Wednesday, the supreme court ruled to eradicate a long standing tradition, something that we had been doing for decades, from our city council meetings.
The prayer, which had been put under fire when a Quebec unbeliever from the city of Saguenay complained that the practice was violating his freedom of conscience, will no longer have its place in council chambers across Canada.
The Supreme Court decision calls for “A neutral public space free from coercion, pressure and judgment on the part of public authorities in matters of spirituality… intended to protect every person’s freedom and dignity, and… help preserve and promote the multicultural nature of Canadian society.”
Equality and justice for all: what a noble concept…
Yes, Canada was build on Christianity. For years, it seems like there was no distinction between Church and State; Church WAS State. This was especially prominent in Quebec where religion was widely used to control the masses, keep people ignorant and get them to reproduce, despite risks, health or financial situation. Many will remember the classic ” Heaven is blue (UN); Hell is red (Liberal)” slogan the UN party utilized back in the day. With time, people became aware of Maurice Duplessis’ manipulations and thus, the Quiet Revolution began.
Canada being built on Christianity doesn’t justify impeding on other people’s rights and freedoms. Canada grew, it evolved and so did its ethnic population. Different ethnic groups mean different religions. And each religion has many denominations. Christianity alone is comprised of over 41,000 of them! All these religions and denominations have a right to be represented equality and in an unbiased manner by the city council they helped in electing. However, when elected officials pray to a God that is not theirs, it may give them the impression Christian needs will always supersede their own, if conflict ever arose.
I believe in a clear separation between Church and State. That is why, even though I am Christian, I am also pro-choice. I believe that my rights end where another human being’s rights begin. As a society, we have a responsibility to accept and respect all the different points of view. We have to acknowledge that nobody in is possession of the factual ultimate truth. We also have a responsibility not to impose our own beliefs onto others. How can we do that when reciting a prayer that is clearly Catholic in nature before council meetings?
I like what our mayor suggested– to replace this prayer time with a moment of reflection. That way, everybody can go silently to their own greater power, or to themselves, for guidance and enlightenment.
Can I get an Amen?