Closed secularism breeds intolerance

Divorcing a spiritual practice from its religious meaning is problematic and a forcible whitewashing of something deeply and fundamentally complex

Closed secularism breeds intoleranceBy David Hunt and Brian Dijkema Cardus Most court decisions are a zero-sum game. One side’s win is the other’s loss. But this was not the result recently at the B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo. Both sides, and the public, lost in Servatius versus Alberni School District No. 70. One side wanted smudging ceremonies and…

Why Christmas matters in a secular society

Its message of goodwill towards all people is ultimately in the best interest of a multicultural society

Why Christmas matters in a secular societyWe go to extremes to avoid the religious aspects of Christmas in the public sphere, and we are worse for it. Christian beliefs about Christmas might offend someone in our secular and multicultural society, so we ignore its religious and historical background. The reluctance to mention the origins of this much-loved holiday permeates early childhood…

A respectful Canada has room for disagreement

Closing politics and public life to those who are religious leaves us with a less tolerant society that brings fundamental freedoms into question

A respectful Canada has room for disagreementDisagreement is normal, if not necessary, in a healthy democracy. Being intolerant and disrespectful toward those with whom we disagree, however, is fatal to that democracy. Historically, Canadians have had the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (and the Bill of Rights before it) for protection. That’s especially important for racial, religious, political or sexual minorities,…

Where’s the outcry over Quebec’s restrictive Bill 21?

The relatively low value Canadians assign to religious freedom and the tepid opposition to secularism laws are worrisome

Where’s the outcry over Quebec’s restrictive Bill 21?Have we lost all sense of proportion when it comes to our fundamental rights in Canada? Two recent cases suggest we have. Both cases involve the notwithstanding clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which allows legislatures to temporarily bypass certain constitutionally-protected rights. Two premiers have sought to invoke the much-discussed clause recently. Yet…

We need to discuss the darker side of some Muslim tenets

People everywhere should be able to worship as they please or not worship at all

We need to discuss the darker side of some Muslim tenetsThe massacre of Muslims at prayer in New Zealand on March 15 is yet another appalling example of the horrors of extreme hatred. In this case, the mass murderer was a deluded white supremacist. Other recently targeted victims have been Jews at worship in Pittsburgh, or just anyone who chose to come to the wrong…

Quebec bill shows a deep desire to push people around

Banning the wearing of religious clothing robs public servants of the right to make their own choices

Quebec bill shows a deep desire to push people aroundLegislative hearings on outlawing the wearing of religious clothing or symbols by specific Quebec public servants could easily be dismissed as proverbial lipstick on a pig.  In fact, they’re worse, much worse, than a skin-deep brush with porcine cosmetology. They are part of a calculated exploitation of the deep human spiritual need to push other…

Denying TWU’s bid for a law school was the right decision

But why were so many provincial law societies silent in the face of clear LGBTQ discrimination?

Denying TWU’s bid for a law school was the right decisionIn a society that prizes the rights and freedoms guaranteed to us by our Constitution, sorting through what to do when rights collide can be challenging. The Supreme Court of Canada recently dealt with that very issue. The Supreme Court protected the dignity of LGBTQ people in Canada and the integrity of the legal profession…

Compelled speech compromises basic rights

If the Canada Summer Jobs precedent holds, soon other government agencies will mix public funds and political preferences

Compelled speech compromises basic rightsIn a crucial free speech ruling recently, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the constitution in that country prohibits forcing people to say what they don’t believe. Here in Canada, a young Ottawa lawyer upped the ante recently by filing a Federal Court lawsuit arguing that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right…

The modern quest for equality sacrifices freedom

In societies where economic equality exists, individual liberty is highly restricted. Communism is the perfect example

The modern quest for equality sacrifices freedomEquality is one of the hallowed values of the post-Enlightenment west. It's celebrated in the French revolutionary slogan, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” and in the American Declaration of Independence, which asserts that it is “self-evident” that “all men are created equal,” as well as that all men have “inalienable Rights” such as “Liberty.” The Canadian Charter of…