Religion matters more than ever in the age of COVID-19

Houses of worship are as much an essential service for our physical needs as grocery stores

Religion matters more than ever in the age of COVID-19Springtime – which includes observances like Easter, Passover and Ramadan – seems a good time to bust the popular Canadian myth that religion is a completely private, personal matter with little relevance for broader Canadian society. New evidence from the Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with the think-tank Cardus, indicates the opposite is true: religion…

Religious freedom equals educational freedom

The claim that merging Ontario’s government-run and Catholic school systems will save “an estimated $1.6 billion a year” is blarney

Religious freedom equals educational freedomIn terms of cultural insensitivity, the latest call for ending Ontario’s Catholic school funding wins the shamrock, coming, as it did, on St. Patrick’s Day. But if we overlook that faux pas, we still have to consider the pot of gold that would be saved by absorbing Catholic schools into the government-run system. Or do…

The best response to more lockdowns? Civil disobedience

Lockdowns can't be the new normal

The best response to more lockdowns? Civil disobedienceIn Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and elsewhere, churches are pushing back against COVID-19 lockdowns, staying open and advising people to practise civil disobedience. Such behaviour must be replicated across Canada. The draconian pandemic response from the provincial and federal governments has paved the way for a permanently expanded state. Imposing strict restrictions on the economy a…

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…
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