Just this week, people noticed that a Wildrose Edmonton MLA candidate in the coming provincial election had published a blog screed criticising gay and lesbian rights and threatening them with an eternity in a lake of fire.
Predictably, the offending candidate, Alan Hunsberger, pulled the blog post. Not when he realised it was wrong, but when it became a campaign issue. Unfortunately for him, it’s a bit more difficult to hide stuff on the web. The Edmonton Journal has the entire post and reaction.
In his defence, Hunsberger claims
“The views I expressed in this blog posting are my own personal religious views and were given in the capacity as a church pastor. I fully support equality for all people, and condemn any intolerance based on sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic.”
So what does this even mean?
That you don’t want to defend your own “personal” views? (As opposed to, say, those views you don’t personally hold?)
That religious views are somehow off-limits for public criticism? So we can’t condemn, say, religiously-fuelled intolerance in the exactly the same way we condemn secular intolerance?
That you speak out of one side of your mouth to your congregation and out of the other to your electorate? That your religious views and your equal rights views don’t even cohere with each other? That you’re deeply and fulsomely spiritual, but you’re willing to publicly renounce your beliefs if that’s what needed to get elected? I just don’t see any way in which this is a plausible defence.
What I do see see is the creeping introduction of an odious behaviour common to American politics: a politician intones solemnly about he/she is deeply committed to and inspired by his/her faith. But when challenged about some particular article of faith, the politician fulminates indignantly about this vulgar attack on the holy sancity of personal conscience. Hey, if you put your own dog in a fight, don’t blame us if it gets bitten.
The odd thing about all this is, given Danielle Smith’s views about climate change, it’s odd that she didn’t point out that there’s disagreement in the theological community about whether infernal warming is a proven fact.