Politicians share reflections on faith and office
Talk on politics as Christian profession and faith and the environment
3 min. read
February 4, 2015

Redeemer students have long been active in political parties of all stripes. Although Redeemer as an institution does not explicitly support any particular party, it does encourage its students to find their voice in the political sphere. To that end, Redeemer students had the chance to meet and speak with two politicians, who shared reflections on politics as a Christian profession and on faith and the environment. Minister John McKay visited Dr. Berkelaar’s Introduction to Environmental Science class on Friday, January 23. “With Minister McKay’s visit, my students were able to gain an appreciation of how a politician navigates the process of taking scientific data and turning it into policies that serve the people of Canada,” Dr. Berkelaar recounted. Minister McKay is currently serving as the Liberal party’s Environment Critic and Vice-Chair of that committee. He is a requested speaker on faith and politics, and the role of religion in public discourse. The title of McKay’s talk was Faith, Politics and the Environment. Minister McKay encouraged students, particularly as people of faith, to be civically engaged in protection of the environment: “Among evangelical youth in particular, care for and stewardship of the environment has become a big deal. Most of you are not so great when it comes to the responsibilities of citizenship and you shouldn’t avoid these issues as Christian youth called to stewards of the world around you.” He spotted the solar panels on Redeemer’s roof and commended them, encouraging places of worship and institutions like Redeemer to continue looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact and work towards sustainability. “Hearing from Minister McKay made the issues we’ve learned about in class practical. He inspired me to look deeper and see how important it is for our generation to change the way we think about and care for the environment,” said third-year student Sarah Parsons. Earlier this year, several students formed a Conservative Club. The following is a reflection by Conservative Club president James Constable on a visit that Minister Jason Kenney made to a local restaurant on at the invitation of the Club. “The newly formed Redeemer University College Student Conservative Club met on Tuesday, January 20 at Southcote 53 for a wonderful social with special guest speaker the Honorable Jason Kenney. The Minister, who was elected as part of the 2011 Conservative federal majority, has since held portfolios in Employment, Social Development and Multiculturalism. There was a large turnout, with around 20 Redeemer students as well as several guests from the McMaster and Brock University Conservative Clubs and the Conservative Candidate for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, Vincent Samuel. Students, faculty and staff from Redeemer, as well as members of the local community, were able to mingle, interact with and get to know Minister Kenney. Minister Kenney also shared his reflections on how, although the political profession is viewed with disdain by some, entering the field of politics can still be a Christian vocation. The first inspiration mentioned was Pope John Paul II, who in one of his Papal Encyclicals promoted the idea of public service as a kind of “selfless love.” Minister Kenney emphasized the Pope’s perseverance as a young man in studying for the priesthood during the era of Nazism. John Paul II went on to serve as a Bishop and then Cardinal in Poland while the country was under a Communist government, which actively opposed Christianity. Kenney also shared the story of Shabaz Batti, a Pakistani politician who was Minister of Minority Rights. Shabaz Batti was trying to protect religious groups from the blasphemy law and was assassinated for his efforts by the Taliban. Minister Kenney and Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Shabaz Batti six weeks before his murder. Following his short talk, Kenney took a few questions from students, staff and faculty with topics ranging from balancing the budget to the relevance of the Monarchy in today’s society.” James Constable is a second-year political science and history student from Uxbridge, Ontario

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