This is the latest in a whole new genre of books purporting to expose the sly machinations of "Christians" plotting "to impose theocracy" on modern Western countries-in this case, the secular fairyland of Canada.
I have read enough of these books by now to write one myself. You can, too. Just follow this simple formula:
*Lump together all the "Christians" you don't like into a looming monolith and give it a name: "the Christian Right," or "Christian Nationalism." Don't be troubled by the fact that many of these people agree on virtually nothing and don't even talk to one another. Indeed, don't be troubled by facts at all.
*Allege that this monolith controls whatever political party you don't like-the Conservative Party in Canada, the Republican Party here. Don't let it throw you that the GOP's last presidential candidate was John McCain. Just ignore it, along with any other annoying facts that might undercut your message.
*Insist that anything done by "Christians" to participate in public life-voting, lobbying, holding public office, trying to convince other voters that you're right-is menacing and wrong, even though when anybody else does the same things, it's called "good citizenship."
*Project onto "Christians" the grand schemes to transform society that you applaud the Left for conceiving and carrying out.
Do all of the above, and keep it up for almost 400 pages, and you can be the next Marci McDonald.
We sincerely wish we could ignore such foolishness. But when honest men and women are lumped in with mountebanks and shysters, when good works are presented as part of a sinister plot to ruin a nation, and when the Chalcedon Foundation is attacked and impugned by name, and the whole mess offered up by a serious publisher as if it were a bona fide journalistic endeavor, we are compelled to answer.
Hysteria and Double Standards
Marci McDonald-"one of Canada's most respected journalists," according to the cover blurb-has cranked out a hysterical, sky-is-falling mass of drivel. But don't take our word for it. Here are some of her words:
In their idealized Christian nation, non-believers-atheists, non-Christians, and even Christian secularists-have no place, and those in violation of biblical law, notably homosexuals and adulterers, would merit severe punishment and the sort of shunning that once characterized a society where suspected witches were burned. Theirs is a dark and dangerous vision, one that brooks no doubt and requires the dismantling of key democratic institutions. A preview is on display south of the border [in the U.S.], where decades of religious-right triumphs have left a nation bitterly splintered along lines of faith and ideology, trapped in the hysteria of overcharged rhetoric and resentment. (p. 359)
What bunk. Does anybody know what a "Christian secularist" is? When was mere suspicion grounds for burning anybody? And what "religious-right triumphs" can she possibly be talking about?
It's Marci who's trapped in hysteria and loopy rhetoric. Claiming herself to be a Christian of some unidentifiable kind (p. 360), she reports herself as being "sick with revulsion" (p. 361) when in the company of conservative Christians. Public prayer makes her uneasy (p. 14), and the worship activities of Charismatics really scares her (p.124). If Marci is a Christian, it's a Christian whose God takes no interest in seeing His commandments obeyed, and has no part to play in human history. We can't even guess what Bible she's been reading.
She takes it for granted that she has plenty of company: various unnamed, unattributed "polls" supposedly find "a majority of Canadians are also profoundly uneasy about people of faith taking over the reins of government" (pp. 107-108).
Who can untangle such muddled thinking? If Canadians are so put off by "people of faith" being in the government, why have they elected one-Stephen Harper-as their prime minister?
Marci presumes that there is a Canadian "mainstream ... sophisticated, secular and urban, smugly assuming that everyone would share their reverence for tolerance ..." (p. 7).
But a conservative Christian movement, she notes with dismay, "has gained influence out of all proportion to its numerical heft. Not only is it helping to reshape foreign policy, the public service and the courts, it has thrown its weight behind a range of socially conservative policies that it regards as prerequisite to remaking Canada as a distinctly Christian nation" (p. 10). Only social liberals, it seems, are allowed to remake nations.
Marci doesn't mind that homosexuals wield influence out of all proportion to their numbers. This is the key to her thinking: Whatever it is, it's only wrong when Christians do it.
Purple Prose and Outright Knavery
Behind her rhetoric is a soaring sense of entitlement. In Marci's view, public offices, judgeships, teaching positions, access to the media, employment of the media, and virtually anything else that has a bearing on public life are all the natural and exclusive property of secular liberals, and non-liberal Christians have no business horning in on it. If only those pesky Christians would just butt out!
She laments President Ronald Reagan's 1987 decision to scrap the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," which, she says, "unleashed radio's shock jocks ... [the] single most effective recruiting tool for the American right" (p. 274). We would all just naturally be liberals, you see, if not for talk radio tricking us into being conservatives. In Canada she sees the Christian right "openly pulling the strings of the Conservative Party and captured by outspoken television preachers with millions of viewers ready to respond to their bidding" (p. 341). Christian robots waiting for their marching orders ...
Canada for many years banned religious broadcasting. Alas, the ban proved unenforceable-even though religious TV and radio "could promote intolerance" and plunge Canada into a Bosnia-style bloodbath (p. 257)-and the government has resigned itself to merely trying to "regulate" Christian broadcasting (a tale told in pages 248-258).
Worse yet, those conservative Christians are all over the Internet. What with WorldNetDaily's "relentless attacks on global warming" (p. 274) and Ezra Levant's "relentless noise machine" (p. 300), attempts "to deregulate Christian broadcasting may prove irrelevant ... the Internet has already replaced television and radio as the Christian communications medium of choice" (p. 275).
That anyone might have a right to voice skepticism of global warming does not occur to this respected journalist. It should also be pointed out that Ezra Levant's "noise machine" only got loud after he was dragged before a "human rights" tribunal and told what he could or couldn't print in his newspaper. Notice that every Christian or conservative who speaks his mind is labeled "relentless"-kind of like a serial killer. We also never "hold" or "carry" Bibles, but always "brandish" them.
Where does this woman get her purple prose? Is she really that bad a writer, or were the editors at Random House Canada all out on strike?
Marci, if your liberal, secular, socialist opinion is so marvelously compelling and right, why can it not stand on its own without the government trying to suppress all the competition?
To add spice to this feast of bigotry, Marci throws in a dash of ignorance. Four times, at least (pp. 4, 52, 194, 218), she alludes to "the constitutional amendment mandating a separation between church and state" supposedly to be found in our U. S. Constitution and which she devoutly wishes were also in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The problem is that there is no such amendment in the U. S. Constitution. Look it up! The words "separation of church and state" do not appear anywhere in the Constitution. How can "one of Canada's most respected journalists" not know this?
There are also little touches of outright knavery, such as this: "when the shooting of abortion doctors began in March 1993" (p. 339). Like it happens all the time? Searching the Internet, we find seven abortionists shot in the U. S. since 1993. That's seven murders too many, of course: but you know Marci would scream "Racism! Bigotry!" if we mentioned Muslim "honor killings," or rappers assassinating one another, or gays murdering gays, etc. But again, for Marci, any action, any crime, is only wrong if Christians do it, or are assumed unjustly to do it. She would probably find something sinister about a Christian doing his laundry.
The Canadian Fu Manchu?
Somehow it strikes Marci as improper that Christian ministries or political campaigns should be funded by wealthy individuals, or corporations, or grass-roots fund-raising drives. Does she think her pet liberal causes proceed without funding? But of course they're entitled to it.
Canada's tepid Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, she consistently portrays as a kind or evangelical Fu Manchu or Professor Moriarity, at the head of "the secretive conservative fraternity that has spent most of the previous decade fulminating against the outrages of liberal governments" (p. 277), but is now in position to turn Canada into a theocracy. Secretive? But Mr. Harper can take care of himself. Maybe one of these days Marci could interview him about his secret blueprint for a Canadian theocracy.
She did interview Stephen Boissoin, a youth pastor who's been the victim of an eight-year-long "human rights" persecution for a letter he wrote to his local newspaper in 2002. Marci went all the way out to Alberta to talk to him in person, devoted three pages of her book to this interview, and never managed to touch on the subject of his "human rights" ordeal. What kind of reporting is this? Did she forget what she meant to ask him? Or were his answers just impossible to fit into the picture she was trying to paint?
Then there are all the people that she wrote about but didn't interview-Kari Simpson, for instance: presented as a major "evangelical star" in British Columbia for her efforts to curb homosexual indoctrination of schoolchildren (p. 214). Marci fails to mention that Mrs. Simpson is one of the very few Canadian Christians to fight a "human rights" case without incurring a formal punishment. Accused of "hate," etc., Mrs. Simpson, acting as her own lawyer, put the gay activist plaintiff on the stand and exposed him as a liar and a cheat: three days of that, and he dropped his complaint against her. But we can't suppose that a respected journalist would know about that.
Let us briefly answer Marci's attack on the Chalcedon Foundation and its founder, Dr. Rousas J. Rushdoony. We might not have to do this, if Marci had taken the trouble to visit our website and read our Credo, or interviewed anybody at Chalcedon. What kind of journalist would have time to do anything like that?
"Christian Reconstructionists like Rousas J. Rushdoony argue that poverty and social misery are part of ‘God's inscrutable decree,' to be solved not by the state but by penitence and prayer"(p. 355).
Gee, Marci, where did that quote come from? Did Rushdoony really say it, or has a respected journalist put words in his mouth? But one thing that Rushdoony would have never said is that "poverty and social misery" really can be eradicated by the state. Nowhere in the world has any state ever succeeded in doing so! Indeed, government intervention often makes a bad situation worse-as witness how the doling out of welfare destroyed the African-American family in the inner city.
Rushdoony endorsed "draconian" Biblical penalties for victimless crimes such as homosexuality (p. 356).
Marci, of course, provides no Rushdoony quote to prove her charge. Simply reminding people what God's recommended penalty is for certain acts is not quite the same as saying, "Stone all the sodomites-and if the state won't do it, we will!" Rushdoony in his lifetime was constantly abused just for stating what God's law actually is. Antinomian "Christians" who think right worship is all about doing whatever feels good are going to have a rude awakening on Judgment Day.
Rushdoony, for no reason Marci can imagine, launched an "attack on secular education" (p. 230). But we ask, why should secular education not be attacked? It's hard to think of a more deserving target.
Marci refers to Rushdoony's book, The Messianic Character of American Education, which she shows no signs of having read. Had she read it, she would have discovered that Rushdoony extensively quoted from the writings and speeches of the founders of public, secular education: out of their own mouths they stand condemned.
On page 215, she decries Rushdoony, who "unleashed"-we relentless Christians, it seems, are always unleashing something-"a scathing denunciation of U. S. public schools as hotbeds of secular humanist indoctrination." You mean they aren't?
On page 130, having again invoked the magic adjective "draconian," she tosses Rushdoony into the mix with Oral Roberts and Pat Robertson-very strange bedfellows indeed, but that's the Christian cabal for you. By the time she's done, Marci's vast Christian conspiracy will also include Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, D. James Kennedy, and a cast of thousands. Calvinists, Catholics, Charismatics, charlatans-they're all the same to her. They're all plotting to ruin Canada: "the vision of Canada they are promoting is both retrograde and exclusionary" (p. 10). Remember, it's only proper to exclude the Christians. It's all part of Stephen Harper's "hidden agenda," a plot to foist a free market economy on "communal-minded Canadians" (p. 100). Didn't Canada once have a free market economy, that got changed into a "communal" one by persons acting politically? But they weren't "Christians," so they had a right to do it.
What Are They Afraid Of?
Had enough yet? Probably you have. Well, we read these books so that you don't have to.
One more thing remains to be said.
In lumping together genuine orthodox Christian thinkers, like Rushdoony and Kennedy, with a mob of exploiters, faith hustlers, and actual heretics, the respected journalist is so mesmerized by their fantastic threat to Canada that she can't see what would be obvious to anyone with half a grain of common sense.
The shysters and faux preachers aren't threatening Canada. "Name it and claim it" theology never has and never will be a threat to any ungodly secular enterprise.
No-what randy clergymen, larcenous preachers, and humbug ministries threaten is not the future of abortion in Canada, but the good name and the credibility of the true church itself. They pose no threat to "gay marriage," Darwinism, socialism, or any other of Marci's favorite secular social-engineering projects. They drain money from the gullible, furnish atheist comedians with can't-miss targets, and distract millions of hearers from any honest exposition of the gospel.
The ungodly are so mortally afraid of Christ's true confessing church that anyone, or any group, that adopts the name of "Christian," no matter how wrongly, gives these secular fools the shivers. The sleaziest snake-oil salesman is to them as menacing a figure as Calvin, St. Augustine, or St. Peter. Blinded by both fear and ignorance, they probably can't tell the difference.
Why are the ungodly so afraid of us? Why, especially, in Canada? They've got everything they want-abortion without restriction, gay marriage, human rights tribunals to shut down dissent, politically potent public employees' unions, a totally secular news media and education establishment, etc. You'd think they could afford to laugh off some faithful Christians bearing witness against them. But instead they write alarmist books and use the apparatus of the state to try to silence us. What are they so afraid of?
They know in their hearts, however much they deny it with their lips, that the God we serve, whom they rebel against, is God, who will judge the nations and will not be fobbed off with excuses like, "But I was only trying to be inclusive!"
The Armageddon Factor is a truly worthless book, and Marci McDonald has every right to be ashamed of it.
- Lee Duigon
Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.
Lee has his own blog at www.leeduigon.com.