Dr. Dawg

Harper's Christianist agenda and the dots before our eyes

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That the Harper government is heavily subsidizing evangelical Christianity abroad—meaning that we taxpayers are being forced to tithe—should come as no surprise to anyone by now.

From Radio-Canada (my translation; link added):

The [Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid (OCCAH)], which has examined the books and financial reports of 198 Canadian NGOs for the period 2001-2010, has found that NGOs with a religious orientation received 45% more money from Ottawa between 2005 and 2010, since the Conservatives came to power.

Government aid to secular NGOs increased only 5% during the same period.

Meanwhile, as noted by Dennis Gruending [h/t here to Dammit Janet], John Baird’s Office of Religious Freedom, shortly to be unveiled, is almost exclusively focused upon Christianity: representatives of other faiths, notably Islam, were excluded from a meeting on the ORF convened by Baird in October 2011.

But there are many other dots to be connected. A private Christian college, Trinity Western, is in the news again: it wants to start up a “Christian law school” that will explicitly discriminate against gay, lesbian and bisexual students. Trinity Western has also been the recipient of Ottawa’s generosity, one of many Christian colleges showered with cash from the Harper government’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

Meanwhile, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has been forking over considerable gold to evangelical outfits as well:

In the period July 1 - September 30, 2009, for instance, 22 out of 173 grants made went to faith-based organizations, for a total of $889,016. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, by contrast, there were no grants to faith-based organizations meeting the search criteria (including in their names the word “Christ,” “Christian,” “Church,” “Pentecostal,” or “Baptist”).

While many of the faith-based organizations that received funding do not fall into the religious conservative category, most do. The Word of Truth Christian Centre in Pickering, ON, for instance, received $192,033 for a project last year. (Shouters) National Evangelical Spiritual Baptist Faith International Centre of Canada in Toronto received $198,951. Eastside Church of God, Fresh Start Program in Swift Current, SK got $84,110.

As I noted in a blogpost nearly three years ago:

Wycliffe Bible Translators slurped up a hefty $495,600 of your money and mine. But that was dwarfed by the $3.2 million awarded to an outfit called Youth For Christ—and, while children living in poverty on a reserve in Attawapiskat have been denied a new school for years, Edmonton’s Newman Theological College was recently awarded $4.2 million of Harper’s largesse.

Back in 2009 Dennis Gruending was joining up more dots:

A story that the mainstream media both covered and missed was the Prime Minister’s promotion of two individuals to senior positions in the PMO in March 2009. Darrel Reid became chief of staff and Paul Wilson replaced him as PMO policy director. Reid and Wilson have deep roots in both religious and political organizations. Reid was chief of staff to Reform Party leader Preston Manning while he was leader of the opposition. Later he became the president of Focus on the Family Canada, a conservative Christian lobby group that has worked against public childcare, same-sex marriage, and against adding sexual orientation to a list of minorities protected from hate crimes.

And there’s that Trinity Western connection again:

Wilson has worked for Trinity Western University, which is based in Langley, B.C. and is one of the largest evangelical educational institutions in Canada. Trinity established an Ottawa “campus” in 2001 in an old mansion near Parliament Hill. It houses the Laurentian Leadership Centre, which places students as interns with Ottawa-based organizations, predominantly with MPs. Wilson co-ordinated that internship program but when the Conservatives won election in 2006, he left Trinity Western to become a senior policy advisor to Vic Toews, then the justice minister. Wilson later served in a similar policy role for Diane Finley, the minister of human resources.

Where are they now? I’m glad you asked. Paul Wilson is part of the core faculty at Carleton University’s spanking new, Big Oil-financed Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management, where the heavy presence of old Reformers and Conservatives is remarkable, right-wing connections every which way, including to the Manning Centre.

The Manning Centre—why, that’s where Darrel Reid ended up. Small world, eh? We don’t really have to connect dots one by one any more, as it turns out. A bucket of blue paint ought to do it.

BACKDATE: Two other bloggers have previously checked out the tithings. Here are Montreal Simon and Sister Sage, for your further edification. And a belated h/t to DJ! for pointing me to the recent study by OCCAH referenced above.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on January 17, 2013 9:48 AM.

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