On Tuesday, the Harper government announced the creation of the Canadian Office of Religious Freedom, tasked with the humble goal of "promoting freedom of religion or belief around the world." It says something about the obsessively, nervously secular character of Canadian politics that it's possible to stir up religious controversy merely by acknowledging religion exists. Regardless of how often we good, secular Canadians do it, exercising freedom of religion is also the world's ultimate calibration test of all other freedoms.
Many comments regarding the appropriateness and potential effectiveness of the Canadian Office of Religious Freedom have been made; however, with the exception of a few reporters, no one has noted the exclusion of Secular Humanist or atheist organizations from whatever consultation that occurred. The frosting on that cake was the failure to invite representatives from any Secular Humanist organizations to the press conference formally announcing the creation of the office and the appointment of Dr. Andrew Bennett as its ambassador.
It has been almost two years since Stephen Harper announced his government would establish an Office of Religious Freedom to monitor the safety of religious minorities around the world. It was during...