Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The McCarthyism of the Canadian Left Picks Up Steam

David Warren had a good column in The Ottawa Citizen the other day about the new McCarthyism that has appeared in Canada recently.

The notion that, simply because people are Christian, they should be "exposed" and hounded out of public life, or dragged before human rights tribunals, is becoming a commonplace of "progressive" thinking. It is hardly confined to Canada: the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing an astounding case (Christian Legal Society v. Martinez), in which the most basic right of free association could be denied to Christians on university campuses; the ACLU has made the removal from public property of all visible evidence of America's Christian heritage an expression of "civil rights."

In Ottawa this week, a "scandal" has been alleged because the member of Parliament for Regina-Qu'Appelle (a Catholic!) arranged a lunch with colleagues (not all of them Catholic) to meet the Canadian vicar of the Catholic lay organization Opus Dei. Neither the organization nor the lunch was in any way secret, unprecedented, nor otherwise abnormal, and yet it was presented in Le Devoir with the gravity of the Spanish Inquisition.

This is an example of the sort of thing that promises to become, in the shadow of McDonald's much-touted book, a "meme" of agenda-driven, liberal journalism: "outing" those who quite openly practice the Christian religion and advocate for its long-received views as if they were subversives.

How does Warren suggest that Christians respond?

How should Christians respond to such attacks? To fellow Catholics, I would suggest, take the Rosary out of your pocket and wave it in their faces. To all other Christians, likewise: do not be cowed, do not retreat an inch. You have every right to maintain the beliefs that built Western Civilization against the beliefs that are taking it down and a duty in good conscience to affirm Christ, regardless of the consequences.
We must not respond passively by allowing ourselves to be browbeaten into silence. That is the coward's way out. Like Peter and John in Acts we have to speak of what we have seen and heard - it is our duty of love to those around us.

Ezra Levant has some comments on the specific individuals involved in a post called
"The McCarthyism of the Canadian Left":

Pat Martin is the NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre. Last week he told reporters that members of the Catholic lay order, Opus Dei, "give me the creeps".

I'm sure that's true. Martin doesn't like Christians in general, even when they're doing social services in his own decrepit downtown, a downtown that has got more decrepit under his watch as MP. Martin would rather have urban decay than development, if the developers are Christian. Here's his own hometown paper calling him out as "irrational" for his anti-Christian outburst earlier this year.

But Martin went further this time. In response to news that fifteen or so MPs and staff had a meeting in the Parliamentary restaurant with the Canadian vicar of Opus Dei, Martin didn't just call conservative Catholics creepy, he expressed his objection that any MP would invite such people to soil the sacred precincts of Parliament Hill. Martin "certainly wouldn't attend anything associated with them," he said.
After discussing Gilles Duceppe's contribution to the witch hunt, Levant ends with a summary of the situation:

So what do we have here?

1. The obvious: that anti-Christian bigotry remains an acceptable form of intolerance in Canadian politics.

2. This bigotry has infected the parties of the left.

3. The mainstream media, and indeed the rest of the political establishment, ignores this bigotry (and in many cases approves of it).

4. Like Marci McDonald's book on Christians, Duceppe's comments are ridiculous on the face of them: to ascribe government policy to two party volunteers without any government office. I doubt that either woman blacklisted by Duceppe have spoken to Harper in a year.

5. Like McDonald's book, Duceppe's comments are error-ridden: he says that a Conservative (MP Andrew Scheer) invited "his colleagues" to dine with Opus Dei "leaders". In fact, Scheer sent an e-mail to all of Parliament Hill -- including to Duceppe himself. And it wasn't Opus Dei leaders, but rather one man, Msgr. Fred Dolan.

6. How terrifying is Msgr. Dolan? Who was attracted to his diabolical meeting? Well, Mario Silva, for one. Who's he? Oh, just a Liberal MP. A gay Liberal MP. That just proves how deep the Christian conspiracy is though, doesn't it -- it even has left-wing gay activists as part of their master plan!

But the real point is this: anti-Christian bigotry has metastasized from quiet prejudices into full-blown witch-hunts. McDonald's hateful book was a catalyst, but as Martin's comments earlier this year (and Duceppe's comments in the Toronto Star in 2008) show, the hatred was already out there.

(By the way, look at Duceppe's comments in that Star article. The atheist Marxist Duceppe is actually giving his political opinions about what Catholic rituals are "questionable" or not. Could you imagine him inspecting an Orthodox Jew or Sikh this way?)

Back to my list:

7. Do Duceppe and Martin meet the definition of "bigot"? I think so; here's the dictionary definition: "one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance". Yeah, the shoe fits.

8. Will Canada's self-appointed anti-hate squads pounce on Martin and Duceppe? The Canadian Human Rights Commission? Of course not: they're part of the anti-Christian persecution themselves, having prosecuted Fr. Alphonse de Valk, Rev. Stephen Boissoin, the Christian Heritage Party, etc. I'm surprised they haven't gone after Msgr. Dolan yet.

9. How about the Canadian Jewish Congress? Pause for laughter.

10. Look at Duceppe's bizarre answer about McCarthyism: "McCarthy was you can’t say something because you can’t prove that you don’t have a card of the Communist Party and prove that you don’t have." We've all heard Duceppe enough to know that his English, while accented, is excellent. He is making the usual Marxist argument: censorship is only censorship if it's applied against the left. Witch-hunts against conservatives, by definition, aren't witch hunts.

11. But he saved the worst for last: he says that Opus Dei should not be allowed to participate in our democracy. He fudged it a bit; saying they ought not to participate "as a group". But that makes no sense: Opus Dei, as a group, is not involved in any political party. It is a lay organization -- it's not a group of priests. It's just a group of Catholics who have a particular belief. The very people he named in Parliament were participating as individuals -- it's ridiculous to claim they were Opus Dei candidates, for example. But they were precisely the ones Duceppe was damning.

12. One more point about the media. Duceppe's attack was either inspired by or coordinated with Le Devoir's Helene Buzzetti, who has written several breathless reports about Opus Dei in recent days. You need a subscription to read the full text, but here are some of her gems (my translation, helped by Google): Opus Dei "arouses suspicions"; it is "controversial"; it engages in "secrecy"; and my favourite: "it urges its members to pursue graduates studies and then mingle with the elite". (How suspicious! Sounds like the Jews, really!) Don't you love it when journalists put their own editorial opinions in as facts, merely by stating them without attribution? They "arouse suspicions", you know! . . .

Levant closes with this challenge:

How do you feel about people being blacklisted because they're Catholic? How do you feel about MPs calling different religions "creepy"? How about a leader of a party declaring certain private religious rituals "questionable"? How about the condemnation of even inviting such people to lunch?

If your answer is anything different than it would be if Marci McDonald and Pat Martin and Gilles Duceppe were counting Jews or Sikhs or Muslims, then shame on you.

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