Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Desperate enough for church

Peter MacKay is not known as the most religious of Canada's right-leaning politicians, but one of his offhand remarks when he announced today that he wasn't running for the leadership of Canada's new "unite-the-right" party is worth a brief comment.

The Canadian Press story reads in part:

MacKay, who plans to run in the next election, acknowledged the year has taken its toll.

Widespread consultation with past and present supporters - including an assessment of his ability to raise the cash for another leadership run - led him to a decision that was more head than heart, said MacKay.

"I did a lot of soul-searching. I even went to church last Sunday - and believe me, I still have a soul," he joked. "Some of you may think otherwise."

"I even went to church last Sunday" Well, don't put yourself out Mr. MacKay.

This is evidence that Canadian politics is, for better or worse, much different than American politics. U.S. politicians are comfortable with the idea of faith influencing one's political beliefs. Canadian politicians, like Mr. MacKay, often seem to see church-going as a refuge of the silly or desperate.

From a social conservative perspective, there are many things that need fixing in this country other than our tax rates. However, years of skittish politicians and dinosaur doll wielding pundits have intimidated moral conservatives into political silence.

If Canadian social conservatives are wise, we will start to form think tanks, magazines and newsletters to give our politicians reasons to assume that church going is something wise politicians can consider doing. Namely, that people of faith don't leave their brains at the doors of their houses of worship and can pass on some useful insights based on timeless morality.

Given all that is morally wrong with Canada's politics, perhaps a little desperation is in order.