I was recently reminded of the links that Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have with religious fundamentalism. Let me tell you a little story about the Alliance Church, the Church that Stephen Harper has belonged to for years.
I grew up in a very small town. There were only four churches: the Catholic, the Anglican, the United, and the Alliance. My family was first Anglican (Catholicism light) and then United (quite possibly one of the easiest going churches in Canada). When I was confirmed, our minister was a bubbly divorcee who was also a certified yoga instructor. Church was less about praying and more about meditating.
One of my very best friends belonged to the Alliance Church in town. When I was in Gr. 7, I started attending the church's youth group with her. It was a lot of fun. We did scavenger hunts, bowling nights, movie nights. The group was run by Pastor Jeff, who everyone called PJ, and he was a fun, easygoing guy. I was having a great time. Until one night, when PJ sat us all down before the evening's activities to have a discussion. And the discussion was about why gay people are bad. PJ said that we don't hate the people, we just hate the behaviour. And I looked around at everyone in the room, and saw all the nodding heads, and I realized that there was something very fundamentally different between me and the people in this room. I didn't say anything since I was shy and not really sure how to articulate my beliefs at that age anyway, but I knew I didn't agree with what they were saying. I went a few more times after that night, but then my friend moved away and I stopped going. And I never really felt 100% comfortable around those people after that.
My sister also had an Alliance Church friend. And on New Year's Eve, 1999, she declined to come to our New Year's Eve Party. Her family wanted her with them, just in case God decided to rapture them up to heaven on the Eve of the Millennium. That was when I realized that the people in this church were not just bigoted, but actually kind of nutty.
And the head of our government believes in this stuff. I don't want someone who thinks that the earth is only 6,000 years old in charge. I don't want someone who thinks gay people are evil in charge. I don't want someone who believes that hey, it doesn't matter what we do to the environment now, because we're all (at least the people who matter) going to be raptured up to heaven soon anyway. Harper's government is full of people who think this way. If you believe that government policy should be based on research and evidence, and not religious doctrine, then do not vote for these people.