In Canada we have the right to freedom of religious practice and expression, and that’s as it should be. We also have the separation of church and state, a universally accepted principle in Canadian politics.
In 2006, Prime Minister Harper appointed Gary Goodyear, a creationist, as his Minister of Science and Technology. More recently, James Lunney, a Conservative MP and Rick Nicholls, Conservative MPP (Ontario) have, in their role as politicians, recently denied evolution and declared their distrust of science.
In light of the Harper appointment and these declarations of religious belief expressed in the political domain, perhaps the prime minister should be much more transparent about his own religious affiliation, something he has steadfastly refused to do. If he does not allow Canadians to scrutinize this relationship in the light of his political objectives, then speculation is inevitable.
For instance, Mr. Harper belongs to a church, where one third of its two million members deny climate change. Does Mr. Harper belong to this one third? If so, does this explain his constant attacks on both the environment and environmental science?
Does he also believe, as many of his politico-religious brethren do, that the free market and private property are divinely ordained, and that government-inspired programs and institutions are not? On this basis, and if given the opportunity, will he privatize government-funded Medicare?
As an evangelical, does Mr. Harper believe that the existence of Israel is central to the End of Days, as foretold in the Book of Revelation, when the anti-Christ will be defeated on the plain of Armageddon, south of Jerusalem? If so, has this belief led Mr. Harper to formulate his pro-Israel foreign policy and adopt the mantle of crusader in his ill-advised intervention in the ISIS imbroglio?
And does he believe that the anti-Christ dabbles in Canadian politics?
After all, when addressing visiting American evangelicals in June, 1997, he said: “The existence of the New Democratic Party proves that the devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men.” At the time, he claimed he was “ jesting.”
Mr. Harper needs to let Canadians know about the inter-relationship of his politics and his religion. If he does not, the conclusion will be unavoidable: that he is either deliberately ignoring Canada’s longstanding church-state separation, or he is working diligently to subvert it.