Justin Trudeau’s summer jobs initiative in Canada has attracted some international publicity.
It consists of attaching checklists to any application for government funding. Applicants must check boxes to affirm that they support abortion, gay marriage, transgenderism … and so on. It is a plain religious and ideological test, and those who get it wrong become anathema to the bureaucracy.
On the face of it, the measure was silly, and my own first impulse was to laugh at a leftist self-parody. The young prime minister looks out of his depth. A man whose preparation for high political office was gym coach, nightclub bouncer and the family name was now experimenting with a kind of secular theocracy. Even quite “liberal” talking heads and pundits said the measure went too far. And the meekest of church leaders were piping up.
But then Trudeau, and the “cool” cabinet ministers he appointed, doubled down. That was when one had to stop laughing. Could our government do things like that? But they just did.
Catholics – or should I say, our surviving minority of faithful? – have been under siege from courts and legislatures across Canada for some time now. As I write, for instance, doctors in Ontario have been stripped of “conscience rights” to exclude themselves from any participation in assisted suicide by a divisional court. Our Catholic Civil Rights League, which took up that hopeless fight, is overburdened with dossiers. For the truth is that the received Catholic doctrine they represent – which was usually the received Protestant position, too, and that of most other “faith traditions” – is incompatible with the progressive or politically correct agenda. The progressives claim to have no religion, but their post-Christian zeitgeist is proving a very jealous god.
In opposition to them, we have mush. Polls in Canada (as elsewhere) show that clear majorities of nominal Christ followers, especially Catholics, much prefer Mammon. They may not be onside with much in the progressive agenda – at least half the population is not – but they can’t find an argument, and don’t care. “Progress” cuts through them like a knife through butter.
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