This Week in Religion 2018-01-21

 

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

“OTTAWA – The Canada Summer Jobs program is usually one of the best parts of an MP’s job: they get to proudly go around their riding announcing grants to small businesses, non-profits and public sector organizations that subsidize the wages of summer students.

But this year the program has sparked a huge controversy over whether the government is violating religious freedom by requiring all applicants to sign an “attestation” that includes respect for reproductive rights — in other words, access to abortions.

The government is refusing to back down in the face of a growing outcry from religious groups, and a court challenge has already been launched by an anti-abortion group.”

Source: http://nationalpost.com/news/politics/how-the-canada-summer-jobs-program-became-a-freedom-of-religion-controversy

“Thousands of years ago, before Christians could practice their faith legally, they often faced persecution from the Roman government. If captured, however, a suspected Christian could avoid punishment by performing a simple sacrifice dedicated to the emperor.

To stay on the authority’s good side, some Christians crossed their fingers (a concealed symbol of their true allegiance to Jesus) and complied with the government’s request. They rationalized that a coerced physical action didn’t compromise their true belief.

Most early Christians disagreed with that position. They felt “truth” had “set them free.” They would not betray the truth.”

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/summer-jobs-program-1.4491602.

“We are blessed to have the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It establishes the following freedoms: “(a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association.”

The charter then identifies our rights, including: “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

Recently, Christian charities and the media have criticized the prime minister and the federal government for undermining these freedoms and rights through new criteria to qualify for youth employment funding.”

Source: http://ottawasun.com/news/local-news/prendergast-the-freedom-to-hold-beliefs-as-long-as-they-are-the-governments.

“Disqualifying otherwise eligible recipients from a public benefit because of their religious beliefs is unacceptable in a liberal democracy. Yet that is the effect of two recent government initiatives in Canada.

Better known for its provisions concerning face coverings, Quebec’s Bill 62 also discriminates against religious childcare programs. Private childcare providers are eligible for public subsidies, but those which teach religious beliefs or practices are now disqualified.

Similarly, religious charitable organizations unable to attest that they “respect” certain values identified by the federal government — including access to abortion — will now be disqualified from the Canada Summer Jobs grant program. In a recent attempt at clarification, officials have commented that these measures target groups advocating a pro-life message, not those engaged in other activities that “happen to hold pro-life beliefs,” though this still constitutes viewpoint discrimination, especially if pro-choice advocacy groups continue to receive funding. Regardless, it appears that whatever their activities and purposes, all organizations are still expected to affirm that their “core mandate agrees” with the government’s position on abortion, among other issues, which many are unable to do.”

Source: http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-public-funding-should-be-religion-neutral.

“A Sikh man says he was asked to remove his turban by staff at the Royal Canadian Legion in Tignish, P.E.I., on Wednesday night and, along with his friend, was subject to racist remarks from patrons.

The Legion apologized for the incident on Friday, saying it stemmed from a misunderstanding of what the man was wearing and that staff will be receiving training to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

Jaswinder Singh and Sunny Pannu, who moved to western P.E.I. last February, went to the Legion with their call centre co-worker, Annemarie Blanchard, to play pool.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-tignish-legion-apologizes-for-turban-removal-request-1.4494665.

“Have you ever read the story of the rich, young ruler in the Bible?

You’ll find it in the first 3 Gospels – Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 18. It’s not a parable, but the true story of a conversation Jesus had with a man who is described as “young,” “rich” and a “ruler”. As I read this story I found some striking parallels and vital lessons for our country of Canada today.

One Man’s Spiritual Quest

The young man begins by asking an all-important question – “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”. Can you think of a more important question than that? At the end of your life, it won’t be what’s behind you that will really matter, but rather what lies ahead. This man was asking the right question.”

Source: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2018/01/21/sudbury-faith-pray-for-canadas-young-and-rich-ruler.

“Jihadist terrorists seek to destabilize our society through acts of war; meanwhile non-violent Islamists — driven by the same dogmatic ideology — work to quietly advance their cause and spread the doctrine of political Islam across the West.

Examples of Islamist practices seeping into our society are all around us, and perhaps the most concerning is the encroachment of Sharia Law.

What exactly is Sharia? It’s a set of guidelines and religious rules, stemming from the Islamic Quran and Hadith that guide Muslims and command an overall way of life. It’s more than just a legal system; Sharia dictates both the private moral teachings of the Islamic faith as well as strict public rules that all Muslims are commanded to live by. ”

Source: http://winnipegsun.com/opinion/columnists/malcolm-stay-vigilant-about-sharia-in-canada/wcm/9fda8d7d-d58d-4f97-a774-54b32cc894e3.

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

2 thoughts on “This Week in Religion 2018-01-21

  1. Bible Stories

    Well, they are just that: stories. Human rights and freedoms are important. How long do we have to keep extending rights and freedoms for nothing more than an adherence to folklore?

    I realize that some immigrants come from intolerant religious societies. They should definitely be informed that Canadian customs are based on Common Law or Civil Law not Mosaic Law.

    If private enterprises want to participate in government programs they have to decide on whether their adherence to inherited cultural memes is more important to them than submitting to our Canadian Rights and Freedoms restrictions.

    Our Atheist Society is doing its best to extract all the different kinds of religious adherents from their storybook delusions.

  2. RE: the government requiring organizations hoping to get student job pay subsidies to not have unwanted policies:

    I’m struggling to understand the nuances of this approach. Does the organization discriminate against student employees if the employee for example goes out and gets an abortion while employed? Or is it that the organization does its own values test and asks the prospective employee if they are pro-choice and then not hire them if they say yes? Or even kind of similar to TWU, does the organization have people sign a document saying they AGREE with the policies held by the organization…let alone having to abide by them as with the TWU case? Although of course a student isn’t an employee there.

    I don’t understand denying organizations subsidies if they merely hold these ideas as policies. Wouldn’t it depend on what they do with the students as to whether there’s a problem with them holding such policies?

    Then of course to the policies…can an organization hold religious beliefs? I say not. I say it’s the people IN that organization that hold such beliefs…not the organization.

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