Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh! Canada

On Monday I read (in The Toronto Star article Bush to make promotional appearance in Toronto for Christian college) that
The former U.S. president has a stopover in Toronto next week that will include a Sept. 20 breakfast gathering on behalf of Tyndale [University College & Seminary] for an invited audience of 150 at the Hilton Toronto Hotel. Bush is expected to address the subject of Christian higher education.
In the article Gary Nelson, Tyndale's president, acknowledges that Bush was a controversial figure even among the different Christian groups represented at the university:
Nelson pointed to the fact that Tyndale represents 40 Christian denominations, making it the most multicultural seminary in North America. Included among the staff and students are Mennonites and followers of other pacifist faiths.

On Wednesday the same newspaper published a follow-up article Outrage spreads over Bush visit in which the reader learns that although none of the faculty at Tyndale University College had resigned, other members of the staff had and there was considerable controversy among current and former students, faculty and staff about how appropriate it was that Bush "could be given a place of honour at a promotional event for a school that stands for peace and justice."

Also on Wednesday three former students started a petition asking that the college cancel the planned event

On Wednesday the college posted an announcement on its website that "due to scheduling change'"[sic] the event has been canceled. According to the spokesperson quoted in Bush’s Toronto appearance cancelled there are no plans to reschedule Bush's visit.

This entire sequence of events stands out to me as an example of people within evangelical Christianity reclaiming a rhetoric/territory they believe Bush attempted to take as his own. There are, as the articles point out, many pacifists within the Christian denominations who are part of Tyndale's community. Many of them (and a good number of other Canadians) consider Bush to be a war criminal. Current and former students of Tyndale did not wish Bush and his worldview to be associated with their institution.

One part of the Christian community has declared firmly that what Bush calls speaking and governing as a Christian they call a war crime.


  1. I'm glad you posted this, because I missed those Star articles. The link between evangelicalism and the political right wing is definitely not as strong in Canada as in the U.S., although I've seen some signs of that changing. This is heartening news.

  2. The petitioners acted like bullies and thugs, demanding that the President of Tyndale grovel in apology before them. It was an exercise of raw power-seeking. They've dropped a bomb on Tyndale and will now have to live with the consequences of distrust, discord, and disunity they've unleashed. So much for being pacifists.

  3. Anonymous: Asking that a someone who practices war not be asked to raise funds for a college that includes pacifists is not dropping a bomb.

    Look up what the word pacifist means before using it in future sentences.

  4. kisekileia: I am considered an American right wing because I believe the US Constitution, based on English common law, is the basis of our country. I am a constitutionalist. Not an evangelist. All right wing people are not evangelists.

  5. Anonymous as 6:35 -- are you the same Anonymous at 5:13 pm?

    Anyway, to respond to your comment. No. You are not "considered an American right wing because I believe the US Constitution."

    If you actually read and study the Constitution and the writings of the founding fathers you will find that many of the things which modern Americans (both left and right) consider central and necessary to politics/governance are either NOT in the Constitution or antithetical to it/writings of the founding fathers.

    Don't attempt to "claim" the Constitution--especially to an audience very familiar with the document itself rather than with other people's claims as it what is in it.

  6. If memory servers me right, the US Constitution makes no allowance for even HAVING a standing army, much less using one.

    And Anonymous? You're a troll. This sort of public outcry is what democracy looks like, at least in countries that aren't thrashing about in a fear-stupor.


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