Looking for something from the archives that would fit my mood today, I can across this one from April 2015. I’ve spent most of my weekend reading and writing about ethics in political life, or perhaps the lack of it. This was a reminder that there are still principled people in public life.
Canadian politician James Lunney made the news last week as he resigned from the governing Conservatives in order to speak freely.
Normally when a politician says he wants to speak freely you can expect him to criticize his former party, suggesting that he was muzzled, but that is not the case here. Lunney, who announced last year that he would not be standing for re-election, will still be voting with his former colleagues and still be espousing Conservative policies.
What he will be speaking freely about is his Christian faith. As an independent his outspokenness will not become a political distraction for the Conservative Party. Just being a Christian is offensive enough in some circles. Being publicly Christian sets you up as a target.
In James Lunney’s case it was a tweet about evolution that brought out what he would later describe as “trolls.” I reproduce it here in its entirety: .@deepgreendesign no prob w “scientific theory”; jst stop calling #evolution fact! Bynd realm of current science 2 observe or reprod origins.
Lunney committed what may be the gravest sin possible for a politician in this politically correct world: he spoke the truth. A scientific fact is something that can be observed and reproduced. Evolution, in scientific terms, remains therefore a theory at this point, no matter how many people accept said theory as Gospel. His expression of truth brought not debate on the issues but personal attacks
That seems to be the case in much of the world these days. We are told we all need to be tolerant of others’ viewpoints, but an exception seems to be made if the viewpoint you don’t agree with is Christian. You can attack Christians without anyone questioning your motives or methods. That may be overstating the case, but I suspect most Christians would agree with me. From the courts to the media to the trolls on the internet, it is always open season on mocking Christians like no others, and avoiding the real issues in the process.
Maybe that is because Christians turn the other cheek. We don’t respond in kind. But we do on occasion stand up for the Truth, and I am pleased James Lunney has decided to do that. Here are a couple of excerpts from his explanatory statement. The full text can be found here.
I believe there is a growing and malignant trend by “cyber trolls” to engage, entrap, belittle and embarrass politicians of faith over false constructs of the word evolution.
In the past month, a few words were exchanged on social media, apparently inflammatory words: science, managing assumptions and theory or fact related to (macro) evolution.
My remarks were inflated by media, blended with other unrelated but alleged heretical statements and became a top-story on national media creating a firestorm of criticism and condemnation. My profession and two institutes of higher learning were subject to slander and the constituents I have represented for 15 years were insulted in a fashion that most would find astounding in a mature democracy. Two others were accosted at the provincial level; I see this as evidence of the developing phenomenon of “crowd–shaming”: what some call the “dark side” of the internet.
Maybe it’s because I am tired of seeing my faith community mocked and belittled. To not respond is to validate my accusers and worse yet, imply that I lack the courage of my convictions to stand–up for what I believe. This is not a legacy I wish to leave behind. Many of you colleagues represent constituencies beyond the ones who elected you; I hope that no member of any faith community in Canada is compelled to defend the beliefs of their community in the future.
In a perfect world, whether a person held a belief in Evolution OR a belief in God OR both – no one would dispute or challenge it.