The Armageddon Factor: The Rise Of Christian Nationalism In Canada

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The Armageddon Factor: The Rise Of Christian Nationalism In Canada

by Marci Mcdonald

Random House of Canada | May 11, 2010 | Hardcover

The Armageddon Factor: The Rise Of Christian Nationalism In Canada is rated 3 out of 5 by 2.
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. But The Armageddon Factor shows 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 Factor shows 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 Factor explains 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 Factor should persuade every Canadian that, with the growth of such a movement, the future direction of the country is at stake.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 432 pages, 9.3 × 6.25 × 1.45 in

Published: May 11, 2010

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307356469

ISBN - 13: 9780307356468

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Partially Correct I am an insider of some 30 years to the Evangelical movement in Canada. I was surprised at the amount of research and digging that she has done. It is by far the most thorough I have seen done by almost anyone in Canada. I would give her her high marks for the breadth with which she tried to cover the issues. Evangelical Christians are concerned about issues such as abortion, homosexuality, teaching of evolution in the schools and the increasing secularization of the country as well as the plight of the poor, drug addiction, homelessness and the provision of low cost housing. Where she fails seriously is in her interpretation of what she found. She does not seem to realize that many evangelicals hold views that are much more nuanced than she portrays them. 1) She fails to step outside her own world view and get into the heads of those she studies. Many times she comes across as a horrified liberal whose views are being challenged, and that her views are the only legitimate ones. For example she mentions hearing students at Laurentian Leadership Centre denigrate the Charter of Rights but fails to address why they might do so. The number of bizarre legal decisions made on the basis of 'Charter Rights' may provide clues. For example the release of a drug dealer caught importing cocaine into Canada because customs officials 'violated' his charter rights. 2) US connections seem to be prevalent in her thinking, which when she finds she is quick to disparage. Frequently she starts down a path discussing an issue and when she runs out of data, she quickly jumps over into parallels with what she has seen in the U.S.A. and continues as if she is discussing the same thing. For example she mentions that Centre Street Church in Calgary (a large church) is member of Willow Creek and therefore draws the erroneous conclusion that somehow this makes the church part of the US megachurch scene. Willow Creek is simply an association that offers training material and aids that churches may want to use. It is almost as if she wants to find an American connection, because then she can assume guilt by association. The reality is that Canadian evangelicals are much like other Canadians in their basic temperment, including being non-political, and for the most part apathetic and passive. 3) She interviews and covers some who are considered fringe elements within the evangelical community. They tend to be great in their own minds only and the rest of us politely ignore them. It is almost as if McDonald believes them. She certainly believes that they are going to influence government. 4) She completly misses the mark on evangelical social engagement. Christians are called upon to better their communities in whatever way they can, and in a western democracy have the right (and duty) as citizens to do so. All over Canada you will find evangelicals involved in much humanitarian work. There are some who have chosen to be involved in the political scene. McDonald chooses to conflate this with the views of R.J. Rusdoony and the Christian right in the US who have a much harder edge and an agenda to re-Christianize the US. My biggest criticism is that she seems to fail to realise that Canada is a pluralistic society which means that not everyone will hold the same views. She seems to go under the assumption that pluralism = classical western liberal mindset (or progressive as some label it). With the large amount of work she did she could have tried a much deeper, engaging dialog to be able to winnow out the best elements and actually generate some meaningful discussion instead of the sheer swill we see in the Canadian media. Alas she failed. I feel like I had been led to believe she was out to do investigative journalism but in reality she caved into her primal fear of George Bush and Harper and thus interpreted everything she saw through that grid, much the same way some of those she criticizes do in looking at society through the apocalyptic grid of the book of Revelation. In the process she severely maligns a large segment of Canadian Christianity. In conclusion, it was disappointing that a journalist of McDonald's reknown was unable to step out of her own views to try to understand others. The evangelical community in Canada is a microcosm of Canada as a whole and is no where near as simple as McDonald pretends. She conflates the views of various subgroups and assigns them to the evangelical community as a whole. In her favour I thought she was probably right with about 60% of what she reported. This leaves 40% that is wrong. The problem is I can't tell which 40% it is.
Date published: 2010-09-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well-done journalism about a timely topic If you thought that strident Christian right-wing nationalism was only a feature of American politics, this book is for you. Marci McDonald documents the increasing power of the religious right in Canada thoroughly and objectively, identifying the major players and the ways in which their influence continues to grow under the Harper government. McDonald dissects the topic of theo-conservatism thematically, looking at their major topics of interest: same-sex marriage, abortion, prophetically-inspired support for Israel, home-schooling and Christian educational institutions, and growing influence in government. The sometimes-explicit and sometimes hidden influence of American organizations like Focus on the Family was particularly revelatory. Ms McDonald relies on extensive first-hand experience and interviews with most of the major players. What emerges is a well-sketched portrait of a growing influence on the Canadian political landscape. The Christian right has learned many lessons from the culture battles fought south of the border, and is applying those lessons here. Provocative food for thought.
Date published: 2010-05-25

– More About This Product –

The Armageddon Factor: The Rise Of Christian Nationalism In Canada

by Marci Mcdonald

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 432 pages, 9.3 × 6.25 × 1.45 in

Published: May 11, 2010

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307356469

ISBN - 13: 9780307356468

About the Book

Documents the extent of the influence that the religious right already wields in Canada and shows how, quietly, often stealthily, it has provoked far-reaching changes in Canadian policies and institutions, including our public service, our schools and our courts.

Read from the Book

GOD’S DOMINIONI  On a sun-dappled Saturday in the summer of 2008, a thousand young people throng the lawns of the Parliament Buildings in a classic picture-postcard tableau. Against the iconic backdrop of the Peace Tower, toddlers race through the crowd trailing rainbow streamers and a fresh-faced blonde stretches out under an umbrella to breastfeed her plump newborn. As the compelling rhythms of an electronic keyboard pound over the loudspeakers and a dance troupe swoops across an impromptu stage twirling oversized maple-leaf parasols, an onlooker might be forgiven for assuming that Ottawa’s tourist bureau orchestrated the idyllic scene. Then a young woman in a maple-leaf T-shirt shatters that perception with an anguished wail. “Father, save us!” she implores from the microphone, tears coursing down her cheeks. “Hear our cry!” As her sobs erupt into the incantations of an old-time revival, it suddenly becomes clear that this is no occasion for celebration or national pride. For the conservative Christians who have flocked to Parliament Hill for this day-long fast and prayerfest called Thecry, it is a concerted, eleventh-hour plea for the repentance and reformation of a nation they believe is headed straight to the hellfires of damnation for having betrayed its divinely appointed destiny—a destiny spelled out in the national motto, Psalm 72:8, chiselled around the neo-Gothic windows of the Peace Tower: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the River to the en
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Table of Contents

Preface
 
I: God’s Dominion
II: Coat of Many Colours
III: Serpents and Doves
IV: Watchmen on the Walls
V: Rocking the Vote
VI: In the Beginning
VII: Raising the Joshua Generation
VIII: The Electronic Pulpit
IX: Judgment Day
X: The Armageddon Factor
XI: Here to Stay
 
Acknowledgements
Source Notes
Index

From the Publisher

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. But The Armageddon Factor shows 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 Factor shows 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 Factor explains 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 Factor should persuade every Canadian that, with the growth of such a movement, the future direction of the country is at stake.

About the Author

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.

Bookclub Guide

1. Do you think Canada should follow the US example of officially separating church and state?

2. Give some examples of how Stephen Harper has had to walk a tightrope between the beliefs of his religious right supporters and the mainstream public? For example, why did Harper rush through a vote on reopening same-sex marriage?

3. Based on Chapter 2, how much do you think the formation of religious organizations and think tanks in Ottawa has been linked to groups in the US? How much has same-sex marriage in Canada worried religious groups in the US?

4. In Chapter 4, why do some Christians believe Canada has a divinely ordained role to play in the end times and how does a group like the Watchmen come to believe this? How does Canada’s national motto fit into this belief?

5. How have Israel and links with Jewish groups become such a factor in Christian evangelism? How has biblical prophecy played into this and what else do conservative Christians and Jews have in common?

6. What would Christian nationalists like to see for Canada in the future?

7. In Chapter 7, what was the motivation behind the formation of Patrick Henry College in the States and Trinity Western University in Canada? How are they influencing their countries’ political futures?

8. In Chapter 9, do you agree with Timothy Bloedow that human rights commissions are stifling free speech and beliefs, especially Christian speech and beliefs? Should free speech, as in the Stephen Boissoin case, trump human rights concerns and legislation?

9. How do you think immigration and the changing face of Canada’s population will affect religious involvement in politics? Will the Conservatives be able to attract a large number of those voters?

10. Should the government download some or all of its social programs to faith-based organizations?

11. What issues do you think the Christian right will want to address in the future? For example, how much do you think issues like the right to die and technology will feature in the next few years? Will issues like homosexuality and same-sex marriage or abortion ever cease to be divisive?

12. Is it possible Canada could become as embroiled in vicious "culture wars" between the religious right and the mainstream as the US?

13. Should the Liberals and the NDP make an attempt to attract the religious vote and build a religious left? Do you think there’s a danger in this?

14. Has reading this book changed the way you might vote in the next election?

15. Do you think the information in this book would affect the way the average Canadian would vote?