This Week in Religion 2018-04-29

by | April 30, 2018


By Scott Douglas Jacobsen 


“Can religion and faith play a role in the lives of LGBTQ youth?

That question was discussed at a gender, sexuality and faith forum held Tuesday in the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work. The event was a part of the Windsor Pride Run For Rocky Legacy Project — the annual continuation of tributes to Rocky Campagna after the fifth and final Run For Rocky last year.

Former MPP and Toronto reverend Cheri DiNovo was the event’s keynote speaker and said it is time for religious organizations to promote faith as being open to everyone.”


“With little fanfare, Health Canada granted exemptions last summer to two Montreal religious groups to allow them to import and serve ayahuasca to their members. The drug, originating from the Amazon, is otherwise banned in Canada since it contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmaline, two prohibited hallucinogens.

The Eclectic Centre for the Universal Flowing Light, also known as Céu do Montréal, and the Beneficient Spiritist Center União do Vegetal, have so far been very discreet about their exemption. Beyond an announcement on Céu do Montreal’s website, the news has gone virtually unnoticed in Quebec.

“Our legal counsel warned us of the unintended negative consequences of participating in interviews that could jeopardize our continued exemption by Health Canada,” said Céu do Montreal vice president Robert Ferguson in an email to VICE. “The freedom to practice our religion is still fragile in Canada, despite our new status.“”

When I recently aired the views of Sikh psychotherapists on Sikh culture in Canada and India, the reactions were all over the map.A small minority of readers were initially agitated, mostly by brief, misleading comments they had picked up on Whatsapp. One said I was trying to portray all Sikhs as “mental.” But things died down in 24 hours. Many Sikhs were supportive, with one even suggesting  I’d “redeemed” myself with the piece. You can never predict these things.

The most surprising response came from a long-standing blog called Get Religion, founded by noted U.S. media critic Terry Mattingly. It’s devoted to critiquing the North American media’s coverage of religion. Get Religion often targets superficial and distorted religion reporting, in other words articles by journalists who “don’t get religion.’

Turns out my column of April 7 passed the Get Religion test. West Coast American religion journalist Julian Duin, who is also author of the new book, In the House of the Serpent Handler, analyzed the piece on Sikhs in a review headlined, “As Sikhs make headlines, the Vancouver Sun tries a little psychotherapy (and it works).””


Parliament will set back both truth and reconciliation if it passes a motion proposed by Charlie Angus, the NDP MP from Timmins-James Bay. He wants Canada’s Catholic bishops to invite Pope Francis to visit Canada to apologize for the role of the Catholic Church in residential schools.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) included a papal apology on Canadian soil among its calls to action.

Last month, Pope Francis said that he would not come to Canada to offer an apology but if he did visit at some point, an encounter with Indigenous Canadians would be a top priority.

Angus pronounced himself unsatisfied and therefore wants the House of Commons to demand Catholic bishops invite Pope Francis to appear in Canada and offer contrition.”


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

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