My country is instituting a federal Office of Religious Freedom. George Orwell would be proud. Well, in fact he would be ashamed, but he might be proud that six decades ago he wrote about just such offices in his book 1984.
This latest waste of taxpayer money is a classic example of the slow slide towards theocracy. The Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Harper, is a devout Christian. He doesn't talk about it much in public, but he is. There is little doubt that he believes there is a god overseeing everything, that he has a personal relationship with this god's son Jesus and that, ultimately, the whole world would be better off if they were Christians too. This is one small step in that direction. But, as much as Mr. Harper is a deluded religious fool, he is also a smart politician. Even more than theocracy, what he wants is to retain political power and get re-elected. So, this latest venture is politically aptly named the Office of Religious Freedom rather than the Office for the Advancement of Christianity, which is what it really is. When election time rolls around, you can be Mr. Harper's response to any criticism on this waste of tax dollars will be to point out that we all want human rights to be protected, and that religion is just one of the basic human rights. But, this office is not about that. You can bet that this office will spend the vast majority of its budget on programmes that promote Christianity rather than protect all religions. Isn't this the very same prime minister who just earlier this year said that the rise of Islam is the greatest threat his country faces? Will this new Office of Religious Freedom go about protecting the spread of Islam?
Ultimately what this boils down to is a long-term plan to increase the number of Christians in Canada, thereby increasing the base for the Conservative Party (for whom almost all Christians vote). James Waterton is said to have stated that when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and heralded as a plea for liberty. It seems the prime minister has heard that quote and is taking it not as a warning but as re-election advice.