Veteran journalist says Stephen Harper is openly cultivating the support of
the Canadian religious right

TORONTO, May 11 /CNW/ - On May 11th, as Canada's political and faith leaders gather in Ottawa for the 45th National Prayer Breakfast, Random House Canada will release a startling new book by veteran journalist Marci McDonald that chronicles the growing clout of this country's religious right. The book-which is guaranteed to spark a national controversy-is entitled The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada.

For anyone who thinks the Christian right could never take root in Canada the way it has in the United States, McDonald's book is a timely wake-up call. Having watched the growth of the American religious right as a former Washington bureau chief for Maclean's, she sees the unmistakable signs of a similar phenomenon taking root here.

"For years, I heard academics and the mainstream media in Washington dismiss the Christian right as a passing political fad, constantly penning its obituary," she says. "When they woke up to the reality of its organizing prowess, it was already too late: the Christian Coalition had effectively taken over the Republican party and both houses of Congress and would go on to put George W. Bush in the White House."

In a riveting portrait of a parallel culture that has largely escaped the mainstream media's radar, The Armageddon Factor shows how Harper's government has worked with the religious right across denominational and faith lines to bring about radical changes that will reshape the country for years to come. In four short years, it has:

    
    -   Revamped the nation's judicial system and altered the makeup of
        federal courts to put them on a more socially conservative track
    -   Defunded women's and foreign aid groups that criticize government
        policy, especially in the Middle East
    -   Promoted the growth of faith-based education by doling out more than
        $56 million in economic stimulus funds to a dozen private Christian
        colleges and universities
    -   Refused to fund abortion as part of its G8 initiative on maternal and
        child care
    -   Fostered a sophisticated program set up by a private evangelical
        university to train a new generation of Christian college students
        for jobs in government and the public service, complete with
        internships in the prime minister's office, where two of Harper's top
        advisors are former activists in the Christian right.
    

Readers may also be shocked to learn that some Christian nationalists with close ties to the government are driven by the conviction that Canada has a biblically pre-ordained role to play in the final days before the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. Convinced that those end-times are now at hand, they are agitating to turn the country into an officially Christian nation, governed by biblical literalists according to the principles of the Scriptures. All of this in order to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy they see lurking in the national motto taken from Psalm 72: 8: "And He shall have dominion from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth."

The Armageddon Factor is an indispensable guide to the personalities and faith-based organizations that have put down long-term roots in Ottawa. If you want to know who is shaping Canadian policy and making national headlines, and why they are doing it, The Armageddon Factor has the sometimes alarming answers.

SOURCE Penguin Random House Canada Limited

For further information: For further information: Adria Iwasutiak, Senior Publicist, Random House of Canada, (416) 957-1563, aiwasutiak@randomhouse.com


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