Saturday, April 25, 2009

David Sweet Should Not be Allowed to Vote on Women's Issues

David Sweet is the Reform-Conservative MP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, and a card carrying member of the Religious Right.

As the founder of the Canadian branch of the male-dominated Promise Keepers, his views are anti-feminist, anti-abortion and anti-gay.

Now, I have no problem with his being a born again Christian (a former convicted car thief), because his religious beliefs should not affect how he does his job.

But I do have a big problem with his Promise Keepers affiliation.

The National Organization for Women, an American feminist organization has suggested that the Promise Keepers are a threat to women's rights, and I agree.

The group encourages inequality within marriages and teaches a doctrine of male superiority. According to Amy Schindler, "the discourse of masculinity found within conservative religious movements, such as the Promise Keepers and the Victorian era movement 'muscular Christianity,' is inherently political. Any masculinity project aimed at restoring or reclaiming a 'traditional' male role for privileged white, heterosexual males has a political impact within the tapestry of class, race, and gender power."

During the 2004 election campaign he was quite open about his PK past.

Religious activist turns to partisan politics News Staff
June 27, 2004

Until Jan. 31, Sweet was president of the Canadian arm of the Promise Keepers, a U.S.-based evangelical Christian organization, a job he had held since 1998. The Promise Keepers is a men's group devoted to helping its members lead better lives guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ. It requires members to follow seven basic promises.

In an interview with Christian Week, Sweet said, "Men are natural influencers, whether we like it or not. There's a particular reason why Jesus called men only. It's not that women aren't co-participators. It's because Jesus knew women would naturally follow."

A leader of the Promise Keepers organization went further, "I believe that feminists of the more aggressive persuasion are frustrated women unable to find the proper male leadership. If a woman were receiving the right kind of love and attention and leadership, she would not want to be liberated from that."

And from the 'Chosen Women' rally: "[A woman's] job is to submit to our teachers and our Professors...even if we know they are wrong. It is then in God's hands."

David Sweet is also on record as saying of homosexuality, "It's pretty clear in Genesis, in Leviticus and in the book of Romans that homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle, and that's the truth we decided to live by."

We could argue that he may have been elected either because of these views, or in spite of them;

but that's not true. He lost the 2004 election, so in 2006, completely dropped any mention of the Promise Keepers. Why was that? Did he realize that Canadians did not share his views?

David Sweet hides his Promise Keeper past
January 16, 2006

This election, Mr. Sweet has erased all evidence of his past affiliation with Promise Keepers. There is no mention of them on his campaign website. The Promise Keepers Canada website has also been scrubbed clean of Mr. Sweet. Even the Christian Week website has been scrubbed.

“It seems that Mr. Sweet has gone to great trouble to hide his past,” said Laurie Arron, Egale’s Director of Advocacy. “For example, he’s said that women are natural followers. It wasn’t easy to track this down. An article in Christian Week in which he said this was removed from that website. Luckily, Google has cached a copy of it.”

Promise Keepers do not encourage a relationship of equals in a marriage. Rather, they call for men to “take” their role as the leader in the family. Promise Keeper Tony Evans stated “I am not suggesting that you ask for your role back, I am urging you to take it back. There can be no compromise here.” .

Is this someone we want voting on issues pertaining to women?


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