Freedom of Religion

It's My Right as a Canadian to Be Free From Religion

Doug Thomas | Posted 07.20.2014 | Canada Politics
Doug Thomas

Canadian atheists are often confronted by misinformation about their right to freedom from religion. To coerce someone to follow a religion is to deny that person freedom of religion. If that person is a non-believer, freedom of religion then means the right to not believe-freedom from religion.

Quebec's Charter Makes Minorities into Second-Class Citizens

Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed | Posted 03.16.2014 | Canada Politics
Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed

Let's call Bill 60 what it truly is: a bill that encourages intolerance, divides the population and makes visible and religious minorities into second class citizens in their own home. It is time for the opposition to step up and stop this nonsense. Until then I remain Canadian, Quebecker, a visibly practicing Muslim and proud.

As a Man of God, I See the Value in Atheism

Rabbi Ben Hecht | Posted 02.23.2014 | Canada Living
Rabbi Ben Hecht

I understand the importance of free thought and the necessity for societies to allow for variant perceptions on God including atheism. It is for this reason that I, as a religious person, strongly advocate for freedom of religion and decry these nations who persecute those who, in the process of thought, arrive at different perspectives.

A Question of Identity and Communication

Rabbi Ben Hecht | Posted 12.03.2013 | Canada
Rabbi Ben Hecht

The controversy in Quebec over religious apparel has reminded me of my very first entry on Huffington Post. In This Kippa Doesn't Mean What You Think ...

Canada's Hypocritical Blasphemy Law

Derek James From | Posted 01.23.2014 | Canada Politics
Derek James From

Most Canadians probably do not know what blasphemy is, let alone that publishing blasphemous materials is still a criminal offence in this country. But there is some irony here, because the Canadian government publicly defends the freedom to publish cartoons that mock a religious figure and looks abroad to protect religious minorities from oppression while at the same time punishing that at home.

What You Should Know About Quebec's Proposed Law on Secularism

Carissima Mathen | Posted 11.16.2013 | Canada Politics
Carissima Mathen

Lots of ink has been spilled this week about the proposed Quebec secular values law that would prevent a large category of government workers from wearing "conspicuous" religious symbols. Like many others, I think the proposed law is deeply problematic. In reading and thinking about this issue, I've noticed some recurring questions. Below, I've gathered a few of them with my thoughts.

Québec Misinterprets Open Secularism

Doug Thomas | Posted 10.21.2013 | Canada Politics
Doug Thomas

In the wake of yesterday's mind-boggling announcement out of Quebec, we must ask: Why is there the need to accommodate religion in this way? I have never quite figured out how someone else's attire affects my philosophy. Seeing a man wearing a kippa has never pressured me to consider Judaism as an option for my personal philosophy.

Can You Respect a Religion You Disagree With?

Rabbi Ben Hecht | Posted 06.28.2013 | Canada
Rabbi Ben Hecht

How can the adherent of any religion (or even the atheist) -- who believes that his faith (or lack thereof) defines the true reality and offers the correct perspective on what is ethically and morally correct -- even accept a value of freedom of religion when it permits behaviour that this person deems incorrect?

Does Following a Methodology Make You Religious?

Rabbi Ben Hecht | Posted 06.08.2013 | Canada
Rabbi Ben Hecht

There is an interesting disconnect in our world today regarding religion. Being an adherent to a certain religion is simply seen, to most people, as a description of the way by which this individual achieves spirituality. This is not, however, the way that religions -- even more so, traditional religious systems -- actually view themselves.

Why Do We Still Allow Religious Schools to Bully Gay Kids?

Josh D. Scheinert | Posted 05.25.2013 | Canada Politics
Josh D. Scheinert

Since Manitoba's religious schools receive over 50 per cent of their funding from the province, they are all being mandated to comply with the proposed legislation: Bill 18 -- required to implement an anti-bullying strategy that includes gay-straight alliances. Our rights cannot exist in a vacuum, isolated from the reality around them. Rights engage with other rights. Not only does our Charter have a built-in provision to permit the limiting of rights in certain situations, but also, the transactional nature of our public lives dictates that different rights will come into contact other rights. Those who oppose Bill 18 should read the Charter in its entirety; it doesn't stop at freedom of religion, nor is there a hierarchy of rights.

What Should Take Precedence, State or Church Law?

Doug Thomas | Posted 05.05.2013 | Canada
Doug Thomas

When a country like Canada enshrines "freedom of conscience and religion" in its Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it gives itself a particular challeng...

Saving Rimsha: Religious Intolerance is the Real Blasphemy

Shahla Khan Salter | Posted 08.29.2012 | Canada
Shahla Khan Salter

An 11-year-old Pakistani girl with Downs Syndrome might be put to death for blasphemy. Killing people for expressing negative and/or dissenting views on religion, for burning Qurans, for writing letters -- is this Islam? No. In Islam, a law that penalizes a person for challenging or disparaging the religion -- is blasphemy itself.

You Have the Right to Offend Me

Danielle S. McLaughlin | Posted 07.04.2012 | Canada
Danielle S. McLaughlin

This week, a grade 12 student was suspended for wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Life is wasted without Jesus." Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects both freedom of religion and freedom of expression, but nowhere does it protect people from feeling offended. In a diverse and complex society, learning to disagree without being disagreeable may be a survival skill.