Friday, July 02, 2010

A Tory cabinet minister's comments on faith in politics

In a fortnight where the media is abuzz with talk about Marci McDonald's book on the Canadian Christian right, surely a must-cover event would be a gathering yesterday that was sponsored by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Canadian Council of Churches. Especially since Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl, a professed Christian, spoke. Perfect time for a follow-up story on the subject, served up on a plate for reporters.

Apparently not. The Google News cache for Chuck Strahl, as I write, mostly notes his recent annoucements about Nunavut and the Yukon. Nothing about this.

But fortunately for us, the noted conservative, Christian journalist Deborah Gyapong was there. And her report of what Strahl said, on her own blog, is interesting in the midst of the recent media swirl.

Chuck Strahl began with getting his own dig in at the media fuss: "You never hear complaints about the role of atheists in the public square." He then, according to Gyapong, sounded quite unlike a dominionist or theocrat.

Strahl, she reports, went on to question the media's balance in regards to Christianity. But at the same time, she paraphrases him as saying that while it would be wrong for him to forget his own faith it would also be wrong to force his moral perspective on others through legislation.

"Christians should be the first ones to reach out and help others and the last ones to legislate from their faith perspective," she quotes Strahl as saying. "Jesus brole a lot of hearts when he made it clear he was not here to establish his kingdom here on earth."

"This is not a theocracy and Christians don't want one," Strahl added.

I've quoted a bit from her item...but please read her whole post. Hopefully she can forgive my intention that no one else miss this.

I cite this because I think that Gyapong, in her many years of covering politicians and other Christians is not surprised by folks like Strahl who ostensibly try to be fair-minded and reasonable in what they do. While many who fear the Christian right might think that this might be a "cover story", Gyapong might, in turn, respond that the majority of Christians active in and around politics that she meets act much as Strahl does.

I'll bet that Gyapong has an educated guess why it could come to pass why these Strahl remarks might prove newsworthy to her but not to others. I'll bet that I know what that guess is too. But I will let her share that with you, if you visit her blog, and she wants to explain.

I expect to be disagreeing with Gyapong in a future post, but for now I won't deny that her "news nose" can certainly sniff.