Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some Interesting Comments and Updates on Marci McDonald's Armageddon Factor

I haven't blogged on the Armageddon Factor for a while but there was an interesting review of her book, as seen through the media's reaction and the Conservative party's attempt to discredit the book.

It was written by Dr. Kenneth Paradis, an assistant professor of contemporary studies at Wilfred Laurier University's Brantford campus. Dr. Paradis noted that in reading columns and comments sections, he noticed similar phrasing.
The odd thing about these responses is that a very quick media search will show that the letters share an almost identical pattern, right down to the adjectives and “arguments” chosen to denigrate the book: the phrase “anti-Christian bigotry,” for example, the label chosen by political operative / media mover and shaker Kory Teneycke, for example (formerly Steven Harper’s spokesperson, now the prime mover behind the Sun TV / Fox News North initiative), comes up fairly regularly, probably because it has the twin virtues of being inflammatorily and derogatory, without actually requiring the denouncer to demonstrate actually having read the book.
This is not unusual, and in fact on many issues there are common "adjectives and arguments", often easily found on the Conservative website. In fact they even tell you what to write or say on radio call in shows.

Dr. Paradis also picked up the connection with the Globe and Mail piece written by Ray Pennings of Cardus. I had posted a lengthy article, linking all of the players, and the large multi-million dollar grant given to a private religious school with connections to Harper MP David Sweet and Mr. Pennings.

Paradis did find the book lacking in places, and don't disagree. I think there may have been a bit too much on dispensationalism and not enough on some of the key cabinet ministers and their involvement with the Religious Right, especially American groups. Jason Kenney is in much deeper than the book suggests, as is Jim Flaherty.

But it was the second best seller in June and Amazon, while listing it as #89 overall, places it in the first spot for non-fiction and religion.

I think it was a very good first effort, on a subject that was difficult, especially given this government's reputation for combative behaviour.

There is a recent event though, that validates the need for this and further research.

Vic Toews has announced a $90,000 fund to protect some religious groups from hate crimes.
A group of religious centres in Toronto will receive government funding to help protect their communities against hate crimes. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced almost $90,000 in government funding today for security infrastructure for six religious organizations in the Toronto area. Mr. Toews says he wants to ensure that vulnerable communities are able to protect themselves against hate-crime incidents.
There is nothing wrong with this, but as Montreal Simon points out, hate crimes against homosexuals are on the rise, so why is there no funding to help them?
Police services are reporting a big jump in hate crimes, and they say gay men are being targeted more often and in the most violent incidents. But Statistics Canada says the numbers could be more a result of better reporting than of increased violence.

The agency says all three major categories of hate crime increased in 2008, but the largest increase was among crimes motivated by sexual orientation, which more than doubled from 2007 to 2008. Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were also the most violent: 75 per cent were violent compared with 38 per cent of racially-motivated incidents and 25 per cent of religiously motivated incidents. Among violent incidents motivated by sexual orientation, 85 per cent of the victims were male.
This is where religious fundamentalism becomes ugly. They validate hate crimes against homosexuals because of their own language in referring to gays.

Things like this:

All vulnerable Canadians need protection.

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