This Week in Religion 2018-01-28

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

[Editor’s note: The groups and organizations seem open about it. Granted, I appreciate the truth in public and honesty as a cherished value. Some religious beliefs, convictions, doctrines, stances, and values stand against reproductive health rights in some cases. With the recent news from the government and the backlash from the religious groups and organizations, the Canadian public will choose between two value sets: traditional religious transcendentalist moral values or international secular human rights, but not, in many cases, both.]

“A federal controversy has landed in the Newfoundland and Labrador Catholic church community — in particular, in the St. John’s basilica.

‘We are pro life. We are opposed to abortion, that’s part of our core mandate.’– Frank Puddister

Each summer, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s hires a summer student through the Canada Summer Jobs Program to act as a tour guide in the museum in the basilica.

But this year, the program’s application form is different. This year, all applicants have to tick a box stating the organization’s core mandate respects Canadian human rights, including reproductive rights.”

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/st-johns-religious-group-wont-tick-the-box-1.4502935.

“The prime minister’s idea to exclude pro-life groups from $220 million in federal summer jobs grants shows that he dislikes some groups and favours other groups, or religions. He talks as if he has approval from the majority, but in the Lethbridge Herald poll on the issue, 78 per cent do not agree with Trudeau.

Free speech is slowly being taken away; one religion has special protection. Award-winning journalist Christine Douglass Williams was terminated from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) by Heritage Minister Melanie Joly because of her writing on the website Jihad Watch. However, she made a distinction between those who choose to practise Islam in peace and harmony with others.

I think as Canadians we should be allowed to say something if one group or religion behaves bad or are a danger to society or to the Canadian way of life. Every Canadian has or should have the same rights and protection. Where does it go next? More gun control? Hey, this is Alberta, Canada.”

Source: http://lethbridgeherald.com/commentary/letters-to-the-editor/2018/01/28/freedom-of-speech-being-eroded-in-canada/.

“Leaders from four diverse faith groups stood united today at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Etobicoke, Ontario to discuss the Liberal government’s decision to include a controversial attestation to the Canada Summer Jobs program application.

Representatives from the Canadian Council of Imams, the Jewish Shaarei Congregation, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada were present, representing more than 80 faith groups who have signed a formal statement to demand a rewrite of the attestation or its removal all together.

It was announced in December that groups applying to the Canada Summer Jobs program are required to check a box affirming that their organizational mandate respects the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which includes LGBTQ and women’s reproductive rights. As it stands today, this presents a problem for religious-based institutions that seek federal funding.”

Source: https://ipolitics.ca/2018/01/25/multi-faith-leaders-meet-toronto-demand-changes-canada-summer-jobs-program/.

“The Canada Summer Jobs program is an initiative created to subsidize the cost of hiring students as employees during the summer. However, the program and its thousands of summer-job grants may not be available for faith-based organizations after changes made by the federal government.

“In the non-profit and charitable sector, we don’t have huge budgets,” said Myron Rogal with the Saskatoon Roman Catholic Diocese, “so we rely on this.””

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/3985453/roman-catholic-diocese-saskatoon-canada-summer-jobs-program/.

“embers of Quebec City’s Muslim community will stand alongside those of the Huron-Wendat, Jewish, Catholic, Anglican and many other communities Sunday, as they honour the victims of last year’s deadly attack on a mosque.

The interfaith ceremony, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Pavillion de Jeunesse at Expo Cité, will not be the first time different religious communities in the city will have come together since the shooting.

Bruce Myers, bishop of the Anglican diocese of Quebec and Boufeldja Benabdallah, co-founder of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, spoke with Ainslie MacLellan on CBC Radio’s All in a Weekend, about how their communities have built a friendship.”

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-city-muslims-anglicans-faith-grief-1.4507155.

“Labour Minister Patty Hajdu strived Tuesday to return to the start of the furor over the federal government’s Canada Summer Jobs program and a pitched debate about rights, beliefs, freedoms and the power of the state.

It all goes back to the application form through which organizations apply for federal summer jobs funding, and the new requirement that applicants must check a box affirming they respect the values set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — including reproductive rights. Churches and faith groups have complained that their right to religious belief is not being respected and that otherwise valuable projects will go unfunded.

But the government, Hajdu said, had heard complaints that some groups, namely the Calgary-based Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, were using the funds from federal grants to “create graphic pamphlets that featured aborted fetuses as a way to shame women about reproductive rights.” Other summer jobs grants were going to camps that “refused to hire members of the LGBTQ community,” she said.”

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/summer-jobs-abortion-hajdu-analysis-wherry-1.4499907.

“Next year, Canada may face a test of our national foundations, that is our commitment to social inclusion and tolerance. Will this fragile consensus survive the bloodletting of a national election when one of the leadership choices is an ambitious Sikh man, in a time when some partisans would stir the embers of racism?

In the naïve euphoria of a “post-racial Presidency,” how many Americans would have predicted an openly racist American president would follow? The Conservative Party has yet to be persuasive about how deeply it has learned the lessons of its disastrous flirtation with Islamophobic racism. The Quebec political elite still needs to acknowledge the black crow feathers dangling from their lips.

The ability to set these boundaries of acceptable discourse falls heavily on one man.”

Source: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/01/28/how-singh-can-teach-a-lesson-on-tolerance.html.

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

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