He fell into a burnin’ Lake of Fire
He went down, down, down and the flames went higher!
And it burns, burns, burns … the Lake of Fire…
The Lake of Fire…
I speak, of course, of Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Ric McIver, who on Sunday Tweeted pictures of himself attending the Father’s Day “March for Jesus” sponsored by the Calgary Street Church, a group that holds particularly virulent views about gay people.
Last year, as minister of infrastructure in the government of Alison Redford, Mr. McIver cut the ribbon to open the group’s annual parade in Calgary.
It didn’t take long for quotes and screenshots of the church’s offensive and dubious interpretation of Christian doctrine on homosexuality and its egregious attacks on the last Calgary Pride Parade to have been widely distributed on the Internet through blogs, Tweets and Facebook commentary.
As a result of that activity throughout the day yesterday, plus the candidate’s lame response to the controversy, which he apparently didn’t expect, his candidacy is almost certainly done like dinner that caught fire in the oven.
The only serious question remaining is how much damage he has done to the entire PC Party’s diminishing re-election chances.
Mr. McIver issued a statement that attempted to back away from the parade sponsors’ most offensive views while defending their right to hold and promote them. He insisted he didn’t agree with church about homosexuality – although at least one of his long-time political allies most certainly does.
“If chosen Premier, I do and will continue to defend equality rights for all Albertans as defined in the Charter, including sexual orientation,” he said. “I deplore discrimination against all groups and individuals without exception.”
But he also tried to pass off his support of the event as just his way of encouraging diversity of belief in Alberta, noting that he has attended events by many faith communities. Then, according to some reports, he took a powder and couldn’t be reached by media for additional comments.
So if you were wondering if this was part of a serious attempt to woo the social conservative vote – which it possibly could have been, if he’d stuck to his guns – or just an idiotic blunder, well, I guess we all know the answer now.
Members of the Wildrose Opposition, who have lived through their own excruciating “Lake of Fire” incident, when the blogged observations of an evangelical pastor who was also a candidate may have cost them the 2012 election, would very much like to put the entire subject as far behind them as possible.
Still, I imagine they were discreetly chuckling behind their hands at the Tories’ excruciating predicament. If it showed one thing it’s that the Wildrose is not the only conservative political party with a Lake of Fire problem, and it considerably reduces the heat, as it were, on them.
After all, with a single injudicious appearance, Mr. McIver has destroyed two years of concerted efforts by PC strategists to brand the Wildrose Party as a bunch of homophobic loons.
King Solomon, who is reputed to have been quite wise, probably didn’t have the name of any particular parade in mind, but his proverbial advice might be something conservative Alberta politicians may wish to keep in mind just the same: Pride goeth before destruction.
This post also appears on Rabble.ca.
This is what a democracy is for. Mr. McIver chooses his affiliations and also the consequences of his choices.
What is to me more concerning is this attitude politicians very commonly have these days of pretending to be someone they are not.
Mr. McIver, if you believe in the Calgary Street Church then assume it. Run with what you believe in and stop this ‘I do not agree with the Church’s homosexuality views….blah blah blah’. Do not be unchristian in order to get elected. We have had enough of that from your friends in the PC party.
Living in Calgary for three and a half years I became quickly aware that the city is more progressive than people back east realize. From the strong social safety net to a large and vibrant gay community, Calgary can be proud of its generosity and tolerance. For a politician of any stripe to offend gay Calgarians whether intentionally or not is akin to overdosing on stupid pills.
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