Friday, June 01, 2012

Declare victory and withdraw from the battlefield

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, Apr 13, 2011]

With the current election, the political situation is fast evolving for social conservatives in Ottawa. But even before the votes are cast, political theocrat Faytene Grasseschi (born Faytene Kryskow) is giving indications that she has already been advancing to the rear.

I base this on comments that Faytene made on a US-based Christian internet radio show last week Given that she has spent the last six or seven years with political activism in Canada as one of her main concerns, some odd things--to my ears--were said.

Bene D, in a fine post a few days ago, explained the current state of play. The National Post quotes my old boss Link Byfield as seeing a block on social conservatism in Ottawa politics. An academic agrees.

I tend to agree with Link Byfield, and not just because he's the former publisher of my old magazine! I look at Harper's expressed position--repeated on the campaign trail--that the subjects of traditional marriage are, as far as he is concerned, closed, and his directive, passed on through an underling, that cabinet ministers were to vote against the ostensibly pro-life bill "Roxanne's Law."

Unless Mr. Harper is using Nixonian own bet-the-rent-money view is that he sees these issues as politically radioactive for his party--but I will second guess myself in a moment.

Not all is dark for so-cons, Bene D recorded Evangelical Fellowship of Canada vice-president Don Hutchinson as arguing. Mr. Hutchison prefers to see the Ottawa glass as half full, citing successful small c-conservative efforts to raise the age of consent and new regulations on Internet child porn.

During the English language leaders debate on Tuesday, Gilles Duceppe--and not the two anglo opposition leaders--raised an interesting wrinkle. At roughly 1:25 into the debate, he argued that when it came to "abortion and gay marriage" Harper's government had a interesting methodology, Duceppe said. Allow members concerned about these issues to bring forth private member's bills. [That way, the "so-cons" can try to pass what they want without dirtying the government's fingers.]

I'd reply to Duceppe that Harper's order to cabinet members to vote against Roxanne's Law argues against his thesis, but the post-election situation might bring Duceppe's theory into play.

Let me guess what Duceppe might fear. Imagine a Tory majority with Canada's cities going to the other three parties and a heavy rural/suburban membership amongst the Tory MPs. Gay marriage and abortion are off the table to avoid a party split, but would Harper be inclined to give lots of *other* policies that so-cons would like that can be argued to be "just good sense for all Canadians."

That way, although so-cons might grind their teeth that their biggest issues are off the table, the Hutchinsons of Canada can be pretty pleased. And Hutchinson is quite correct that marriage and abortion are not the only moral issues that progressives and conservatives have an interest in. Even with the "big ticket" items off the table, the so-cons could benefit if the upcoming votes fall their way.

I would, though, agree with Link Byfield that a front door is closed to so-cons in Ottawa. But I do want to note that people are concerned about an open basement window in this scenario. Perhaps justifiably.

I am surprised, however, that Faytene Grasseschi may agree with me when it comes to a gloomy appraisal of the situation for so-cons in Ottawa.

I'll explain.

On April 7, Faytene was, according to the host of the program, at the Radio Air Jesus studio for an interview on their Internet radio station.

At the same time, however, the Dread Champions conference was taking place in Toronto. Faytene and her husband were hoping to participate in the conference either in person, or on Skype. Judging by Faytene's comments on her Facebook page, I don't think she made it in person.

This seems odd to me, as Faytene has been a great believer in praying and acting in crucial places at crucial times. Witness the tie of The Cry Vancouver to the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock concert.

God can lead Faytene to do what He thinks best, of course. But according to the interviewer on the radio program, Radio Air Jesus was "so excited to have Faytene with us in the studio today."

The whole interview is available online on demand, by the way. Enjoy.

Radio Air Jesus is listed as being a ministry of a church in San Antonio Texas, with a snail mail address in that city. It would make sense that their studio would be nearby.

May we fairly guess that she flew to Texas for the interview? (" in the studio..." 29 seconds into the interview would mean physically there to most people. I caution that she may have been "here" via Sype, judging by Faytene's audio signal, but surely they would have said "joining us via phone" or "with us via Skype"?)

This is what strikes me as odd. given Faytene's past few years of work, wouldn't it make sense for her to stay in Canmada through the election, The Dread Champions conference is a perfect opportunity for her to lead hundreds of conservative Christians to pray for the election that God's will be done. But she passed it up to appear on a small Internet radio channel in Texas.

But she has said that it is time for the mini-Faytenes to step up, right? She can lead in prayer, remotely? Well, her past works against such arguments. She had to work in the flesh in Parliament Hill. She had to hold a rally near the Peace Tower. She had to hold a pre-Olympics rally in the city where the Winter Olympics were to be help.

Could you not tarry a month and a half until the election was finished, as it were?

Why hand the ball off now? Because Faytene feared a Liberal win or Liberal-led coalition? Did she fear the loss of sympathetic ears like Stockwell Day's? Did she fear becoming a small issue in the election with an English version of the Enquete profile?

If the election turns out well for those with Faytene's point of view, great; it is due to the next generation of leaders stepping up and building on what she did. If the election doesn't turn out well for those with Faytene's views, well she was in Texas on an internet radio show, when she could have done something in Canada. Must not be her doing.

Being unavailable during the election also makes a English Enquete-style story pretty hard to do.

In a genral way what strikes me as unusual about the roughly broadcast is how much of it is not devoted to her activism. There's some mention of it, as Faytene cites examples of it, but not as much as you might expect. It is definitely positive and upbeat when ity is talked about.

In Faytene's defense, she is not a "one trick pony". She does have interests outside of politics in her ministry.

Also, in Faytene's defense, the Radio Air Jesus staff, being youthful Americans, have to cater to their mostly American audience. Their news sense would likely defer to "Canada? Meh..." Faytene would answer the questions she was put, as there are questions like "How has love for you changed after your marriage?' and "What are the greatest miracles you have seen...". Faytene wound up talking like topics like sacrificial giving and what he favourite part of the Bible was.

But throughout the broadcast, Faytene seems to talk mostly about her pre-activist days, when he did street ministry in Vancouver and went to Liberia as a missionary.

[Perhaps this is a good thing for those who are concerned about her politics. From an apologetics point of view, she may still be a worry and still cause danmage, but this will not be a concern to most progressives. Unless her theocratic ideas have been pased on to a generation of much shrewder mini-Faytenes who know how to guard against tactical errors and gaffes after watching Faytene.]

[We can hope that Faytene's expressed partial turn away from politics might mean that she is maturing in addition to getting older.]

Back to the broadcast. She is naturally asked about what she has been doing, and she addresses it briefly twice.

For the first five minutes of the show she discusses her lobbying efforts, namely that "we" have been taking youths to meet MPs and Senators, so much so that her lobby groups have been "a voice in the places of influence and prayer". About 28 minutes in, she talks about she is perceiving a need for "multiplication of leaders" in the church, which leads her to mention how the mini-Faytenes are taking more responsibility in 4MyCanada.

Faytene prefaces her renarks oddly for someone who professes to have an ongoing burden for Canada, though.

After a compliment to the Radio Air Jesus staff, she says this about 1:08 in:
"....but it was a couple years ago that the Lord began to speak to me about a generation that he was going to raise up to be a voice and to be a voice. You know I'm Canadian so I was pretty focused on Canada at that time, um, so I was speaking to my own nation, but, I fell that what God's doing, He's raising up a generation that's doing in the Earth, and He's raisng up a generation to be a voice of revival, a voice of His heart, to be a voice of justice....

We've already guessed that Faytene might feel a call to minister to the entire world. (Read, practically, a lot on the United Sates, where the biggest audience for her particular brand of theology is.) But now she is being a bit more explicit about it.

Do you notice something cute she is doing? She is dating her great burden for Canada to a "couple of years ago." But remember Roxanne's Law" from last year? And it's fair to say that she has been preaching and lobbying since then. And remember her couch-sufing time in Toronto, where God asked her to go to and minister, according to the teaching CD that was on her website. Within the past two years. And Toronto is in Canada, last I checked.

As I've mentioned, Faytene likely has reasons to move on. As Canada's political situation is also in transition, however the vote goes, I would suggest that we should pray for Faytene too, so she can be wise.

Being wise, though, would not include being misleading about when God started to tell Faytene that she was pretty well done with Canadian activism, even if she only misled by accident

. At any rate, I would say that Faytene has become discouraged with the prospects for her unique political viewpoint, Trying to backdate a "you know, I have been thinking perhaps I should move on" idea after the fact is a good indication of this.