05.12.2010 11:58 AM

Charlie Lewis, R.I.P.

This makes me sad. I used to work with a Charles Lewis at the Ottawa Citizen. He was a wonderful, thoughtful guy. There was no bigger supporter than him for the work I was doing exposing the religious right and the far right.  No one.

That’s why I’m sad to read tripe like the linked column – the hackneyed, clichéd, anti-CBC and anti-secularism/pro-Harper and pro-religious right claptrap that the Post churns out, endlessly, while completely indifferent to the effect it has on its circulation and/or credibility.  When I wrote for them, they – the great free-speechers! – refused to let me print a goddamned word that was positive about the CBC, the Star or related subjects.  When they also refused to let me say what I wanted to say about protecting human rights, I quit.  Now, I only read them online, and sporadically at best.

Anyway.  The Charles Lewis I knew isn’t the Charles Lewis I see in the Post this morning.  He’s left the building, and I sure miss him.


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    Bill says:

    Can’t say I can argue with too many of his observations.

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    Nastyboy says:

    I cagree with many of the points in the article too.

    There has been a trend on the left to demonize all Christians as being US style moral majority, right wing extremists, without ever stopping to think that just as there are major differences in Americans and Canadians in general, so are there differences between Canadian and American Christians.

    The fundamentalism you see in the US just doesn’t exist here to the same degree.

    20 years ago, most evangelical Christians were liberals. Now for whatever reason many feel they’ve been all but told they’re not welcome, and they’ve left the party.


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    Tim from Alberta says:

    Mr. Lewis has written a column suggesting that the interview on CBC was very biased.He gives examples.He suggests that there are many people in this country that do not agree with this author.For that you classify his column as claptrap?
    How liberally left of you….
    then you say that you are “coming home”….to Alberta.One might wonder why??

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      Warren says:

      Hey, Tim, I grew up in Alberta. There are no Alberta “values.”

      Secondly, it’s my web site. If you find it objectionable, go elsewhere.

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    billg says:

    Secondly, it’s my web site. If you find it objectionable, go elsewhere.
    That funny.
    On a more important note…… Habs 3 Pens 2 Big night from Scotty Gomez.
    You read it here first.

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    Michael Watkins says:

    Lewis in The Post puts forth all sorts of straw-man arguments in the process of making it appear McDonald is against all of the faithful.

    I’ve not read Marci McDonald’s book, but if her point is that the religious right (or the anti-secular right, or the pointedly right for political purposes) is on the rise in Canada and that this particular political class is worthy of noting due to their growing influence on the national scene, and if that is a new element of our modern-day politics, then I fully agree.

    Given the experience in the U.S., how could anyone not draw the conclusion that such a development *could* expand into a situation where our politics is more and more divided on religious and cultural lines? I fail to see how that would be a good thing for a country like our own.

    Certainly ties to organized religion has become a big component of winning electoral district nomination contests in *many* Conservative battles. Here in B.C. prospective candidates have to contend both with cultural blocs as well as religious blocs and sometimes both are one in the same, although the fundamentalist right wing religious blocs I do note tend to be much whiter than our population as a whole, and generally angrier and more self-righteous.

    Having such opinions will earn me the title of lefty for sure, despite the fact that for years I used to actively campaign against the Liberals and against the NDP, even while all along I have applauded shows like The Current and many other productions the CBC does and does well. My Canada will always include the CBC, in both languages. The Notional Pest? Didn’t even notice they were still around.

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    billg says:

    The ‘religious right’ thing is getting a little tiresome….for partisans there’s a reason they tie the word “right” into it. My MP is Cheryl Gallant…as religious right wing as they come. Its taken Ms Gallant a few years to come to grips that even though she can sit as an MP here for the next 50 years she’s to keep her religious opinions to herself, because, the great majority of us ‘necks’ dont want to hear it or be bothered with it. I have not read McDonalds book and probably wont, but, if I ever wanted to sell a book I’d fill it with “this stuff is true and should really scare you”.
    Funny…didnt Barack Obama refuse to distance himself from a self serving minister who used and still uses the term whitey? There’s too many good people in Canada to lose sleep over the extreme left or the extreme right. One a half hours to game time…oh baby!!!

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    Anne Peterson says:

    I was raised on a farm in Alberta and I have almost finished reading the Armageddon Factor and I believe it and it scares me skinny. Gilles Duceppe asked in QP why Canadian aid dollars are being used to translate bibles in poor countries and that is a good question. Our tax money should NOT be used to fund religious initiatives. If churches want to do that they should fund it themselves. Separation of church and state I say. And for those of us who do not believe in the end of days, please what do we do about global warming for the sake of our grandchildren, and if Armgeddon and the rapture do not happen, which most rational people are sure it won’t, what do the grandchildren of the fundamentalists do then when it is too late to deal with it.

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    Michael Watkins says:

    Untrue. Lewis didn’t put forth arguments worth considering let alone agreement or disagreement.

    I consider at the very least the following excerpts from Lewis’ editorial to be straw-man arguments:

    “By the end of the discussion, it was clear that anyone who might have concerns about abortion, who still regrets Parliament’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, or who gives 100% support to Israel is a danger to the nation.”

    McDonald didn’t say that.

    “Put another way, anyone who disagrees is an enemy — though Ms. McDonald was far too polite to just spit it out that plainly.”

    McDonald didn’t say that.

    “In the view of Ms. McDonald, these [paying taxes, supporting schools, giving to charity, running shelters…] activities are distractions.

    McDonald didn’t say that, either. I could go on.

    If Charlie Lewis bases much of his missive on his own misrepresentations of McDonald’s positions, what, if not straw-man arguments, do you call the many attacks at McDonald contained within his editorial piece?

    Stuck? Here’s a clearer statement for you then: his piece was pure and simple crap.

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    Riff says:

    Yes, the nutjobs like Lewis, Levant, and the PMO gang are on the counter-attack because they fully realize that Harper’s intimate connections with the Christian Evangelical Right in Canada constitutes his and his Party’s Achilles heal.

    Marci McDonald was right about the threat of the Christian Evangelical Right when she wrote her excellent piece about the phenomenon for the Walrus in October 2006. She has researched the topic for several years now and presents the goods in her book, Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada.

    Before people spout off nonsense, much of it will be sheer bigotry, about her book they should bloody well read it and weigh carefully the evidence that she uses to back up her claim.

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    Arnold Murphy says:

    Northern Foundation, the real Conservative inner circle.

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