Saturday, May 15, 2010

Conservatives open a new chapter in the culture wars

Tasha Kheiriddin: Conservatives open a new chapter in the culture wars -- Rape is in, pardons are out

At first glance at the headline, I have to admit, I rolled my eyes thinking that Tasha was just another fringe lefty with an agenda of making the Conservatives look bad, not because they are doing anything particularly wrong, but because they are conservatives.

After reading the article, I realized that it wasn't about painting the Conservatives, although I would point out that the headline still does go a long way to doing that very thing. It was more about the give and take, the push and shove that Canadian society has been under constant battle since Confederation.

In essence, it's about changing the terminology of certain things to achieve reverse normalization according to the current set of values at the top of the chain. It is about incrementally turning the ship and showing the country that they really have nothing to fear from a Conservative government. And it has the opponents of the government scared.

How Scared?

When you have books being issued regarding the scary Religious Right and their ability to cozy up to the government in power, that is pretty scared. Essentially what you have there is a book that attempts to remind the population that the Conservatives have a hidden agenda, one that isn't apparent, and one that focuses on religious values.

The problem is twofold in this - 1) that these people do make up a significant proportion of the population, and their opinions DO count, regardless of what some people think, and 2) that there is really nothing wrong with a religious point of view in most things.

A religion is "a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices". Very much like a political party, a religion sets out an umbrella of beliefs and attitudes and invites those of like mind to join in and gather together. It is no coincidence that a large percentage of Catholics are anti-abortion (errr pro-life). It is no coincidence that a large number of religious people espouse abstinence to safe sex practices. It is no coincidence that religious people will generally espouse views consistent with taking care of yourself and your own family. It is no coincidence that many religious people have an aversion to the government funding many programs and that many of these religious people find a way to do these things themselves. It is no coincidence that some of the most prominent help missions aren't run by the government, but instead by the Salvation Army (religion, in case it wasn't known), the Catholic Church, and the Anglican Church.

Do I disagree with the "religious right" on some topics? Yes. But fundamentally, these people are fighting against the secularist, socially liberal agenda that has been running rampant for decades, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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