Only in Canada?

The Prime Minister is being slammed by the Leader of the Opposition because he won’t ask the Governor General to apologize for controversial comments. Welcome to Canada.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the Prime Minister has offended millions of Canadians by praising comments the GG made last week about scientific knowledge and religious belief. If she was quoted correctly, I guess it would be safe to say she is not a creationist.

I understand the outrage. I understand the political posturing. What I don’t understand is why this is such a big deal. There are a lot of people, including I gather the Prime Minister, who don’t think God created the earth. They are entitled to their opinion. On the matter of creation, the science is not settled, and those who support the spontaneous combustion theory known as the big bang probably need more faith than the creationists. (I’m not sure how the PM squares his belief in the big bang with his Roman Catholicism, but then again, I’m not sure how his mind works on other topics either.

For example, he was quoted as saying: “We are a government grounded in science. Canadians are people who understand the value of science and knowledge as a foundation for the future of our country.” Yet he also believes that the federal budget will magically balance itself.)

Apparently, he has found a soul mate in Governor General (and former astronaut) Julie Payette, which is too bad given that the GG is supposed to be non-controversial.

I was struck though as I read the news stories about the statement and political fallout that Canadians are lucky to have a country where something so trivial can be so controversial. Wars, pestilence, terrorism, economic collapse – none of that is on the Canadian horizon, so we can make mountains out of molehills.

Exactly what did she say? “We are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention or whether it was coming out of a natural process let alone, oh my goodness, a random process.”

I gather tone of voice was important, that she was mocking those of faith. I haven’t gone looking for the video (internet issues – took me two days to be able to get online to post this), but in context with other comments she made at the time I can believe that. But why is this a big deal?

As someone who believes in divine intervention being behind our origins I don’t feel offended, just amused. Here is someone who should know a few things about science (as opposed to the Prime Minister whose background is in the arts), who believes differently than I do and that millions of Canadians do. I doubt if she has really researched the topic, because there is a lot of evidence to scientifically suggest that there may indeed have been divine intervention involved.

What it boils down to is that no-one can “prove” exactly what happened six billion or six thousand years ago to everyone’s satisfaction. I understand why it is important; it contributes to a person’s overall worldview. The Governor General should have known better than to take the approach she did, but she is new on the job. She’s entitled to her opinion; she’s allowed to be wrong.

I suspect that like so many people she is so entrenched in her positions that she wouldn’t consider the possibility that the world may not be exactly as she would like it to be. Because that is really what the debate is all about.

In the real word budgets don’t balance themselves, but of you believe they do then you don’t have to worry about fiscal responsibility. In the same way, if you think our planet is a random accident and humans are the result of a fortuitous combination of circumstances, then you don’t have to consider the question of God. Or Jesus.

However, trying to pretend God doesn’t exist, in the hopes He will go away, isn’t going to work in the long run.

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