By Dr David Laing Dawson
It is not just an irony but also a lesson when we find the province of Canada most endowed with a religious past, the province with years of government entanglement, even co-dependency, with the Catholic Church, the province that still has a sculpted image of a crucified man hanging behind the Speaker’s Chair in the Legislative Assembly, that it is that Province that has passed a law banning the display of religious symbols by public workers.
Extremism breeds extremism.
As an old atheist, and one who can claim to be at least three generations away from any serious belief in an all mighty, I had been pleased to see, year after year, statistics Canada reporting a gradually increasing percentage of us with no church affiliation. This didn’t just mean less magical belief in the incredibly flawed messages of the bible, the infallibility of priests and popes, but an increasing faith in our own ability as a democratic nation to choose the nature of our own social contract, and allow it to evolve with increasing heart and generosity, fairness and inclusivity.
And I must admit, as the numbers of atheists grew and the churches emptied, I was dismayed to see a whole new set of religious symbols walking our streets and pandering to another ancient text as flawed as the bible. But, but, I thought, give them time, a generation or two, a broad liberal education, a chance to see how we can come together and form a generous, safe, enriching social contract of our own, without the need of old myths and the purgatory of absolute moralities.
And that social contract, as contrary as this idea seems, should and must include the freedom to wear harmless religious symbols.
My Quebec friends, you are taking the wrong path. Outlawing such symbols gives them more amulet status, more symbolic power. It hardens the heart.
A head scarf is just a head scarf until you pass a law that it either must or must not be worn.
And if that is not enough: why I am ready for legalized marijuana? :
Kenney in Alberta flirts with a proposal that smells a lot like “Stand your Ground.”
I have no idea what Philpott, Wilson-Raybould or Trudeau have done or are doing, or why they are doing it.
The Republicans launch investigations into the investigation.
Brunei decrees Stoning as punishment for gay sex.
Michael Avenatti is Breaking Bad.
The social media world is upset someone cut a bagel differently.
British politicians stumble drunkenly toward a cliff marked Bloody Obvious.
B.C. has given close to half a million dollars to an anti-vaccination group.
Betsy and Donald want to cut funding for Special Olympics.
Caitlan Coleman met Joshua Boyle in a Star Wars forum.
Female astronauts can’t go for a walk together because they’ve got nothing to wear.
30% of the citizens of the Congo think the Ebola virus is a hoax.
The FAA delegated airline safety certification to Boeing.
And we may get 5.8 more years of Donald Trump.