May 28, 2010

Critical Notions in Marci McDonald’s Armageddon Factor”

By admin

I watched the Agenda last night as Steve Paikin interviewed Marci McDonald and subsequently met with a panel to discuss religion and politics and two central points were missed:

  1. Why we must separate politics and religion
  2. Why Marci McDonald called her book ‘the Armageddon Factor’

In the discussion, there was Steve, Marci and the following politicians or ex-politicians:

  • John McKay, Liberal MP for Scarborough – Guildwood
  • Chris Stockwell, former Conservative Ontario MPP
  • Cheri DiNovo, NDP MPP for Parkdale – High Park

All of them admitted to being members of some kind of Christian organized religion.  Of course, I think that was the plan with the Agenda organizers, but it creates the impression that faith-based politics are the only option in this country.  What of the atheists or Hindus or Muslims or Jews or other denominations?  Do they not matter when talking about ‘religion and politics’?

It also reinforces this seemingly lost notion that politicians really aren’t entitled to their own opinion.  The only opinion they should have should be based on the opinion and direction of their constituents.  Forgetting this exhibits the most profound level of hubris and it’s no wonder Canadians are pissed with ALL of the political parties right now.

Which addresses the first question:  why we must separate politics and religion.

Although the concept is older than the American revolution, Americans were the first to really pull away from religious influence by ‘separating church and state’.  This was done because the church had become so corrupt in Europe and elsewhere that it became impossible to do anything proactive for the population at large without the church digging its claws into said actions.  Whether it was the tithe (where 10% of your income had to fund religion) or mandatory legislation that benefited Christian institutions (eg. no Sunday shopping), they couldn’t resist the temptation of influence and control.

This is at the core of the message being delivered by Marci McDonald (and others) when it comes to Canadian politics.

Imagine a world today in which the church would have influence over security issues?  What happens if you’re looking at good old porn and the church decides that you can’t and cuts off your internet?  Of course, that’s coming, isn’t it with the ACTA laws being discussed behind our backs, isn’t it?

And what happens if fundamentalists take over our daily lives and your position or philosophy is different from theirs?

Intolerance is the first of many unsavoury words that come to mind when religious fundamentalists are involved and it’s intolerance that CANNOT be the cornerstone of any legislative assembly, particularly when that assembly must be focused on balance, equality and liberty.

And what of the Armageddon Factor?

This is the second crucial question being raised in this discussion.

It has everything to do with environmental stewardship and greed.

  • Why save your money when you can donate it to my cause (and so I can live in opulence and you continue in squalor)?
  • Why sacrifice our outrageous level of gluttony in the western world so that the rest of the world can elevate itself to a hint beyond abject poverty?
  • Why pretend that we should save our environment when the end of the world is nigh?

Nihilism is at the centre of the Armageddon Factor.  McDonald does her best to identify that many of the groups that hold substantial sway over our politicians and many of the politicians themselves are nihilists.

They see no future except one of death, doom and despair.

The end of the world is coming and there’s nothing we can or should do about it!

What’s even more frightening is that this level of fundamentalism could easily support a rise in tensions between countries like Israel, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan because these countries are at the centre of ‘The End Times’, a fictional idea foisted by a drug-induced prophet in Rhodes and monetized by the likes of Tim LeHaye (the author of the ‘Left Behind’ series).

And THAT is the core of why these people cannot be trusted, why religion must be separated from politics and why we cannot allow matters of faith to guide matters of respect.

The end of the world is not coming, your religion is myth and we MUST take control of our situation on this planet because we’re about to lose it.