Could this be the solution?
TO: Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Harper
FROM: Editor, Science and Religion Department, Toronto Star
I think you will discover that this newspaper's decision to combine its Science Department and its Religion Department into one massive Science and Religion Department can be viewed as the beginning of a positive trend.
Such a reorganization cannot help but reduce confusion in the minds of our readers and, as a direct result, create an electorate that is much better informed.
Not only will it put science and religion in the proper perspective, we believe it will open the door to closer relations between the Toronto Star and your government, which, I gather, hasn't been able to figure out why they were separate departments in the first place. If you will permit a personal note, neither have I.
Once you see that the Star is not exclusively the mouthpiece of secular humanism that you may have suspected it was, based on the ill-informed reporting you had grown accustomed to finding in it before our new department was established, we anticipate it might lead to an enhanced information flow from your office, possibly including our being invited to your annual, off-the-record garden party at 24 Sussex (the first of which we were disappointed to be turned away from by the Commissionaires, but we look forward to your hosting many more in the future), and to your aides no longer burning your press releases and sending only the ashes to our Ottawa bureau.
As an indication of good faith, let me assure you that stories we once thoughtlessly printed to nobody's benefit but the opposition parties' now come across my desk, and I have been throwing them in the trash because they lack balance.
Take items about global warming. When stories focus on nothing but the scientific aspect, citizens get all worked up and run around shouting, "We're gonna die! We're gonna die!'' And even though these citizens invariably turn out to be professional New Democratic Party agitators, it makes it very difficult for you, the lone voice of reason, to be heard.
But we have heard you. And now our position is that until the Pope's Green Crusade comes to an abrupt end when the pontiff is felled by heatstroke while saying mass in Antarctica — no, I'll go even further.
If global warming is ever, scientifically, proven to be the result of pillars of fire popping up here, there and everywhere, you will read about it in our pages. Until then we'll maintain an appropriate silence.
Once the truth is known, our readers and your voters will benefit mightily, as, no doubt, will you and we if it prompts some of your voters to become our readers, which not a single one of them ever has been before.
While it is not a problem for most Canadian newspapers, if a paper like the Toronto Star is going to survive, that is the only way we will do it: by fearlessly printing the truth, and not the lies and hypocrisy we were obliged to rely on during previous governments.
As an example of how things used to be before the establishment of our new Science and Religion Department, the Star, alone among leading newspapers in this country, did not run, under a front-page banner headline, the story about Noah's ark being discovered by a team from the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute, the Christian research organization operating out of Colorado that had earlier found Mt. Sinai (it was in Australia; who else thought to look there?).
The Star didn't run the story at all!
As a result, our readers were denied the opportunity to learn that when Robert Cornuke, founder of the Bible Archaeology Institute, first spotted this big pile of rubble he was unimpressed. "But when we got close, we were amazed. It looked similar to wood.''
So maybe it was particleboard. The Bible is strangely vague about what Noah built it out of. But you see what combining science and religion can accomplish?
"I can't imagine what it could be if it is not the ark,'' said Arch Bonnema, a long-time employee of the institute.
Mr. Prime Minister, a great many of your supporters had been looking forward to the discovery of the ark because it would be surefire proof that God exists.
Might I modestly suggest it is icing on the cake? The Star and your government working harmoniously together will prove it every bit as well.
Slinger's column appears Tuesday and Thursday. Toronto Star a not very sectarian newspaper