A Matter of Church and State

Matters involving cultural and religious freedoms are rarely simple.  This is especially true in the province of Québec.

The province is so culturally different from the rest of Canada that it’s citizens nearly voted to separate from the country in 1995.  The referendum that asked whether Québec should become its own sovereign country brought out the highest ever voter turnout in Québec and was ultimately shot down, but only by a margin of 0.58%

Now there is another piece of legislation on the table.  It is called Bill 21 and if passed it would prohibit certain public workers in Quebec from wearing religious symbols and garments.

In support of such restrictions are the Coalition Avenir Québec and the Parti Québécois.  In opposition are the Liberals and Québec solidaire.  Yes, there are four political parties in Québec.

While being dubbed the “secularism” bill in the media, the language used in the actual bill is laicity, a translation of the French word, laïcité.

This is how laicity is defined by our good friends Merriam and Webster:

control or influence by the laity

Okay, what are the laity?

the people of a religious faith as distinguished from its clergy

In Bill 21’s own language, laicity is based on these principles:

  • the separation of state and religions
  • the religious neutrality of the state
  • the equality of all citizens
  • freedom of conscience and freedom of religion

In addition to banning certain types of symbols and clothing for public servants, it would require members of the public to uncover their face to identify themselves.  For example, a woman wearing a niqab, would have to unveil her face in order to confirm her identity when presenting government identification.

This is, as you might expect, a controversial bill of law.  It has generated multiple protests and much debate.  On one side of the argument, it promotes separation of church and state.  On the other hand, it is perceived as promoting intolerance against certain groups.

To deal with the overwhelming division on Bill 21, six days have been set aside for legislative hearings, beginning today.

Meanwhile, while everyone argues whether or not a person in the public sector should be able to wear a cross on their lapel, A GIANT CRUCIFIX HANGS ABOVE THE SPEAKER’S CHAIR IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY!

crucifix-national-assembly

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) has promised to move it (to an undisclosed location) if Bill 21 becomes law.

The full bill is here, if you are so inclined to read it.

In my opinion, who cares what the goofballs yelling over top of each other in the legislative assembly think?  I wanna know what the fine folks who read Not Sheep Minded think.

So, what do you think?

  • Should a teacher be able to wear a hijab?
  • Should a subsidized daycare provider be able to wear a crucifix pin?
  • Should a cop be able to wear a turban?
  • Should a woman have to remove her niqab in order to present her public transit pass?
  • Should a giant crucifix be allowed to hang in a government building?

 


Sources:

CBC News: What’s in Quebec’s secularism bill: Religious symbols, uncovered faces and a charter workaround

Global News: Hearings begin on Quebec’s secularism bill as cracks appear in Liberal caucus

Wikipedia: 1995 Quebec Referendum

 

5 thoughts on “A Matter of Church and State

  1. Religion is the can of worms that everyone looks at, and nobody wants to touch. It’s the pink elephant in the room. Judaism (Zionism), Christianity, Islam and Atheism have the ultimate goal of establishing a Sharia type law to control everyone on Earth. Misery loves company and these idiots want the rest of the world to become morons like them.

    I fully support “Vive le Quebec libre” as long as they keep Rue Ste Catherine open.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As a Christian, I don’t wish to establish a theocracy in which church law and state law are one and the same, as was done once in Geneva (over the protests of John Calvin, who nevertheless gets blamed for it). Nor do most Christians I know. What we do want is a sane society where bad things are outlawed and religious expression is not.

    So I find your accusation of “Christianity” wanting to establish a theocracy by force slanderous. I imagine most Jews would have the same objection to your assumptions about their intent.

    Of course, I would like everyone to become Christians, because I think it would make the world a better place. But I would like this to happen of their own free will, because they become convinced. Not at the point of a sword.

    That said, we do have to have some kind of civil laws and they have to come from somewhere. This is where it gets complicated. Almost every Western nation’s traditional laws owe something to the Ten Commandments.

    I don’t have a problem with forbidding federal employees to wear religious symbols when they are on the clock. However, I think the direction this is heading is perhaps that the fact that they are religious is itself going to be considered suspect, and they can later get disciplined or fired for religious expressions that they do on their own time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you are a good person, but I’m not sure that everyone being Christian would make the world a better place. I guess that would depend on each individual’s interpretation of what it means to be Christian. With so many denominations and interpretations, it could mean almost anything. My Mom is Christian and I would say she did make the world a better place, but when I turn on Fox News and I see some of those “Christians” it does not give me a warm feeling.
      I think it’s a moot point because everything I read points to Christianity being on the decline. The United Church of Canada (the denomination I got to enjoy as a child) closes an estimated one church every week. 500 have been shut down in the last decade.
      With respect to Bill 21 in Quebec, I don’t think it will end up getting passed. There are too many potential issues with it. For example, it allows one to be grandfathered-in if one already wears religious headgear at one’s job. Also, it does not prohibit tattoos and religious hairdos (i.e. Rastafarian dreadlocks). I think these exceptions will cause too many legal challenges. And speaking of legal stuff, I don’t know what one would put one’s hand on in court if religious symbols are banned…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. With all due respect, [“Christianity” wanting to establish a theocracy by force], which you found to be slanderous can be found in your bible where you are ordered to kill anyone who doesn’t worship YOUR God. The Crusades, the Inquisition were about imposing “Christian” Sharia law on the world. You are maybe a rare gem in the Christian community, but can you tell me why the ten commandments and other “Christian” paraphernalia are posted in city halls across the US in defiance of the Constitution? Then you wrote: “what we do want is a sane society where bad things are outlawed and religious expression is not”. Do you consider a father selling his daughter into slavery or killing someone found working on the Sabbath to be good things? Then, let me remind you that the ten commandments were stolen from the African Positive Assertions and defaced.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Whew. I think this may be too big a topic to handle in a comments section. There is a lot of historical background on which we clearly disagree. I could write about 1,000 words about each of the sentences in your comment above … but something tells me that would just piss you off. 🙂 So, I guess we have reached the point of diminishing returns in this debate.

        Maybe it was a mistake to respond to your comment above …. but I couldn’t just let you say that about my fellow believers without some kind of comment.

        On a related topic, I’m confused about the etiquette of the Like button. You ‘liked’ my comment above, yet ripped it – and me – below. What does ‘like’ mean here on WordPress? Is it similar to “marked as read”?

        Like

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