Monday, January 7, 2013

When politicians aim to manage "freedom"

The federal Conservative government is creating an Office of Religious Freedom, intending to monitor and criticize religious persecution and to promote religious freedom around the world. Perhaps especially in Winnipeg, where the Harper Government's preferred religion is Youth for Christ (Winnipeg) Incorporated.

This organization received $6.8 million from government in the last two years, most of that from the Harper government. Grants of public funds enabled the charity to accumulate a surplus of $8.2 million at the end of 2011. Because of its focus on preaching to Aboriginals, the fundamentalist organization has been accused of trying to design a modern-day equivalent of residential schools, sad institutions of Canada's dark past.

Were the Harperites serious about religious freedom, as opposed to promotion of a fundamentalist Christian sect, they would not dump millions of dollars into minority institutions. Nor would they have cancelled the contracts of part-time prison chaplains, an act that eliminated non-Christian religious staff from federal correction facilities.

If they were truly interested in religious freedom, they would stop promoting any prayerful organizations. Freedom is about each of us making our own decisions and tolerance is about fellow citizens respecting those individual decisions.

Stephen Harper and fellow fundamentalist Christians should not design a policy that makes their personal religion the preferred sect of Canada's government and its taxpayers.
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6 comments:

  1. Your on fire these days Norman. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. All religions are cults and cults prey on the naive, ill-informed, ignorant, and the lost. Not all religions or cults are bad, but some are extremely dangerous.

    Fundamentalists of all religions are the most dangerous, because all reason is gone in their belief that they and only they are right or on the right path to heaven or whatever they wish to call their afterlife.

    Why should the federal government give money to a cult? Simple, it is giving money to the Friends of the government, simple and in most cases criminal, but not in Canada it seems.

    Religion is an excuse to do what one wants to do without fear from the government and one only has to look at Bountiful in BC, where a distasteful form of religious extremism seems to trump the law.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The word 'cult' is pejorative, and stifles discussion when comparing religious or spiritual practices. An evaluation framework like the following is far better, as it can also be useful for social or political groups. Note that the CPC scores rather high...

    http://www.neopagan.net/ABCDEF.html

    The essay before the evaluation table gives some background, but isn't necessary to understand the framework.

    The author founded a neo-pagan druid group, and created the framework after enduring persecution and accusations from fundamentalist Christian churches and their front groups.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure 'cult' was intended to be pejorative. But it is descriptive and hardly stifles discussion, as you demonstrate.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your reply....it stifles discussion when it's used as a catch-all, and as an ad hominem means of dismissing certain groups. It removes nuance in the same way as labeling right-wing groups as 'nazis', or left-wing groups as 'commies'

      Delete
    3. Deeby, your smart comments might be contrary to the trend but they are welcome. That enables each of us, including me, to re-examine our reflexive positions. Thanks, but I still believe government should not promote one particular religious sect.

      My wife and I were asked about religion on recent applications for visas to visit India as tourists. She reflexively wrote 'Christian' but I thought about it and answered "no religion.' Perhaps, that is because I question every thing. Instead, it was because I respect all examples of religious faith. We're going to visit Kerala and I've learned the people there are devout but tolerant of other views. Sort of the way we are here in western Canada.

      Delete

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