Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Religion in the public square

Margaret Somerville defends the right of religious people to engage on policy. Canada has no clause in our constitution separating Church and state. The American constitution seeks to protect the church from the state, not vice versa.
Dr Somerville makes the point that aggressive secularism has become a kind of religion , which tries to push out all others. It is the right of all citizens to be involved in the decisions of government.

Religion has a role to play in the public square


If you’ve paid any attention to the media over the last week – for instance, regarding whether the G8 “maternal and infant health initiative” should include abortion, or The Current’s and The National’s programs on CBC that focused on Marci McDonald’s new book, The Armageddon Factor, that raises alarm about the rise in political power and influence of the “Canadian religious right” – you’ll find this secularist truism espoused both front, centre and behind the scenes: Religion and religious voices and views have no valid role to play in the public square. Indeed, many secularists are openly hostile to any such participation. But are they correct?

To respond, we need to examine the arguments for and against their participation....

1 comment:

been around the block said...

Though I utterly agree with the headline of Margaret Somerville's article, "Religion has a role to play in the public square," it's almost laughable that it has to be said at all. (I'm not criticizing Margaret Somerville but the audacity of the statement itself and the need to defend it in the 21st century.)

What if I were to entitle an article "Women have a role to play in the public square"? I'd probably be laughed off the stage, the premise is so obvious.

Well, I'm a woman so, presumably, I have a role to play in the public square. But, I'm also a woman of faith, so that, presumably, in the minds of secularists, excludes me from sharing my opinions other than in my church or my home?

This certainly seems to be the position any public person or politician has been put in by the (in)tolerant, open (no, closed), diversity (come again?) crowd.

Given that freedom of religion rights are upheld in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, there should be no argument about -- and certainly, no objection to -- religious people sharing their views in the public square.

The fact that the religious freedom of an individual to express his or her opinion (also a right in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) is in question at all simply demonstrates how totalitarian and illiberal are the folks who consider that they stand for "equal rights" and are "liberal" in their views.

They need a wake up call. Thanks, Ms. Somerville!

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