Letters to the Editor – Winter 2015

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From The Catalyst Winter 2015

The Trouble With Partisanship

Kathryn Teeluck provides us with a concise and clear review of Fighting Over God by Janet Epp Buckingham (Summer 2015). Epp Buckingham’s points seem cogent and significant.

I’m reading a biography of Richard John Neuhaus from the United States, a liberal Lutheran pastor who later became a conservative Catholic priest. For decades he argued for religion in the public sphere.

He also argued that advocacy and action are so often misused and abused double-edged swords because Christianity in the West often has become the slave of partisanship on just about any side, depending when one observes and studies the phenomenon. Unfortunately, Neuhaus was later one of the most effective conservative Christian advocates for the Republican Party.

Now I will have to get Epp Buckingham’s book to see how she advocates religion fitting in the public square.

Jim Dekker
St. Catherines, Ont.

I could not agree more with the title of the article, “Time for Churches to Speak as One” (Summer 2015). However, what perturbs me to no end is that the author is identified with a political party rather than with a faith community.

I firmly believe that the vulnerability of the faith communities of which the author justifiably speaks (especially their decline in numbers) has everything to with too many people identifying the Christian message with the platforms of political parties.

Unless the various faith communities distinguish noticeably and radically between their message and the voices of the various political parties, be it here in Canada, the United States, or elsewhere, churches, sad to say, will find it nearly impossible to speak with one voice and the decline in membership will continue.

Furthermore, radicalization, anti-semitism, and all the structural evils dealt with by Cynthia Moe-Lobeda in her excellent book Resisting Structural Evil (reviewed by Joe Gunn in the same issue of the Catalyst) will only increase.

Simon Wolfert
Surrey, B.C.

Churches Need to Do More

I appreciated the article about the refugee sponsorship system, “Churches Well-placed to Advocate for Refugees” (Summer 2015). The federal government is not doing as much as it used to do for refugees. I know that churches have done much. Given the gap with the government, churches need to join together and do more.

Sister Theresa Nagle
Hamilton, Ont.

2015 Election Bulletin

A million thank yous for guiding us so competently and confidentially with your 2015 Election Bulletin!

Keep on doing what you’re doing.

Sister Maura McGrath
Montreal, Que.

Congratulations on your special edition of the 2015 Election Bulletin. You are rendering many people a great service and helping to promote a more authentic democracy.

Remi J. De Roo
Nanaimo, B.C.

Thank you so much for producing the Election Bulletin version of the Catalyst. In September, I took a package of 50 copies of the Election Bulletin. I made an announcement at my church, Fellowship Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in Edmonton, about this excellent resource and distributed 35 copies. On the eve of the election, I also participated as a panelist in an election forum at West End CRC and distributed the remaining copies.

The thoughtful analysis and commentary contained within the Election Bulletin on a variety of important national topics was very beneficial to me and I’m certain to many others who perused the issue. At the election forum, I also urged attendees to visit CPJ’s website to access more of CPJ’s superlative work. As taxation had been a frequent talking point among politicians during the campaign, I also referred the audience to Karri Munn- Venn’s excellent series on the topic published this past spring at Loonie Politics.

Mark Huyser-Wierenga
Edmonton, Alta.

We want to hear from you!

Submit your letters to:

Brad Wassink at ac.jpc@darb or 309 Cooper Street, #501, Ottawa, ON K2P 0G5.

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