Some believe the United States and Israel masterminded the attack on the World Trade Tower in 2001. In the 1960s it was alleged that John F. Kennedy, the first and only Catholic to make it to the oval office, was an instrument in a Vatican plot for the pope to take over the United States. Donald Trump suggested that Senator Ted Cruz’s father somehow had a hand in killing JFK in Dallas in 1963.
One of the worst conspiracy theories, and a blood libel as well, is the old suspicion of Jews plotting to take over the globe. There was a toxic document, proved to be fake, called The Elders of the Protocols of Zion used in czarist Russia to create anti-Jewish pogroms. It was a favourite of the industrial genius and loathsome anti-Semite Henry Ford. Hitler’s Nazis also used the protocols to justify their demented ambitions.
Conspiracy theories can be silly and dangerous. Conspiracies help to dehumanize people. They create division and can put lives in danger.
I once did a news story for the National Post about a Quebec politician, a member of Opus Dei, who was “exposed” for being part of a group of religious fanatics hell bent on creating a theocracy run by Dan Brown’s Albino assassins. So I dutifully called the head of Opus Dei in Canada, Msgr. Frederick Dolan. I found his name and number online. When he answered he said, “Ask me anything you want.” The story was titled, “Opus Dei — The Super Secret Religious Society That’s in the Phone Book.”
Nowadays I hear similar conspiracy theories involving gay men and women. I hear this so often I am beginning to find it disturbing.
The worst example of this came from an evangelical preacher during the time that former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was first trying to introduce a new sex-ed curriculum for schools. The preacher claimed the point of the program was to raise homosexuals as playmates for older homosexuals.
McGuinty’s sex-ed program was flawed, as is the current one, of that there is no doubt, but the notion of leering gay men creating a Frankenstein laboratory was grotesque.
I have worked with gay men and women. The people I have met over the years simply want to live their lives in peace and quiet. They are sinners, as we are all sinners. Popes go to confession more often than most of us. So we have something in common in our sinful nature.
Not all sin is sexual.
Of course we have seen the legalization of gay marriage and we now see the current obsession with transgender rights. We have also seen the awful diminishing of Christian rights in a misguided attempt to affirm gay marriage and dignity.
But who is to blame? Every group that identifies around some shared value or trait asks for things. Gay men and women are no different. Their desire for what they regard as equality in marriage should not be surprising. Certainly their demand for equality in the workplace was just.
But no government has to grant everything that is requested. At the time of the debate on same-sex marriage some legal scholars worried that, after gay marriage, the next door to open would be polygamy.
In the case of Trinity Western University, the source of their problem is not some gay conspiracy but objections from so-called respected law societies. The British Columbia university had hoped to open a law school this fall, but encountered stiff opposition because it makes students and staff sign a community covenant that bans sex outside of straight marriage.
Law societies in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia are arguing that TWU graduates would be unfit to practise law because of that covenant. The assumption — a foolish and disgraceful assumption — is that graduates of the proposed law school will be bigots.
This is not a gay conspiracy. It’s a decision by shameful lawyers. The act that legalized gay marriage in 2005 allows for religious institutions to dissent.
Perhaps these anti-Christian lawyers should be declared unfit to practise.
Amy Robertson, spokesperson for TWU, said the school has no interest in changing the gay marriage law. Rather, they only want their right to run a Christian school in a manner they see fit.
When Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbour,” He made the answer clear: everyone is our neighbour.
(Lewis, former religion editor for the National Post, is a Toronto writer.)