Evangelicals in Israel with PM Harper

Thanks to an alert blogger.

This is the gang that accompanied Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Israel. Toronto Star:

In addition to the politicians, a delegation of 208 cultural, business and spiritual leaders has joined Harper for this trip, which also includes stops in West Bank and Jordan. The delegation includes 21 rabbis, several dozen more affiliated with Jewish organizations, such as B’Nai Brith Canada, the Jewish National Fund of Canada and the Jewish Federations of Canada. Other religious organizations are also represented, such as Crossroads Christian Communications, the Christian and Missionary Alliance Canada and the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada. Business executives are also part of the delegation, including those from Suncor, Bombardier and Air Canada.

Don Simmonds, Chairman of the Board Crossroads Christian Communications Inc.
Rev. David Wells, General Superintentent Pentecostal Assemblies Of Canada
Don Hutchinson, Vice President, General Legal Counsel The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Rev. (and Mrs.) David Hearn, President Christian & Missionary Alliance Canada
Rev. Stephen Jones, President Fellowship of Evangelical Baptists in Canada
Shawn Ketcheson, pastor Trinity Bible Church, Ottawa


Harper’s spokesman said some of the organizations and community leaders who are on the trip helped choose other delegates.

“In a delegation of this size you will always find different views, including views you do not agree with. Members of the delegation do not speak for the Government of Canada,” Jason MacDonald said in an email to CBC News.

All 208 delegation members, plus the official delegation, have their accommodation paid for by the government.

Thirty members of the accompanying delegation have their travel paid for as well as their accommodation. The 31-person official delegation — including Harper and his wife Laureen — travel on the prime minister’s plane.

About 30 members of the delegation are religious leaders, while around 50 appear to represent Jewish or other religious organizations in Canada. Many work with religious organizations as well as represent Canadian law firms or businesses.

The above evangelical leaders don’t speak for many Canadian evangelicals either. I suspect some just think they do. All of the above organizations represented belong to The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

I don’t see Catholic, Methodist, United, Anglican, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian, and moderate Baptist delegates. I fail to see how going on a Middle East trip with a PM is not perceived as pandering toward branches of Christian Zionism and as political.

Update: National Post columnist Fr. Raymond de Souza is Catholic. He was on the junket. He is in good standing with the church and serves as a parish priest and chaplain. He is well known in The Conservative Party.

Update: Don Simmonds uses 100 Huntley Street to praise Steven Harper, calls the trip exciting and history in the making, and talks about how proud he is to be Canadian.


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9 Responses to Evangelicals in Israel with PM Harper

  1. All 208 delegation members, plus the official delegation, have their accommodation paid for by the government.

    …That is to say, paid for by you and I. For those pastors and denominational leaders to accept the taxpayer-funded hotel and (presumably) meals seems a bit of an ethical quagmire.

  2. Torontonian says:

    For all the bluster that Charles McVety spouts about
    having the Prime Minister’s “ear”, I notice he isn’t on
    the list of delegates to Israel.

    An oversight perhaps or is McVety losing influence
    with the PM? Or, was it never there in the first place?
    Or McVety’s sphere of influence is much diminished
    vis-a-vis the other evangelical delegates?

    I notice also that McVety’s go-to guy at the Ontario
    legislature, Frank Klees, is resigning from the legislature
    when the next election comes along. What with Wynne’s
    minority government and a budget in the spring, the
    election could come sooner that the scheduled election
    next year. I hope we have a spring election just to get rid
    of Klees all that much sooner.

  3. Pingback: Christian Denominational Heads in Israel With Canadian Prime Minister | Thinking Out Loud

  4. Julian says:

    As a former employee of Crossroads I am extremely disgusted with this kind of display by Don Simmonds. Does he really think that this will give Crossroads some sort of credibility by associating with Canad’a PM on an international excursion to Israel. Don Simmonds you are a failed CEO and you had no right nor were you qualified to lead a broadcasting facility.

    In my four years at Crossroads, Crossroads had and has the highest rate of incompetency among those that were or are in authority and management compared to any other broadcaster I had worked in or with. Crossroads management have silenced those employees with payoffs who have tried to expose or bring to light the inner corruption that is within or behind closed doors of the Crossroads organization.

    Now if it is true that many or all of these “Christian” denominational delegates (especially Don Simmonds) travel costs to Israel were covered by Canadian taxpayers then that is a travesty and repugnant to say the least. Waste and more waste of tax dollars. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation should and must look into this matter and hopefully the mainstream news will give more light to this disgusting waste of money of bringing “Christian” Denominational leaders on this most recent trip.
    Don Simmonds you have no right to be the Chairman of the Board of CCCI!

  5. Mark Byron says:

    I don’t see Catholic, Methodist, United, Anglican, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian, and moderate Baptist delegates.

    . They might not have wanted to come, since many of those groups will have more of a pro-Palestinian slant than Jews and evangelicals, either due to having a number of members in Arab territory (often the Catholic or Orthodox take) or due to seeing Israel as the First World aggressor in the conflict.

    If I recall, Canadian Presbyterians are moderately conservative, since the more center-left ones joined the UCC, if I recall my UCC history correctly.

  6. Tim W. Callaway says:

    Several eminent historians have observed over the years that, going back to a least the emperor Constantine, every time the church has openly affiliated itself with the state and its “carrots,” the church has invariably come out the loser on that deal. Methinks this charade will prove to be no exception to that pattern.

  7. FCJ says:

    There is an old saying from Quebec that roughly states that when the church and the politicians are in bed together it is the public that get screwed.

  8. ronmac says:

    Here’s a fun fact. The German word for “Jew” is “Jude.” Maybe Harper should have picked another song than “Hey Jude.”

  9. Pingback: Crossroads Christian Communications, premier sponsor for US conservative evangelical broadcasting convention | Bene Diction Blogs On

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