How Canada’s Christian Right Was Built
The Toronto Star has the following disturbing article by Marci McDonald about the rise of the Canadian evangelical movement and its influence in government.
From the moment I began this book, I was confronted by skeptics who insist that a truly influential religious right could never take root in Canada. For some, that denial seemed like an exercise in wishful thinking, a refusal to face the possibility that the idea of the country they cherish — liberal, tolerant, and not given to extremes of action or belief — might not be in sync with the changing reality. Others argued that if a Christian right did exist here it would have burst fully formed on to the political scene, a carbon copy of that in the U.S. — raucous and confrontational, openly pulling the strings of the Conservative party and captained by outspoken television preachers with millions of viewers ready to respond to their bidding. But the American movement has had more than three decades to take shape and flourish; by the time scholars and the mainstream media noticed, it had already infiltrated nearly every level of government from school boards to the Senate, often by stealth.
In this country, where the CRTC has kept the reins on religious broadcasting and Catholics make up a larger proportion of the faith community, the emergent Christian right may look and sound different than its American counterpart, but in the five years since the prospect of same-sex marriage propelled evangelicals into political action, it has spawned a coalition of advocacy groups, think tanks and youth lobbies that have changed the national debate. The “sleeping giant” that Capital Xtra! magazine had warned against in 2005 is now up and about, organizing with a vengeance that will not be easily reversed. As Faytene Kryskow, leader of Christian youth lobby called 4MYCanada, told a parliamentary reception, “We are here, and we are here to stay.”
With funding from a handful of conservative Christian philanthropists and a web of grassroots believers accustomed to tithing in the service of their faith, those organizations have built sophisticated databases and online networks capable of mobilizing their forces behind specific legislation with instant e-mail alerts and updates. Setting up an array of internship programs, they are also training a new generation of activists to be savvier than their secular peers in navigating the corridors of power. Already, their alumni have landed top jobs in the public service, MPs’ offices and the PMO, prompting one official from the National House of Prayer to boast in an unguarded moment, “If the media knew how many Christians there are in the government, they’d go crazy.”
Marci Also has an upcoming book titled The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada