues are all over the map. Lunney’s “Christian worldview” is nothing more than “Dr.” James Lunney’s personal worldview.”
However, Lunney’s intention in sitting as an independent is to “seek an opportunity to address the House in defence of my beliefs and the concerns of my faith community.”
In Canada, Members of Parliament are elected to represent a constituency, NOT a faith community. This idea of representing a faith community – of a supposedly “Christian worldview” – is an idea which seems to have gripped the Republican Party in the USA, and through James Lunney, this disease seems to have entered Canada.
What sparked Lunney’s decision to use his poition as an MP to promote his religious views in Parliament seems to have been a wave of criticism he encountered when he chose to defend an Ontario politician who professed disbelief in evolution. He tweeted earlier this year:
“[Just] stop calling #evolution fact!”
It’s not new that Lunney has stood up to defend creationism and to denounce evolution. He seems to get his ideas straight from Ken Ham – he expresses them with the same degree of intellectual dishonesty.
“Given the modern evidence unavailable to Darwin, advanced models of plate tectonics, polonium radiohalos, polystratic fossils, I am prepared to believe that Darwin would be willing to re-examine his assumptions.”
“The evolutionists may genuinely see his ancestor in a monkey, but many modern scientists interpret the same evidence in favour of creation and a creator.”
“Any scientist who declares that the theory of evolution is a fact has already abandoned the foundations of science. For science establishes fact through the study of things observable and reproducible. Since origins can neither be reproduced nor observed, they remain the realm of hypothesis.”
Even with these incredibly ill-informed error-ridden statements on record, Lunney was astounded by the criticism that resulted. And taking a leaf from the Republican Play playbook, he has started claiming that his religious freedom is being infringed. Others pointing out he is wrong infringes on his religious freedom?
He seems totally unaware that he still has the full religious freedom to believe whatever stupidities he chooses to believe; he still he still has the full religious freedom to proselytize whatever stupidity he chooses to believe; however – that religious freedom does not protect him from his stupidities being exposed, thoroughly criticized, and rightly mocked.
One can only hope that the Lunney experience will inoculate Canadians against further incursions of this American disease.
*Lunney is a chiropractor. However, he uses the Dr. designation in his political career too – unlike many physicians who choose to be in politics and who reserve Dr. for when they actively practice medicine
Addendum - Two Letters to the Editor
To the Globe and Mail – published 2 April 2015 (national paper)
So James Lunney has left the Conservative caucus to defend his personal religious beliefs and address the concerns of his faith community.
I would point out to Mr Lunney that is not what he was elected for. He was elected to represent the concerns of the people of his constituency – people of a wide diversity of faiths along with those with a lack of faith.
His particular version of Christianity based on bible literalism and a denial of basic science is not even the teaching of the majority of Christian denominations in Canada –certainly not the view of the majority of Canadians, nor the majority of his constituents.
If he is not going to represent his constituents, he should resign. Today!
John Tyrrell, Nanaimo
To the Nanaimo News Bulletin – published 7 April 2015 (local paper)
"Dr" Lunney has chosen to leave the Conservative Caucus and sit as an independent. I would have no problem with this if his decision was based on a desire to better serve all those who live within his constituency - and by all, I mean those of every faith along with those of us who profess no faith.
But that was not his reason. He wants to promote a so-called "Christian" worldview - a worldview which is not Christian in the sense that it covers all Christians, but a worldview only of a subset of Christians.
I would point out to "Dr" Lunney that the major Christian denominations in Canada accept science, accept evolution, and reject the narrow literal interpretation of Genesis, preferring to interpret it metaphorically.
In promoting creationism and by attacking evolution through a misrepresentation of the scientific method, Lunney is not standing up for Christianity. He is standing up for ignorance and stupidity.
Using his seat in Parliament to promote his personal religious views and those of a small clique of fundamentalist preachers overly-influenced by the nonsense spouted by Ken Ham of the Creation Museum in Kentucky is not what Lunney was elected for. He was elected to represent his constituents in Parliament.
"Dr" Lunney has abdicated his responsibilities. He should resign immediately.
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