Conservatives Don't Own Jesus - 2018-05-22
Donald Trump is an adulterer, a liar, and a bully. He is divisive and dangerous and an appalling role model for those around him. No matter: 81 percent of white born-again or evangelical Christians and 60 percent of white Roman Catholics voted for him, and a majority of white evangelical Protestants still back him. He is held up by numerous Christian leaders as a protector of the faith. Among his supporters is Franklin Graham, multi-millionaire son of the recently deceased Reverend Billy Graham, who wants Muslims banned from the United States because Islam is "very evil and wicked" and who has demanded that LGBTQ people be barred from churches because Satan "wants to devour our homes."
It's no surprise that many progressives believe that organized Christianity stands in direct opposition to the aspirations of social democracy. It would be bad enough if the problem were just Trump, but the malaise goes far deeper. Closer to home, Christian activist Charles McVety has endorsed Doug Ford in the Ontario election, and he's been joined by megachurch leader Paul Melnichuk who anointed Ford as "a man surely the Lord has visited." This is the same McVety whose show on a Christian TV network was cancelled in 2010 for suggesting that homosexuals prey on children. And it's the same Melnichuk who was the subject of a 2007 Toronto Star investigation that alleged little of the millions his church collected from primarily working-class congregants was spent on charitable works and who, decades earlier, was denounced by the Canadian Jewish Congress over a sermon in which he labelled Jews "the most miserable people in the whole world." (He later apologized.)
Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics are also standing for political office in ever-greater numbers. The two most influential conservatives in Canada today are both devout Roman Catholics: Andrew Scheer, leader of the federal Conservative Party, and Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party in Alberta. Behind them are well-financed groups such as Campaign Life Coalition, arguably Canada's biggest anti-abortion organization. Campaign Life not only uses messaging that is harsh and condemning (before the last federal election, it helped circulate flyers showing Justin Trudeau next to a graphic image of an aborted fetus) but runs aggressive anti-LGBTQ campaigns (in 2015, the group argued that Ontario's new sex-ed curriculum would "normalize homosexual family structures").