, 34 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
Media Literacy: Seldom have we witnessed a federal party leader alienate so many Canadians in the opening line of a speech. Likely meant to be somewhat conciliatory, or comforting, Scheer's speech is anything but. #cdnpoli 1/25 +
As soon as he utters the words, "children of God", the hair stands up on the backs of many people's necks. Why is this, you ask? First, in a diverse, multicultural country, we don't talk a lot about faith. That's not because it is not allowed, but because the threat... 2/25
of one faith group imposing their will on other faith groups, or people who do not belong to any faith group, is ever-present in this world. Indeed, we only need look to the south to see how the lines between church and state have blurred. 3/25
That is the second reason. Canadians generally prefer a government that bases policy and decision-making on empirical evidence, not 2,000 year old texts. As soon as you signal that you are drawing government and religion together, 4/25
You raise the question of "which religion"? Scheer is, of course, Christian and would be referencing his god. You can't pretend that different religions have got along fabulously over the millennia. Even those that have much the same teachings and outlook... 5/25
have been slaughtering each other throughout history because they cannot overcome the deeply held conceit that their religion is better and all others must be subjugated and eliminated. Even within Christianity there have been long and bloody wars between different sects. 6/25
Roman Catholics and Protestants are the most obvious example, but the history of Christianity is rife with violent disagreements between branches of the same faith. And the same is true of most other world religions. 7/25
One of the many great things about Canada is we do not have state-enforced religion, nor do we prevent people from following the faith of their choosing, or no faith at all, provided that faith does not infringe upon the rights of others. 8/25
We see in the US how the religious right has brought religious doctrine into law-making. Most recently in the anti-abortion legislation in several states. But religious opinion permeates more and more of their legislative motives 9/25
We do not need, or want, our government to be driven by what they feel is their religious values. We saw the Harper Government base legislation on opinion instead of best practices/empirical evidence. Many of these laws are now overturned or still challenged in the courts. 10/25
Furthermore, if we allow any party that has professed an adherence to a particular religion to gain power, we risk the rights of those who are not of that faith. We must not allow any religion to become entrenched in the governance of our country. 11/25
And yes, the preamble to our charter of rights and freedoms does say, "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law", this is to prevent Canada from becoming an enforced atheistic state, like the Soviet Union. 12/
It is important to recall that this document was written during the cold war. The phrase is an artifact of a different time. So, don't @ me about this. Read this instead: exhibits.library.utoronto.ca/exhibits/show/… 13/25
So, what is Andrew Scheer doing when he uses the term "children of God" in a speech to the Canadian people? Several things, actually. First, he demonstrates his adherence to his religion to the religious people in his base. 14/25
Second, he attempts to make people feel comforted that, because he is a religious man, he would not discriminate against others. However, there is a long history of missionaries and governments punishing "children of God" for not following the right religion. 15/25
Usually couched in the language of "saving souls", there was an inherent notion of the value of people, coupled with horror that they were wasting their valuable soul, A "hate the sin, but not the sinner" line that justified all manner of cruelty. 16/25
I, for one, take zero comfort in the idea that Scheer feels the need to point out that he is guided by his Christian principles. It says to me that he is appallingly tone-deaf about the reality of Canada. 17/25
He goes on to say that those who see some as inferior because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation are not welcome. Yet... It was only after a week of public outcry that Scheer acted to remove Michael Cooper, 18/25
the CPC MP who read the Christchurch shooter's manifesto into the record of a Parliamentary committee while telling a Muslim Association witness that he should "be ashamed". And he did not remove Cooper from the position of deputy Justice Critic, or from CPC caucus... 19/25
No, he just removed Cooper from a seat on the committee, which is wrapping up in 3 weeks anyway. So, exactly how much credence do we give to Scheer's professed intolerance for intolerance? 20/25
How long was Conservative Lynn Beyak allowed to remain as a Conservative caucus member after making remarks defending residential schools? Posting racist letters on her website? Even in addressing the issue, which had prompted public outcry... 21/25
Scheer removed her from caucus because she would not remove "certain comments" that said Indigenous People were lazy. Presumably, if she had done as she was directed, she would still be a member of the CPC caucus. 22/25 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Beyak
This begs the question, is Beyak's offence in Scheer's eyes being a racist, or not following orders? In analysing political speech, we must consider how the words being spoken align with actual behaviour. 23/25
Is Michael Cooper's offence being a racist, or drawing bad publicity? Or was he just the hapless bearer of a CPC trial balloon that was rejected by the Canadian public? Do the CPC's own communications align with a "universal equality" outlook? 24/25
I offer this CPC ad as an example of the official CPC view of the equality of all people, the "equal and infinite value in all of us..." 25/25+
Returning to the original statement that is the theme of this thread, there was no need for Scheer to reference God. This was not an off-the-cuff impassioned statement. 26/25+
This was carefully worded and rehearsed, as evidenced by how proud Scheer seems to be of himself when he makes it through the whole thing. 27/25+
There was a reason, or reasons, the CPC chose to make a religious reference here. I cannot think of any that bode well for Canadian society under a Scheer-led government. 28/25+
As a post-script, this is the original photo the CPC cropped and photoshopped for their ad. As you can see, the man is travelling with his family, walking towards a reception centre, not sneaking through a hole in a fence. Needs to be shown, the ad misrepresented reality.
Another post-script: I have been inspired by fellow tweeters to go a bit further... While making himself out to be the "harmless" Christian boy, there may be distinct dog-whistles regarding abortion - "children of God" and "infinite value"...
And, if you feel it's ok, and give it a pass, because, after all, Scheer is invoking YOUR religion and you feel it's a pretty good one, please rethink that. If you are afraid of other faiths supplanting your own, can you not see how alarming this is to those not of your faith?
The ONLY situation that reflects an inclusive and non-discriminatory Canada is one where political parties and leaders keep their religious affiliations to themselves and do not draw on them to make policy, or gain political points.
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