Is This The Face of Christian Governance?
When he’s not working as a Legislative Assistant for Conservative Member of Parliament Maurice Vellacott, Timothy Bloedow is the driving force behind Canada’s Christian Nationalist weblog No Apologies and Christian Governance, where he advocates for ideologically-run government:
There is no such thing as neutrality. Superficial thinking has confused peace, tolerance, pluralism, multiculturalism and similar ideas with neutrality. But there is no such thing as neutrality.
… The mission of ChristianGovernance is to teach and train Christians to understand the Biblical worldview as well as competing worldviews, and to help Christians translate this understanding into a faithful lifestyle and a compelling witness in this world.
In “Should Harold Camping be executed as a false prophet?“ Bloedow (or Rod Taylor, or David Krayden, or Larry Bray, or Tom Bartlett, or the Freedom 55 Financial / London Life salesman, but usually if there’s no attribution, then it’s posted by Bloedow or his son) writes:
The Bible pronounces capital punishment as the penalty for those who prophesy falsely in the name of God. Harold Camping has done this twice now, prophesying the end of the world or judgment day, most recently for Saturday, May 21st, as anyone who has a TV, radio or computer probably knows.
He then quotes Harold Camping’s claims of being a prophet and Deuteronomy 18:20-22 to muse that (as the title of his post says) Camping could be executed as a false prophet. I’ll attach a screenshot in case the page is later taken down. Bloedow doesn’t separate quoted material with blockquote tags, so it reads as all one block of text.
Of course, Mr. Bloedow could be speaking figuratively. But on a website that calls for a literal interpretation of the Bible to be literally enacted as law and social policy, and where there are certainly people of that mind among the readership, failing to make that clear would be a serious omission. You never know who is on the other end of the keyboard, and bloggers (especially those who expect to be taken seriously as journalists or advocates) have a responsibility to be clear. And it’s not like there’s a total absence of people who actually call for literal executions in Jesus’ name.
Don’t get me wrong — if Mr. Bloedow is critical of Harold Camping’s Rapture-Is-Coming fundraising scheme, that’s cool. We don’t often spend enough effort addressing the wingnut ideas in our own camps. For myself, blogging is a luxury that I can’t often afford, so I don’t always have time to call out ideas from the left, such as questions about whether we as a society should “tolerate the intolerant.” If we are not balanced and consistent in our approach, then we are lending credence when others question our ethics and morals. There will be more on that in a future post. In the meantime, Bloedow might want to consider writing about the dangers of interpreting the Bible too literally.
Which leaves us with the spectacle of one speaker on the religious right making a case for the execution of another speaker on the religious right. Is this the kind of Christian Governance Bloedow is talking about? That our government should put to death those who violate any of the executable offenses found in the Bible? This is a book that calls for the murder of gay and lesbian people, brides who don’t have an intact hymen on their wedding night, children who disobey their parents, anyone who engages in premarital sex, the children of one’s enemy, and anyone who opposes Christian governance… among others.
This is, of course, the problem with Christian governance. If we are to follow the extreme solutions taken directly from the Bible, then we are talking about eye-for-an-eye solutions that stand or fall depending solely on the value judgments of whoever gets to selectively interpret scriptures that often conflict, rather than based on real understandings of individual situations, the ability to apply mercy if it’s called for, and the ability to apply less barbaric solutions in a less barbaric world.
Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Is calling a ban on DDT “worse than tactical genocide” of African peoples also bearing false witness? Or calling the existence of national parks “hostility to private property rights?” I’m not really comfortable with the BC HRT ruling against Guy Earle either (although I don’t know all the details), but somehow calling a Human Rights Commission and human rights legislation a “statue to Hitler” seems more than a little dishonest, too.
And if the Presbyterian faith is now considered a false faith by Christian Nationalists because of a decision to allow ordination of LGBT people, are Presbyterian ministers to be treated similarly to Mr. Camping? How about Charles McVety, who claims he was pulled off the air by the CRTC and CBSC, when in fact it was a Christian television network that made the decision following a reprimand (for lying, no less)? Who gets to decide?
This also illustrates a point I’d made earlier about how Christian Nationalism (not to be confused with all Christianity) is often a loose coalition of people of varying faiths who often don’t get along together well and don’t recognize each other as speaking with any kind of Biblical authority.
I certainly wouldn’t call for Mr. Bloedow’s death, and wouldn’t call for him to be silenced either. And that’s not just because he gives me such rich material. Personally, I wouldn’t want government to have that kind of power either, regardless of whether it was myself or Mr. Bloedow it was aimed at. The fact that execution is even seen as something that’s on the table is indication enough that Christian governance is something to be wary of.