Monday, January 31, 2011

Michael Ignatieff thinks you're an idiot

Brian Topp, as usual, has the rights of it.

The Ignatieff Liberals are up to their usual tricks. Having done everything they could to sustain Stephen Harper in power, having supported massive and unsustainable corporate tax cuts, having ignored the brewing pension crisis, having conspired with the Tories to prevent any meaningful action on climate change, the Count and his court have completely reversed course and are trying to out NDP the NDP.

Of course, they do this every election. Indeed, pretending to oppose the policies they actually support has been the Liberal Party's standing operating procedure for the better part of a century.

"Conscription if necessary," said the principle-challenged Billy King in the 1940s, "but not necessarily conscription."

Followed up in the 1960s by Lester Pearson (the "defrocked Prince of Peace") with "Bomarc missiles if necessary, but not necessarily Bomarc missiles."

Then Pierre Tudeau's "wage and price controls if necessary, but not necessarily wage and price controls."

In the 1980s and 1990s, it was the John Turner / Jean Chretien two-fer of "Free Trade if necessary, but not necessarily Free Trade."

Now, the technical term for anyone who believed in 1988 that the Liberals would ever oppose any reciprocity agreement with the United States is "idiot." The Liberals had been the party of Free Trade for more than a century, and were again the party of Free Trade just as soon as their arses were safely ensconsed on the right of the House. To believe that, for a few brief weeks in the fall of 1988, the Liberals had completely reversed themselves on the defining issue of their party required a certain level of stupid. Of course, much of the CBC talking head elite fell into that category, as did Prominent Liberal Hack Basil Hargrove.

Now, in 2011, Count Ignatieff replays the Liberal meme; a more polished version of John Kerry's "I supported that before I was against it." (Or was that "I was against that before I was for it?")

If anyone is foolish enough to be considering a vote for the IggyLibs, I challenge you to count the number of times Liberal governments have delivered precisely the policies they pretended to oppose. Caution - you'll run out of fingers.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


United States Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos was the only one of the service chiefs who actively opposed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." However, he also said that, if it were repealed, the Marine Corps would "step out smartly" to implement the change.

In this video, General Amos - along with USMC Sergeant Major Carlton Kent - explains that the repeal will be implemented through effective leadership and calls on Marines at all levels to show the kind of leadership required.

"We are a nation of laws. We are committed through our oath and core values to abide by these laws. Our success as Marines has always been grounded in the quality of our leadership, from general officers to small unit leaders."
This, ladies and gentlemen, is integrity.

Friday, January 28, 2011

"The high untrespassed sanctity of space"

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Trifecta of Celebration

Today is:

  • The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle.

  • The Birthday of Scotland's Poet, Rabbie Burns (my 6xgreat uncle).

  • The Anniversary of Jack Layton's Leadership of the New Democratic Party.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Signed, sealed and delivered

As set out in my previous post, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Regina Daniel Bohan and Anglican Bishop of Qu'Appelle Gregory Kerr-Wilson have signed a Covenant committing the two dioceses to strengthen their common witness by worshiping together, by upholding each other in prayer, by working together on projects of common concern and by keeping communication open and intentional.

In this picture (Courtesy of the Saskatchewan Anglican), Bishop Greg and Archbishop Dan are signing the Covenant, assisted by Deacon Susan Page (Anglican) and Deacon Joe Lang (Roman Catholic).
The text of the document can be found here.

A Covenant worth supporting

No, dear readers. I haven't changed my mind. I still find +Rowan's proposed Anglican Covenant a silly idea, conceived in desperation, to replace authentic Anglicanism with a centralized, curial and authoritarian quasi-papacy.

But this afternoon, a more worthwhile Covenant will be signed between the Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. The text of the agreement can be found here, and the media advisory can be read here.

The Covenant comits the two dioceses to:

1. Hold a prayer service each year, ideally during the Easter season, alternating between the two cathedrals, with our bishops present. This would take the form of an annual service of reconciliation, with participants (planning, officiants, servers, lectors, choir, etc) from both churches.

2. Commit ourselves to regularly remembering the other church and its leaders, and our relations, in our intercessions at each Sunday eucharist.

3. Join together on a justice-related initiative locally and/or sponsor a justice-related project where our churches are working together in the developing world.

4. Hold joint meetings with First Nations elders in order to promote reconciliation and healing.

5. Commit ourselves to maintaining communication between us when any new development in one of our churches has implications or challenges for the other.

In addition, local parishes and congregations are encouraged to look for ways to live out this Covenant in their local communities.

One of the key people involved in developing this Covenant was Don Bolen, who has since become the Roman Catholic Bishop of Saskatoon. Don used to work at the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and is one of the Roman Catholic Church's recognized experts on relations with Anglicans. Two years ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury awarded him the Cross of St. Augustine in recognition of his work on Anglican - Roman Catholic relations.

The picture above (courtesy Archbishop Daniel's blog) shows then Monsignor Bolen with Anglican Bishop Greg Kerr-Wilson and Roman Catholic Archbishop Daniel Bohan at a service celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle in 2009.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's cold here

I mean, really cold. This morning it was minus 45 Celsius with the wind chill. (For my Celsius challenged American readers, that's -49 Fahrenheit. It's also 228.15 Kelvin, 410.67 Rankine and -36 Reaumur. I've never even heard of those last two.)

Here's a more practical illustration:

Turns out the liquid doesn't even need to be near boiling:

Now, even though this is two years old and is actually about February:

Right Said Fred

No, not the "I'm too sexy" guy, but rather the Most Rev'd Fred Hiltz, Primate of All Canada, who is quoted in this story in the Anglican Journal regarding the Primates Meeting and the declared intentions of some of his colleagues to skulk away instead of turning up.

Reports that some primates with more conservative theological views are planning to boycott the meeting “does nothing to model for the church what it means to try and live with difference,” he added. “To simply say, ‘I refuse to come’ is anything but exemplary of the office and ministry to which we are called.”

Sunday, January 16, 2011

To Brad Wall: The Court of Appeal was right, so stop being silly

Last May, I blogged about the foolish decision of the Saskatchewan Government to refer to the Court of Appeal two proposed pieces of legislation which would have allowed civil marriage commissioners in Saskatchewan to refuse to perform same sex marriages. One would have created an exemption for all marriage commissioners, the other only for those who were already marriage commissioners prior to the legalization of equal marriage in Saskatchewan in 2004.

This week, the Court of Appeal ruled that either of the proposals would be unconstitutional. Now, technically it was a split decision by the five judge panel. Three of the judges said it would be unconstitutional. The other two said it would be completely unconstitutional.

You'd think that would pretty much settle the matter, wouldn't you. Our provincial government had wasted $200,000 on a court reference that a brain-damaged chimpanzee could have told them would be rejected as unconstitutional.

But no. With Premier Brad off test-marketing himself for a chance to replace Prime Minister Harper at the head of the federal Conservatives, Justice Minister Don Morgan has been musing publicly about how the government might defy the courts and establish some back-alley workaround to allow these civil officials to refuse to do their jobs.

As I pointed out last May:

The office of Marriage Commissioner was not designed to be merely religiously neutral. It was designed to be completely non-religious. No religious rules. No religious tests. No religious restrictions. No religion.

What we have here is a request that Orville Nichols should be allowed to keep a civil appointment even though he openly intends to use it to impose his religious views on citizens.

Would we be so understanding if a member of the Aryan Nations Church who happened to be a Marriage Commissioner refused to solemnize the marriage of a white man and a First Nations woman? I doubt it.

Would the Saskatchewan Party want to argue that the Canadian Forces should be required to accomodate the scruples of a pacifist? Or would they argue that perhaps a pacifist might consider a non-military career?

Would they want to force a meat processor to accomodate the scruples of a vegan who'd taken a job as a butcher? Or would they suggest that someone hired as a butcher should be prepared to cut meat or cut the strings?

Would we even be talking about this if it had been a Roman Catholic Marriage Commissioner who refused to solemnize the marriage of someone who was divorced? Not on your life.

The purpose of this entire legal circus is for the Saskatchewan Party to have a wedge issue that will play to a particularly rabid part of their base. There are a lot of people who don't care for equal marriage - and they mostly vote SaskParty.

Government services cannot be denied to citizens based on the religious prejudices of the public servant. Indeed, there is no provision in law to create such an exemption based on a public servants views on religion, race or politics. But Don Morgan proposes that one form of prejudice should be deliberately accommodated. As Madame Justice Gene Anne Smith put it for the minority:

Astonishingly, this clause would grant to a public official, charged with the delivery of a public service, an immunity to the anti-discrimination provisions of the [Saskatchewan Human Rights] Code not enjoyed by any other person in this province.

It is long past time for Premier Brad Wall to demonstrate some actual leadership instead of merely screen-testing for other job prospects. It is time that the boy-premier grew up and started trying to be the premier for all of Saskatchewan and not merely for the most backward, blinkered and bigotted subset of his base.

At the time, I felt the foolishness of the court reference deserved a double facepalm, since one facepalm was clearly insufficient. Don Morgan's determination to defy the Court of Appeal clearly requires something more.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A blogging year in review

Some blogs have been carrying lists of their most commented posts each month of the previous year. Sounded like fun, so here we go.

January - As befits a new year in which I returned (still somewhat unexpectedly) to full-time stipendiary ministry, the January post to get the most attention was New beginnings, with six comments.

February - The attempt to have the Church of England General Synod endorse North American schismatics ended up being roundly defeated, in part because of the excellent work of Canon Alan Perry, which I blogged about at Clouding the issue with facts, generating 57 comments.

March - There was a tie between two posts with six comments each. Nancy, your dad would be ashamed was about a Saskatchewan Party constituency association's disgusting use of a 9-11 picture of the buring twin towers to promote a pig roast fundraiser - seriously - and the deafening silence of the Saskatchewan media. O Blest Communion! Fellowship Divine! tells the story of how the clergy at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Honolulu helped me to provide pastoral care for a parishioner and her family after the parishioner had suffered a stroke on holiday in Hawaii.

April - The most commented post for April was the unsolicited PR advice I offered to Pope Benedict XVI in Scandals - and how to make them worse. But I have to say that the most widely distributed post was my April Fools' claim that former Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert and former Minister of Many Things Pat Atkinson were going to be appointed as Liberal Party candidates for the next federal election. Lorne Calvert to run for Ignatieff Liberals went viral on Twitter and generated media inquiries to Count Ignatieff's Parliament Hill office.

May - In a slow month, the two most commented peices for May each got three. HAPPY MAY DAY! included video of my favourite renditions of The Red Flag and The Internationale. The hazards of lying in the age of YouTube exposed a bit of deception from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

June - The end of authentic Anglicanism discussed the competing Pentecost letters of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, generating nine comments.

July - I generated six comments with my discussion of the new Canadian G20 police state at Cowardly police leave "anarchists" alone and assault amputee.

August - In a slow month with only two blogposts, My hair looks really good in this video garnered two comments. Unfortunately, the video no longer works - but my hair really did look good.

September - A Happier Church (or at least a happier vicar) reproduced a 2006 piece from the Church Times and generated three comments.

October - Who would Jesus bully? discussed the rash of gay teen suicides, generating eight comments.

November - There were 14 comments on By the Numbers, an irreverent comparison of various Anglican related statistics. I'm still curious about the 427.5 percent year over year increase in Anglican Communion expenditures on accomodations and meetings. That's an increase of GBP 491,717 / USD 791,428 / CAD 799,287. I still think I can come up with better ways to spend $800,000.

December - My last post of the year, Federation, Communion or Church generated 21 comments.

Simple Massing Priest has gone from 10 posts in 2007, to 68 in 2008, 86 in 2009 and 109 last year. Oh, and one so far for 2011.

Happy New Year.