This Week in Religion 2018-02-25

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen 

“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he and Justin Trudeau agreed to fight terrorism and those who misuse religion to divide people when they met in New Delhi.

Modi rolled out reams of red carpet and a horse honour guard, and hugged Trudeau upon his arrival at the presidential palace.

Their meeting comes near the end of a trip to India by Trudeau and his family that has been dogged by criticism. Critics have said the trip was mostly a Trudeau family vacation in fancy Indian clothing. As well, a convicted attempted assassian was invited by an MP to a Trudeau reception, and then the invitation was rescinded.”


“NEW DELHI: There is no space in Canada for religion to be used for political motives to promote any type of extremism, Canada’s Sikh woman ex-MP Ruby Dhalla has said while asserting her country believes in a united India.

Expressing her concern over talk about possible links between Canada and ‘Khalistani’ sympathisers demanding a separate state carved out of India, she said that at times all Sikhs in Canada were seen as sympathisers of extremism.

“You cannot paint all Sikhs living in Canada with the same brush of being supporters of extremism. This is what is happening and it is unfortunate and painful,” she told PTI.”


“When Canada’s immigration flood gates opened to the Caribbean, a fledgling congregation of a tiny religion was ideally suited to give the newcomers a soft landing.

The Toronto West Seventh-day Adventist Church was to become a bulwark for many Black newcomers and a model for similar congregations (of all nationalities) across Canada. But “Black Church” is not how Adventists would have self-described in the 1960s.

The classic Black church in majority white societies is often the first wall of autonomy for authentic, unbridled self-expression and cultural retention. Adventist roots are distinctly more evangelistically focused on “spreading the gospel.””


“Prof. John D. Levenson of Harvard University tells us not to view Christian-Jewish dialogue in terms of conflict resolution. The two religious traditions have genuine disagreements that each must understand and respect. They can learn from each other and work together for the good of the countries in which their adherents live without seeking to compromise with their own commitments or expect “concessions” from the other.

Levenson, a committed Jew and the author of important books about the Hebrew Bible, reminds us that the relationship isn’t symmetrical. Judaism is an integral part of Christianity: Jesus was a Jew and lived as a Jew. But, though Jews have lived in Christian societies, Jewish theology has no room for Christianity.

Until our time Christians were taught that God had abrogated the covenant with the People of Israel, as described in the Hebrew Bible (that Christians call the Old Testament, i.e., the old covenant), and made a new covenant exclusively with Christians.”


“When the success of your government grant application depends on agreeing with a government opinion, then there is bound to be a fuss. Canada is a democracy and Liberal democrats, by definition, do not take government-imposed opinions lightly.

The Canada Summer Jobs is a government program that funds non-profits, small businesses and charities to hire summer students. It is designed to give young people quality work experience to enhance their careers. This year, the government required organizations to declare their agreement with the government regarding abortion.

It has been alleged that “[r]eligious organizations and editorial writers have sown confusion about [this] new eligibility criteria . . .” The confusion (and there has been plenty) is not from religious organizations and editorial writers but from the government itself.”


“For a mostly barren island nation in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland—with a population that’s smaller than that of California’s twelfth most populous city, and a GDP that’s less than every state on the continental U.S.—has an outsize impact in global affairs. On Jan. 1, it became the first country to legislate equal pay for men and women, becoming a model for other countries, including Canada. And when Iceland’s bank system dramatically collapsed in 2008, its policy decisions offered lessons to other countries as they faced their own financial crises.

So when the Icelandic Parliament proposed a bill last week that would penalize a parent with up to six years in prison if they circumcise their baby or infant son for non-medical reasons—in other words, if the procedure is undertaken for religious purposes—people outside of Iceland took note, too.

There is no definitive medical judgment on the benefits or dangers of the procedure. There was a time when the accepted view was that male circumcision was medically beneficial, and while that assumption has somewhat changed, there’s still a strong argument that this cutting of the foreskin helps prevent various sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and lowers the risk of urinary infection. Other medical experts say that if there are benefits, they are minimal, and that there is also a risk of bleeding, swelling, errors and accidents in the procedure.”


“The first plenary session at the 13th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue discussed Human Rights in Religions (Vision and Concept). Speakers from Croatia, Qatar, Morocco, US, Malaysia and Canada took part in the session.

Headed by Dr Hassan Abdul Rahim al-Sayed from Qatar, the session focused on practising freedom of belief, religious practice and expression, human rights and dignity as well as the role of religious leaders in dialogue, establishment of peace, importance of fulfilment and insurance of human rights.

Professor Dr Ivo Josipovic of Croatia reaffirmed the need to promote continuous dialogue between religions, establishment of democracy, concept of reconciliation and the promotion of an atmosphere of tolerance, equality, freedom of belief and expression. This will in turn frame and ensure safe coexistence between societies regardless of religion, colour and gender, he said.”


Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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