Canadians are becoming increasingly uneasy about mixing religion and politics and they'd be more likely to vote for a party lead by an atheist or a Muslim than an evangelical Christian, suggests a new poll.
The survey was conducted for CanWest News Service late last week, less than three months after Canadians voted for a government led by Stephen Harper, an evangelical Christian and one of the country's most openly religious leaders in decades.
Only 63 per cent of Canadians said they'd vote for a party leader and potential prime minister who is an evangelical Christian, even if they liked the party and its views. That dropped from 80 per cent a decade ago.
Canadians appear to be slightly more accepting of a potential prime minister who is a Muslim or atheist.
Sixty-eight per cent said they would vote for a candidate in either of those categories, a drop from 74 per cent and 72 per cent, respectively, in 1996.
The typically theologically illiterate Canadian could not identify the tenets of evangelical Christianity, nor properly identify evangelical denominations from a list of Protestant churches (and they'd probably wonder why the Catholic Church was left off the list). And he probably could not name any prominent evangelical Christians, except a few televangelists whose influence even within their own denominations is far less than commonly believed. This, in a country where the majority of the English-speaking population is at least nominally Protestant.
But the evangelicals have become the new class of untouchables to be excluded from public life, one far more sinister than the Catholics and Jews with their supposedly divided allegiances to foreign powers and even Muslims whose faith cannot even grasp the notion of a distinct secular sphere.
This poll apparently does not give a regional breakdown of numbers, but one suspects that the greatest hostility would have been in Toronto (whose elites would rather see their sons be pederasts than preachers) and in Quebec (where even now, Protestantism is still regarded as anglais .
And don't think that this is simply limited to politics, either. I suspect as many people would want to see evangelicals excluded from law, medicine, education, and a whole host of professions because of their beliefs.
Source: Ottawa Citizen