Four years after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the emergence of BLM both as a political and social movement, the Christian church has largely failed to advocate for the lives of black people. At times silent and at others deliberately distancing itself from BLM, the church has sent a clear message: Black lives do not matter.
It is no secret that state policies in this country continue to be influenced by the church. The very constitution is built on the fundamental beliefs of Christianity. So how can a government say it protects members of the LGBT community when this type of blatant discrimination is being encouraged and spread through the media?
Kirk Cameron believes (drum roll please) that, "Wives are to honour and respect and follow their husband's lead, not to tell their husband how he ought to be a better husband." WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? I'm so serious. Partners, PARTNERS are supposed to honour each other and treat each other with respect.
Unfortunately, the absence of a clearly identified clergy in the Muslim world (particularly in the Sunni world) does not favour a reform of Islam. To reform this religion, the various representatives of Islam all around the world should cooperate, coordinate their action to find common ground on major issues.
Allowing people to opt out of obeying the law on religious grounds can be a slippery slope. You can't oppose anti-discrimination laws because your religion tells you, or you think your religion tells you, that women are inferior, or that LGBTIQ people are sinners. You can't commit violent acts because your religion tells you, or you think your religion tells you, that infidels should be punished.
If it is not right to host Islamophobic or white supremacist speakers, then it is not right to host Muslim supremacist, homophobic and transphobic speakers. Indeed, all zulm (oppression) is connected. Muslims overwhelmingly condemn ISIS. However, according to Muslim human rights activist, Shafiqah Othman Hamza, it is not enough to quote Qur'anic verses on peace while ignoring the systemic persecution and discrimination of minorities.
Kim Davis, claimed that her "conscience will not allow" her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples -- In late August, a Calgary a bus driver named Jesse Rau refused to drive the Calgary Transit's rainbow bus. Both individuals raised religious objections. These are interesting normative positions. Can an individual refuse to obey a law if it conflicts with their personal interpretation of a religion? Does it matter if the individual is an elected official or a private citizen? To sort this out, let us engage in a thought experiment.
A ceremony designed to showcase our national values of freedom of religion, expression, accommodation and speech? Well, let's just say that this election year, the Prime Minister should focus on reaching elsewhere for points rather than conjuring fear from diversity at a time where cultural understanding and unity are desperately needed.
Perhaps there is an element to which the Conservatives truly believe they are fighting a cultural and religious practice that they find repugnant. Even still, that seems far beyond the point, as has been stated many times by various commentators: a conservative man forcing a woman not to wear a niqab is effectively the same violation of her liberty as a conservative man forcing her to wear the niqab. What could be more Canadian than including someone's harmless religious practices in a citizenship ceremony, or really any other facet of public life?
Judge Eliano Marengo has declared her Quebec courtroom "a secular place and a secular space", and has denied Rania El-Alloul a hearing because she wears a hijab. The judge proclaimed that there are no religious symbols in her courtroom. It is impossible for a judge who daily has witnesses place their hand on a Bible and swear to tell the truth to claim there are no religious symbols in her courtroom. So did the fact that Rania El-Alloul's attire was Islamic weigh more heavily on the judge's decision than the fact that she wore a religious symbol?
It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The Prime Minister of Canada is deliberately stirring up prejudice against one group of Canadians for one reason only -- political advantage. The sad reality is that many Canadians and Quebecois seem to be vulnerable to embracing an anti-Muslim sentiment. We are all appalled by the brutality of ISIS, with their voyeuristic killing of innocent victims. The tragic murder of two soldiers in Canada has added a sense of vulnerability inside our own country. Stephen Harper's response is to declare that Canada is under attack by "global Jihadists" and introduce sweeping legislation giving new powers to CSIS.
This sort of bleating about how difficult the road is for the religious politician is stunning. We are witness to an era of dominance when North American politicians proudly and arrogantly proclaim their religious righteousness and Christian bravado. The worst of it is seen, almost daily, in the once proud Republican Party.
When you first heard about the statement of Chiheb Esseghaier -- one of the men charged with plotting a terror attack against a Via Rail train -- that he did not recognize the authority of the Criminal Code because "it is not holy book", how did you respond? The fact is that in a broad, general way, it is not enough for us to see the Criminal Code as morally binding because it is the law of the land. We must go beyond that assertion. We must understand it to be -- again, in a broad and general manner -- the law of the land because it reflects a greater, moral standard that is incumbent upon all humanity.
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.
Here is an essay I wrote encouraging Christians to support the Child Benefit Payment. If nothing else, please watch the video at the end of this essay, by a Canadian doctor. I have never met her in person, and I do not know if even she would support the Child Benefit Payment. However, in this brief video, everything that ever need be said, about the abortion issue in Canada, she said. So let's learn from her and go with her suggestions.
With the advent of the new Pope, everyone is talking about how the Catholic church should change. When CBC's Peter Mansbridge, interviewed Cardinal Ouelette from Montreal, his questions were all about how the Catholic church should change. Cardinal Ouellet of course mentioned all the plans to protect children now introduced into the church so that the sexual abuse scandal can never happen again.
The recent clamour to permit Catholic priests to marry is an excellent development, which should be encouraged. After all, non-Catholic clergy, who do marry are presumably equally dedicated to God and their church. The clergy of other religions too are meant to be dedicated to serving God, and their own sexual experiences do not seem to prevent such dedication.
I never thought I would feel the need to write in favour of the Office of Religious Freedom. I took my religious freedom for granted. I am a Chaplain. It seems that the readers know all about me from that title. It is assumed that if one believes in God, there is a lack of intelligence, that one cannot believe and have a background in science, philosophy, economics, medicine, the arts.
"Freedom from religion" is the phrase used by Doug Thomas in his recent Huffington Post blog "Church and State, It's About Time You Separated." Also there is a very active group in the United States called "The Freedom From Religion Foundation." There is a good counter argument to freedom from religion, and I will make it.