A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Valuing Our Freedom of Religion

Posted on: September 12, 2013

Sometimes I wear a gold cross necklace my husband gave me. Sometimes I read books about the faith or Christian fiction while I’m waiting before an appointment. And I often carry a small rosary in my purse.

But while this week a commenter on this blog told me I needed to be “properly saved,” as a Christian in a country where many citizens identify themselves as Christians, I’ve rarely experienced intolerance based on my religion.

Unlike my fellow Canadians in Quebec now facing a “Charter of Values” that would restrict their freedom of religion should they work in the public sector or want to apply for such jobs.

According to articles in yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen, workers could wear a small crucifix or Star of David (“large” and “small” not having been defined yet) but no turban, kippa or hijab. And the Quebec government believes it could enact this charter without invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Should I raise one eyebrow to show I’m puzzled or both to show I’m shocked?

It’s increasingly common for individuals and groups in our society to suggest we should keep our religious beliefs to ourselves, at home. The proposed charter follows that line of thinking. But for many Canadians, our faith is woven into our lives, whether we reveal it by our clothing and accessories or choose not to do so.

As the Catechism reminds us in s. 2137, “Men of the present day want to profess their religion freely in private and in public.” This was drawn from the Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, issued by Pope Paul VI in 1965.

How can we claim tolerance and freedom of religion as core values of our society and then inform people that expressing their faith through religious head coverings or jewellery isn’t acceptable?

By telling people of faith they need to blend in and limiting opportunities for some Quebeckers, this charter would effectively roll up the welcome mat for some people who now call Quebec home. And others would think twice about making their home there—particularly those who have come to Canada to escape the intolerance or even persecution they faced in their homeland because of their religion.

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1 Response to "Valuing Our Freedom of Religion"

Yes, while you are dealing with that Big Brother malarkey in Canada, we have Obama, Hillary & Co. south of your border. They think that with their subtle “freedom of worship” twist of phrase that we’ll somehow overlook that they are stomping on our inalienable freedom of religion. Amazing. We just have to keep up the good fight. Even if we have to create our 21st century version of the catacombs, the Church (capital “C”) will survive. If the gates of hell will not prevail against it, then these self-appointed demi-gods won’t either! 🙂 — Tony

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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