Reflections on Easter Sunday, 2018: There really is a war against Christianity … it’s being waged by Christians

Posted on April 02, 2018, 12:27 am
8 mins

PHOTOS: Easter Sunday shoppers at West Edmonton Mall. Is nothing sacred? Well, actually, something is: The Almighty Market, god of Canada’s state religion. Below: A brass idol to the Market God in New York City’s Wall Street district. Below that, two unchristian politicians beloved by North American Christian conservatives: Doug Ford Jr. and Donald J. Trump (Photos: Wikimedia Commons).

If you thought the War on Christmas was bad, consider the War on Easter, Christianity’s most important and solemn celebration. While you’re at it, consider by whom it’s being waged.

If the concept of High Holidays were common in Christendom, Easter’s Holy Week would be it.

On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. He was killed because, in the words of Canada’s greatest poet, Milton Acorn, born 95 years ago Good Friday last, he tried to use words “to break the rods and blunt the axes of Rome.” Sudden death, by cross or drone, is always the risk when an aspiring religious leader takes on the official religion and power of a mighty empire.

Fast forward two millennia, give or take a few years, from the ugly crucifixion in occupied Palestine by the soldiers of Rome – many followers of the rival cult of Mithras – to the religion Jesus (possibly unintentionally) founded. What do we have?

Or, to ask that question in a more practical way, what were contemporary Christians actually doing yesterday during the most solemn day of the liturgical calendar?

Well, in some parts of the world people may be inclined to mark the most important Sabbath of the Christian year by reflecting on their faith and values with their families. In Russia, for example, which nowadays is increasingly overtly Christian – although they won’t celebrate the occasion there until next Sunday, according to the Orthodox calendar. In Canada, by contrast, they were mostly shopping. Or working in shopping malls to bow down before the desires of the monied classes.

So much for remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy!

I don’t offer this as a lament, by the way, and certainly not as an argument we should all be hunkered down at home over hot cross buns and Easter ham. Only as a recitation of fact, since it is the very people who whine constantly that there is a cultural war against Christmas and Christianity waged by liberal secularists, non-Christian immigrants and “social justice warriors,” who not only encourage this state of affairs, but demand it.

I speak, of course, of the coalition of Christian fundamentalists (who mostly ignore the fundamentals of Christianity) and market fundamentalists (who demand the violation of Christian fundamentals in the pursuit of their profoundly anti-Christian economic superstitions).

So the now-dominant congregations of “conservative” Christianity are hard at work supposedly preserving their values by promoting politicians who work openly to entrench a state religion of devotion to covetousness and greed that is antithetical to Christian values. At least, that is, if you think Christian values are those taught by, you know, Christ.

Apparently conservative Christians have abandoned the fundamental principles of their religion so they can continue to practice a small number of (anti) social customs associated with Old Testament accounts of Iron Age society, such as the persecution of homosexuals and the subjugation of women.

Well, the Bible is at times a contradictory and inconsistent book, but the enthusiastic abandonment by supposed Biblical literalists of fundamental New Testament teachings, and many from the Old Testament too (i.e., honouring the Sabbath), and their furious endorsement of the worst aspects of Old Testament law seems hypocritical to say the least.

So is the enthusiasm for war in what was once upon a time explicitly a religion of peace, although probably more understandable if we recognize that any state religion, like the god of the Israelites, brooks no competition. Let’s just say it is ironic that Christians who increasingly practice a religion of violence and subjugation are so vociferous in their insistence certain other religions do the same thing.

Beyond such garden-variety hypocrisy, conservative Christians’ enthusiasm for far-right politicians who not only wage a daily war against the message of Jesus, but behave in a repugnant, immoral, unchristian fashion in their personal lives is positively bizarre.

Consider the fanatical support by the evangelical Christian Right for Donald Trump in the United States and Doug Ford Jr. in Ontario as the most obvious and repugnant examples.

Paul Melinchuk, evangelical preacher of Toronto’s Prayer Palace church, recently held an “anointing ceremony” for Mr. Ford. “God’s hand will rest upon Mr. Ford,” he told his flock, urging them to sign up to support Mr. Ford’s campaign to lead the Ontario Conservatives, and after that the province. As media noted, Pastor Melinchuk has a controversial history – though not for his theological or political views, which are nowadays absolutely mainstream in evangelical circles.

Surely the invocation of Jesus in the service of such people takes his name in vain!

This relationship is obviously transactional – indulgences granted in return for power and support of the conservative Christian agenda of social control.

As an aside, supporters of Mr. Ford, Mr. Trump and their ilk love to lecture commentators who mention such inconvenient facts that Christianity is a religion of forgiveness. This, unlike most of their pronouncements about the teaching of Jesus, is actually true. But they fail to acknowledge that repentance needs to precede that state of grace.

Despite their ostentatious personal piety, men like Andrew Scheer, the Canadian Conservative Party leader, and Jason Kenney, his elder in Alberta, would likewise implement policies that are unchristian in nature and, whether intended or not, would speed the replacement of traditional religions with the worship of markets and money. But at least as far as we know, they live personal lives that are virtuous or, if not, have the good sense not to sin in public.

So, yes, there is a continual, relentless war on Christianity. It was being waged yesterday in the shopping malls of Canada. For the most part, it is being waged by Christians themselves and the politicians they finance and support.

For, if you believe what the Bible says Jesus said, you can have God or Mammon, but you can’t have both.

If the Christian faith is all but done for, militant, fundamentalist Christians have no one to blame but themselves.

16 Comments to: Reflections on Easter Sunday, 2018: There really is a war against Christianity … it’s being waged by Christians

  1. Bill Malcolm

    April 2nd, 2018

    Spot on Mr Climenhaga. I’m amazed malls were open your way yesterday. Official retail closing days here in Nova Scotia include from the provincial government website:

    Good Friday March 30, 2018
    Easter Sunday April 1, 2018

    As for some tragically idiotic pastor endorsing Ford, well, they probably go by the dictum “the Lord helps those who help themselves”, so the homeless and single mothers on welfare obviously aren’t helping themselves, so are SOL. These people are nitwitz.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 2nd, 2018

      Bill: The only way for society to ensure certain days are, in fact, holidays for everyone except those who deliver essential services, and that those who do are entitled to overtime, is by legislation. This appears to be the case in Nova Scotia, and good for them. This is assailed as “interfering with the market” by market fundamentalists. Their Christian fundamentalist allies, meanwhile, cry about the imaginary war on Christianity – which this choice of holidays would in fact suggest enjoys a privileged position in society. DJC

      Reply
  2. April 2nd, 2018

    Excellent critique of the modern “born again” North American, Conservative Christian political movement. They’ve sold out to moneyed interests, and should never again govern Canada.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 2nd, 2018

      It’s not just the “Born Agains,” though. Nowadays in Canada, Conservative Catholics are behaving in the much same way – as do Messrs. Scheer and Kenney, both publicly pious Roman Catholics – although to do so they must ignore the gentle urgings of their Pope. For all its historical sins, the fact the RC Church has a supreme leader and a leadership structure that values logical thought in the context of faith, theological consistency, and has a leadership selection process that screens out lunatics, making elevation of a Pope Donald unlikely. So, from society’s point of view, this makes the RC Church easier to deal with as an institution that a plethora of Protestant churches that could be led by any self-proclaimed cleric. DJC

      Reply
  3. brett

    April 2nd, 2018

    I sometimes get tired of listening to some people complain about Christians being discriminated against.

    Then I think about it a little and realize that there could be something in it.

    After all, Christians have been practicing discrimination, subtle and otherwise, for centuries. In Canada, and around the world. They still are though if accused they will huff and puff and deny it.

    So, they should be in a good position to recognize discrimination when it occurs.

    Perhaps they should look in the mirror and think out loud if they have brought this on themselves by their actions and their behavior.

    Reply
  4. Albertan

    April 2nd, 2018

    Agreed, wholeheartedly. Being raised in the right wing calvinist christian realm, I am well aware of its foibles. An aside standing joke in this group for some of the attendees was, “attend church in the finery on Sunday and screw thy neighbour Monday through Saturday.” Another actual expression of some here is, “If it’s legal, it’s moral.” And then there is always the belief, for some, that one can sin, but keep asking for forgiveness….and then always on to the next sin.
    And also, in this realm, as indicated, it always comes down to…money. Another joke is that there should be a dollar sign ($) on the wall behind the pulpit instead of a cross.
    That this so-called christianity supports the politics that does not seem to be ‘christian,’, in many ways, is mind boggling, indeed.
    Here is another great read on the mix of religion and politics that came out a couple of days ago:
    “Cross purposes: The battle for Christianity in Canada. The Christian left and right are in a tug-of-war for the future of faith in the country. Is it still possible to find a middle path where social justice and spirituality can come together? Michael Coren writes.”
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-cross-purposes-the-battle-for-christianity-in-canada/

    Reply
    • Lars

      April 2nd, 2018

      Good to see Coren’s article get a mention here. I am not a Christian, but I feel some respect for those who, like Coren, actually seem to have read the gospels and what’s more, taken their message seriously.

      Reply
      • Lorne Deacon

        April 3rd, 2018

        If the governments didnt allow stores to be open on holodays it wouud of made a difference how many single mothers would have spent Easter with there children if they werent working are you christian? What happened to the lord’s day act maybe we should change the rules we do for other faiths

        Reply
      • Expat Albertan

        April 4th, 2018

        Coren seems to have a Road to Damascus moment of late…it wasn’t long ago that he was one of those evangelical right wingers he now rails against (and a rather nasty one, as I recall).

        Reply
  5. brett

    April 2nd, 2018

    As we used to say in Quebec….when the Church and the Government get in bed together it is the public that get screwed.

    True then. True now. Both groups ‘use’ each other to gain power and influence. Power, money, sex. It always comes down to one of those, more often two, sometimes even all three.

    Reply
  6. April 2nd, 2018

    All that and not a mention of Harper’s bat5h!t crazy preacher? And god only knows who Kenney spends his sophistry sabbath with.

    Reply
  7. David

    April 3rd, 2018

    The Easter Bunny does not seem to have aroused the ire of some Christians as much as Santa has. Alrhough both are manifestations of excess free market commercialism, Santa seems the bigger threat. Chocolate eggs are appealing, but Easter still remains mostly a religous holiday.

    It’s at times like this the inconsistencies between Christianity and right wing conservatism become more apparent. Jesus did not say greed is good or the market is supreme. He certainly was not against helping the poor or less fortunate.

    Yes, the fiscal conservatives will get rid of the carbon tax and magically balance the budget somehow. If you belive that then there is an Easter Bunny and a Santa Claus to grant all your wishes too.

    Reply
  8. April 4th, 2018

    What a hostile, hateful, condescending article. Terribly misinformed and shallow as well. What was the purpose of this article? It was certainly not written as an invitation to Christians to discuss ideas. Rather it was the written version of poking them with a pointy stick over and over on their most sacred day. If you were trying to be divisive you succeeded.

    And by the way, Christians don’t vote as block. They are a diverse group and vote for all 3 major parties although this may be changing with divisive politics and articles like this.

    Reply
  9. April 5th, 2018

    Hi Jason

    Thank you for taking the trouble to write in. I am going to venture that this article pissed you off, and the above is your unfiltered reaction. Please consider my response as intended to help you.

    1. If the article is misinformed as you say, that is a topic for debate. You could tell us why you see it as misinformed.

    2. If you are writing to tell us you know the author’s motivations, that is a claim I find hard to credit. To a secular reader, this article does seem exactly what you say it is not: an invitation to Christians, or anyone, to discuss ideas. You can see this from the other comments. Still, you were peeved. OK, how did David go wrong? You could write about what you would see as a better invitation.

    3. If you are writing to save souls by preaching, you have comically failed. Consider: you have threatened that Christians will vote for radical right wing politicians if mainstream Christian behaviour is critiqued by the ungodly. Do you not see your response is just what David is talking about?

    Happy late equinox!

    Reply
  10. jerrymacgp

    April 7th, 2018

    Easter is one of the more challenging holidays for secular humanists like myself who wish to go along with long-established cultural norms in a nominally Christian society, instead of those doctrinaire atheists who not only deny the existence of a God, as I do, but aggressively proselytize their atheism, which I don’t. Christmas I can do. I don’t believe in the spiritual aspects of Christianity, but there remains a lot that is positive in Judeo-Christian-Islamic morality, such as treat others as you yourself would prefer to be treated (the so-called Golden Rule), and care for those less fortunate than you. But Easter is at its essence about the resurrection of an executed offended against the State (as it then was), and a rationalist thinker simply can’t accept such an unexplaineable event actually occurred (as Carl Sagan wrote, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence). Sure, there have been a few, rare occurrences of comatose individuals, erroneously declared dead, awakening, but they were not truly dead, and so weren’t truly resurrected.

    So, do we, as Nova Scotia has done, grant to this Christian holiday special status, one not similarly granted to Passover, Eid, or even (don’t laugh … ) “Festivus”? Or, as Alberta has done, make the execution day a holiday (“Good Friday”—an odd formulation if I’ve ever heard one), but not the resurrection day?

    And, this year, we couldn’t even celebrate the “coming of Spring” at Easter, it still being sub-Arctic cold here.

    I’m not sure there’s a real point to my comments, to be honest, but Im asking your indulgence of my rambling at this time, out of Christian charity lol.

    Reply
  11. Jason

    April 11th, 2018

    Hi Doug,

    I’ll give a brief response to your comments. I don’t have the time for a lengthy point by point critique of the article but here are a couple of points.

    I am certainly not trying save souls or preach. I had meant to take the last part of my comment out because I thought it might be misinterpreted but I hit post and left it as it was. Obviously I was right to think that it would be misinterpreted. I have not threatened that Christians will vote for radical right wing politicians. Where did you get that from? You’re projecting what you think Christians are.

    My point is that we are putting labels on people and driving each other away instead of trying to understand other viewpoints and this will have consequences. If Christians are rejected from the NDP and Liberal parties and they are pushed away where do they go? They will vote for the Conservative party, even if they aren’t fiscal conservatives because they will feel they have no other choice. People have very little choice in Canada under current voting system.

    My grandmother was a long time NDP supporter but also a conservative Christian. She was very concerned for the poor in society but her faith was paramount. I don’t see how she would feel welcomed into the NDP now if her faith was not respected.

    What is the point of this article? It’s an exercise in trolling and I probably shouldn’t have bothered responding to it but I see it for what it is and I simply said so.

    Reply

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