The political values present in the Presbyterian church in Canada's response to social problems, 1925-1975


Angus, James Murray




This thesis seeks to discern the political values present in the Presbyterian Church in Canada's response to social problems from 1925 to 1975. The author believes that the Presbyterian Church has tended to accept uncritically the dominant political ideology in Canadian society (i.e., liberalism) and has therefore provided a powerful religious legitimation for liberal values. The Church's responses to social problems (and particularly to socio-economic problems) are analyzed because they embody certain attitudes and assumptions about how society functions, thus revealing political values. Different aspects of the Church's response are taken into consideration: the nature and extent of the Church's interest in social issues at any particular time is examined in light of the Church's theological orientation. Wherever possible, the responses to socio-economic issues themselves are analyzed individually. An ideological typology is developed to illustrate the relationship between particular ideological values and approaches to social problems. The fundamental conflict is shown to be between those approaches which employ an individualistic analysis (i.e..liberal) and those which give consideration to structural factors (i.e., socialist). The Church's response to socio-economic problems is analyzed in light of this individualistic/structural dichotomy and can therefore be associated with a particular political viewpoint. Historically, the Presbyterian Church is shown to have consistently employed an approach to social problems which has conformed with a liberal viewpoint.


Presbyterian Church -- Canada
Church And Social Problems -- Canada -- Presbyterian Church




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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