“God Bless Canada”

Much to my dismay, Stephen Harper seems to end his speeches with “God Bless Canada”. Some people think that he is deliberately paying homage to George W Bush. I highly doubt this. It is well-known that Harper is quite religious, being a Presbyterian Christian. I suspect that he truly enjoys uttering those three words.

So what is my beef with this? On one level I don’t think it is that bad. He’s a Christian so it’s not surprising that he says it. In comparison, I would expect a Muslim politician to say the phrase “Salam Alaikum” in a speech. The phrase is an expression of his faith, much in the same way that a Sikh would wear a turban. No big deal, right. However, it is never made clear whether Harper is asking for a blessing on his behalf or on the behalf of the whole country. This is the main issue I have with him saying “God Bless Canada”. This ambiguity clearly jeopardizes the separation of church and state. Who is Stephen Harper to ask for the blessing of a (our) country?

On a more personal level I think Harper is deliberately pushing his religion. I don’t think he is being honest when he actually says “God Bless Canada”. Why does Harper say this out loud, can he not pray to his god without speaking? Does his god differentiate between the spoken word and internal blessings? Harper is advertising his religion and trying to influence Canadians to embrace Christianity. He is a man of power and intelligence, so make no mistake about it: Harper is purposely pressing forward a Christian doctrine.

The last aspect of “God Bless Canada” that I don’t agree with is that this statement is exclusionary. Does blessing Canada come at the expense of other countries? Does Canada deserve blessing because we’re all nice people? If you listened to Harper’s speeches over the last 18 months you would actually come to the conclusion that we don’t really deserve blessings. After all, we chose a government that lied, cheated, plundered, murdered, etc…

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