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Anti-gay pastor, denied by Ric McIver, endorses the PC leadership candidate anyway

Artur Pawlowski

The Calgary pastor who believes gays aren't merely being duped by Satan, but are practically on the demonic payroll, endorsed Tory leadership candidate Ric McIver yesterday.

Artur Pawlowski of Calgary's so-called Street Church, a well-known nuisance violator of civic noise bylaws and leader of the annual March for Jesus attended several times in his political career by McIver, yesterday told the Calgary Herald the candidate is the best man to preserve "traditional Alberta values."

Never mind that McIver disavowed his connection with the Pastor Pawlowski's beliefs at least thrice, if not quite his relationship with the pastor himself, after his 2014 appearance in the preacher's annual "March for Jesus."

No sooner had McIver allowed himself to be photographed at the June 15 parade than his political opponents were Tweeting links to the Street Church's contentious views about participants in the city's Pride Parade -- "that they are not ashamed to declare the name of their master (Satan)."

McIver hid out for a few days, and then gingerly backed away from the Street Church's views, declaring that "if chosen premier, I do and will continue to defend equality rights for all Albertans as defined in the Charter, including sexual orientation." Eventually, he issued a statement calling Pastor Pawlowski's opinions "ugly" and "nasty."

Pastor Pawlowski didn't shed any tears about that disavowal, though. He went straight to the media and explained that "Albertans would be stupid not to vote for that man."

Anyway, no roosters crowed before or after McIver's disavowal of the pastor and at least some of his doctrines -- thanks at least in part to Provincial Court Judge Catherine Skene's 2012 ruling that the Cowtown bylaw prohibiting Calgarians from keeping chickens in their back yards is constitutional. (That's enough obscure Bible references -- Ed.)

The pastor told the Herald that real Albertans were disappointed by McIver's disavowal, but they understood why he had to do it. "We have, in the Bible, very similar circumstances," he said, referencing the same chicken story noted above.

He had some unkind words for both of McIver's opponents -- frontrunner and former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice and former deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk, slamming the former for being too inclusive in his campaign staff and the latter for not living up to the pastor's fiscal views.

The important question now, though, is whether Pastor Pawlowski's endorsement and the votes of his flock will help or hinder McIver's leadership bid.

As argued here, posts passim, they could actually boost McIver's leadership campaign, since the Calgary-Hays MLA has now almost cornered what's left of the extreme social conservative vote left among the PC Party's supporters.

It's even possible, if unlikely, that they could push him over the top. And they will certainly make the winner and future premier of Alberta -- most likely Prentice -- think twice about not putting McIver into his cabinet to shore up the province's hard-core Christianist vote.

But if McIver did win, his association with Pastor Pawlowski's flock would destroy him and the Progressive Conservative Party.

They may also sink the chances of any other candidate who wins, because between them, McIver and Pastor Pawlowski have torpedoed two years of concerted efforts by PC strategists to brand the Wildrose Party as a bunch of homophobic nuts for remarks discovered in a blog by a candidate in the 2012 election campaign.

Since both conservative parties stand for pretty much the same thing on most other issues, they have frittered away about the only significant advantage held by the PCs.

Thus endeth the lesson.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

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