This Week in Religion 2017-10-29

by | October 29, 2017


“This was not a good week for religious symbols in Quebec. Well, some people’s symbols, anyway.

In the federal byelection in Lac-Saint-Jean riding, the New Democratic candidate who finished a strong second in the general election two years ago dropped to fourth place, while losing more than half her 2015 vote share.

The obvious explanation is that Quebec New Democrats were justified in fearing that voters in this province would reject their new national leader, Jagmeet Singh, because of his turban and beard representing his Sikh faith.”


“Beijing, China – President Xi Jinping of China announced this week that he wants to tighten Beijing’s strict government controls on religion in the communist country.

In a speech this week during the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi said that religions not sufficiently conformed to Communist ideals pose a threat to the country’s government, and therefore must become more “Chinese-oriented.”

While these comments were reportedly intended particularly for Tibetan Buddhists, who have lobbied for independence from China, it could also mean a cooling of the already-rocky relations between the Vatican and China.”


“It’s impolite to talk about religion in public. And that goes doubly for Canada, a country imbued with far less spiritual fervour than our neighbours to the south.

But the past few weeks, Canadians have become uncharacteristically interested in what goes on in the hearts of the godly.

Is a Toronto imam a virulent anti-Semite or a misunderstood man who flubbed a phrase? Does the new NDP leader want an independent Sikh homeland carved out of India? Did Bill Morneau provide a human sacrifice to our Reptilian overlords at this year’s Bilderberg meeting?”


“Day by day, Quebec’s Bill 62 gets curiouser and curiouser. The law, which is almost certainly unconstitutional, was created by politics, and keeps spawning new opportunities for political conflict. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the law and edged a step closer to the federal government becoming involved, while the provincial opposition Parti Québecois,which goes to bed every night fantasizing about fights with Ottawa, said that if it were the government, it would use the notwithstanding clause to protect the law. So, triples of constitutional crises all around.

And all of this for a law that even its authors can’t explain, let alone justify. The bill’s wording implies that anyone in the province who wears a Muslim face-covering garment, such a niqab or burka, will have to remove it while receiving government services, from hospitals to libraries. Last week, Quebec Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée insisted that’s how it will be applied. She said that it will, for example, prevent a woman in a niqab from riding a public bus.”


“Last week, Alberta’s Catholic school board announced it is seeking to have an alternative sex-education curriculum approved by the province. The proposed curriculum will emphasize faith-based instruction on topics such as same-sex relationships and contraception for their schools.

In response, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley firmly stated that public money will not be used to support sex-ed programs that “deny science [and] evidence.” Jason Kenney, who won the leadership of the United Conservative Party on Saturday, countered last week that Ms. Notley shouldn’t be dictating how the Catholic education system teaches its values.”


“Last week, the province of Quebec became the first jurisdiction in North America to usher in legislation that bans anyone who is delivering or receiving public services from wearing the niqab, burka or any other face covering, all in the name of governmental religious neutrality. Introduced by Liberal Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée and unanimously supported by the Quebec Liberal Party under Premier Philippe Couillard, Bill 62 was voted into law beneath the crucifix that hangs above the Speaker’s chair in the National Assembly.

The incoherence is both stunning and confusing. Is Quebec’s government secular, or is it not?

The next day, Quebec solidaire tabled a motion proposing that the question of the crucifix  — which has hung in the National Assembly since it was installed by Premier Maurice Duplessis in 1936 — be reopened and debated among MNAs behind closed doors at the Office of the National Assembly, whose role it is to oversee and direct the Assembly administration.”


“Despite ample evidence in current events to the contrary, the celebration shone with optimism for a world of unity, equality, and peace — and where doubt is as important as certitude.

The event Sunday marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Baha’i faith, one of the youngest, yet most widespread, religions in the world.

Bahá’u’lláh was born in Iran, and died in 1892, in Israel, at 74.”


Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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