Separation of church and whatnow?

If I may, I’d like you all to indulge me in a wee scenario here. Say, for the sake of shits and giggles, that a long-standing U.S. ally – let’s pick Saudi Arabia for fun – was in the process of appointing a new ambassador to the States. The two countries are fairly staunch allies, but there have been strains on the relationship as of late. Concerns about poor performance in the war on terror, fundamental differences in social policy. . . things of that nature.

Now imagine that Saudi Arabia appointed an ambassador that had very little knowledge of the U.S. and claimed that Allah himself told him to take the post. You can just about imagine the uproar in the States. The media, the government and the population at large would be furious, no? Such religious zeal has no place in diplomacy, right?

Okay, now replace Saudi Arabia with the U.S., the U.S. with Canada, and Allah with God. That’s right, our new ambassador from the U.S. said God told him to take the job. His comments are here.

Only the CanWest papers saw fit to report on this little development.

Fuck you John Ivison
The Post’s John Ivison responded to a new poll that showed Tory support plummeting by saying that if Canadians elect another Liberal government it would be a failure of Canadian democracy.
Uh, John? I think you need to bone up on your definition of democracy. See, a free vote? That’s democracy. Just because you don’t like the result doesn’t mean it’s not democracy.
Arrogant piece of shit. I don’t want to see another Liberal majority either, but if that’s what Canadians want, that’s what Canadians want.

Look, we did journalism!
The Citizen dedicated A1 above the fold and all of A3 to coverage of the re-opening of a New Brunswick murder case after evidence emerged that the man charged may not be guilty. Big news, to be sure, but what could possibly justify the two pages of coverage?
Oh, it was a Citizen reporter who first broke the story of the possible wrong conviction. You can tell, because they ran a photo of the original story on A1. And they ran a separate article detailing how Gary Dimmock did journalism and broke the story on A3.
Look, I’m thrilled that a possibly innocent man is getting a chance to clear his name, and I can see running the story on A1. But enough of the back-patting, own-horn-tooting. You’re a journalist, you did some journalism. Some damn good journalism, for sure, but that shouldn’t be the story. Let someone else brag for you. Read more of the good journalism here, the supplemental content is subscriber-only.

I don’t want to call it a coverup
Pretty much everybody covered the latest report from the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations that suggested CSIS and the RCMP may unfairly target Muslims as part of security investigations. Everyone but the Post anyway. I’ll let you decide if that shows a bias or not. And if you’re a Post-only subscriber, here‘s what you missed.


  1. I don’t necessarily agree with your first point, Joe. If he wants to say God told him to take the job, that’s fine. It doesn’t make him any better or worse at his job. You can’t say that because he’s devoutly religious he shouldn’t have been given the job. That’s discrimination, and that’s wrong, mmkay?

    That being said, Christians scare the crap out of me.

  2. Joe, I think you’re also misinterpreting what Wilkins said. He didn’t say God told him to take the job – Bush told him to take the job, and then his pastor read a Bible passage which he interpreted as a providential sign to go ahead with it. Believing in Providence doesn’t make you Joan of Arc or something.

  3. Sory Joe, but people derive their motivation for their work on many levels, including the spiritual, which is not always such a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in the separation of church and state, but I don’t see that being challenged here. The fact that the guy seems ignorant about Canada, now that’s a concern. We’ll have to wait and see what he does before we can really start bringing God into this.

  4. I actually agree with Joe… because the way I read his point, the problem was not that this man is a religious person and therefore unqualified, the problem was that had the situation looked a little different the US would be crying foul. It’s ok in American minds when *their* dominant religious beliefs are brought into the political arena, but when another country’s representatives bring Islamic beliefs (to continue with your example, Joe) into the foray it’s wrongity, wrong, wrong, wrong. That’s hypocritical garbage and I can see the exact story that would be playing all over American networks had an ambassador to the States from an Islamic country made parallel comments. It’s not about the appropriateness of this guy’s motivations, it’s about the fact that his religious zeal is somehow appropriate when zeal from any other group is considered inappropriate. Ridiculous.

  5. I know it’s a day late, but this morning, as I woke up, I found God laying in bed beside me (relax, it’s a girl…Dogma was right) and he’s like “Go post on Joe’s blog” and I was like “Jesus Christ!” and then She got all mad and left. She said something about it was “ironic.”

    I didn’t get it.

  6. I actually agree with Joe… because the way I read his point, the problem was not that this man is a religious person and therefore unqualified, the problem was that had the situation looked a little different the US would be crying foul.

    If Joe’s argument hinges on this hypothetical Saudi Arabia example, then essentially, we’re arguing about a straw man – and a really bad one, at that. When has the U.S. ever pooh-poohed a Saudi ambassador because they’re Muslim? The Sauds believe God ordained them to have their oil in the first place. If the U.S. made a big fuss every time a Saudi diplomatic official had really strong Muslim beliefs, then they would have kicked the Saudis out of their embassies decades ago.

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