"After the last tree is felled, Jesus will come back." Who said that? James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s Interior secretary made this assertion before Congress in 1981. So why am I quoting this ridiculous man? Because while an American, Watt’s remarks serve as something of a warning for Canadians. James G. Watt was a fundamentalist Christian; one known as a Dispensationalist. Never heard of them? Don’t know any? A Dispensationalist is a member of that segment of Christianity who believes in the “Rapture”, as most fundamentalists do (that is, that Christ will bodily return to earth and believers, living and dead, will rise up to meet him in the air as Christ descends ). This part of it doesn’t concern me. People can believe whatever they like. But the other parts of their belief system concern me a great deal. One main concern is that Dispensationalists believe it pointless to worry about environmental degradation as the end of the world is so near. Besides, they long for the “rapture” that will come as soon as the world is aflame with wars and evil doing and environmental degradation, then as Mr. Watt said, Christ will come back. And eventually only the good people (believers, no matter how criminal) and Jesus Christ himself, will abandon the totally shambled earth and rise to heaven. Our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is a Dispensationalist and so is Stockwell Day (The Armageddon Factor by Marci Mcdonald).
So why am I so worried about this? People have a right to their religious beliefs. Except when world heads of state allow their religious beliefs to interfere with the wishes of their own people, and/or to enflame tensions in other countries. Stephen Harper does both. So does Stockwell Day when he gets a chance. But just how does it hurt other people that our heads of state have certain religious beliefs? Because the ones we have now interpret the Bible literally. And because Dispensationalists also interpret the Bible to mean that the “rapture” they long for can’t come until the above conditions are met plus one more…that Israel has to be in command of the countries surrounding her. Wonder why Harper can only see good in Israel and only evil in the hearts of Palestinians? Why he seems totally out of step with the rest of western countries on environmentalism and women’s issues such as his refusal to allow abortion as part of maternal health abroad? And why he can’t acknowledge that the rest of the world is admitting that Bush’s war on drugs degrades and endangers everybody and are looking at other solutions besides prisons for the addicted and obscene profits for drug cartels that are so readily laundered by our banks?
Canada is beginning to resemble Mexico rather than the US. Obama has had at least a little influence on social and foreign policy for the better. Harper’s big interest is in convincing people that violent crime is on the rise when it has actually fallen (CBC Current Feb 15) and that we need more prisons. Harper is huge on punishing his own people. And more prisons would be good for the economy, he figures. Construction jobs, guards, etc. And private companies to run them. And then the prisons will be there, waiting, when Harper’s policies start producing protests that might be a little too hot to handle. And when the last tree falls? Well, then we’ll get Jesus.