Every December, the government of Canada has two main functions. First, they spend an as-yet-unknown amount of taxpayer dollars granting a CF-18 fighter escort to Santa Claus, just in case some Al Qaeda sympathizers are lurking in the Barren Grounds with Stinger missiles. (A couple of years ago, Minister Jason Kenney even held a ceremony to reaffirm Santa’s Canadian citizenship, which was a blatantly illegal and seditious act on the part of Mr. Kenney, given that he was very well aware at the time that Santa did not have a Canadian citizenship card to begin with. (It wasn’t Kenney’s last fraudulent citizenship ceremony, either, and the latter one really was an attempt at deception.)
The second job is to issue a statement celebrating Christmas. Two such statements are issued: one from Stephen Harper stressing Canada’s economic performance (just to remind us that he’s an insufferably narrow-minded git) and another from Jason Kenney stressing the religious dimensions of the occasion. It’s the latter one I’ve always found particularly troubling. I have no problem with the government marking the holiday season. But exactly how much is too much when it comes to official proclamations on religious subjects from the government? Is officially proclaiming Christian theological claims to be historical facts too far for the government of a secular country?
Following the spiritual preparation and reflection of Advent, and nine months after the Incarnation, this holiday commemorates the long-awaited birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the city of David.
Every year, Christmas unites families, friends, communities and cultures in hope and prayer for peace on Earth, and in celebration of the birth of a child whom the prophet Isaiah called the “Prince of Peace.”
In just two sentences, our dear Immigration Minister, who in reality is a jumped-up Catholic anti-abortion activist and (for God knows what reason) publicly self-proclaimed virgin, manages to establish as the official policy of the Canadian government all of the following: the composition of the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the actual birth of Jesus (not as easy to prove as you might think), the fact that it occurred in Bethlehem (ditto) to a virgin (also ditto), and the prophetic status of Isaiah, who, the Canadian government would have us believe, correctly predicted the birth of Christ centuries before it happened.
This is worth stressing. The government chose its words carefully here. He did not say merely that Christians believe such things, which they do. Kenney suggests that such things are real historical events which we, and the government, “commemorate” and “celebrate.” Kenney probably didn’t think it was a significant slip, because these are just a few of the highly questionable and almost certainly fictitious things which the majority of the current Cabinet of the country believes to be factually historically true.
Some people will no doubt have concluded by now that I’m simply being paranoid, but I’ve been watching Kenney chip away on this point for a while. Last year his statement was considerably more doctrine-free, which is fortunate for Christians too, because I suspect only a minority of self-proclaimed Christians could explain the theology of the Incarnation or the contents of the Isaiah prophecies:
For Christians, there are few days on the calendar more significant and more festive than this annual celebration of the Nativity of Jesus. The holiday, which marks the long-awaited Advent of the Christ, provides Christians an opportunity to reflect on the importance of faith and hope in their lives.
In our peacefully pluralistic country, Canadians of many backgrounds celebrate Christmas in countless different ways.
The pluralism has also dropped from Canada over the past year, but even this specificity, which is hardly offensive, was something that was unobtrusively slipped in since his previous Christmas announcement in 2009:
Christmas is a time of profound importance for Christians in Canada and around the world, a time of goodwill and family togetherness marked by the spirit of giving.
I’ll just skip over the awkward notion of “family togetherness” and point out that there is no reference to Christian mythology here at all, which is quite proper in a modern secular democracy. That same innocuous statement was made in 2008, and in 2007.
Perhaps next year Kenney will further specify that Canadians believe in the Immaculate Conception. (Christian theology trivia quiz: does this refer to the conception of Jesus, or the conception of Mary? I’ll bet Kenney knows the answer.)Tweet