Monday, March 14, 2005

Why Ethnic Cleansing of Canadian Evangelicals Would be Wrong

My last two posts have been a little bit hard on Christians in contemporary culture (amongst whom I include myself), so I thought I'd introduce some healthy optimism into the discussion. I've linked an outstanding article by John G. Stackhouse, Jr. that both clears up some misconceptions regarding Canadian evangelicals, and also points out the hypocrisy inherent in the views of those in our culture who enjoy labelling evangelicals as stupid, narrow-minded, and even dangerous members of society.
Canadians disagree on a lot of things. But we agree on this: fomenting fear and hatred toward an entire group of people is wrong. Yet some of us are doing it again. It was wrong when French and English Canadians did it to each other. It was wrong when majorities of Canadians did it to native peoples, Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Pakistanis, Muslims and homosexuals. It is just as wrong nowadays when politicians, journalists, academics and others do it to Evangelical Christians.

Stackhouse points out an interesting distinction between moral realism and moral relativism. The former is embodied in the commonsensical outlook on the question of right and wrong favoured by most Canadian evangelicals. The latter is shown to be a hollow term, used by those who want to call anybody who isn't on their side a bigot, all-the-while expecting their viewpoints to be affirmed as "right" (an expectation that would, according to the denotation of "moral relativism", involve a contradiction in terms - thus, hypocritical). Stackhouse shows that moral relativism is, in fact, a thinly-veiled moral realism. Stackhouse's point isn't that everybody should adopt evangelical morals. He merely wishes to clear up many of the misconceptions regarding evangelical Canadians; to dismantle the embarrassing stigmas that serve only to derail our society's efforts at cultivating peace and acceptance between its citizens.