Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Religious Left - Mathew 22:21

It is the evening of Thursday February 16th and at midnight I will begin the celebration of my 3rd decade on this planet. While I look to the future with caution, I cannot help but look toward the past and see how much I have changed along with my surroundings.

The Religious Right is a term you have most likely heard many times via the media and other social media platforms. Specifically, this term has been used to label and identify the supporters of the political right or in the case of the United States, the Republican Party. Don't worry though, we have the religious right in Canada as well and while this term has been around for some time, it has recently undergone a transformation.

Now known as the Alt-Right, many people who once may have teetered toward the right of the political spectrum, have either been lumped in altogether with those of the extreme right or through pressure of the media and their peers, now cannot escape the self identification of a supporter of the right, also known as the religious right.

While I personally do not associate with the political or religious right, I do feel that it is unfair to automatically assume that anyone who associates with religion, specifically as a Catholic, should be lumped with someone who shares extreme views such as white supremacy.

As the years have passed, I have noticed that the Catholic church has resisted as much change as possible, even though the world around it changes drastically. While this has resulted in much of the same in terms of the practices of the church, it has also resulted in dwindling followers and more recently, the advent of fewer devotees who take up the calling.

While I agree that religion and politics must be separated, I do question if it is appropriate that we remove community from society? I question this because many Catholics who wish to continue the beauty of Catholic community, may find themselves in a conflict position when they no longer share all of the viewpoints of that community.

For example: The church still does not believe in the importance of equality in love( Gay Marriage) or the utility of family planning through contraception.

With dwindling followers and churches teetering on the brink of becoming abandoned and derelict, the church has now opened up a vacuum that can lead to one of a few possibilities.

We as Canadians, as Catholics, can continue on the same path we are now and ignore the fall of the organized church as we know it. Or, we can adopt a new outlook that takes empty churches and torn followers who want the aspect of community and create a paradigm shift.

Imagine a church of the religious left, people who wish to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, but also remain sensitive to the cultural transformations occurring around them.

Mathew 22:21 Jesus said: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God's.

 While this passage was to imply that the church should be left on its own separate from the political affairs of the time, it does still leave some wiggle room. As Jesus also taught, it is utility in treating others the way you wish to be treated and furthermore it is established that all people on earth are essentially children of God. When the church begins to turn away from some of its children and become political in their own affairs, can we not take Mathew 22:21 and turn it around? Can we not imply that the church needs to be adjusted in order to continue true to its general principles? In this case, the religious left should rise up and take back the church that it wishes to follow, but has become disenfranchised from.

Finally, if you are from a Catholic family and have decided that you question the very existence of God, I leave you with this. If you look at Jesus as a human male who was not of religious influence, treat him like a revolutionary. He did after all walk along Roman highways and through established temples from other religions in order to spread his word. He took an idea born within the tyranny of a dominant political entity and through love and education was able to overcome.

Hopefully this post influences others to begin a discussion on the aspect of the religious left and on the great advantage that exists for a paradigm shift. Plus, it provides an opportunity to break down the barriers that only creates fear, hate and division and brings about the possibility for more community and love.

Until Next Time! 

Monday, 13 February 2017

When Trudeau Met Trump

The saying and woman cannot be friends, they are bound to become lovers or fall apart. 

While it may seem like this has nothing directly to do with today's meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Donald Trump, the relationship between the countries they represent does relate to it greatly.

Both Canada and the United States share one of the longest unguarded and friendly borders in the entire world, but you already know that. What makes this marvel so amazing is that it not only provides an example to the rest of the world on how countries should coexist, but also requires each country to have some sort of connection with the affairs of the other.

It is no surprise that today's meeting went off with roses and smiles, I mean we are only a day away from Valentines day and up until now, Canada hasn't done much to piss off Donald Trump.

The best way to explain the first meeting between Trudeau and Trump, is almost like a first date. You meet someone, maybe you talk on the phone a few times, which gives you an idea of how they may act. You finally come together for the first time and while things may not be exactly as you initially pictured it, you stick around and smile until the date is officially over. Except, when it comes to being a world leader next to a superpower, you smile a lot longer, as the date doesn't seem to really end until the term does. Which is excellent for Justin Trudeau, since all he seems to do as of late is smile, in various selfies, with various leaders, around the world (Woot Diplomacy!).

In reality, Justin Trudeau does not have much to smile about regarding Donald Trump. Both politicians share almost exactly the opposite viewpoints when it comes to governing and immigration. Their relationship right now is too early to tell, because they haven't really gotten into any of the nitty gritty just yet. Sure, they both want to create jobs and they want the relationship between Canada and the United States to be strong, but every politician says that.

The real test will be when Trump most likely makes a move that affects Canadians and Canada. As of now, there isn't much that has been done by Trump that will affect us just yet.He did sign into approval the Keystone XL pipeline and believes that resource development is important for prosperity,which means Western Canada will love him, but he also has a very short fuse and relies too heavily on social media and television. Kick up some "fake news" about Canada feeding illegals into the United States or undermining his political intentions and just wait for the various tweets denouncing Trudeau and his fabulous hair.

Take it one step further and reopen the can of worms that is the Softwood Lumber dispute and add in a pinch of NAFTA to the discussion and just wait for all hell to break loose.

It was nice seeing Trump make an effort to display the achievements of women and also mention how women will lead to prosperity for both countries, something unsurprising given his approval rating among women lately and the fact that hundreds of thousands of women marched against him recently. While this public move may seem to be positive, it actually undermined the entire meeting as it didn't seem genuine, see the photo below for more.

Talk about a perfect photo op! I mean, it lets both leaders really showcase how much they care about women in business. Surround yourself with a bunch of female CEO's and make sure you smile in order to give the cameras some juicy eye candy!

While it is obvious that Donald Trump was catering to Trudeau, it doesn't mean all is lost. It is true that opposites do attract and while each leader stands on different ends of the political spectrum, this is nothing new regarding the relationship between Canada and the United States. In fact, much of the history between the two countries has been exactly like this, we vote Liberal, they vote Republican and vice versa. Plus, Canada does everything in its power to reinforce Canadian values,whatever those are, while living in the shadow of American Imperialism and culture. This is because we cannot escape it and as a result do what we can to reinforce our opposite to it, politely.

Donald Trump has already established that his America will do things differently and as a result will demand more from its allies, while instituting more accountability towards its direct and indirect enemies. This position by the President will most likely lead to more discussion in the future regarding military support, either in the form of renewed development contracts or essentially Trump telling Trudeau to pony up more money towards their alliance.

Either way, it will be interesting to see what connections and developments will spring forward from today's meeting in the near future and how each side of the table decides to treat the other. Trudeau may very well think that Trump is a racist, orange snob, but he cannot deny that he also is the leader of the most powerful country in the world and the largest market of potential consumers of Canadian goods.

The way I see it, if China can gain a lot of attention from our leader regarding trade and development, regardless of how poorly its own record is regarding human rights and the environment, Trudeau should have no trouble putting aside his conscious to strike a deal with Donald Trump.

In the end, regardless of how much work they both put into improving their relationship, it will never come close to the natural love and connection felt here:

Until Next Time!