This Week in Religion 2017-12-17

by | December 17, 2017


By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

“As debate over religious schools continues in Canadian courts and legislatures, a new poll has found that 61 per cent of Canadians support full or partial public funding for faith-based schools.

The Angus Reid Institute survey found that 31 per cent of respondents believe religious schools should receive the same funding as public schools, while 30 per cent believe they should receive partial funding.

“For those who think that, given all the changes that have happened on the religious front, the days of support for religious schools are coming quickly to an end, I don’t think that’s true,” said Angus Reid, the institute’s founder and chairman. “I think there’s a bit of a line in the sand here.””


“The government is changing the rules around which employers can qualify for funding to hire students through the Canada Summer Jobs program to try and ensure that groups advocating against abortion rights or the equality of LGBTQ2 Canadians will not be able to get funding.

At the same time, the changes will seek to boost support for groups offering services and supports to the LGBTQ2 community as well as those offering opportunities to women in engineering and mathematics, Indigenous Canadians, immigrants and minority official language communities.

The change comes after a series of articles about Liberal and Conservative MPs approving tens of thousands of dollars in summer job grants to anti-abortion groups in their ridings during the 2016 program, despite the money being made available by a government that prominently branded itself as pro-choice.”


“CRANBROOK, B.C. — Convicted polygamist Winston Blackmore believes Canada’s guarantee of religious freedom gives him the right to have multiple wives.

But it is the Constitution’s legal rights sections that may provide the strongest reason for a judge to stay his guilty verdict or exempt him from punishment.

The former bishop of the fundamentalist Mormon community of Bountiful was found guilty in July of one count of polygamy along with James Oler, another former bishop.

On Wednesday, Blackmore’s lawyer argued in B.C. Supreme Court that his client was unfairly tried because the provincial government dithered for 25 years before charging him with a single count of polygamy for having two dozen wives.”


“Toronto billionaire and philanthropist couple Barry and Honey Sherman were found dead Friday, prompting politicians and prominent Canadians to express condolences and share memories on social media. Barry Sherman was the founder of generic drug giant Apotex.

“I am beyond words right now. My dear friends Barry and Honey Sherman have been found dead. Wonderful human beings, incredible philanthropists, great leaders in health care. A very, very sad day. Barry, Honey, rest in peace.” — Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins.

“Deeply shocked to learn of the deaths of Honey and Barry Sherman, such remarkable people. Grappling with this terrible news.” — former Ontario premier and former interim federal Liberal leader Bob Rae.”


“By now, many if not most will be well acquainted with the saga of Trinity Western University’s efforts to open a school of law, which would be the first religious (and private) law faculty in Canada.

Initially on track to open its doors in 2015, the university was forced to put its plans on hold following staunch opposition from the Law Societies of British Columbia and Upper Canada (i.e. Ontario) and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, along with other prominent members of the legal profession.

The controversy concerns Trinity Western’s Community Covenant, a school-wide code of conduct which reflects traditional Christian teachings and practices. At issue is the relatively small section on sexual ethics, which calls on students to abstain from sexual intimacy outside of the Biblical model of marriage between one man and one woman. After significant internal debate, the aforementioned law societies all decided not to accredit the law school, insisting that the Community Covenant is contrary to the public interest since it discriminates against LGBTQ students. ”


“Closing arguments in a B.C. Supreme Court case involving a man found guilty of marrying two dozen women are expected to be delivered today.

Winston Blackmore is a leader in the small community of Bountiful and was found guilty earlier this year of one count of polygamy after the court heard he had married 24 women, including three who were 15 years old at the time.

His lawyer Blaire Suffredine told the court yesterday that Blackmore didn’t believe he could be charged with polygamy because a provincial attorney general in the early 1990s issued a statement that said such a charge would breach a person’s charter rights.”


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

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