The slogan “my body, my choice” is not a new one. It has been around for years and, until practically yesterday, everyone who heard it – or read it on a placard – knew who the person saying it –or holding the placard – was and what this person was talking about. That person was someone who identified as “pro-choice”, the choice in question being the choice of a woman to have an abortion.
Those of us who were on the right side of the abortion debate, the side that generally went by the label “pro-life”, would answer this slogan by pointing out that it was not just the woman’s body that would be affected by the abortion. The unborn baby inside her would also be affected. Indeed, its life would be terminated as that is the essential nature of an abortion. The pro-choice movement has gone to great lengths to disguise the true nature of abortion from itself, and from those women contemplating one. They use euphemistic language like “reproductive rights”, “reproductive health”, and the like in order to depict abortion as being merely a routine medical procedure. They object strenuously to efforts by the pro-life movement to shatter this façade and bring the true nature of abortion out into the open by, for example, showing graphic depictions of aborted babies.
It can no longer be assumed, when one hears the slogan “my body, my choice”, that the person speaking is talking about abortion. Indeed, it is probably safe to say that if you hear that slogan today, the chances are that the person saying it is not talking about abortion at all. This is because in the last couple of months or so the slogan has been adopted by a different group of people altogether, those who are on the right side of the forced vaccine debate and are bravely standing up to the mob which, scared senseless by two years of media fear porn about the bat flu virus, is supporting governments in their efforts to shove needles into everyone’s arms whether they want them or not.
The mob’s answer to this new use of the slogan, when they bother to respond with anything other than “shut up and do what you are told” is similar to the pro-life movement’s answer to the pro-abortion use of the slogan. It is not just our bodies, they tell us. It is our duty to do our part to take the jab in order to protect others from the bat flu and if we don’t do our part the government should force us to do so by making our lives as miserable as possible until we do.
Before showing how and why the pro-life movement was right in its answer to the slogan as used by the pro-abortion movement while the supporters of forced vaccination are wrong in their answer to the slogan, it might be interesting to observe another way in which these two seemingly disparate issues intersect. Among those of us who are on the side of the angels against forced vaccination there are those who are merely against vaccines being coerced and there are those who have objections to the vaccines qua vaccines. Those who object to the vaccines qua vaccines could be further divided into those who are against all vaccines on principle and those who have problems with the bat flu vaccines specifically. The latter include a large number of traditionalist Roman Catholics and Orthodox, evangelical Protestants, and other religious conservatives. One of the reasons more religious conservatives have objected to the bat flu vaccines is that the mRNA type vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) are developed from research that used a cell line originally derived from an aborted foetus and the Johnson & Johnson viral vector vaccine used a cell line from a different aborted foetus in its production and manufacturing stage.
Now, let us consider some differences between these scenarios that render the pro-life movement’s response to “my body, my choice” valid, and the pro-forced vaccination mob’s response to the same invalid.
The pro-life movement objects that “my body, my choice” is not a valid defense of abortion because abortion causes the death of someone other than the woman choosing to have an abortion. This is a strong argument because a) abortion always, in every instance, and indeed, by definition, causes such a death, b) the death is always of a specific someone who is known, to the extent an unnamed person can be known, and c) the death is always intentional on the part of the persons performing and having the abortion. The opposite of all of this is true in the case of someone who rejects the bat flu vaccines. Someone not getting a vaccine is never the direct cause of another person’s death. An unvaccinated person can only transmit the virus to someone else if he himself has the virus. Even if he does have the virus and does transmit it to someone else that other person is far more likely to survive the virus than to die from it. This is true even if the other person is in the most-at-risk category. It would be extremely rare, if it happens at all, that causing another person, let alone a specific other person, to die would be part of the intent in deciding not to be vaccinated. Therefore, the argument that the pro-life movement uses against “my body, my choice” in the case of abortion, does not hold up as an argument against the same in the case of forced vaccination.
A second important difference is in how the expression “my body, my choice” is used by the two groups. The pro-choice movement uses it against those who would prohibit women from having an abortion. The opponents of forced vaccination use it against those who would compel everybody to take an injection. To compel somebody to do something requires a much stronger justification than to prohibit them from doing something. This is especially the case when it comes to medical procedures. A reasonable justification for denying someone a medical procedure that is not urgently needed to save the person’s life from immediate danger is far more conceivable than such a justification for compelling someone to undergo a medical procedure. In the case of the bat flu vaccines, the clinical trials of which will not be completed for another two years, many of which include mRNA which has never been used in vaccines before, which increase the risk of the heart conditions pericarditis and myocarditis, as well as thrombosis (blood clots) and Bell’s palsy, and which is for a respiratory disease that people who are young and healthy have well over a 99% chance of surviving and even those who are not young and healthy are far more likely to survive than not, the idea that compelling anyone to take these could ever be rationally justified is morally repugnant.
So we see that “my body, my choice” is weak and invalid with regards to abortion but is strong and valid with regards to forced vaccination (vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, etc.) The only reason there is a mob supporting and calling for the latter today, is because people and businesses have been terrorized by the media and their governments and subjected to hellish lockdowns and restrictions for almost two years, are sick of it, would agree to almost anything to be rid of it, and so they jumped aboard the forced vaccination bandwagon when the public health mandarins said that we need vaccine mandates and vaccine passports to avoid another lockdown. The public health mandarins are lying, however, as they have been lying since day one of the bat flu pandemic. All that is needed for us to avoid another lockdown is for governments to start respecting our constitutional rights and freedoms and the constitutional limits on their own power. They will only do this if we insist upon it. Letting them get away with forced vaccination is not a step towards the return of freedom, but towards greater tyranny. — GERRY T. 19, FREEDOM, MRNA, TYRANNY, VACCINES
Stand Up to the Mob– The Statue Wreckers & Their Establishment Enablers!
When a mob vandalizes or tears down statues that have been in place for generations of nation-builders, whether statesmen like Sir John A. Macdonald, Father of Confederation and first Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada, or educators like Egerton Ryerson, one of the chief architects of the Upper Canadian – Ontarian for the hopelessly up-to-date – public school system, back the in days when schools were a credit to their builders rather than a disgrace, this tells us much more about the mob than about the historical figures whose memory they are attacking. It is far easier to tear something down than it is to build something, especially something of lasting benefit. It is also much quicker. What these acts tell us is that the members of these mobs, whether taken individually or collectively, who are howling for the “cancelling” of the memories of men like Macdonald and Ryerson, do not have it in them to achieve a thousandth of what such men accomplished. Driving them down this quick and easy, but ultimately treacherous and deadly, path of desecration and destruction, is the spirit of Envy, which is not mere jealousy, the wish to have what others have, but the hatred of others for being, having, or doing what you do not and cannot be, have, or do yourself. It was traditionally considered among the very worst of the Seven Deadly Sins, second only to Pride. This makes it almost fitting, in a perverse sort of way, that last weekend’s mob assault on the statue of Ryerson at the University that bears his name, took place at the beginning of the month which, to please the alphabet soup people of all the colours of the rainbow, now bears the name of that Sin in addition to the Roman name for the queen of Olympus.
The toppling of the Ryerson statue came at the end of a week in which the Canadian media, evidently tired of the bat flu after a year and a half, found a new dead horse to flog. Late in May, a couple of days after the anniversary of the incident which, after it was distorted and blown out of proportion by the media, sparked last year’s wave of race riots and “Year Zero” Cultural Maoism, and just in time to launch Indigenous History Month, yet another new handle for the month formerly known as June, the Kamloops Indian Band made an announcement. They had hired someone to use some fancy newfangled sonar gizmo to search the grounds of the old Indian Residential School at Kamloops and, lo and behold, they had discovered 215 unmarked graves.
The Canadian mainstream media was quick to label this discovery “shocking”. This speaks extremely poorly about the present state of journalistic integrity in this country. When used as an adjective, the word shocking expresses a negative judgement about that which is so described but it also generally conveys a sense of surprise on the part of the person doing the judging. There was nothing in the Kamloops announcement, however, that ought to have been surprising. It revealed nothing new about the Indian Residential Schools. That there are unmarked graves on the grounds of these schools has been known all along. The fourth volume of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report is entitled Missing Children and Unmarked Burials. It is 273 pages long and was published in December of 2015. According to this volume the death rate due to such factors as disease – tuberculosis was the big one – and suicide was much higher among aboriginal children at the Residential Schools than among school children in the general population. The TRC attributed this to the inadequacy of government standards and regulations for these schools which fell under the jurisdiction of the federal government rather than the provincial education ministries like other schools, as well as inadequate enforcement of such standards and regulations, and inadequate funding. Had the TRC been the impartial body of inquiry it made itself out to be it would also have compared the death rate among Residential School children to that among aboriginal children who remained at home on the reserves. At any rate, according to the TRC Report, unless the families lived nearby or could afford to have the bodies sent to them, they were generally buried in cemeteries at the schools which were abandoned and fell into disuse and decay after the schools were closed. All that this “new discovery” has added to what is already contained in that volume is the location of 215 of these graves. One could be forgiven for thinking that all the progressives in the mainstream Canadian media who have been spinning the Residential School narrative into a wrecking ball to use against Canada and the men who built her are not actually that familiar with the contents of the TRC Report.
The Canada-bashing progressives have been reading all sorts of ridiculous conclusions into the discovery of these graves that the actual evidence in no way bears out. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was hardly an impartial and unbiased body of inquiry. Its end did not seem to be the first noun in its title so much as painting as unflattering a portrait of the Indian Residential Schools, the Canadian churches, and the Canadian government as was possible. Even still, it did not go so far as to accuse the schools of the mass murder of children. The most brazen of the progressive commentators have now been pointing to the discovery of the graves and making that accusation, and their slightly less brazen colleagues have been reporting the story in such a way as to lead their audiences to that conclusion without their outright saying it. This is irresponsible gutter journalism at its worst. The Kamloops band and its sonar technicians have not discovered anything that the TRC Report had not already told us was there, and bodies have not been exhumed, let alone examined for cause of death. Indeed, they did not even discover a “mass grave” as innumerable media commentators have falsely stated, with some continuing to falsely say this despite the band chief having issued an update in which she explicitly stated “This is not a mass grave”. The significance of this is that it shows that the media has been painting the picture of a far more calloused disposal of bodies than the evidence supports or the band claims.
The media, of course, are not acting in bona fide. This time last year, they were using the death of George Floyd to promote a movement that was inciting race riots all across the United States and even throughout the larger Western world. Coinciding with this was a wave of mob attacks on the monuments of a wide assortment of Western nation-builders, institutional founders, statesmen, and other honoured historical figures. The New York Times, the American trash rag of record, had been laying the foundation for this for months by running Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project, a revisionist distortion of American history that interprets everything by viewing it through the lens of slavery, in its Sunday Magazine supplement. What we are seeing up here this year is simply the Canadian left-wing gutter press trying to reproduce its American cousin’s success of last year.
Those who use their influence to support statue-toppling mobs have no business commenting on history whatsoever. By their very actions they demonstrate that they have not learned a fairly basic historical lesson. Movements that seek to tear down a country’s history – her past cannot be torn down, but her history, her “remembered past” to use John Lukacs’ definition, can – never end well but rather in disaster, destruction, and misery for all. The Jacobins attempted this in France in the 1790s when they started history over with their Republic at “Year One”, and endued up with the Reign of Terror. It has been a pretty standard feature of all Communist revolutions since. Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, when they took over Cambodia in 1975, declared it to be “Year Zero”. Watch the film “The Killing Fields” or read my friend Reaksa Himm’s memoir The Tears of My Soul to find out what that was like. Anybody who fails to grasp the simple historical fact that these are terrible examples and not ones to be emulated has no business passing judgement on the errors of the historical figures who built countries and institutions, led them through difficult periods, and otherwise did the long and difficult work of construction, enriching future generations, rather than the short and easy work of destruction that can only impoverish them.
There are undoubtedly those who would feel that this comparison of today’s statue-topplers who are now likening our country’s founders to Hitler with the Jacobins, Maoists, Pol Pot and other statue-toppling, country-and-civilization destroyers of the past is unfair. It is entirely appropriate, however. It is one thing to acknowledge that bad things took place at the Indian Residential Schools and to give those who suffered those things a platform and the opportunity to share their story. It is another thing altogether to use those bad things to paint a cartoonish caricature so as to condemn the schools, the churches that administered them, and the country herself, wholesale, and to silence those whose testimony as to their experiences runs contrary to this one-sided, un-nuanced, narrative. It is one thing to acknowledge that admired leaders of the past were human beings and thus full of flaws, or even to point out examples of how they fell short of the standards of their own day or of timeless standards. It is something quite different to use their flaws to discredit and dismiss their tremendous accomplishments and, even worse, to condemn them for failing to hold attitudes that are now all but ubiquitous but which nobody anywhere in the world held until the present generation.
When the so-called Truth and Reconciliation process began – I don’t mean the appointment of the Commission but the proceedings that led to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement which brought about the creation of the Commission, so we are talking about two and a half decades ago – the discussion was primarily about physical and sexual abuse that some of the alumni of the schools had suffered there, over which they had initiated the lawsuits that led to the Settlement. With the creation of the TRC, however, the discussion came to be dominated by people with another very different agenda. Their agenda was to condemn the entire Residential Schools system as a project of “cultural genocide”.
The concept of “cultural genocide” is nonsensical. Genocide, a term coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944, means the murder of a “people”, in the sense of a group with a common ancestry and identity. The Holocaust of World War II is the best known example. The mass murder of Tutsis in Rwanda towards the end of that country’s civil war in 1994 is a more recent example. The concept of “cultural genocide” was thought up by the same man who coined the term. It refers to efforts to destroy a people’s cultural identity without killing the actual people. Since the equation of something that does not involve killing actual people with mass murder ought to be morally repugnant to any thinking person, the concept should have been condemned and rejected from the moment Lemkin first conceived it. Soon after it was conceived, however, the leaders of certain Jewish groups began using it as a club against Christianity. Christianity teaches that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah, the Redeemer prophesied in the Old Testament Who established the promised New Covenant through His death and Resurrection and Who is the only way to God for Jews and Gentiles alike. Christianity’s primary mission from Jesus Christ is evangelism – telling the world the Gospel, the Good News about Who Jesus is and what He has done. While not everybody believes the Gospel when they hear it and it is not our mission to compel anybody to believe, obviously the desired end of evangelism is for everybody to believe. Since rabbinic Judaism has long taught that a Jew who converts to Christianity ceases to be a Jew, the Jewish leaders in question argued that evangelism amounts to cultural genocide – if all the Jews believed the Gospel, there would be no Jews any more. On the basis of this kind of reasoning they began pressuring Christian Churches to change their doctrines and liturgical practices as they pertain to the evangelism of Jews. Sadly, far too many Church leaders proved to be weak in the face of this kind of pressure.
Canada’s Laurentian political class showed a similar lack of backbone when it came to defending our country against the smear that the Residential Schools were designed to wipe out Native Indian cultural identities. Indeed, their attitude throughout the entire “Truth and Reconciliation” process was to accept the blame for whatever accusations were thrown against Canada and to refuse to hold the accusers accountable to even the most basic standards of courtroom justice. Imagine a trial where the judge allows only the prosecutor to call witnesses, denies the defense the right to cross examine, and refuses to allow the defense to make a case. That will give you a picture of what the trial of Canada by the TRC over the Residential Schools was like.
The reality is that had Canada wanted to erase Native Indian cultural identity she would have abolished the reserves, torn up the treaties and declared the Indians to be ordinary citizens like everyone else, insisted that they all live among other Canadians, and that their children go to the same public schools as everybody else. In other words, she would have done the exact opposite of what she actually did. The Canadian government’s policy was clearly to preserve Indian cultural identity, not to eradicate it. Had they wanted to do the latter, residential schools would have been particularly ill-suited to the task. The TRC maintains that the idea was to break Indian cultural identity by taking children away from the cultural influence of their parents. If this was the case one would think the government would have had all Indian children sent to these schools. In actuality, however, in the approximately a century and a half that these schools operated, only a minority of Indian children were sent there. This was a very small minority in the early days of the Dominion when Sir John A. Macdonald, whom the TRC et al seem more interested in vilifying than anyone else, was Prime Minister. The government also ran day schools on the reserves and in those days the government only forced children to go to the residential schools when their parents persistently neglected to send them to the day schools. The Dominion had made it mandatory for all Indian children within a certain age range to attend school – just as the provinces had made it mandatory for all other children within the same age range to attend school. It was much later in Canadian history, after the government decided to make the schools serve the second function of being foster group homes for children removed from unsafe homes by social workers that a majority of Indian children were sent to the residential schools. Even then, the eradication of Indian cultural identity is hardly a reasonable interpretation of the government’s intent.
The TRC, in the absence of serious challenge from either Canada’s political class or the fourth estate, created a narrative indicting our country and its founders for “cultural genocide”, featuring a one-sided caricature of the Indian Residential Schools. Now, after a discovery that adds nothing that was not already contained in the TRC Report, left-wing radicals egged on by the mendacious and meretricious media, have gone far beyond the TRC in their defamatory accusations of murder against the schools and their Pol Potish demands that we “cancel” our country, her history, and her historical figures. It is about time that we stood up to these thugs who in their envy and hatred of those who did what they themselves could never do by building our country wish to tear it all down. It is slightly encouraging that the Conservatives were able to stop the motion by Jimmy Dhaliwal’s Canada-hating socialist party to have Parliament declare the Residential Schools to have been a genocide. I didn’t think they had the kives – the Finnish word for “stones” the bearing of which as a last name by a local reporter brings to mind how the biggest man in Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men was called “Little John” – to do so.
Christians Defending Bat Flu Tyranny and Oppression are Deluded and Deceived
The last Anglican priests that I spoke to in person were those of my own parish in March of last year, the day before the bishop’s order shutting down the diocese went into effect. Since then, I have spoken to one of the priests by phone once, and communicated with the others through e-mail. Oh, I could have seen them in person again, had I started attending services when the parish partially re-opened last summer. That would have meant a compromise of conviction however. I will not darken my parish door again as long as I am told to register in advance to do so, to impede my breathing in that hot, stuffy, building for the hour and a half that I am there by covering my nose and mouth with a stupid diaper that has reminded me of nothing so much as a the Mark of the Beast since it was first introduced, and to “socially distance” while there. As far as I am concerned telling people to pre-register to book a place in Church because only a limited few will be admitted constitutes turning people away from the Ministry of Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament and is an act of blasphemy crying out to heaven for vengeance. To be fair to my parish – and the entire Anglican Church of Canada – I did not include the practice of Communion in one kind in the above list of deal-breakers, since I think they are using pre-intinction as a means of distributing the Sacrament in both kinds and thus are not in technical violation of the Thirtieth Article of Religion (and the basic principles of the English Reformation). I watch their services on Youtube but I refuse to regard this as “participating in an online service” or anything more than watching a broadcast of somebody else performing a service. This is because I have taken to heart Aleksandr Soltzhenitsyn’s instructions on the day of his arrest in 1974 to those oppressed by Communist tyranny. Those instructions were to “live not by lies”. When the government refuses to respect the constitution’s limits on its powers and claims for itself the right to completely suspend our basic freedoms of assembly, association, religion, and, increasingly, speech, in its self-delusion that a respiratory virus can be stopped by government action, subjects the entire population to the absolute rule of medical technocrats, and goes out of its way to demonstrate its contempt for religion, classifying Churches and synagogues and mosques as “non-essential” while liquor and cannabis stores and abortion clinics are classified as “essential”, it comes disgustingly close to the Soviet-style Communist tyranny that Soltzhenitsyn suffered under and about which he warned the West. While it is true that rights and freedoms are not absolute, as our governments have been saying in response to challenges to their actions, this is not at all at issue. It deflects from the fact that they have been acting like their authority to limit our rights and freedoms is absolute – this is what “nothing is off the table” means – and this is the essence of totalitarian tyranny.
My purpose here is not to knock the clergy of my parish. I have explained why I haven’t seen any of them in person since last March to lead in to the fact that apart from them, the last Anglican clergyman that I had spoken to in person, earlier the same month, was the Right Reverend Donald Phillips. Donald Phillips was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land in 2000, the year after I had left what is now Providence University College in Otterburne and moved to Winnipeg. He served the diocese in this capacity until his retirement upon the consecration of his successor, the current incumbent, the Right Reverend Geoffrey Woodcroft, in November 2018. When I was confirmed in the Anglican Church as an adult, he was the bishop to do it.
It was at the Centennial Concert Hall that I ran into him and his wife Nancy about a week or so prior to the lockdown. 2020 was the 250th year since the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. As part of its celebration of this anniversary, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra performed all five of his Piano Concertos and his Choral Fantasy over the course of the two evenings of the 6th and 7th of March. The performances, conducted by WSO Music Director Daniel Raiskin, featured Russian pianist Alexei Volodin. The vocals were provided by the University of Manitoba Singers and the Canadian Mennonite University Chorus. The 2019/2020 season was the first time in several years where I had opted to buy tickets for only a handful of concerts rather than the “Ultimate Classics” package that comes with one performance each for all the shows in both of the Masterworks series. I lost my usual seat doing it this way, but was able to take in both of evenings of “Back to Beethoven” as the Piano Concerto marathon was called. These were the last WSO performances that I attended. They are likely to be the last WSO performances that I shall ever hear because the lake of fire will freeze into a solid block of ice before I ever pay concert admission to watch a livestreamed performance and am certainly not going to be bullied into taking an experimental new kind of vaccine that took less than a year to develop about which the long term side effects cannot possibly be known just to regain as “privileges” the rights that were stolen from me by power-mad paranoid hypochondriacs shortly after the concerts I have just described.
I have seldom attended a symphony, opera, or anything else at the Centennial Concert Hall without encountering at least one, and usually several, people whom I know, and this was no exception. Indeed, I was seated right next to one old acquaintance for the Friday evening performance. It was also in the Friday evening performance – some people went to both concerts, others showed up only for the one or the other – that I ran into Don and Nancy. They were seated in the row behind me, a few seats down – very close to where my subscription seat had been, actually. I chatted with them briefly in the intermission and after the concert. Did any of us suspect at the time that shortly thereafter the diocese would be essentially closed and everyone forced into social isolation for over a year by public health orders?
Towards the end of his article, he raised the following hypothetical objections to his article:
Some might call into question the whole nature of what I am saying. Should a Christian publicly challenge the actions of other Christians? Is that not being judgmental?
His answer was “Not when the integrity of the proclamation of the Gospel is at stake”.
Very well then. Since nothing in recent memory has threatened the integrity of the proclamation of the Gospel more than the quisling behaviour of the Church leaders who collaborated with totalitarianism in the Third Reich and behind the Iron Curtain, I claim our retired bishop’s justification for his remarks as my own for my rebuttal.
He begins by saying that one of the pastors with whom he disagrees – he does not mention any names but it was Tobias Tissen of the Church of God Restoration, just outside Steinbach – had been quoted as having said “We have no authority, scripturally-based and based on Christian convictions, to limit anyone from coming to hear the word of God. We have no authority to tell people you can’t come to church. That’s in God’s jurisdiction.”
Retired Bishop Don answers this by saying “the New Testament presents quite a different picture of the responsibility of the Church for itself”.
He proceeds to justify this statement by making reference, first to the bestowing of the “keys of the kingdom” in St. Matthew’s Gospel, and second to the Pauline epistles in which the Apostle “constantly confronts and admonishes churches to teach, direct, and sometimes even discipline their members so as not to hinder or distort the mission of the Gospel in the world and Christ’s command to his Church”.
This is an interestingly novel way of interpreting these passages. Yes, the “keys of the kingdom”, regardless of whether they are understood as having been given to St. Peter and his successors alone, all of the Apostles and their successors collectively, or the entire assembly of Christian disciples (the Church) collectively, have traditionally been understood to include the authority to exclude from the fellowship of the Church. In most Christian communions the technical term for the exercise of this authority is excommunication. Some more radical sects use the word “shunning” with the same basic meaning but often with additional connotations of a more complete social ostracism. This is not where the novelty lies. What is novel in this interpretation is the suggestion that this authority can be legitimately exercised other than as corrective discipline in cases where someone refuses to repent of open sin or is found to be teaching serious doctrinal error. Had our retired bishop not intended to suggest this it would have made no sense to bring the keys up in this context. It is rather surprising, therefore, that he tries to bolster the suggestion with an appeal to St. Paul. In his first epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul instructs them to excommunicate a man who has been committing “such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles”, meaning a type that was condemned and considered extremely shameful by the rather tolerant pagan culture of the time, an assessment to which all the extent classical literature pertaining to the myth of Oedipus indeed, bears testimony. In his second epistle to the Corinthians, however, he told them that the punishment had been sufficient and to forgive and comfort the man, who presumably had since repented. The picture this paints of excommunicative authority is of a means of corrective discipline, to be applied as a last resort in extreme circumstances, and lifted as soon as repentance makes possible. This hardly supports the idea that the keys can or should be used to bar people from the Ministries of Word and Sacrament, not as an act of corrective discipline, but as an instrument of public health policy.
Novelty is not a quality that is valued very highly when it comes to the interpretation of Scripture and doctrine in the Anglican tradition which has long appealed to the Vincentian canon as the gold standard litmus test of catholicity and orthodoxy. In addition to the novelty of the Right Reverend Phillips’ interpretation of the keys, however, there is another problem in its conflict with Scriptural teaching on a multitude of other issues.
One example of this is the Scriptures’ teachings with regards to civil obedience. If the pastors protesting the bat flu restrictions are at fault their error is in practicing Thoreau/Gandhi/King style civil disobedience, for which there is no Scriptural justification. Civil obedience is commanded of Christians by St. Paul in the thirteenth chapter of his epistle to the Romans. There are, however, clear exceptions. The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament illustrates these. If the civil authorities require the worship of a false god, believers in the True and Living God are not to obey, as the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused to bow to the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar and were thrown into the fiery furnace demonstrates. If the civil authorities forbid the worship of the True God, believers are not to obey, as the example of Daniel himself in the incident that led to his being cast to the lions shows. While the latter is the most obviously relevant of the two, I would argue that the first also applies here, in that the kind of trust and obedience the public health orders have been asking of us is the kind that properly belongs to God alone, making an idol out of medical science (George Bernard Shaw said, almost a hundred years ago, that we have not lost faith, we have merely transferred it from God to the General Medical Council, and never has the truth of this been more apparent than at present). The Lord Himself summed it all up in the twelfth chapter of St. Mark’s Gospel when He said “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. While a general civil obedience is rendering unto Caesar (the civil authority) that which is Caesar’s, obeying when they forbid the worship of the True God or require the worship of a false one, is to render unto Caesar that which is God’s, and that is forbidden of Christians by the Highest Authority.
Another example is the Scriptures’ teachings with regards to sickness. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told to separate those with leprosy, a far worse disease than the one that is frightening so many today, from the general community, to which they would not be readmitted until such a time as a priest had examined them and found them to have recovered. There is not a hint anywhere in the Old Testament, that banning all healthy Israelites from the Tabernacle or Temple, let alone confining them to their own dwellings and forbidding them any social interaction with their extended kin, friends, and neighbours, would be an appropriate or acceptable manner of preventing the spread of contagious disease. This is not surprising as it is an experimental new form of hyper-quarantine, first implemented in totalitarian countries like Red China, which the epidemiologists of what used to be the free world initially, although sadly mistakenly, thought they would never be able to get away with here. The Old Testament isolation requirements for lepers, of course, had the effect of heaping further suffering upon those already inflicted. Thus, when Jesus Christ arrived to fulfil the Messianic promise of a New and better Covenant, one of the most prominent signs announcing His identity as the Promised Redeemer was that He allowed the lepers to come near Him and healed them, even, in one notable instance, using tactile contact as the means of healing. He healed all who came to Him with any affliction and instructed His Apostles to do the same. The book of Acts records them doing precisely this. The Jacobean instructions in what is widely believed to be the first book of the New Testament to have been written are “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” Rather a far cry from “Is there a nasty cough going around? Let everyone stay away from the church, lock themselves in their houses, and never see anyone else without wearing a mask”.
Given what we have seen in the previous paragraph, is it surprising that in the two millennia of Christian history, which have seen plagues far worse than the bat flu ravage Christian countries and at times all of Christendom, never did the leaders of the Church see their duty, mission, and call in terms of shutting all the local churches down and denying the faithful access to the Word and Sacrament. Rather they saw it as their duty to keep the churches open, so that in times of great physical peril – much greater than today – access to the source of spiritual health, more important than physical health, was not cut off and hope, therefore, was kept alive, as well as to minister to the physical needs of the sick and dying, even at the risk of their own health and lives. When cholera hit Canada in 1832 and 1834, for example, John Strachan, who would become the first Bishop of Toronto in 1839 but was at the time the rector of the parish of St. James, refused to flee the city but remained to fulfil his priestly duties, visit the hospitals, minister to the sick and dying, and bury the dead.
Previous generations of Church leaders did not see keeping the churches open in times of far worse plagues than this comparatively moderate one as hindering or distorting “the mission of the Gospel in the world, and Christ’s command to the church.”
Our former diocesan chief shepherd asks the question “And what is that Gospel?” to which he provides an answer “It is the supreme command of Jesus Christ ‘to love one another as I (Jesus) have loved you’”.
This is a very enlightening answer. Not enlightening in terms of the question asked. In that regards it is just plain wrong. It is enlightening in that it reveals much about the source of confusion here.
The Gospel is not the command to love one another. The Gospel is not a commandment of any sort. It is a message. As its very name tells us, whether euangelion in Greek, or Gospel – contracted from the Old English “godspel” (“god” = “good” + “spel = “news”) it is Good News. It is spoken in the indicative mood, not the imperative. In the ministry of John the Baptist and in Jesus’ own early preaching ministry, when the Gospel was preached only to national Israel and the events around which the Gospel narratives of SS Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are centred had not yet taken place, that Good News was that the “Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, i.e., the Messianic promises are being fulfilled before your very eyes. After the Great Commission to take the Gospel to all the nations of the world, the Ascension, the descent of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost to empower the Church, and the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles, the Gospel in its mature and universal form was concisely stated by St. Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians. It is that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and was seen by witnesses.
That this, and not the New Commandment, is the Gospel cannot be stressed enough. The New Commandment is not “News” of any sort, Good or otherwise. That we are commanded to love one another was hardly something unheard of prior to the Incarnation. When Jesus said the Greatest Commandment was to love God and the second was to “love thy neighbour as thyself” He was quoting commandments already familiar from the Old Testament. Nor was His statement that the whole of the Law was summed up in these a new revelation. Indeed, while most often the Gospels place the two greatest commandments in His own mouth, in one notable instance He turned the question back on a lawyer who had been interrogating Him and got the answer He wanted (Luke 10:25-28) demonstrating that the idea was nor original with Him. The similar “Golden Rule”, which appears in His Sermon on the Mount, is common to the ethical systems of almost all religions, and was notably stated, albeit in its negative “do not” form rather than the positive form Jesus used, by Rabbi Hillel, who died when Jesus was about twelve or thirteen (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat a, passage 6), and who said of it “that is the entire Torah, and the rest is interpretation”. There is a kind of theology that sees in the command to love one another the essence of the Christian kerygma and treats everything asserted about Jesus Christ in the ancient Creeds as accidental trappings that can be discarded. This theology, and note that I am not suggesting that the Right Reverend Phillips holds this theology, merely that his unfortunate wording here expresses a thought that belongs to this theology rather than orthodox Christianity, is nonsense. If that were true there would have been no need for Christianity. While there is a difference between the New Commandment and all these earlier commandments to love each other, that difference depends entirely upon the facts of the Gospel as stated by St. Paul. Apart from that Gospel, the message of Christ’s death and Resurrection, the New Commandment is meaningless. It is the Gospel that tells us what “as I have loved you” means. Christ gave the New Commandment on the evening of His betrayal, to His disciples whom He had already told of His upcoming death and Resurrection, but like so many other things He said in St. John’s Gospel, it was these events themselves that made it comprehensible.
Isn’t it interesting that the example the New Commandment tells us to follow is that of One Who gave up His life for others? Isn’t it also interesting that the New Testament repeatedly describes this act as one of “redemption”. Today, the verb “redeem” and the noun “redemption” are often used in a sense that retains some of their connotations from New Testament usage but omits their original basic meaning. To redeem meant to purchase someone out of slavery and set him free. The New Testament writers use these words of the death of Christ to depict that act as one of purchasing freedom for mankind from slavery to sin. Therefore, the New Commandment tells us that we are to love one another in the same way as He Who gave up His life to restore us to freedom.
This is interesting because the Right Reverend Phillips’ interpretation of the New Commandment which he confused with the Gospel itself is that we are to love others by doing the reverse of what Christ did – giving up our freedom for them.
Now he does go on to support his argument with evidence from St. Paul:
In 1 Corinthians chapter 9, Paul outlines the many ways in which he sacrifices his own self, his rights and privileges, his freedom in Christ, in order to effectively witness to the love of Christ. “I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some,” he said (1 Corinthians 9.22)
For the Christian disciple, the effective demonstration and proclamation of the love of God for all people must take precedence over any personal demand or freedom.
St. Paul wrote his epistles to the Corinthian Church at a time when some had cast aspersions on his authority as an Apostle. A principle theme of both letters was to answer his detractors and establish confidence in this authority. This is what the Apostle is obviously concerned with through most of the ninth chapter of 1 Corinthians. In the first verse he gives his Apostolic credentials, in the second he declares that if he is not an Apostle to others he certainly is to the Corinthians for they are the seal of his Apostleship. He then goes on to talk about all the privileges and freedoms which he has as much as any of the other Apostles but which he refrains from for the sake of the work. The main point in all of this is that he, as a spiritual minister, is entitled to pecuniary support from them, but has refrained from claiming his right to the same. This is spelled out quite plainly in verses seven to fifteen
I wonder what St. Paul himself would have thought if someone from the Corinthian Church had written back to him and said that two thousand years in the future, someone would take his words about giving up the financial support to which he was entitled, so as to more effectively carry out the ministry of preaching the Gospel to which he was called and which he is bound by necessity to preach, as evidence that the entire Church should shut down, close its doors, and bar people from coming to hear said Gospel preached. I suspect he would be livid. I doubt very much that he would be any more impressed by the same application being made of his words later in the chapter, about meeting every type of person to whom he is sent in their own walk of life so as to more effectively share the Gospel with them.
His Retired Grace then refers to another quotation from a different pastor – again unnamed, but this time it was Heinrich Hildebrand of the Church of God in Aylmer, Upper Canada. Hildebrand had said “We are here to fight for God, we are here to defend the vulnerable.”
I could have told you what the bishop’s response to this would have been without having read it myself. However, here he is in his own words:
Surely the vulnerable we need to be worried about are those being exposed to the COVID-19 virus by persons not following the public health orders. Surely it is those languishing on ventilators in ICUs in hospitals across our country who are the most vulnerable!
I guess it all depends upon how we answer the question “vulnerable to what?” Even if, however, the answer is “the bat flu”, the Right Reverend Phillips’ thinking appears to be rather muddled on the subject. Those most vulnerable to the virus are not those who are exposed to it but those with complicating factors such as age, obesity, a compromised immune system, and other chronic conditions that make this virus more than just the non-lethal respiratory annoyance it is to the vast majority who contract it. When such people, the actual most vulnerable, have come into contact with the virus it has seldom been because of “persons not following the public health orders”. That is a lie, invented by arrogant politicians and public health officials such as those of our own province, in order to create a scapegoat for the failure of their own policies. The fact of the matter is that the worst and most lethal outbreaks have taken place in nursing homes where the virus spread got in and spread without any health order violations in spite of such places have been locked down quicker and stricter than anywhere else.
The bat flu, however, is not the only answer to the question “vulnerable to what?” Suppose that we supply “the public health orders themselves” as the answer to that question. We then get a very different picture of who the most vulnerable are.
Yes, public health orders hurt people. The kind of public health orders that have been enacted to slow or prevent the spread of the bat flu are especially harmful. This has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization, and even by our provincial chief public health officer. Take the mental health crisis for example. The Canadian Mental Health Association reported last December about how the “second wave of the pandemic has intensified feelings of stress and anxiety, causing alarming levels of despair, suicidal thoughts and hopelessness in the Canadian population.” It would have been more accurate for them to attribute this to the “second wave of lockdowns”. Viruses don’t have this effect. Mendacious media scaremongering might contribute to it, but overall this is exactly the sort of thing one would expect to see among people who have had all their social and community events cancelled for a year, have been forbidden any social interaction with their friends, and have been told their businesses or jobs are non-essential and must shut down. Public health orders are the primary cause of this problem. People are not meant to live this way, it goes against the social nature that God gave us, and when you force people to live in these conditions there will be disastrous consequences.
Since our bishop emeritus made use of the superlative degree of comparison in his own remarks about those vulnerable to the bat flu, I think it is fair game for me to do the same in my remarks about those vulnerable to the public health orders. Yes, some people are more vulnerable to the ill-effects of public health orders than others. Somebody who is single and lives alone will be more adversely affected by an order forbidding get-togethers with all except his own household than somebody who has a happy domestic life. Somebody who is in an abusive and unhappy relationship will be worse off because of a stay-at-home order than somebody who is happily married. Those who are independently wealthy, whose jobs can be done from home, and whose businesses are in no danger of being declared “non-essential” will not have the kind of hardships that lockdowns impose on those about whom none of these things can be said. Since the beginning of the bat flu scare the people who have been most likely to shoot their mouths off about how this never-before-tried experimental universal quarantine is “necessary” to fight a virus milder than most of those that caused pandemics in the last century, to lecture the rest of us about how unquestioning obedience to these orders is the loving thing to do and how expressing concern about economic devastation and the rapid evaporation of civil rights and liberties and their constitutional protections is somehow “selfish”, have been the people on the “least affected” side of each of these spectrums for whom the lockdowns have been mostly an inconvenience.
I will close with an observation that is related to the previous paragraph but is not specifically in response to our former bishop’s article. I note the irony that the clergymen who have been the most vocal in support of the public health orders have been the ones who preach the most about “social justice”. Indeed, I cannot think of a single dissenter from among their ranks. The dark irony of this is not just found in the fact that the public health orders, shutting down restaurant dining rooms and indoor public places like libraries and limiting homeless shelter capacities were put into effect before winter ended last year and again just before winter started having absolutely brutal consequences for the very poorest members of our society, while everyone who keeps droning on about “social justice” was glad to be ordered to stay home in their own warm bed. It can also be found in the fact that the economic result of the public health orders and the lockdown experiment has been to greatly enrich the multi-billionaires of the social media tech companies, internet delivery services, and the hopelessly corrupt pharmaceutical industry while bankrupting and driving out of business all the little guys, whose entire life’s work, and often the life’s work of their parents and grandparents before them has been wiped out through no fault of their own, but by the arrogance of some health bureaucrat who arbitrarily ruled their livelihood to be “non-essential”. This is accomplishing an economic transition to societies in which small, individually or family owned farms and businesses are unfeasible, and everyone must either sell their labour to some giant, multinational, corporation to survive, or live off of a government allowance. This is what Hilaire Belloc called “the Servile State” 109 years ago. At the time, the expression “social justice” was still in its infancy and to those who believed in it in its original sense, the Servile State depicted by Belloc was pretty much the opposite of what they called and strove for, the worst possible of worlds. Today’s “social justice” clergy have been calling for “universal basic income”, citing the pandemic and the “necessary” public health response to it as demonstrating the need for this measure, the most immediate effect of which would be to greatly accelerate the transition to the Servile State. Of course what they mean by “social justice” includes such things as Critical Race Theory, the inalienable right of biological males to participate in female sports, and every other notion of this type that left-wing academics have dreamed up and their students have uncritically accepted and regurgitated under the delusion that by doing so they are thinking for themselves, but precious little to do with anything that the expression meant a century ago. Should any of them be interested in the original version, I recommend to them the essay by that grand old Canadian economist, political scientist, wit, and Anglican layman, Stephen Leacock entitled “The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice”. I wonder what Leacock would have had to say about people who consider it to be an expression of Christian love to wish government control, greater and more intrusive than any extended or even dreamed of by the totalitarian regimes of his own day – he died in 1944 when Stalin and Hitler were both still in power – on their neighbours? Gerry T. Neal
I have never thought very highly of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was added to our constitution in 1982. Note the wording there. The Charter is not itself our constitution but merely a part of it and a late addition at that. Those who make the mistake of calling the Charter itself our constitution have bought in to the American superstition that a constitution is a piece of paper that keeps a government from going bad through its magical powers. A constitution is a country’s system of law and government, the institutions that comprise it, and the traditions that inform their motions. The largest part of it is unwritten and this is true even in the American republic. Documents like our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the one the Americans call their Constitution are merely parts of the Canadian and American constitutions respectively. They are the laws that define and set limits to the power of government institutions. They have no power to keep government within those limits apart from the loyalty of those who hold public office in obeying them, the willingness of the courts to uphold them, and the faithful vigilance of the public.
My low estimation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not because I don’t like the rights and freedoms that are listed in that document. With a few exceptions, such as the “equality rights” written in Animal Farm style doublespeak in Section 15, these are rights and freedoms that I consider to be among the most valuable elements of our Common Law tradition. It is rather because the Charter has made these rights and freedoms less secure rather than more. In part this is due to flaws in the Charter itself such as the “notwithstanding clause” in Section 33 and the broad loophole in Section 1 which effectually nullify the Charter as far as the whole point of constitutionally protected rights and freedoms, that is to say that they are supposed to limit what the government can do so as to protect us from the abusive exercise of its powers, goes. The Charter’s loopholes and exceptions protect the government instead of us and for this reason former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was right to say that it is not worth the paper it is written on. It is also, however, because the Charter has encouraged a way of thinking about our rights and freedoms in a way that is the fundamental opposite of that which has historically belonged to our Common Law and traditional institutions of constitutional monarchy and parliament. It encourages us to think of our rights and freedoms as privileges bestowed upon us by government to be limited or taken away by government freely as it sees fit, rather than our own property.
The consequences of this way of thinking having become pervasive have been most evident over the course of the last year. Section 2 of the Charter identifies four freedoms as being fundamental. The first of these is freedom of conscience and religion. The third is the freedom of peaceful assembly. The fourth is the freedom of association. The whole point, remember, of having the Charter designate these freedoms as essential is to place limits on government power, to tell the government that it must keep its hands off of these things. Yet ever since the World Health Organization declared the spread of the Wuhan bat flu to be a pandemic last March, our provincial governments have treated these freedoms as if they were completely non-existent, much less fundamental and protected by constitutional law and the Dominion government has constantly been urging the provincial governments to clamp down on us in violation of these freedoms in even more severe ways.
In 1986 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the case of R v Oakes. David Oakes had been arrested with drugs in his possession and under what was then Section 8 of the Narcotics Control Act was presumed to be guilty of trafficking. He challenged the constitutionality of Section 8 on the grounds that it violated the presumption of innocence, a civil right spelled out in Section 11 (d) of the Charter and which had been long established as part of the Common Law tradition. That the provision of the NCA being challenged did indeed violate the civil right in question was easily demonstrated, but the Court then had to decide whether the violation was justifiable under the “reasonable limits” loophole in Section 1 of the Charter. The Court’s ruling established what has ever since been the litmus test for this question. The Court ruled that for a law which violates a Charter right or freedom to be justifiable under the “reasonable limits” clause, it first had to have a “pressing and substantial” goal. Second, it had to meet the three qualifications of a) being “rationally connected” to the goal of the law, b) only impairing the rights and freedoms in question minimally, and c) not overwhelming the benefit hoped to be achieved with its negative effects.
It is quite obvious that the public health measures fail to meet the second of the three qualifications of the second part of the Supreme Court’s Oakes’ test. When the public health officer tells you that you cannot have any visitors to your home, even if you meet outside, as is currently the case in Manitoba, he is clearly not trying to only “minimally impair” your freedom of association. What he is doing is disregarding freedom of association entirely. The provincial legislature is not allowed to do this constitutionally, nor can it delegate to the public health officer the authority to do so. The legislature cannot delegate what it does not legitimately possess itself. When the public health officer orders churches, synagogues, and mosques not to meet for the largest part of a year, cancels the most important festivals of these religions, and only permits re-opening at a severely reduced capacity that requires churches to betray the tenets of their own faith and turn worshippers away, he is similarly disregarding freedom of conscience and religion rather than making sure that his orders only “minimally impair” this freedom. There is also plenty of evidence that the public health orders fail to meet the third qualification of the Oakes’ test as well. The costs of lockdowns, measured in the destruction of lives due to the breakdown of mental health and the rise in substance abuse and suicides, the erosion of community and social capital, and the devastation of businesses and livelihoods, has been tremendous and far exceeds any questionable benefits of these insane, unjust, evil and oppressive restrictions. Indeed, I believe the case could be made that the public health measures fail every single element of the Oakes’ test.
The provincial governments have gotten away with all this stercus tauri because they have until fairly recently met with only minimal resistance on the part of the Canadian public. This can be attributed to a number of causes. One of these, of course, is the hysterical and irrational fear generated by the mainstream corporate media that have been deceitfully and despicably portraying a virus that produces no to mild symptoms in most people who contract it, from which the vast majority of people who actually do get sick recover, and which in many if not most jurisdictions has an average age of fatality that is higher than the average expected lifespan of the general public, as if it were the second coming of the bubonic plague. Another cause is the new attitude which has been encouraged among Canadians, especially by the Liberals, since 1982, of regarding our rights and freedoms as privileges bestowed upon us by the government in the Charter rather than what they are, our lawful property as free subjects of the Crown which it is the government’s duty to respect.
The assault on our freedoms of religion, peaceful assembly, and association have come from the provincial governments. At the same time the second of the four freedoms designated as fundamental in the Charter has come under attack from the Liberals who are in power in the Dominion government. This is the freedom of “thought, belief, opinion and expression”. Whereas our freedoms of religion, peaceful assembly, and association have never been this besieged before in Canadian history, our freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression has taken hits every time the Liberal Party led by a Trudeau has come to power in Ottawa. It has been less than ten years since we finally got rid of one of the vilest elements of Pierre Trudeau’s legacy, the notorious Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. While the entire Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 is, in fact, an affront to freedom of thought because, despite its title, it has nothing to do with protecting our rights either as Canadians or human beings from government abuses, but is instead all about prohibiting the crimethink of discrimination on the part of individual Canadians, Section 13 was the Act’s worst provision by far. By defining any electronic communication of information “likely to” expose someone protected against discrimination “to hatred or contempt” as an act of discrimination it in effect forbade all negative criticism of groups protected against discrimination or individuals belonging to such groups, regardless of the truthfulness or justice of the criticism in question.
Section 13 was finally abolished during the premiership of Stephen Harper thanks to a private member’s bill repealing the foul section that received enough support from Conservative MPs and Liberal MPs of the pre-Trudeau variety – these had not yet been purged from the party – to pass Parliament. Neither Stephen Harper nor his Minister of Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, who is currently overseeing the throwing of pastors in gaol and the barricading of churches in Alberta, had much to do with this for although they had spoken out against Human Rights Tribunals and their unjust infringement upon freedom of thought and speech on their road to power, in office they betrayed most of what they had once stood for, apparently having sold their souls to get there. The demise of Section 13 has long been lamented by Pierre Trudeau’s son, Captain Airhead, and when he became Prime Minister in 2015 he dropped a number of hints that he would be seeking to revive it. The appeal of Section 13 to Captain Airhead was based on more than just the fact that it had been originally introduced when his father was in power. More than any previous Liberal leader, Captain Airhead has been of the mindset that once a progressive goal has been attained, all debate about it ought to cease. This was evident even before he became Prime Minister when he purged the party of its pro-life members. More than any previous Liberal leader, he has enthusiastically endorsed fringe progressive causes that could not possibly achieve widespread popular support on their own merits without measures that intimidate and suppress dissenters. More than any previous Liberal leader he has been prone to tell Canadians who disagree with him that they are not welcome in their own country. He has used the expression “there is no place for X in Canada” far more liberally than any previous leader and with a much wider range of Xs. (1) In all of this he has demonstrated the sort of sick, censorious, mindset to which something like Section 13 appeals. In December of 2019, after he won re-election in the sense that he managed to squeak out a plurality despite falling majorly in the polls from where he had been four years previously, he instructed his Cabinet that fighting online “hate speech” would be one of their priorities in the new session of Parliament. Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault was specifically charged with finding a way to force social media platforms to remove what the Liberals consider to be “hate speech” within twenty-four hours of being told by the government to do so. This would be Section 13 magnified to the nth degree.
In response to this directive, Guilbeault came up with a bill that pursued the same goal as Section 13 through a different avenue. Last November he introduced Bill C-10, or “An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act” into Parliament. This bill if passed would place internet media under the same regulatory authority of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as older electronic media such as radio and television broadcasters. By going this route, Guilbeault could maintain that his goal was not to censor what individual Canadians post on the internet, but to ensure that the companies that make shows and movies available through online streaming follow the same Canadian content guidelines as other broadcasters, a goal consistent with his portfolio as Heritage Minister. That having been said, the Bill as originally drafted would have given the CRTC regulatory authority over individual Canadians’ user-generated content on social media. When objections to this were raised the Bill was amended to include an exception for individual user-generated content, but this exception was removed in committee late last month around the same time that the government moved to shut down debate on a motion that the Conservatives had introduced calling for a review of whether or not the bill violated the Charter. None of this inspires much confidence in the Heritage Minister’s claim that the aim of this bill is cultural protectionism and not censorship of thought. On Monday, faced with backlash over all of this, Guilbeault promised that they would make it “crystal clear” that the user-generated content will not be subjected to the same sort of regulatory control as television programming. Needless to say, he ought not to be taken at his word on this. Indeed, Michael Geist, the law professor at the University of Ottawa who has been one of the foremost critics of Bill C-10, has already said that the amendment the Heritage Committee proposed on Thursday evening fails to follow through on Guilbeault’s promises.
It is worth observing here that with Bill C-10, Captain Airhead and Steven Guilbeault have returned to the very first thing the original Trudeau Liberals did to control the minds of Canadians and limit their freedom of thought. At the very beginning of the first Trudeau premiership the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker pointed out how the Liberals were threatening freedom of thought through the powers of the CRTC. In a speech entitled “The Twilight of Liberty”, the second included in the collection Those Things We Treasure (Macmillan, 1972), Diefenbaker said:
The Trudeau Government seems to be dedicated to controlling the thinking of Canadians. Through the power being exerted by Pierre Juneau, as Chairman of the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, (2) private radio and T.V. station proprietors in Canada are frightened to speak, fearful of being subject to the cancellation of their licences. One such station was CKPM in Ottawa, which dared to have an open line program critical of the Government. Pierre Juneau did come before a Committee of the House and he uttered lachrymose words in reply to the criticism leveled at him that he wishes to determine what Canadians shall hear, and to deny them the right to listen to what they will. His attitude was different when he spoke to the Association of Private Broadcasting Companies and in effect stated: “When I ope my lips, let no dog bark.” Under him the broadcasting network owned by the people of Canada is allowed to broadcast what he permits.
Diefenbaker’s warning of decades ago has gone largely unheeded, perhaps because the CRTC’s official raison d’être is cultural protectionism which appeals to a much broader range of Canadians than its more covert purpose of limiting freedom of thought. Certainly right-of-centre Canadians of the more traditional variety, such as Diefenbaker himself or this writer, would have no objections to the idea that Canadian culture ought to remain Canadian. It needs to be pointed out, however, that the CRTC has been a total failure in this regards. Fifty-three years later, the Canada of 2021 is far more Americanized culturally than the Canada of 1968 was. Indeed, much of what Canadians regard as distinctly “Canadian” culture today, is merely Hollywood culture with a maple leaf stamped on it. Read the novels of Mazo de la Roche and Robertson Davies if you want a taste of the more authentic pre-CRTC Canadian culture. Since the CRTC failed in its official appointed task, probably because its real purpose was thought control all along, there is hardly grounds here for extending its reach over the new online media. Indeed, the scarcely disguised agenda of censorship and thought control behind the move to so extend its reach, is sufficient reason why this bill, amended or otherwise, must never be allowed to pass. It is also more than sufficient reason for voting the Trudeau Liberals who dreamed it up in the first place out of Parliament and never allowing them to resume power again. For as Rex Murphy pointed out earlier this week, “What is more galling and more threatening that the bill itself, however, is the set of mind behind it”, and that won’t go away even if the bill itself does.
(1) Disturbingly, the leaders of the other parties – including the present leader of the Conservatives – have taken to aping his example in this.
(2) The full name of this agency was changed into the awkward and absurd redundancy that it is now in 1976, but the acronym remains the same. Posted by Gerry T. Neal
Abundantly Degenerate Liberals: An Expose of the ADL
The Anti-Defamation League has been in the news again. When, two years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center (sic) was hit by a series of scandals concerning such matters as its dubious fundraising, amassed wealth, and deliciously ironic allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment leading to the firing of its founder Morris Dees and the resignation of its president Richard Levin, I hoped that some similar fate would befall the ADL. Sadly, this hope failed to materialize. Indeed, it might be said that in this period in which the SPLC’s reputation has sunk to an all-time low, the ADL’s influence has soared to new heights. Due, presumably, to its new director’s connections to Silicon Valley, the ADL has been working alongside Big Tech to censor online speech and purge the internet of opinions of which it disapproves, a campaign that has turned into a blitzkrieg of thought suppression in the course of the last year. It has now declared war on Tucker Carlson, the most popular talk show host on FOX News, basically for being the only mainstream television news persona with the stones to speak the unvarnished truth about immigration.
The Anti-Defamation League is decades older than the SPLC and is, to the best of my knowledge, the very first organization of this type to have been founded. Whereas most self-appointed, full-time, anti-racist watchdogs sprung up after World War II, during and after the American Civil Rights Movement, in order to capitalize on that era’s wave of popular sentiment against racism, the ADL predates the First World War going all the way back to 1913. While it is popular among some of the ADL’s foremost critics on the right today to maintain that the organization started well but got sidetracked during the tenure of its current director who had been a special assistant to Barack Obama, in reality the organization started out bad and became worse.
The ADL started out operating under the Chicago branch of the B’nai B’rith (Sons of the Covenant), a fraternal philanthropic organization that could roughly be said to be the equivalent for Jews of what the Knights of Columbus are for Roman Catholics. Its founders were two Chicago lawyers, Adolf Kraus who was the president of the order at the time, and Sigmund Livingston who became the first president of the ADL. Its stated purpose was to combat the defamation of the Jewish people in particular, and ultimately “to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens”. This, as good and noble as it sounds, was a mere façade. Apart from the fact that the ADL has never seemed to have any qualms about lying about (defaming) its enemies, thus making a mockery of its own name, throughout its history it has blurred the distinction between unfair and unjust words and acts towards Jews qua Jews and justifiable criticism of the same, just as it has blurred the distinction between criticism of Jews qua Jews whether unfair or justifiable and criticism of individuals who are Jewish on the basis of their words and deeds as individuals. It has also been susceptible to the charge of promoting Christophobia, which, of course, contradicts the second part of its purpose statement.
With regards to the first of these points, consider the incident that sparked the founding of the ADL in the first place. Earlier in 1913, Leo Frank, the factory supervisor of the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, Georgia was convicted of murdering 13 year old Mary Phagan, an employee of the factory who had been found raped and strangled in its basement. Frank was the president of the local chapter of B’nai B’rith and the story became the subject of contentious discussion throughout the United States. Powerful Jewish individuals in the American northeast such as Adolph Ochs, publisher of the New York Times, and Albert Lasker, the Chicago based advertising baron (he had just become the head of Lord and Thomas which became Foote, Cone & Belding) , became convinced, or at least took the public position, that Frank was innocent and was being railroaded for anti-Semitic reasons. The founders of the ADL were of the same persuasion and today their interpretation of these events is taken as established in the history books. It is curious though, that fabricated evidence at the site of the murder pointed to the black nightwatchman Newt Less, and the man whom the supporters of Frank’s innocence maintain was the real culprit, the janitor James Conley whose testimony to being Frank’s accomplice helped convict him, was also black. For the ADL’s interpretation of the incident to be correct, it would require that in the city of Atlanta, Georgia at the height of Jim Crow, anti-Semitism so trumped anti-black prejudice that a white man was framed for the rape and murder of a 13 year old white girl by a black man, because the white man was of the Jewish faith. The story did not end with Frank’s conviction. He appealed, with Lasker covering much of his legal fees, and eventually his sentence was commuted from death to life imprisonment. About two years after his original conviction he was kidnapped from prison and lynched to death near Phagan’s home town. An ugly ending to the story for sure, but it reinforces the point. How likely is it that in the Georgia of 1915 a white man would be lynched for a crime of this nature perpetrated by a black man?
I have given much detail about the Frank case because of its instrumentality in the founding of the ADL but it is hardly an isolated incident. In 1982 the ADL hosted a posh luncheon ceremony in which the legendary sharp-tongued comedian and actress Joan Rivers in an unusually teary-eyed and sentimental performance for her presented the “Torch of Liberty” award on their behalf to one Morris B. “Moe” Dalitz. A few years later they would name him “Philanthropist of the Year”. Dalitz, who had made a fortune in bootlegging and illegal gambling during the Prohibition era, had taken his ill-gotten gains and invested them in legal casinos in Las Vegas, where he later expanded his legitimate business interests into a more general property development, earning himself the nickname “Mr. Las Vegas”. In the post-World War II era he carefully constructed for himself the image of a reformed gangster turned legitimate businessman which he fiercely defended, famously suing Penthouse magazine in the 1970s for an article that maintained that a country club and spa resort that he had built near San Diego was built with mob money and serviced a mob clientele. Dalitz dropped the suit after the magazine published a letter of apology, although by Rolling Stone’s 1976 account of the case the defendants appeared to have been winning the suit. A more serious allegation was that beneath his veneer of legitimacy he was the head of operations for the Las Vegas branch of the activities of his life-long friend Meyer Lansky. Lansky, who died the year after Dalitz received the award from the ADL, was the co-founder, with his best friend Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel whom he later had killed, of Murder Inc., and who went on with Charles “Lucky” Luciano to build the National Crime Syndicate. He was the biggest mobster in the United States for half of the twentieth century and his criminal empire stretched around the globe. Siegel had run Lansky’s Las Vegas operations until his murder in 1947, and Dalitz, who began investing in Las Vegas casinos around that same time, was widely believed to have been his successor. Indeed, there have been allegations that the ADL itself basically functioned as a public relations firm for Lansky and while the ADL never honoured Lansky, who lacked a respectable public image, the way it did Dalitz, and Lansky does not seem to have directly donated to the ADL in his own name (many of his most prominent associates, Dalitz among them, however were substantial donors), there is plenty of circumstantial grounds for believing these allegations to be not entirely false. At any rate, the ADL had always been quick to make charges of anti-Semitism against those who concentrated on Lansky, Siegel, Dalitz, etc. in exposing organized crime.
With regards to the second point, the ADL’s promotion of Christophobia, this has been evident throughout the history of the organization but became especially prominent during the directorship of Abraham H. Foxman, who succeeded Nathan Perlmutter in that role in 1987 and continued as director until his retirement in 2015. In 1999, Foxman attacked the Rev. Jerry Falwell for saying that the Antichrist would be a Jewish male. Regardless of whether one agrees with Falwell’s understanding of Bible prophecy or not, this was hardly an anti-Semitic statement but a logical implication of the very idea of the Antichrist – the devil’s counterfeit of the true Christ who will arise in the last days as the ultimate villain of history. A counterfeit is a fake that is intended to be passed off as the real thing imitates. Therefore it has to be as close to the real thing as possible. Thus, that the ultimate counterfeit of the Messiah would have to be Jewish, can be logically deduced not only from Christian theology, which correctly asserts that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the true Christ, but from Jewish theology, which denies this truth but certainly teaches that the awaited Messiah will be Jewish. It does not require the belief that the Jews are the source of all evil, are the worst evil in the world, or any other such nonsense, and indeed, obviously contradicts such crudities because it is based upon the ultimate God-sent Deliverer being Jewish. Foxman, however, betrayed no capacity for understanding these points.
A few years later Foxman began attacking Mel Gibson over his film The Passion of the Christ. The attacks began long before the film was released and before Foxman had even seen it. Foxman condemned the movie as anti-Semitic because it portrayed the Gospel accounts of the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Christ accurately – to the point of using the actual tongues of the day with English translations in subtitles – without altering the story to place 100% of the blame for the crucifixion on the Roman authorities and excusing the Pharisees, the chief priests, and the Jerusalem mob. For Foxman, irrational though this false dichotomy be, it was either place all the blame for the crucifixion on the Romans and completely exonerate the Jewish leaders of two millennia ago or place all the blame for the crucifixion on all Jews of all times including those alive today. Underlying this irrational point of view was the idea that traditional, historical, Scriptural Christianity had been discredited by the Holocaust- despite the obvious fact that the Third Reich was the product of the shift away from Christianity in Modern German culture – and that therefore Christianity had to change its beliefs, wherever Jews found them to be offensive, even if this involved falsifying the facts of history as recorded in Christianity’s sacred texts of the New Testament. When groups like the ADL speak of meaningful interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews this is precisely what they mean by it – a one-way discussion in which Jews speak, Christians listen, and then Christians make whatever changes to their own faith and practice that Jews demand. Those like Mel Gibson who are too traditionalist to go along with this nonsense are then vilified and condemned. When, several years later, the actor in a state of inebriation went into a tirade against the Jews, Foxman gloated that he, that is Foxman, had been vindicated in his accusations, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of cause and effect, or of the simple fact that after years of being subjected to Foxman’s style of abuse, which included unbelievably arrogant demands that Gibson denounce his own father (a traditionalist Roman Catholic who rejected Vatican II, pointed to by ADL types as the prime example of a positive outcome of the kind of interfaith “dialogue” described above), if anyone was justified it was Gibson in his tirade and not Foxman by it.
Abe Foxman retired from his official position at the ADL, if not from his career as America’s foremost equine rump impressionist, six years ago, but the organization can hardly be said to have improved under the leadership of his successor, Jonathan Greenblatt, whose previous gigs included corporate executive and Obama administration advisor, and who looks like someone who crawls out of his parents’ basement only to do a bad cosplay of Lex Luthor at comic book conventions. Under Greenblatt’s leadership the ADL has moved much further to the Left than it was even under Foxman. Foxman was a liberal, for sure, but at the beginning of his tenure as National Director the ADL commissioned Harvey Klehr’s 1988 survey of Communist subversive groups in the United States published by Transaction as Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today, something that it would be difficult to imagine the ADL doing under the current leadership. Daniel Greenfield, Shillman Journalist Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center (sic), has done an excellent job of documenting the ADL’s further-Left shift under Greenblatt at the Center’s e-zine Frontpagemag, including the ADL’s strange new alliance with the segments of the Far Left that are rather less than friendly towards either Israel or the Jews (see here, here and here for examples).
It is Greenblatt who in his capacity as ADL CEO has been writing letters and giving interviews on CNN, demanding that FOX News fire Tucker Carlson for having the audacity to use the word “replacement” in criticizing liberal immigration policy in the United States. “White supremacists”, use that word after all, and to use a word that “white supremacists” use is to fully embrace and endorse everything “white supremacists” believe, just as to be in the same room as a “white supremacist” or breathe the same air as a “white supremacist” is to implicate yourself in his ideology. Absurd as that sort of “argument” is, it is what has passed for logic at the ADL for decades, long before Greenblatt took over. Anybody who has perused the profiles they have put together of people they have accused of “racism”, “hate”, etc. over the years, will recognize the style.
Lachlan Murdoch has, so far, stood by Carlson and refused to give in to the ADL’s demands. Let us hope that he continues to do so. There are not many today who have the courage to withstand the ADL’s bullying and intimidation tactics for long, just as there are very few willing to speak the truths that Tucker Carlson has been speaking.
If Murdoch is willing to stand by Carlson for the long haul, then perhaps it is time for FOX News to go on the offensive, and shine the light of exposure upon the bullying, lies, and corruption of the ADL.
It is less than two months since I posted an essay entitled “Death and Doctors” that discussed how in the depravity of modern progressive liberalism those who are supposed to have dedicated their lives to healing disease and injury, alleviating pain and suffering, and saving lives are now expected to take the lives of the vulnerable at either end of the lifecycle through abortion or physician assisted suicide. As I pointed out in that essay, both of these practices were against the law throughout most of Canadian history and the latter practice was only legalized quite recently. It was in 2014 that Lower Canada – Quebec to those who are vulgarly up-to-date – became the first province to legalize physician assisted suicide and in February of 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada once again flexed the shiny new muscle that Pierre Trudeau had given them in 1982 by striking down the law against physician assisted suicide in its Carter ruling. The Court placed a one year delay on this ruling coming into effect in order to give Parliament time to fix the issues with the law which the Court considered to be constitutionally problematic. The Liberals, however, won a majority government in the Dominion election that year and so passed Bill C-14 instead, which completely legalized the practice and, indeed, allowed for physicians under certain circumstances, to go beyond assisting in suicide and actively terminate the lives themselves. Note that while I would like to think that had Harper’s Conservatives remained in power the outcome would have been different, I am not so naïve as to be certain of that. Indeed, the week after the Carter ruling, I had discussed how the Conservatives appeared to be preparing to capitulate on this issue in “Stephen Fletcher, the Byfields, and the Failure of Canada’s New Right”.
Now, one might be tempted to think that with regards to the issue of physician assisted suicide there is not much further in the wrong direction that our government could have gone than Bill C-14. One would be very wrong in thinking so, however, as the government has just demonstrated.
On February 24th of last year, a few weeks before the World Health Organization hit the panic button because a new virus that is significantly dangerous only to the very sorts of people most likely to be on the receiving end of euthanasia had escaped from China and was making the rounds of the world, Captain Airhead’s Liberals introduced Bill C-7 in the House of Commons. David Lametti, who became Justice Minister and Attorney General after Jody Wilson-Raybould was removed from this position for refusing to go along with the Prime Minister’s corruption, was the sponsor. The aim of the bill was to make it easier for those who wanted what they are now calling “Medical Assistance In Dying” or MAID – in my opinion the acronym produced by the old convention of leaving out words of three letters or less would be more apt – but were not already on death’s door to obtain it.
As bad as the original draft of Bill C-7 was, it has undergone revisions over the course of the year since its first reading that make it much worse. The most controversial revision is the one that includes a provision that is set to come into effect two years after the bill passes into law and which would allow access to the procedure to those who are neither at death’s door nor experiencing extreme physical pain and suffering but only have severe mental or psychological conditions. Since it could be easily argued that wanting to terminate one’s own life constitutes such a condition – I suspect the vast majority of people would see it as such – the revised version of Bill C-7 looks suspiciously like it is saying that eventually everyone who wants a physician’s assistance in committing suicide for whatever reason will be entitled to that assistance.
Last week the revised bill passed the House of Commons after the Grits, with the support of the Bloc Quebecois, invoked closure on the debate and forced a vote. Since the bill will eventually make euthanasia available to those with merely psychological problems, why exactly the Bloc would support a bill with the potential to drastically reduce the numbers of their voters remains a mystery. Jimmy Dhaliwal, or rather Jagmeet Singh to call him by his post-transition name as we would hate to mis-whatever anyone, announced that the NDP would not support the bill. This should not be mistaken for an example of principled opposition to physician assisted suicide for the mentally ill, it was rather an example of voting the right way for the wrong reason – Singh’s rabid hatred of Canada’s traditional constitution. In my last essay I pointed out how he, in marked contrast with the more popular and sane man who led his party ten years ago, has taken aim against the office of Her Majesty the Queen and wishes to turn the country into some sort of lousy people’s republic. Here it is his problem with the Upper Chamber of Parliament that is relevant. He did not like that some of the revisions were introduced in the Senate rather than the House of Commons. As for that august body, the Senate passed the bill yesterday, by a vote of 60-25 with five abstentions. This is easily enough explained. Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, and even though the Senate is the chamber of sober second thought, its members were probably drunk. The only mystery here is, with apologies to the Irish Rovers, whether it was the whiskey, the gin, or the three-or-four six packs.
A little under a year before Bill C-7 was introduced, it was announced in the federal budget that that the Dominion government would be spending $25 million dollars over a five year period to develop a nation-wide suicide prevention service. In the fall of last year, after the information began to come out about just how badly the insane and unsuccessful experiment in locking down society to prevent the spread of a virus had affected the mental health of Canadians driving suicide rates through the roof, the government announced that it would be investing $11.5 million towards suicide prevention for “marginalized communities” that had been disproportionately affected by this mental health crisis, which they, of course, blamed on the virus rather than on their own tyrannical suspension of everyone’s basic rights, freedoms, and social lives. Apparently the government cannot see any contradiction between prioritizing suicide prevention and providing easily available assistance in taking one’s own life.
By funding suicide prevention programs the government would seem to be taking the side in the ancient ethical debate that says that suicide is a bad thing and that it is wrong to take your own life. The strongest version of this ethical position has traditionally been that of Christian moral theology. Suicide, in Christian ethics, is not merely a violation of the Sixth Commandment, as the Commandments are numbered by the Jews, the Eastern Orthodox, and most Protestants, but a particularly bad violation of this Commandment because it leaves no room for earthly repentance and is an expression of despair, the abandonment of faith and hope in God. In other traditions, suicide is generally frowned upon but in a less absolute way. In some traditions suicide brings shame upon the memory and family of the person who commits it except under a specific set of circumstances in which case it accomplishes the opposite of this by erasing shame that the individual had already brought upon himself and his family through his disgraceful actions, shame which could only be expunged in this manner. It is easier to reconcile these traditions with each other – preserving one’s family honour is a very different motivation from despair – than it is to reconcile either with physician assisted suicide. Physician assisted suicide in no way resembles what would have been considered an honourable suicide in any pagan tradition. In Christian ethics, since taking your own life is so bad, getting someone else to help you do it or do it for you is downright diabolical.
Perhaps the very worst thing about Bill C-7 is that gives even more power to the medical profession. The liberalization of the Criminal Code in 1969 and the Morgentaler decision from the Supreme Court of Canada in 1988 gave doctors the power of life and death over the unborn. This was already too much power, but the Supreme Court’s ruling in Carter in 2015 and the passing of Bill C-14 the following year gave them similar power over the elderly and infirm. Last year, the Dominion government and every provincial government gave their top doctors dictatorial power over all Canadians, allowing them to suspend all of the basic Common Law rights and freedoms that are the traditional property of all of Her Majesty’s subjects regardless of Charter protections, power which they proceeded to disgracefully abuse as they gleefully and sadistically traded the serpentine staff of Asclepius for the Orwellian symbol of a boot stamping on a human face forever. Now, Bill C-7 is extending their power of life and death even further in a most irresponsible way. Physician assisted suicide is the foot in the door for outright euthanasia or “mercy killing”, extending the availability of the former to people who are not already dying will lead inevitably to doctors being allowed to perform the latter on those who are not already dying, and since it is doctors who get to say what is and what is not illness, mental or otherwise, the ultimate effect of this bill is to give the medical profession total and unlimited power of life and death over every Canadian. Nobody should be trusted with that kind of power, least of all the medical profession as their behaviour over the last twelve months demonstrates. Indeed, the disgrace they have brought upon their profession by their tyranny and their callous disregard for the social, psychological, spiritual and economic harm they have done with their universal quarantines, mask mandates and social distancing is such, that even seppuku on the part of all non-dissenting physicians may prove insufficient to restore their professional honour. Posted by Gerry T. Neal at 6:46 AM
In the 2011 Dominion election, under the leadership of Jack Layton, the New Democratic Party which is the officially socialist party, as opposed to the unofficial socialist parties such as the Liberals and the Conservatives, won the highest percentage of the popular vote and the most number of seats it has ever received. While the Conservatives, led by Stephen Harper, won the election and formed a majority government, Layton’s NDP won enough seats to become Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, a role which, during Conservative governments, had always before been held by the Liberals. While the unpopularity of Grit leader Michael Ignatieff undoubtedly contributed to this, it was clearly a credit to the charismatic leadership of Layton himself. Sadly, he was not able to perform the role of Official Opposition Leader for long. Cancer forced him to step down from his duties and in August of that year took his life.
In the 2019 Dominion election, by contrast, the NDP’s percentage of the popular vote fell drastically, and it moved from third party to fourth party status as it lost twenty seats from the forty-four it had won four years previous. What is very interesting about this is that this was the same election in which the Liberal government dropped from majority to minority government status. The Liberal drop was not difficult to explain – the year had begun with the government rocked by the SNC-Lavalin scandal and during the election campaign itself another scandal, which would have utterly destroyed anyone else, broke, as multiple photographs and even a video of the Prime Minister, who had marketed himself as the “woke” Prime Minister, in blackface surfaced. What was surprising was not that the Liberals dropped in the popular vote and lost seats, but that they managed to squeak out a plurality and cling to power. This makes it all the more damning that the New Democrats, ordinarily the second choice for progressive Liberal voters, did so poorly in this election.
Just as most of the credit for the NDP’s success in 2011 belonged to its late leader Jack Layton, so most of the blame for its failure in 2019 belongs to its current leader, Jagmeet Singh. Despite the efforts of the CBC and its echo chambers in the “private” media to promote his brand, Singh, was clearly unpalatable to the Canadian public. Whereas a competent politician who finds himself unpopular with the electorate would ask what it is about himself that is turning off the voters and try to change it, Singh is the type who declares that the problem is with the electorate, that they are too prejudiced, and demands that they change. That this attitude, indicative of the kind of far Left politics Singh embraces – he is the furthest to the Left any mainstream party leader has ever been in Canadian politics – is itself a large part of what turns the voters off, is a fact that eluded him, continues to elude him, and will probably elude him forever.
That the contrast could hardly be greater between the late Jack Layton and Jagmeet Singh received another illustration this week.
On Sunday, a much hyped interview between Oprah Winfrey and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was televised. I did not watch the interview, as I make it a point of avoiding Oprah who, in my opinion, has done more than anybody else to turn people’s minds to mush, despite having a book club named after her. The Sussexes consist of Meghan Markle, an ambitious American actress, and her husband, the younger son of the Prince of Wales. Last year, you might recall, this couple was all over the news before they got pre-empted by the bat flu, because Markle, who obviously is the one wearing the pants between the two of them, having learned that unlike the Hollywood celebrity to which she had aspired, royalty comes with public duties as well as privilege, duties which do not include, and indeed conflict with, the favourite Hollywood celebrity pastime of shooting one’s mouth off, no matter how ill-informed one is, about every trendy, woke, cause, wanted to keep the royal privileges while giving up the royal duties, and was told, quite rightly, by the Queen, that this was not the way things were done. The couple left the UK in a huff, stopping temporarily in Canada before they eventually relocated to the United States. As I said, I did not watch the interview, but have caught enough of the highlights of it and the post-interview commentary to know that it was basically Markle throwing herself a “me party” and hurling mud at her inlaws and the ancient institution they represent, for not making everything all about her.
Sane, rational, people surely realize that interviews of this sort speak far more about the spoiled, egotistical, narcissism of the individuals who give such interviews than they do about the people and institutions criticized in such interviews. People like Jagmeet Singh, however, regard them as opportunities to promote their own agendas.
Singh, actually succeeded in making the current Prime Minister look classy by comparison, something which is exceedingly difficult to do. The only comment the Prime Minister made following the interview was to say “I wish all members of the Royal Family the very best”. Singh, however, ranted about how he doesn’t “see the benefit of the monarchy in Canadians’ lives”. As with Markle’s interview this comment says far more about the person who made it than the institution he seeks to denigrate.
To fail to see the benefit of the monarchy in Canadians’ lives is to fail to see any benefit to Canadians in a) having their country remain true to her founding principles, b) having a non-political head of state, or c) having an institutional connection to the United Kingdom, Australia, and the other Commonwealth Realms that in no way impedes our country’s sovereignty over her own domestic affairs and international relationships. To fail to see any benefit in any of this is to display one’s own blindness.
That Canada’s founding principles require her to retain the monarchy is an understatement. Loyalty to the monarchy is the founding principle of Canada, at least if by Canada we mean the country that was founded in 1867. Quebec nationalists like to point out that Canada was first used for the French society founded along the St. Lawrence long before Confederation, which is true enough, but the conclusions they draw from this are contradictory non-sequiturs. At any rate, the original French Canada was, most certainly, a society under a monarch, the monarchy of France, and, contrary to the delusions of the Quebec nationalists who are products of the “Quiet Revolution” (against traditional, Roman Catholic, Quebecois society and culture), it was not moving in the direction of the French Revolution when the French king ceded Canada to the British king after the Seven Years War, a fact that is evinced by Quebec’s remaining ultramontane in its Catholicism and seigneurial in its society long after the Jacobins had done their worst in France. Before Confederation began the process of uniting all of British North America into the Dominion of Canada in 1867 – the Canada we speak of as Canada today – an English Canada, in addition to a French Canada, had come into existence, and this English Canada grew out of the United Empire Loyalists, that is to say, those among the Thirteen Colonies which revolted against Britain and become the United States who remained loyal to the Crown, and fled to Canada to escape persecution in the new republic. They were able to flee to Canada because French Canada, although the ink was barely dry on the treaty transferring Canada from the French king to the British, did not join in the American Revolution against the Crown which had, to the upset of the American colonists, guaranteed its protection of their culture, language and religion. During Confederation, the Fathers of Confederation, English and French, unanimously chose to retain a connection to the larger British Empire and to make the Westminster system of parliamentary monarchy our own (it was Canada’s own Fathers of Confederation, not the Imperial government in London, who brought all of this into the Confederation talks, and, indeed, when the Fathers of Confederation wished to call the country “The Kingdom of Canada”, London’s input was to suggest an alternative title, leading to the choice of “The Dominion of Canada’). It is the Crown that is the other party to all of the treaties with the native tribes, who generally, and for good cause, respect the monarchy a lot more than they do the politicians in Parliament. At several points in Canadian history, both on the road to Confederation, such as in the War of 1812, and after Confederation, such as in both World Wars, English Canadians, French Canadians, and native Canadians fought together for “king and country”. The monarchy has been the uniting principle in Canada throughout our history. To reject the monarchy is to reject Canada.
That anybody in March of 2021 could fail to see the benefit of having a non-political head of state demonstrates the extent to which ideology can blind a person. Four years ago, the American republic had an extremely divisive presidential election after which the side that lost refused to acknowledge the outcome, spent much of four years accusing the winner of colluding with a foreign power – Russia – to steal the election, and giving its tacit and in some cases explicit approval to violent groups that were going around beating people up, using intimidation to shut down events, and rioting, because they considered the new American president to be a fascist. Last year, they held another presidential election which was even more divisive, with a very high percentage of Americans believing the election was stolen through fraud, with the consequence that Congress had to order a military occupation of their own capital city in order to protect the inauguration of the new president against their own citizens. This is precisely the sort of thing that naturally ensues from filling the office of head of state through popular election, politicizing an office that is supposed to be unifying and representative of an entire country. This is not the first time in American history that this has happened. Less than a century after the establishment of the American republic, the election of the first president from the new Republican Party led to all of the states south of the Mason-Dixon line seceding from the American union and forming their own federation, which the United States then invaded and razed to the ground in the bloodiest war in all of American history. Generally, when a country replaces its hereditary monarchy it initially gets something monstrously tyrannical which may eventually evolve into something more stable and tolerable. When the British monarchy was temporarily abolished after the English Civil War and the murder of Charles I, the tyranny of Cromwell was the result, which was fortunately followed by the Restoration of the monarchy. In France, forcing the Bourbons off the throne resulted in the Jacobin Reign of Terror. The forced abdication of the Hapsburg and Hohenzollern dynasties after World War I led directly to the rise of Adolf Hitler, whereas the fall of the Romanovs in Russia brought about the enslavement of that country to Bolshevism. To wish to get rid of the hereditary monarchy in Canada is to fail to learn anything at all from history.
I won’t elaborate too much on the third point. Either you see an advantage in the Commonwealth arrangement in which the Realms share a non-political, hereditary monarchy, but each Realm’s Parliament has complete control of its own affairs, or you do not. Jagmeet Singh does not appear to care much for Canada’s relationship with other Commonwealth countries. Take India for example. The relationship is a bit different because India is a republic within the Commonwealth rather than a Commonwealth Realm, but it still illustrates the point. As embarrassing as the present Prime Minister’s behaviour on his trip to India a few years ago was, the relationship between the two countries would be much worse in the unlikely event Jagmeet Singh were to become Prime Minister. He would probably not even be allowed into India. Eight years ago he was denied an entry visa – the first elected member of a Western legislature to be so denied – because of his connection with the movement that wishes to separate the Punjab from India and turn it into a Sikh state called Khalistan, a movement that is naturally frowned upon in India where it has been responsible for countless acts of terrorism (it has committed such acts in Canada too). Asked about it at the time, Singh placed all the blame for any harm done to the two countries relationship on India.
Which leads me back to where this essay started. Just as Singh could not see that his support for the movement that produced the bombing of Air India Flight 182 in 1985 may possibly be a legitimate reason for India to ban him from their country and blamed any deterioration in the relationship between the two countries on India, so he cannot see that anything he has said or done could possibly be a reason why his party did so poorly in the last Dominion election and places the blame on the prejudices of Canadians.
If by some miracle he were to come a self-awaking and realize that instead of demanding that Canadians change in order to accommodate him that there might be something objectionable about him that he ought to be trying to fix, a logical step for him to take would be to try and emulate the last leader in his own party who truly had popular appeal. If he were to do so, he would learn that that leader had a radically different attitude toward our country’s founding principles and fundamental institutions than his own.
The Honourable Jack Layton, the son of former Progressive Conservative MP Robert Layton, had this to say:
Some people think the NDP may want to get rid of the monarchy but I assure you that’s absolutely not the case. My dad was a big time monarchist and so am I.
Jagmeet should try to be more like Jack. He would be less of an ass if he did.
The Pirates of Penzance was the fifth comic opera to come out of the collaboration of librettist Sir W. S. Gilbert and composer Sir Arthur Sullivan. It premiered in New York City – the only one of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas to open first in the United States rather than London – on New Year’s Eve in 1879, a year and a half after their fourth work, the H.M.S. Pinafore, had become a huge hit, both in London and internationally.
The hero of The Pirates of Penzance is the character Frederic, a role performed by a tenor. The opera begins with his having completed his twenty-first year – not his twenty-second birthday, for he was born on February 29th, a distinction, or rather, a “paradox, a paradox, a most ingenious paradox”, that becomes essential to the plot in an amusingly absurd way – and the titular pirates throwing him a party. He has, up to this point, served as their apprentice due to a mistake that his nurse, Ruth, made, when he was a boy (she had heard the word “pilot” as “pirate” in his father’s instructions regarding his apprenticeship). The bass-baritone Pirate King (“it is, it is, a glorious thing to be a pirate king”), congratulates him and tells him that he now ranks as a “full blown member of our band”, producing a cheer from the crew, who are then told “My friends, I thank you all from my heart for your kindly wishes. Would that I can repay them as they deserve.” Asked what he means by that, Frederic explains “Today I am out of my indentures, and today I leave you forever.” Astonished, since Frederic is the best man he has, the Pirate King asks for an explanation. Frederic, with Ruth’s help – for she had also joined the pirate crew – explains about the error, and that while as long as the terms of his indentures lasted it was his duty to serve as part of the pirate crew, once they were over “I shall feel myself bound to devote myself heart and soul to your extermination!”
In the course of explaining all of this, Frederic expresses his opinion of his pirate colleagues in these words “Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable, but, collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation!”
As tempting as it is to continue this summary until we get to the “doctor of divinity who resides in this vicinity” and Major-General Stanley who, as he likes to introduce himself, is the “very model of a modern Major-General”, I have already arrived at the lines that are the entire point of my having brought all of this up.
I have stated many times in the past that I prefer to call myself a Canadian patriot rather than a Canadian nationalist. There are two ways in which patriotism and nationalism are usually distinguished. The first is a distinction of kind. Patriotism is an affection that people come by naturally as they extend the sentiment that under ordinary circumstances they acquire for the home and neighbourhood they grew up in to include their entire country. Nationalism is an ideology which people obtain through indoctrination. The second is a distinction of object. The object of nationalism is a people, the object of patriotism is a country. I have talked about the first distinction in the past, it is the second which is relevant in this essay. I love my country, the Dominion of Canada, and its history, institutions and traditions. When it comes to my countrymen, however, Canadians, and to be clear, I mean only those who are living at the present moment and not past generations, I often find myself sharing Frederic’s sentiments which were again:
Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable, but, collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation!
The more my fellow Canadians show a lack of appreciation for and indifference towards Canada’s traditions and institutions the more inclined I am to think of them, taken collectively, in such uncharitable terms. If opinion polls are any real indication – and to be fair, I do not think that protasis to be certain, far from it – this lack of appreciation and indifference has been very much on the rise among Canadians as of late.
Take personal freedom or liberty, for example. This is a vital Canadian tradition. It goes back, not just the founding of the country in Confederation in 1867, but much further for the Fathers of Confederation, English and French, in adopting the Westminster constitution for our own deliberately chose to retain continuity with a tradition that safeguarded liberty. Sir John A. Macdonald, addressing the legislature of the United Province of Canada in 1865 said:
We will enjoy here that which is the great test of constitutional freedom – we will have the rights of the minority respected. In all countries the rights of the majority take care of themselves, but it is only in countries like England, enjoying constitutional liberty, and safe from the tyranny of a single despot, or of an unbridled democracy, that the rights of minorities are regarded.
Sir Richard Cartwright made similar remarks and said “For myself, sir, I own frankly I prefer British liberty to American equality”. This sentence encapsulated the thinking of the Fathers of Confederation – Canada was to be a British country with British freedom rather than an American country with American equality. In the century and a half (with change) since then, this has been reversed in the thinking of a great many Canadians. In the minds of these Canadians “equality” has become a Canadian value, although not the equality that Sir Richard Cartwright identified with the United States but a much uglier doctrine with the same name, and freedom has become an “American” value. The Liberal Party and their allies in the media and academe are largely if not entirely to blame for this. Indeed, this way of thinking was evident among bureaucrats and other career government officials who tend to be Liberal Party apparatchiks regardless of which party is in government long before it became evident among the general public.
About fourteen years ago, in the Warman v. Lemire case before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Dean Steacy, an investigator with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, was asked “What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate?” His response was to say “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.” This despite the fact that in the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which people like this usually although contrafactually regard as the source of constitutionally protected rights and freedoms in Canada, “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication” is the second of the “fundamental freedoms” enumerated in Section 2. Perhaps Steacy did not think “speech” to be included in “expression”.
When Steacy’s foolish remark was publicized it did not win him much popularity among Canadians. Quite the contrary, it strengthened the grassroots movement that was demanding the repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, a movement that was ultimately successful during the premiership of Stephen Harper by means of a private member’s bill despite it lacking the support of the Prime Minister and even, as many of us thought at the time, with his tacit disapproval. This demonstrates that as recently as a decade and a half ago, Dean Steacy’s knee-jerk rejection of Canada’s traditional British liberty as “American” did not resonate with Canadians. Can the same be said today?
The last year has provided us with many reasons to doubt this. In March of 2020, after the media irresponsibly induced a panic over the spread of the Wuhan bat flu, most provincial governments, strongly encouraged to do so by the Dominion government, followed the example of governments around the world and imposed an unprecedented universal quarantine, at the time recommended by the World Health Organization, as an experiment in slowing the spread of the virus. This involved a radical and severe curtailing of our basic rights and freedoms. Indeed, the freedoms described as “fundamental” in the second section of the Charter – these include, in addition to the one quoted two paragraphs ago, the freedoms of “conscience and religion”, “peaceful assembly” and “association” – were essentially suspended in their entirety as our governments forbade all in-person social interaction. Initially, as our governments handed over dictatorial powers to the public health officers we were told that this was a short-term measure to “flatten the curve”, to prevent the hospitals from being swamped while we learned more about this new virus and prepared for it. As several of us predicted at the time would happen, “mission creep” quickly set in and the newly empowered health officials became determined to keep these excessive rules and restrictions in place until some increasingly distant goal – the development of a vaccine, the vaccination of the population, the elimination of the virus – was achieved. Apart from a partial relaxation of the rules over the summer months, the lockdown experiment has remained in place to this day, and indeed, when full lockdown measures were re-imposed in the fall, they were even more severe than they had been last March and April. This despite the fact that the evidence is clearly against the lockdown experiment – the virus is less dangerous than was originally thought (and even last March we knew that it posed a serious threat mostly to those who were very old and already had other health complications), its spread rises and falls seasonally similar to the cold and flu, lockdowns and masks have minimal-to-zero effect on this because it has happened more-or-less the same in all jurisdictions regardless of whether they locked down or not or the severity of the lockdown, while lockdowns themselves inflict severe mental, physical, social, cultural and economic damage upon societies.
Polls last year regularly showed a majority – often a large majority – of Canadians in favour of these restrictions and lockdowns, or even wishing for them to be more severe than they actually were. If these polls were at all accurate – again, this is a big if – then this means far fewer Canadians today respect and value their traditional freedoms than has ever been the case in the past, even as recently as a decade ago. It means that far too many Canadians have bought the lie of the public health officers, politicians, and media commentators that valuing freedom is “selfish”, when, in reality, supporting restrictions, masks, and lockdowns means preferring that the government take away the rights and freedoms of all your neighbours over you taking responsibility for your own safety and those of your loved ones and exercising reasonable precautions. It means that far too many Canadians now value “safety” – which from the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution to this day has ever been the excuse totalitarians of every stripe, Communist, woke, whatever, have used to tyrannize people and take away their freedoms – over freedom.
Over the past week or so, the mainstream media have been reporting opinion poll results that seem to indicate that a similar lack of appreciation for an essential Canadian institution is growing. According to the media the poll shows that support for replacing our hereditary royal monarch with an elected head of state is higher than it has ever been before, although it is not near as high as the lockdown support discussed above and is still below having majority support. There is good reason to doubt the accuracy of such poll results in that they indicate growing support for a change the media itself seems to be trying to promote given the way it has used the scandal surrounding the recent vice-regal resignation to attack the office of the Queen’s representative, the Governor General, when the problem is obviously with the person who filled the office, and the way in which she was chosen, i.e., hand-picked by Captain Airhead in total disregard of the qualities the office calls for, selection procedures that worked well in the past such as with Payette’s immediate predecessor, or even the most basic vetting. There is also, of course, a question over whether these poll results indicate an actual growth in small-r republican preferences or merely disapproval of the next in line of succession, His Royal Highness Prince Charles.
To the extent that this poll is accurate, however, it indicates that many Canadians have traded the Canadian way of thinking for the American way of thinking. Americans think of the Westminster system as being inferior to their own republican constitution because they consider it to be less than democratic with a hereditary monarch as the head of state. The historic and traditional Canadian perspective is that the Westminster system is superior to a republican constitution because it is more than democratic, incorporating the monarchical principle along with the democratic. To trade the Canadian for the American perspective on this is to impoverish our thinking. That a constitution is better for including more than just democracy is a viewpoint with an ancient pedigree that can be traced back to ancient Greece. That democracy is the highest principle of government and that a constitution is therefore weaker for having a non-elected head of state is an entirely Modern perspective. It cannot even be traced back to ancient Rome, for while the Roman republic was like the American republic in being kingless, it was unlike the American republic in that it was openly and unabashedly aristocratic and made not the slightest pretense of being democratic. Some might consider an entirely Modern perspective to be superior to one with an ancient pedigree, but such are ludicrously wrong. Novelty is not a quality of truth – the truer an idea is, the more like it is that you will be able to find it throughout history, stretching back to the most ancient times, rather than merely in the present day.
Indeed, to think that an elected head of state is preferable to a hereditary monarch at this point in time, that is to say after the clownish mayhem of the fiascos that were the last two American presidential elections, is to embrace the Modern perspective at the worst possible moment, the moment in which it has been utterly discredited. It is bad enough that Canadians have lately allowed the American presidential election style to influence the way we regard our parliamentary elections so as to make the question of which personality cult leader we want as Prime Minister into the primary or even sole factor to be considered in voting for whom we want for our local constituency representative. We do not need to Americanize the office of head of state as well.
We are better off for having a hereditary royal monarch as our head of state and a constitution that is therefore more than, not less than, democratic. Historically and traditionally, the institution of the monarchy has been the symbol and safeguard of our traditional rights and freedoms. I have long said that in Canada the monarchy and freedom stand and fall together. Therefore, if the polls are correct about waning Canadian support for both, this speaks very poorly about the present generation of Canadians. Which is why if these trends continue, Canadians who still love their country with its traditional monarchy and freedoms will be increasingly tempted to individually love their countrymen with affection unspeakable, but collectively look upon them with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation.
In 1987, Augsburg Publishing House, the publishing arm of the American Lutheran Church which the following year would join with Fortress Press, the publisher of the Lutheran Church in America as part of the merger of the Lutheran bodies into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, published a book entitled Television and Religion: The Shaping of Faith, Values and Culture. The release of such a book could hardly have been more timely – it went to print just as the various scandals surrounding Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were breaking. The author of the book was the Reverend William F. Fore, who was the acknowledged expert at the time on the matter of religious broadcasting. For the next couple of years he was a guest on pretty much every major radio and television talk show discussing the scandal and his book. Rev. Fore, who passed away last July, was a minister of the United Methodist Church, and served as the Executive Director of the Communications Department of the National Council of Churches in Christ for a quarter of a century, retiring from this position shortly after his aforementioned book came out. The fifth and sixth chapters of the book address the message and audience respectively of what he called “the electronic church”. He had already been sounding the alarm about this “electronic church” for over a decade.
Indeed, in August of 1978 Fore gave an address by that very title – “The Electronic Church” – to a meeting of the Seventh Day Adventist Broadcasters Council in Oxnard, California, which was published in that denomination’s MinistryMagazine in its January, 1979 issue. In that address he noted some interesting statistics. Gallup had just conducted a survey of the religious views of both the “churched” and the “unchurched” in the United States. “Surprisingly”, Fore commented, “religious beliefs and practices have undergone remarkably little change during the past 25 years.” What made these findings surprising was that while beliefs in doctrines like the deity of Jesus Christ and practices such as daily prayer did not appear to be declining among Americans, even among the “unchurched”, the self-evaluated importance of organized religion in their lives was. Fore suggested that the incongruity between these two things could be, at least partly, explained by the growth of religious broadcasting and that this was cause for concern. He said:
What worries me is whether this electronic church is in fact pulling people away from the local church. Is it substituting an anonymous (and therefore undemanding) commitment for the kind of person-to-person involvement and group commitment that is the essence of the local church?
As we shall shortly see, this was a legitimate concern and there is far more cause for alarm on this front today than there was back then. First, it needs to be noted that there was another, far more obvious, reason why steady belief in such basic Christian truths as the deity of Jesus Christ might coincide with a decline in confidence in organized religion – and a decline in church attendance, for when Fore was speaking and writing about the danger of “the electronic church” we were already several decades into a period of drastic decline in church attendance, one which began shortly after the Second World War and which continues to this day.
That reason was simply this – that in this same period of time, a great many of the churches had stopped preaching and teaching the basic Christian truths. For everyone who could still truthfully recite everything in the Apostles’ Creed from “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth” to “The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen”, churches whose ministers taught that Jesus was God’s Son only in the sense that He exemplified the way in which we are all children of God and that He rose again from the dead only in the sense that He lived on in the memory of His disciples, and who similarly explained away everything else in the Creed so as to make its opening “I believe” into an “I don’t believe”, were rapidly losing their appeal. Nor did they have much of an appeal to anybody else. Anybody out there who actually wanted to hear a lecture every week about racial and gender equity, recycling and reducing our carbon footprint, and other such trendy codswallop had plenty of opportunity to do so that did not involve getting up early on Sunday morning. Others have certainly noticed the contribution of this factor to the decline in church attendance and affiliation. Here in the Dominion of Canada, where the decline had been much larger than in the United States, two Anglican priests, George R. Eves, Two Religions: One Church (1998) and Marney Patterson, Suicide – The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada (1999), attempted, to little avail, at least with regards to the upper echelons of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, to warn the Anglican Church of Canada that this kind of liberalism was killing the church. Others, such as the eminent Canadian sociologist of religion Reginald W. Bibby, have addressed this factor in a more detached manner. Now, the United Methodist Church and the NCCC were both noted bastions of liberalism. The late Dr. Thomas C. Oden had been well within the mainstream of the United Methodist Church prior to his journey back from theological liberalism and political radicalism to “paleo-orthodoxy” through a study of the great theologians of the Christian tradition beginning with the Church Fathers prompted by a challenge from his Drew University colleague, Will Herberg, who had had to make a similar return to the roots of his own Jewish tradition in the Talmud and Midrash after his own break with his early radicalism. The National Council of Churches in Christ is the American organized expression of ecumenism which, as Joseph Pearce has recently observed, “appears to be the willingness to dilute or delete doctrine in pursuit of a perceived unity among disparate groups of believers (irrespective of what they actually believe)” and thus the opposite of what it originally meant when applied in the early centuries to the General Councils that defined orthodoxy and excluded heresy for the entire church throughout the “whole inhabited world”. My point in bringing this up is not to cast aspersions on the personal orthodoxy of the late William F. Fore but to show that for someone in his position, unless he wished to make waves, he had strong personal reasons to turn a blind eye to the connection between liberalism and declining church attendance and to tie the latter to religious broadcasters who, whatever else they might be legitimately accused of – aggressive and dishonest fundraising, the sacrilege of reducing religion to popular entertainment, etc. – were seldom if ever liberals.
All of that having been said, Fore’s concern that for many people “the electronic church” was taking the place of local churches was a legitimate and valid one. In his address to the Seventh Day Adventists in 1978 he said the following:
Radio and TV – especially TV – tend to produce a substitute for reality that eventually can begin to take the place of reality itself.
He illustrated this point by referring to an article in Broadcasting Magazine that described a television program entitled “Summer Camp” that purported to give kids the “summer camp” experience “without leaving home”, a particularly poignant example as it is difficult to conceive of an experience further removed from that of watching television than summer camp or a greater exercise in missing the point than trying to translate that experience into the television medium. He went on to say:
My point is that exposure to the media tends to separate us from the world of reality, creating for us, in fact, a new reality…The situation, I predict, is going to get worse.
Before we take a look at just how true that prediction has become, let us consider the contrast he drew between the local and the electronic church. He said:
[The purveyors of the electronic church] are building huge audiences that bring them fame, wealth, and power, but which in doing so substitute a phantom, a non-people, an electronic church, for the church of real people, with real needs and real gospel to share in the midst of their real lives.
It is no accident that the local church, the koinonia or community of believers, is such a central part of our Christian faith and life. This is where we find Christ; this is where we confess our sins and find forgiveness and regeneration; this is where we act out our faith and where we shore up one another when we slide back in the faith.
The years since 1978 and now have seen an explosion in the development of electronic communications technology. Personal computers and cellular phones have become more compact and affordable and therefore ubiquitous and, indeed, have now merged into smart phones that place the internet, which itself has evolved rapidly and exponentially in this period, at one’s fingertips wherever one happens to be. The “electronic church” has evolved along with these media and in 2021 the “online church” – services viewed over the internet either while they are occurring through livestream or later if, as is usually the case, recordings of the stream remain available – has become a much larger part of it than the services broadcast on radio and television forty years ago. Indeed, for almost a year now, the “online church” has been the only “church” available throughout most of the world as governments everywhere have used the pretext of the spread of a coronavirus notable more for its novelty than its severity to throw off the shackles of constitutional restraints and protected rights and liberties and conduct an insane social experiment in which they forbade in-person social interaction in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to contain the spread of the virus. The leaders of the churches have, for the most part, opted to obey man rather than God and support this vile experiment by closing their doors and making services available to their parishioners only via the internet. Thus, for the last year, the “electronic church” has more fully and completely replaced the real church, than Rev. Fore would have imagined possible in his worst nightmares back in the eighties.
What is most troubling about this, apart from the whole submitting to godless totalitarianism aspect of it, is that whereas forty years ago, church leaders whether orthodox or liberal, would have largely shared Fore’s concern that for many people the “electronic church” was becoming a substitute for actual churches in which real people meet and worship and fellowship together and would have agreed with him that this was not a good thing, today, the church leaders who are saying “Amen” to the government officials who insist that we must sacrifice the mental and social wellbeing of all members of our communities, and the economic wellbeing of all except the most wealthy, in order to prevent people who are already at the end of their natural lifespans from dying a natural death a very short time earlier than would otherwise be the case, are now developing theological arguments for why the “electronic church” is a real church after all. While the idea of a spiritual fellowship existing between all believers in different places is neither new nor unsound – this is a part of the meaning of “the communion of the saints” in the Creed – it is a different matter entirely to treat the act of praying and singing along, from your own home, while you watch a service that is taking place elsewhere through your computer screen, as if you and those actually participating in the service were somehow together in some virtual “place” that the internet has generated. Doing the latter is far closer to living in the kind of artificial “reality” from which in the movies a “red pill” is required in order to escape than it is to the orthodox doctrine of the “communion of the saints”.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born in Russia a year after the Bolsheviks, a murderous gang of criminal revolutionaries, fanatically devoted to building what they believed would be an ideal society based upon collective ownership, materialism, science, and atheism regardless of whatever cost in human lives and suffering had to be paid in order to bring this about, seized control of that country, murdered the Tsar and the rest of the royal family, and began its long, but mercifully unsuccessful, war of extirpation against the Russian Orthodox Church. His mother raised him, as best she could, in the Orthodox faith, while the Bolshevik state did its worst to indoctrinate him in its ideology. Ultimately, after Solzhenistyn was arrested while serving in the Red Army in World War II for criticism of Stalin, and sentenced by a secret tribunal of the NKVD to the work camps administered by GULAG, his Orthodox rearing won out, and in his writings he became a fierce critic of the oppression of the Soviet system. While his writings were initially well-received in his home country while Khrushchev was repudiating the legacy of Stalin, when he turned his pen against the Communist system and underlying ideology as a whole, he became persona non grata, and soon his writings had to be published by samizdat in Russian, or smuggled out and published in translation in the West where they helped remove the blinders from the eyes of many who still thought of the Soviet experiment in romantic, idealistic, terms. Eventually, the Soviet regime tired of him and on the twelfth of February, 1974, he was arrested again and sent into exile.
On the day of his arrest he released a notable essay, advising that in the face of a violent, oppressive, totalitarian ideology such as that which then ruled in Russia, the least that people could do was refuse to participate in the lies by which the totalitarian ideology of the state covered its violence.
“And this is the way”, Solzhenitsyn wrote, “to break out of the imaginary encirclement of our inertness, the easiest way for us and the most devastating for the lies. For when people renounce lies, lies simply cease to exist”.
The title of Solzhenitsyn’s essay, “Live not by Lies”, was borrowed last year by Rod Dreher, for a book advising Christians about how to live in the face of a new soft totalitarianism. While Dreher admirably strained out many of the totalitarian gnats of “woke” ideology, he swallowed in its entirety the camel of masks and lockdowns and public health orders.
We can and must do better than that.
Sadly, I expect that very few of our church leaders will be willing to show the same faith and obedience to God rather than man as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, who was arrested by the RCMP last week for holding regular church services and remains in police custody as of the time of this writing, or Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, who held a service last weekend in solidarity with Pastor Coates. While Coates’ arrest demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that I have been right in everything I have been saying since last March about how these public health orders are the latest manifestation of the anti-Christian, anti-freedom, atheistic and materialistic, spirit of Communist oppression and are utterly out of place in a Commonwealth Realm in which the basic rights and freedoms these orders treat as inconsequential are supposed to be the guaranteed Common Law property of citizens as Her Majesty’s free subjects, this is not really my point here. If most Christian leaders can’t find the balls to do what Pastors Coates and Stephens have done, a rather predictable consequence of the widespread ordination of women due to a previous generation’s departure from the clear teachings of the Scriptures and church tradition on that subject, then the least they can do, to borrow Solzhenitsyn’s language, is to refuse to participate in the lies covering up the totalitarian violence and oppression of the lockdown measures. Specifically, they can reject the lie that the “electronic church” of today is somehow different and better than the “electronic church” of forty years ago, because it is online rather than on television. This lie rests upon the underlying notion that the internet is an actual space where people can really meet and actively participate in something together rather than the mere passive viewing which is all that the voyeurism of television makes available. I am inclined to say that this notion, too, is a lie, although it contains the element of truth that the internet has an interactional element that was not there in television. Along with that element of truth, however, it contains the assumption that this is an improvement rather than something that moves us closer to the dystopia of the Matrix. That assumption, I would say, is at the very least, highly dubious. Posted by Gerry T. Neal at 5:55 AM Labels: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, COVID-19, Electronic Church, George R. Eves, James Coates, Joseph Pearce, Marney Patterson, Reginald W. Bibby, Rod Dreher, Thomas C. Oden, Tim Stephens, Will Herberg, William F. Fore
The Abandonment of Truth and the Fall of Civilization
Exactly when Medieval times or the Middle Ages ended and the
Modern Age began has long been a subject of discussion and debate. It will continue to be so, since the
transition was not instantaneous but took place over an extended period that
included any number of events which, depending the criteria being taken into
consideration, could be identified as the turning point. The question must, therefore, remain open,
and for several decades now has taken the backseat to the questions of whether
the Modern Age has ended, if so when, and what comes next. Despite the temptation created by so many
of the events of the current year having been presented to us in an apocalyptic
framework, it is not my intention to address the latter set of questions here,
other than to refer my readers to the interesting and persuasive discussion of
such matters by the late John Lukacs in The
Passing of the Modern Age (1970), The
End of the Twentieth Century and the End of the Modern Age (1993), and AtThe
End of an Age (2002). It is the
transformation of Christendom into Western Civilization, a matter that touches
on the questions pertaining to both the beginning and the end of the Modern Age
that I shall be talking about here. Or,
to be more precise, I shall be discussing one aspect of that transformation.
Was the transformation of Christendom into Western
Civilization the start of the Modern Age (one of the possible answers to the
first question), the end of the Modern Age in both the sense of the purpose
towards which that Age was directed and moving and in the sense that when it
was accomplished the Age came to an end (if so this touches on the answer to
all of the questions pertaining to the end of the Age), or was it simply one
and the same with the Modern Age?
Christendom is a word that can be used in a narrower or a
wider sense. Let us take it here in its
fullest sense of civilization that takes the Christian faith as its foundation
and organizational principle. It is
essentially the generic version of what American Russian Orthodox hieromonk,
Fr. Seraphim Rose, described in its Eastern Orthodox form when he wrote “that
the principal form government took in union with Christian Truth was the
Orthodox Christian Empire, wherein sovereignty was vested in a Monarch, and
authority proceeded from him downwards through a hierarchical social structure”
(Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of
the Modern Age, 1994, 2018, p. 28).
Obviously, by the end of the
Second World War, one of the time-markers for possible ends of the Modern Age,
this had been replaced by liberal, secular, democratic, Western Civilization,
in all but the most outward, nominal, sense.
At the deepest level, of course, the transformation had been
accomplished much earlier than this.
What this suggests, of course, is that, paradoxically, all
three options in the complex question in our second paragraph can be answered
in the affirmative.
While the question of when exactly the transformation of
Christendom into Western Civilization began must remain open, like the related
question of when the transition into the Modern Age began, it is certain that
the radical epistemic revolution belongs to the earliest stages of the
transformation. By radical epistemic
revolution, I mean the fundamental shift in how we conceive of what we know and
how we know it that involved a repudiation of both tradition and divine
revelation as evidentiary paths to knowledge and which introduced so drastic a
change in the meaning of both reason and science as to constitute a break from
what these things had been since classical antiquity. The consequence of this revolution for
Christian Truth was that it was removed from the realm of knowledge and
reassigned to the realm of a “faith” which had itself been radically redefined
so as to bear no resemblance to St. Paul’s “the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) but to be almost the very
opposite of this. Clearly this was a
most significant event in the breaking of the union between civilization and
In my last essay, in which I talked about the increasing
confusion with regards to basic logical concepts that has occurred in a period
that has also seen dogmatic authority increasingly assigned to “science”
despite this contradicting the non-authoritarian nature of science in both
pre-Modern and Modern meanings, I mentioned the paradox of the fact that the
removal of tradition and divine revelation from the realm of evidence which
thus emptied that realm of all but the kind of evidence which historians and
courts rely upon and the kind which scientists rely upon should have tipped the
balance in favour of reason in the ancient debate about the priority of reason
versus evidence but has seemingly had the opposite effect of elevating one
particular form of evidence over reason and the other remaining form of
evidence. It also needs to be observed,
with regards to the dogmatic, authoritative, voice now ascribed to “science”,
that in the most obvious cases of this, actual empirical evidence has itself
been trumped by something else. In the
anthropogenic global warming/climate change “crisis” of recent decades and the
Wuhan bat flu “crisis” of this year, in both of which we have been told that we
must accept a drastic reduction in human freedom and submit to totalitarian
measures and group-think in order to avert a catastrophe, dissenters have been
told to “shut up and listen to the science”, but the “science” in question has
largely consisted of computer model projections, which have been granted a
bizarre precedence not only over reason, such as the questioning which provokes
the “shut up and listen to the science” response, and non-empirical evidence,
such as the historical record on the world’s ever-changing climate which
directly contradicts the entire alarmist narrative on this subject, but even
empirical evidence as this has until recently been understood, observations and
measurements made in either the real world or the laboratory. Since plenty of this sort of empirical
evidence joins non-empirical evidence in supporting reason against these
narratives, we are in effect being told that we must set both reason and
evidence aside and mindlessly obey orders backed only by the fictional
speculations of an artificial “intelligence”.
Anyone still open to the evidence of tradition and divine revelation,
will find in Scriptural descriptions of the effects of idolatry upon the minds
of those who practice it, an ample explanation of this phenomenon.
That tradition and divine revelation became vulnerable to
being forced out of the realm of evidence can in part by attributed to their
having been set against each other in the period that produced the Reformation
and Counter-Reformation. Both sides
share the blame here. The papacy and
its adherents at their worst placed such an emphasis on tradition that they
sometimes gave the impression that they had elevated it over divine revelation and
thus were inviting a response similar to that given to the scribes and
Pharisees by the Lord in Matthew 15:1-2, emphasis on verses three and six,
whereas the more radical elements of the Protestant Reformation went so far in
the opposite direction as to contradict such New Testament affirmations of
tradition as I Corinthians 11:2 and II Thessalonians 2:15 and 3:16. It is beyond the scope of this essay, of
course, to offer a full resolution of this conflict. I shall simply point out that by divine
revelation I mean what theologians call “special revelation”, which is distinct
from “general revelation” such as that described by St. Paul in Romans 1:19-20.
General revelation or natural revelation, is God’s revelation of Himself
in the natural order of His Creation, and is the source of such truth as can be
found in all human tradition. Special
revelation, is God’s salvific revelation of Himself in His Covenants, His
written Word, and ultimately in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. When Christianity makes claims of
exclusivity, such as “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh to
the Father but through Me”, these rest upon special revelation. When Christianity acknowledges truth in
other religions, this is on the basis of the general revelation that informs
all traditions. See the essays by C.
S. Lewis in the first section of God in
the Dock (1970), and the book Christianity
and Pluralism (1998, 2019), by Ron Dart and J. I. Packer for a more
extended discussion of these matters.
Special revelation, because of its role in the ordu salutis, comes with promises of divine protection against
corruption (Matthew 5:17-18, for example) that are obviously not extended to general
revelation (see the larger context of the Romans passage cited above), which
would seem obviously to place the primacy on special divine revelation, without
eliminating the epistemic value of either human tradition in general or the
particular Apostolic tradition affirmed in Scripture in the aforementioned
The turning of divine (special) revelation and tradition
against each other facilitated the rise of rationalism which attacked their now
divided house and excluded them both from the realm of reason, evidence, and
knowledge. That this having ultimately led to
evidence taking primacy over reason in an ongoing discussion/debate which began
prior to Socrates seems counterintuitive is due to the reasons mentioned above,
however, it seems more inevitable when we consider what is asserted about Jesus
Christ in the first verse of the Gospel according to St. John. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God.”
The word rendered Word in the English of this verse is Logos, the word
from which logic is derived. It does
indeed mean “word” in the sense of the unit of speech that is the basic
building block of sentences, although it can also mean “sentence” in certain
contexts, or even “speech” in general.
It also, however, can mean thought, in the sense of calculation,
judgement, evaluation, and basically everything suggested by the word “reason”. This personification of reason and ascription
to it of divine status would have been familiar territory to the Greek thinkers
of the day, as just such a thought had long been a dominant theme in Greek
Heraclitus of Ephesus, who is otherwise best known for his
view that constant change is the defining characteristic of the world – “you
never step in the same river twice” – introduced the concept of the Logos into
Greek thought. Logos, to Heraclitus, was
a divine, rational principle that governs the world of flux and brings order
and meaning to what otherwise would be chaos. In the first century, the Hellenizing
Jewish philosopher, Philo of Alexandria, had famously equated the Logos of
Greek thought with the personified Wisdom in Jewish Wisdom literature. The
eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament is the canonical
example of this personification of Wisdom, and the Wisdom of Solomon, one of
the disputed books of the Septuagint, is a book long example of the same,
possibly originally written as expansion of or commentary on the chapter in
Proverbs. Even prior to Philo there had
been a tradition in Jewish thought somewhat parallel to the Greek Logos,
represented primarily in the Targum (a translation, or more accurately number
of translations, of the Old Testament into Aramaic, along with midrash or
exegetical commentary on the same, also in Aramaic), in which the personified
Memra acts as the messenger or agent of God.
There was one huge difference between Philo’s synthesis of
Greek and Hebrew thought on this matter and St. John’s. For Philo the Logos was not God, per se, but
a divine intermediary between God and Creation, roughly the equivalent of the
Demiurge, albeit the benevolent Demiurge of Plato’s Timaeus not the malevolent Demiurge of the Gnostic heretics. For St. John, the Logos was both with God,
and was identical to God. The lack of
a definite article preceding Theos in the final clause of the first verse of
the Gospel does not mean that a diminutive or lesser divinity is intended. Since the clause joins two nouns of the same
case (nominative) with the copula, and Theos is the noun that precedes the
copula, its anarthrous condition indicates that it functions grammatically as
the predicate rather than the subject (E. C. Colwell, “A Definite Rule for the
Use of the Article in the Greek New Testament”, Journal of Biblical Literature 52, 1933). Even if this were not a recognized
grammatical rule, St. John’s intention could hardly be clearer, as his Logos,
identified in the fourteenth verse as Jesus Christ, repeatedly makes statements
employing the Greek equivalent of YHWH in such a way as to unmistakably
identify Himself as God. Indeed, this
makes St. John’s use of the Greek philosophical term for the divine principle
of reason that makes reality orderly in a way that evokes the first chapter of
Genesis with its repeated “and God said…and it was so”, transforming what had
been “without form and void” into that which “was very good”, a much more
powerful embrace of reason than Philo’s.
See Calvinist philosopher Gordon
H. Clark’s The Johannine Logos (1972)for a fuller discussion of this. This is why the rejection of Christian
epistemology, which affirms both special revelation and tradition, and embrace
of a rationalist epistemology that removes both from the realm of evidence –
although done in the name of reason and hence the term “rationalist” – must
inevitably assign reason a much lower place than it had occupied in a worldview
that acknowledges the Divine Logos.
The elevation of empirical evidence over historical evidence
was also an inevitable consequence of the same epistemological revolution. The reason for this is that the special
revelation and tradition which were banished from the realm of evidence, each
have a unique relationship with one of the two evidences allowed to remain. When special revelation and tradition were
sent into exile, the hierarchical relationship between the two was also
rejected, leading to the inversion of this hierarchy for the corresponding two
Empirical evidence or science – real empirical evidence,
mind you, not the computer generated, pseudoscientific, fiction masquerading under
its name today – corresponds with tradition.
Here, I mean tradition in the generic sense of “that which has been
passed down” (tradition comes from the passive perfect participle of the Latin
trado, the verb for handing over or passing on) rather than the content of any
particular tradition. Tradition’s chief
epistemic value is that it is the means whereby that which has been observed,
deduced, and otherwise learned and known in the past is made available to those
living in the present so that each generation does not have to re-invent the
wheel so to speak and discover everything afresh for itself. Apart from this, human knowledge could not
significantly accumulate and grow. As mentioned
briefly above, with regards to Romans 1, the truths of general or natural
revelation which are passed down in tradition are susceptible to corruption,
but it is also the case that living traditions are flexible and
self-correcting. That this, and not the
rigid inflexibility that rationalists falsely attribute to it, is the nature of
tradition, was an insight that was well articulated by Michael Oakeshott (see the
title essay and “The Tower of Babel”, in Rationalism
in Politics and Other Essays, 1962).
While true science’s value is primarily utilitarian rather than epistemic
– “science is always false, but it is often useful” as Gordon H. Clark put it –
the merits of tradition as described in this paragraph overlap to a large
degree those which scientists would ascribe to their vocation and methodology. In the best sense of the word, science is
itself a particular tradition, which has been accumulating natural knowledge
and correcting itself since Thales of Miletus.
Special revelation, on the other hand, is connected to
historical evidence. This can clearly
be seen in both Testaments. The Old
Testament is primarily the record of God’s revelation of Himself through a
Covenant relationship established with a particular people, Israel, in a
particular place, the Promised Land, over a specific era of time stretching
from the period of the Patriarchs, from whom the people were descended, to the
partial return from their exile in Babylon at the beginning of the Second
Temple period. Even the portions of it which are not strictly
historical narrative in literary genre fit in to that history. This is most obviously the case with the
prophetic writings, which contain divine warnings given to Israel and sometimes
the surrounding nations, in connection with events described in the historical
record, but even in the case of the Psalms of David, many of these can be tied
to specific events in that historical king’s life, as they collectively are
tied to his life as a whole.
This is all the more the case with the New Testament. The New Testament presents us with God’s
ultimate revelation of Himself, both to the people with whom He had established
the Old Covenant and promised a New, and to all the peoples of the world, in
the Incarnation of His Son “and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us”. The story of God’s Incarnational revelation
is told in the form of history – events about specific people, in identifiable
places, at identifiable times, attested to by witnesses. We are told that the Virgin Birth, the event
shortly to be commemorated at Christmas, occurred in the reign of Augustus
Caesar, when Herod the Great was king of Judea, and Cyrenius was governor of
Syria, and that it took place in the city of David, Bethlehem. The baptism of Jesus by His cousin John the
Baptist is the event that signaled the beginning of His public ministry. We are told that John the Baptist’s own
ministry began in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when
Pontius Pilate was governor of Judeau, Herod Antipas was tetrarch of Galilee,
and Annas and Caiaphas were high priests. The locations of Jesus’ most significant
miracles are identified, and the events of the final week of His public ministry
are related in great historical detail – His dramatic entry into Jerusalem, His
teaching in the Second Temple, His betrayal by Judas for thirty pieces of silver,
His Last Passover Supper with His Apostles, His arrest in the Garden of
Gethsemane, His first, illegal, trial before the aforementioned high priests
and the Sanhedrin, His second, official, trial before the aforementioned Roman
governor, the mob turning against Him, His torture by the Roman soldiers, His
crucifixion between two thieves at the hill of Calvary, and His burial in the tomb
of Joseph of Arimathea. Real places, real people, real events. As St. Paul would say to Festus a few years
later, “the king (Agrippa) knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely,
for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this
thing was not done in a corner.” The
same St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, would set forth the evidence for the
crowning event of God’s Incarnational revelation of Himself in history, the
Resurrection of Jesus Christ, citing eyewitness after eyewitness. The Resurrection is not something to which
evidence of the empirical sort can speak, but the historical evidence for it is
In the Christian epistemic hierarchy special revelation
which takes place in and through history ranks higher than tradition of which
science at its best is a particular example.
The abandonment of Christian epistemology early in the transformation of
Christendom into Western Civilization involved a repudiation of both special
revelation and tradition as well as the ranking between the two. Even though considered in themselves, a
strong case could be made for the superiority of historical evidence over
empirical evidence – the latter consists of observations made in artificially controlled
situations to test hypotheses and so cannot be counted upon to have epistemic
value, to speak truth about reality, things as they are in themselves, even
when they have the utilitarian value of helping us to manipulate things to our
own use, and so when it comes to determining truth about reality, the empirical
must count as merely one form of testimony among the many that make up
historical/legal evidence, as it is in standard courtroom practice, and is therefore
logically subordinate to the larger whole of which it is a part – this has
resulted in science being elevated over other forms of evidence, over tradition
of which it is a particular example and thus logically subordinate to the
general form, and over reason.
Science, which belongs at the bottom of the epistemic totem pole and is
essentially magic that works (see C. S. Lewis’ “The Abolition of Man”, the
third lecture/essay in the book of the same title), has been raised to the very
top of the pole.
This elevation of science over all other evidence, all other
traditions, and reason itself goes a long way to explaining how people who are
scientists only in the sense that they speak the technical language of some
branch of science or another have managed to substitute baseless predictions
spat out by some machine for actual empirical evidence and ascribe to these the
kind of authority that properly belongs to special revelation. They have put this false science to the use
of frightening people into giving up their basic rights and freedoms in exchange
for protection against one Bogeyman or another and are thus laying waste to
what little remains of the civilization that was once Christendom. This demonstrates just how fundamental to civilization
is its account of reality and truth.
his essay “Myth Became Fact”, C. S. Lewis spoke of this historicity of the
Christian story as the distinguishing point between it and pagan myths with
similar elements, and thus described the significance of the Incarnation in
as myth transcends thought, incarnation transcends myth. The heart of
Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the dying god,
without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and
imagination to the earth of history. It happens ‐ at a particular date, in a
particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a
Balder or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical person
crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does
not cease to be myth: that is the miracle. I suspect that men have sometimes
derived more spiritual sustenance from myths they did not believe than from the
religion they professed. To be truly Christian we must both assent to the historical
fact and also receive the myth (fact though it has become) with the same
imaginative embrace which we accord to all myths. The one is hardly more
necessary than the other.