Thursday, May 22, 2008

Politics, prayer, and disingenuous posturing

It took far too long, but the Ontario Legislature finally moved to remove the recital of the Lord's Prayer from the opening of each daily session a couple months ago. I'm late to the party in commenting on this, I know, but that's because it's getting more popular attention now than it did back in February. (One question, though: it's easy to find petitions to keep the prayer, but where are the petitions to sign if you support getting rid of the damn thing?)

Largely, this is because there's a huge opposition to its removal from people who a) are Christian, b) are probably white, c) are probably not young, and d) have probably never set foot in the provincial legislature. And the logic they're using, if the blogosphere and various online petitions are any indication, is both absurd, inappropriate, often wrong, and very enlightening. I'll avoid adding my own commentary - although I'm tempted to say something about the person who invokes the "guilty white man", which is a tremendously interesting figure to me - and let the defenders of the prayer hang themselves.

(Okay, so at least two comments: I'd like to say that the racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia contained in these messages is subtle, but that would be an outright lie. I'd also like to say that I had to search hard for these comments and that these are the most extreme examples of opposition to the move. That would also be a lie - a good one-third to one-half are engaged in something at least implicitly racist.)

"I can't believe [Ontario Premier] Mr. D. McGuinty not taking his mother's advice. What kind of role model is he for the children of Ontario? "The premier doesn't listen to his mother so I won't either.""

"Is nothing sacred anymore ?? Dalton, stop being a guilty white man. If those that come to Canada do not like it and it offends them, tell them to go back to their country, if it was so great."

"I would like it known that we are the country in which the imigrants chose, We are becoming a minority, in our own country. Land of Opporunity."Right" I'm not suppose to say Merry Christmas. I was born here and proud to be Canadian.Now we are not allowed to have the Lords Prayer. Will we loose all of our hynms as well? We do not interfere in their religon. They came here for what we stood for a land of opportunity and OUR WAYS OF LIFE."

"In trying to bend ourselves into pretzels to make other peoples feel welcome we have alienated ourselves. We have lost the "ownership" of our own country."

"Canada was founded on Christianity and it should stay like this. I am from the Netherlands, where there they are changing everything as well. The Dutch hate it. They are loosing their Country to Muslims. Don't let this happen to Canada!"

History needs to be presereved, regardless of country, changing social attitudes or the form of content in question - if you begin to remove the foundation, as small as each part seems, you'll be left with nothing in the end,"

I am CANADIAN and this matters to me."

"If we attempt to take God(Jesus) out of Canada, we may experience the same types of tragedies the U.S. experienced from 9/11 until now."

If we were to go to their country, do you think they would change their ways for us? No way. I know someone from Iran, he said Canada is a fool-his country would not change anything for us if we were entering his country."

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