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…

Religious freedom benefits everyone

But hard secularism and the marginalization of some Canadians are reducing our deep pluralism and chipping away at our freedoms

Religious freedom benefits everyoneIt’s a safe bet that Asia Bibi – a Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy charges in Pakistan but still facing mob violence – would say religious freedom makes Canada a better country. Indeed, it’s because Canada enjoys religious freedom that this country may even grant her asylum. Chances are that Muslim Rohingyas fleeing Burma or…

Make room for religious diversity in the workplace

Banning Quebec frontline civil servants from wearing religious symbols would show obstinate and dangerous secularism

Banning Quebec frontline civil servants from wearing religious symbols, as premier-designate François Legault intends to do, would be socially regressive. Imposing this kind of flinty and obstinate secularism squashes the very diversity most politicians claim to value and support. It’s also out of step with the growing awareness among the business community that religious diversity…

Freedom of religion disappearing in Canada

What we have in its place is a gospel of the secular, as interpreted by unelected judges and a feminist prime minister

Freedom of religion disappearing in CanadaFreedom of religion is guaranteed to all Canadians in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter has taken two major blows recently – one from a policy change implemented by the federal government, the second from the Supreme Court of Canada. The first blow came when the government announced that any group wishing to…

How school systems respond to the pressure to be inclusive

Fundamental to human rights in Canada is access to a public education system that offers choice and quality to the taxpayers who pay for it

How school systems respond to the pressure to be inclusiveChoice and opportunity should be fundamental to public education, but sometimes the argument gets muddied by peculiar personal perspectives. We’ve seen an unprecedented movement in Canadian publicly-supported schools to accommodate the needs and rights of minority groups such as LGBTQ, with the introduction of gender-neutral bathrooms and curriculum updates. Social justice issues have taken up…

Are Canada’s public schools truly for everyone?

The Saskatchewan ruling gives provinces the impetus to explore the alternatives to forcing children into secular public education

Are Canada’s public schools truly for everyone?It's time to go back to the drawing board on public funding for education. In Saskatchewan, a recent ruling by a Court of Queen's Bench justice was meant to end a 12-year legal battle between public and Catholic school administrations. But Premier Brad Wall’s announcement that the province will invoke the notwithstanding clause for the first…

Smudging ceremony crosses line into realm of the sacred

When a school begins to talk about cleansing spirits, it's moving away from something that's strictly cultural into the realm of the sacred

Smudging ceremony crosses line into realm of the sacredImagine if a public school put up a nativity scene to teach students the Christian view of Christmas, and invited a priest to bless the figurines, the school and the school community. Parents would accuse the school of promoting Christian beliefs. They would see the blessing as an imposition of those beliefs on their children.…

The best faith-based response to physician-assisted suicide

Canadians need quality, accessible palliative care, not a quick end to life

The best faith-based response to physician-assisted suicidePhysician-assisted suicide is coming soon to a health-care institution near you, and you won't need to be terminally ill to access this medical intervention. In its decision in the Carter vs. Canada case, the Supreme Court has given Canadians the right to die, and an answer for the perennial problem of pain and suffering. But the Carter…

The emerging post-secular society

It's premature to declare the debates led by social conservatives over

The emerging post-secular societyCurrent wisdom has it that the age-old debate between order and freedom is essentially resolved. Champions of the former – so-called social conservatives and traditional religious believers – are said to be in retreat, even facing outright defeat. There is certainly no question religion has gone from a private good to a public bad. Thirty…

Compromise not creed is the way to solve public prayer debate

Both sides in the Saguenay, QC dispute more intent on proclaiming a creed than reaching a workable solution

Compromise not creed is the way to solve public prayer debateIt’s time to make compromises when it comes to freedom of conscience and religion, as a nine-year legal battle over a prayer in Saguenay, Que., demonstrates. Briefly, Jean Tremblay, the Catholic mayor of Saguenay, and his council began their meetings with the traditional Catholic sign of the cross, followed by a prayer. This made Alain…