Saturday, 12 December 2009

Two models of church-based international development.

Dennis Gruending has researched and written about the lobbying efforts that neocon fundamentalist religious organizations have directed against progressive and ecumenical groups in Canada and in particular, those working in international development.

Kairos, for example, and earlier this year Peace and Development. The fear, the anger and the hatred that religious rightwingnuts of all christofascist tendencies have directed towards their humanitarian work is quite savage.

There's been much speculation about what motivated Stevie Spiteful and his merry band of Harpocrites to cut CIDA funding to KAIROS.

The most obvious and clear reason would be its role in facilitating discussion about the Alberta tar sands.

But I think there's another reason. In November, the PMO issued a statement condemning the blood-thirsty homophobic laws the Ugandan parliament may ratify. This was consistent with previous statements he made that his government would not reverse Canadian laws that recognize equal rights for gay men and lesbians with respect to marriage.

So the Con/reformaTory "base" is seething with discontent and malevolence because its fundamentalist religious initiatives are not receiving the government support they claim as their due for electing Harper to power. And it's not a stretch to imagine the model of international network building these rightwing religious fundamentalists would emulate.

Thus Stevie Spiteful's only recourse, in order to appease those hostile grassroots astro-turf christofascist groups is a grand and dramatic gesture - ergo, a MASSIVE slash & burn cut to Kairos' funding.

As a bonus, he reaps the benefits of re-directing that money towards his own narcissistic the PMO public relations needs or any other purpose.


Lauren Sheil said...

I've been watching this situation closely. As a Canadian and member of a somewhat centrist church I find the amount of outrage focussed on the fact that it is a religious organization that was effected somewhat puzzling.

When a so called religious organization accepts almost half of the their budget from government grants do they truely deserve to call themselves such? Any organization that relys on doner based funds whether from individuals or institutions has to be careful not to offend their benifactors. Why should this be any different when your main benifactor is the government?

My personal opinion is that Kairos (and others) should never have expected so much of their funding from government sources in the first place. Too many eggs from one basket so to speak. If Karios does something that offends me, they lose $100, but when they offend the government they lose $7 million. Why is anyone surprised by that?

This wouldn't be news if the $7 million was coming from some personal donor who was offended by Kairos policy and not the federal government.

deBeauxOs said...

I'm an agnostic Christian and thus not a member of any church.

However I am proud of the fact that my taxes contributed to KAIROS' work.

Democratic process is the principle threatened here. One would assume that if a particular program facilitated by KAIROS "offended" our Conservative overlords, someone - the Minister perhaps, isn't that her job? - would inform the organization that particular piece would not be funded.

But what Stevie Spiteful did was cut ALL funding to KAIROS. Now that smacks of petulance. As well it sends a message to the reformaTory base.

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