The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada

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Random House Canada, 2010 - Political Science - 419 pages
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In her new book, award-winning journalist Marci McDonald draws back the curtain on the mysterious world of the right-wing Christian nationalist movement in Canada and its many ties to the Conservative government of Stephen Harper.
To most Canadians, the politics of the United States — where fundamentalist Christians wield tremendous power and culture wars split the country — seem too foreign to ever happen here. ButThe Armageddon Factorshows that the Canadian Christian right — infuriated by the legalization of same-sex marriage and the increasing secularization of society — has been steadily and stealthily building organizations, alliances and contacts that have put them close to the levers of power and put the government of Canada in their debt.
Determined to outlaw homosexuality and abortion, and to restore Canada to what they see as its divinely determined destiny to be a nation ruled by Christian laws and precepts, this group of true believers has moved the country far closer to the American mix of politics and religion than most Canadians would ever believe.
McDonald’s book explores how a web of evangelical far-right Christians have built think-tanks and foundations that play a prominent role in determining policy for the Conservative government of Canada. She shows how Biblical belief has allowed Christians to put dozens of MPs in office and to build a power base across the country, across cultures and even across religions.
“What drives that growing Christian nationalist movement is its adherents’ conviction that the end times foretold in the book of Revelation are at hand,” writes McDonald. “Braced for an impending apocalypse, they feel impelled to ensure that Canada assumes a unique, scripturally ordained role in the final days before the Second Coming — and little else.”
The Armageddon Factorshows how the religious right’s influence on the Harper government has led to hugely important but little-known changes in everything from foreign policy and the makeup of the courts to funding for scientific research and social welfare programs like daycare. And the book also shows that the religious influence is here to stay, regardless of which party ends up in government.
For those who thought the religious right in Canada was confined to rural areas and the west, this book is an eye-opener, outlining to what extent the corridors of power in Ottawa are now populated by true believers. For anyone who assumed that the American religious right stopped at the border,The Armageddon Factorexplains how US money and evangelists have infiltrated Canadian politics.
This book should be essential reading for Canadians of every religious belief or political stripe. Indeed,The Armageddon Factorshould persuade every Canadian that, with the growth of such a movement, the future direction of the country is at stake.

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Although bordering on "alarmist", the book is a very well researched account of forays by the conservative-religious movement (at the moment predominantly christian) into the political landscape of Canada.
With PM Harper having bowed to the conservative movement on several occasions in late 2009 and early 2010 (withdrawing financial support for abortions under foreign maternal aid; withdrawing support for women's groups around the country; withdrawing support for LGBT groups), it does seem that the signs elucidated by McDonald do seem to indicate she might be right. However, I still think that she is reading too much into such episodes. I am betting on the sanity of the common Canadian folk in defeating any agenda that the conservatives might have in their pockets.
After all right now it's the Christians who are in the majority. But with the Muslim population exploding the way it is, do these Christians really want their children to live under a political system governed by the a Islamic majority? So be warned you religous nuts. Keep religion out of politics before it comes back and bites you in the ass.

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According to the old adage, “you cannot judge a book by its cover.” However, in the case of Marci McDonald’s contribution The Armageddon Factor, you can. Already there has been no significant shortage of criticism that McDonald has already received for her efforts, yet no one has commented yet on her lack of theological understanding.
McDonald’s book presupposes that all evangelicals, in particular, those who are seeking to lobby politicians, are driven by their conviction to see their theological program actualized politically. McDonald points to dispensational theology and Christian reconstruction theology as the impetus behind which policies which are lobbied.
It may be an oversight of McDonald that while Christian Reconstructionists maintain a clear political interest, their theology is the polar opposite of dispensationalism. In fact, in Christian Reconstruction: What it is, What it is not, Gary North and Gary DeMar lament that dispensationalists often malign Reconstructionist theology by misrepresenting their theology. For Christian Resconstruction theology the rapture does not effect the application of theology, unlike dispensationalism which requires certain political events are first staged.
One of the most outrageous claims McDonald makes is in the preface where she writes that “on their watch, multiculturalism would be expunged in favor of a unifying social-conservative ethos,” (10). DeMar and North both write that “anti-semitism has nothing to do with eschatology [which is a subset of theology].” The reconstructionists point out that Christians faced persecution while the religion was still in its infancy and that Hitler himself was more than willing to remove any Christians who did not submit themselves the state-approved German Church. An example of this is demonstrated by the life of the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While dispensationalism does believe the worst of the tribulation period/dispensation will occur in Israel, their belief is not anti-Semitic but is based in their unusual reading of the Bible. Jewish focused missionary trips, ect. are due to their belief that Israel will suffer terribly. In this sense, it is easy to see how dispensationalists may appear to be anti-Semitic. It is important that everyone realize that this is not the case.
I personally find McDonald’s implications offensive. My great-grandmother, a member of the Reformed Church at the time, was involved with smuggling Jews out of Holland and risked their lives in the process. The unusual stereotype which suggests fundamentalist Christians are a group of narrow minded racists simply waiting around for apocalypse to happen so they can escape according to the “secret exit plan” according to McDonald is not only theologically unfounded, but defamatory and Christians, moderate or fundamentalist, should be offended. (Obviously, atrocities have occurred in the name of Christianity, most notably the crusades, but the fact remains that evangelical groups such as the EFC are not their historic forebears and should not be treated as if they were).
Not only is McDonald’s book externally inconsistent with Christian theologies, it is furthermore internally inconsistent. McDonald sends mixed messages by writing on one hand that “most mainstream theologians dismiss Darby’s theory as an outrageous reading of the Bible, [dispensationalism],” (McDonald, 61). At the same time, just prior McDonald blurbs about the EFC implying that as the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, they have a vested interest in secretly maintaining a dispensationalist agenda. This is an absurd implication because the EFC represents 39 different denominations (and as McDonald admits, most mainstream theologians are opposed to dispensationalism). The EFC is more concerned with maintaining its ecumenical stance in its doctrinal statement (statement of Faith) and is less concerned about contentious theological positions which for the most part, divide evangelicals.
One of the most unfortunate patterns demonstrated

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About the author (2010)

MARCI McDONALD is one of Canada's most respected journalists. The winner of eight gold National Magazine Awards, she is also the recipient of the Canadian Association of Journalists' investigative feature award. A former bureau chief for Maclean's in Paris and Washington, she has interviewed Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton, and spent five more years in the United States as a senior writer for US News & World Report. A winner of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, her study of the backstage machinations behind the free trade deal led to her book, Yankee Doodle Dandy: Brian Mulroney and the America Agenda. Her controversial cover story in the Walrus, "Stephen Harper and the TheoCons," inspired this book.

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