Does Joseph Ben-Ami wear a yarmulke because he's a cardinal?
Marci McDonald writing about Canada's "Christian right" is about as convincing as Ted Byfield would be if he ever wrote a book about the nuances of the Quebec sovereignty movement.
It's just not within their field of expertise -- or even the language they speak.
That's a gentle way of saying McDonald doesn't know what the hell she's talking about.
Here's an excerpt from McDonald's book in the Toronto Star.
It's hard to find a single paragraph that isn't plain old wrong.
My favourite, from this little excerpt, is that McDonald lists Joseph Ben-Ami as a central figure in the rise of the Christian right.
Joseph Ben-Ami. Joseph Ben-Ami. That name. It's almost like -- how do I put this -- HE'S JEWISH.
He's so Jewish he wears a yarmulke, all the time.
Maybe McDonald thinks he wears it because he's a Catholic cardinal.
And then there's the "Christian advocacy group" called the Canadian Constitution Foundation.
I was on the board of the CCF for a year or so. I'm pretty familiar with their bylaws, their staff, their projects, etc.
You might not be familiar with the CCF -- McDonald clearly isn't -- but you've probably heard of some of their more important court cases.
Their first client was a Nisga'a chief, named Chief Mountain. It was a constitutional case about Indian land claims.
Their other famous cases include R. v. Kapp, where they fought for racial equality for Japanese-Canadians.
The one that has received the most press was this case, where they went to bat for a cancer patient who was tired of waiting in line for medically necessary treatment.
My favourite was this one, where they went to bat for bar owners who had been overcharged liquor taxes.
Christian advocacy indeed!
But the way you know for sure that the CCF is a Christian front group, part of the great Christian conspiracy, is their director of litigation -- the woman who quarterbacks their cases.
She's a secular Jew named Karen Selick -- a woman who is, in fact, quite a passionate atheist.
Does anyone think that McDonald actually interviewed Ben-Ami or Selick before writing about them?
Does anyone think McDonald even Googled them?
I even make an appearance in the book, I'm told.
I guess Ezra Isaac Levant sounds pretty Bible-ish. But really, New Testament, Old Testamant -- what's the difference, right?
I've enjoyed some of McDonald's work before. But her clueless coverage of the Christian right is an embarrassment to her, and those who publish her without even a most cursory fact-checking.
McDonald set out to reveal the biases in conservative politics. But the only bias she has revealed is her own.