Religion And Politics

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The Arguments Around Assisted Death

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.
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Conservative Muslims Must Stop Backing Preachers Of Hate

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.
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The Kim Davis Debacle Exposes the Limits of Religious Liberty

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.
PC

Forcing Women to Remove Their Niqabs Is Just Another Kind of Oppression

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?
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If a Bible's Allowed in a Courtroom, Why Isn't a Hijab?

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?
CP

We Are All Canadians: Don't Let Race or Religion Divide Us

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.

Satire and Gods of Suburbia

Satirizing religious and political affairs must be done, not only to deepen social consciousness and inspire action, but to reach out to those not easily swayed by abstruse theory and rhetoric.
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Why Should Terrorists Obey Our Criminal Code?

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.
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Does Following a Methodology Make You Religious?

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.

In Defense of Stephen Harper

A lot of pundits have been giving PM Stephen Harper a really hard time for muzzling MP Mark Warawa's motion that parliament condemn sex selection abortion. I think both Warawa and Harper are doing a good job, but if I have to take sides, I'll side with Harper.

Can We Buy Our Freedom: Wilberforce Said Yes

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.

How the Catholic Church Should Change

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.
AP

Why Shouldn't the Clergy Be Allowed to Marry?

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.
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Who Knew We'd Need an Office of Religious Freedom Here?

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.

A Good Counter Argument to Freedom From Religion

"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.

The Movie Lincoln And The Real Story Of Slavery

Although it was not in the movie, here is what Abraham Lincoln said when he met Harriet Beecher Stowe, (author of the best selling book Uncle Tom's Cabin, Or Life Among the Lowly, 1858 ) "Here is the little lady who gave us this big war." The movie Lincoln did not tell this story, but it is a great movie nonetheless, giving us an opportunity to reflect again, on why our world was so cruel.
CP

Can Harper Do Anything Right?

Did you know that in politics you can actually attack somebody for doing good and harmless stuff! How is this possible, you ask? Let me give you three recent examples of ways in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come under assault for doing things any rational person would see as completely innocuous.
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Rimshah Masih

In Sharia-benighted Pakistan, an 11-year-old Christian girl with Down's Syndrome has recently been incarcerated for blasphemy. Rimshah Masih allegedly burned pages of the Quran and other Islamic textbooks, including a Quran primer. The girl was found holding the charred pages. Unfortunately, Rimshah is not the only Pakistani facing such charges. Pakistanis collectively have shown little outrage at these travesties.
CP

In Quebec You Might Soon be Forced to Trade Your Hijab for a Crucifix

The Parti Québécois (PQ) have unveiled some disconcerting aspects of their would-be mandate: all overt religious symbols would be banned from public institutions... except for Catholic religious symbols. In addition to lengthy and costly constitutional battles with Ottawa, certain Quebecers can now be expected to have their basic civil liberties trampled on in order to appease an increasingly intolerant voting population. The PQ are once again marginalizing a segment of the Quebec population because they are not seen as being an important fabric of Quebec's so-called distinct society. What I find truly alarming, however, is that the PQ is poised to form the next government. Vive le Québec libre indeed.
AP

Baird Defends Religious Freedom Office

OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says his department's new Office of Religious Freedom won't become a vehicle for playing domestic politics in Canada's immigrant communities.Baird dismisse...