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Quebec Outlaws Wearing Religious Symbols

Quebec will not allow public servants (including teachers, police officers, hospital workers, civil servants and judges among others) to wear religious symbols. Not all religious symbols are banned. Don't be silly. But in the words of the Quebec minister of democratic institutions: "We're talking about very obvious symbols ... which send a clear message: 'I am a believer and this is my religion.'"

Oh, only those.

According to Reuters, Reuters, the brilliant Bernard Drainville, the aforementioned Quebec minister of democratic institutions, said the reason for the law is that the state is neutral, so therefore those who work for it must be neutral too.

Is it possible the minister of democratic institutions doesn't know what "neutral" means? As far as I can make out and hey, I'm no minister of democratic institutions but I'll give it a go anyhow, the state is neutral on matters of religion and therefore the state must hunt down people who wear religious symbols and threaten them with a loss of their livelihood if they refuse to remove them? Yeah, that makes sense.

They do make it clear that if you want to wear a tiny religious symbol and hide it away so that either nobody can see it or understand from it that you're a true believer that'd be fine, you know, kinda' like those porn stars who wear tiny crosses on their necklaces while crawling into a pudding-filled kiddie pool with three men and a pet.

But you just can't wear anything that says you're some kind of oogedy-boogedy true believer type. That would be bad.

*subhead*Neutral*subhead*

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12 comments:

ProudHillbilly said...

From what I've heard, Canada is way ahead of us as far as being anti-religion, particularly if that religion happens to be Christian.

William Meyer said...

Well, not exactly, Hillbilly. Quebec is certainly well on the road to a virulent anti-religious stance. On the other hand, at least twice Ontario has nearly ratified the observance of Sharia law in the provincial courts. It is a combination of the usual PC secular nonsense and the Canadian anything-to-avoid-offending obsession.

Proteios1 said...

I feel bad for all those courageous enough to live their faith. Aside from the obvious anti Christian stance, I feel bad for seihk (sic) who wrap their hair in a turban of sorts, forget what it is called. If they don't wear one or a small knife, also religious. I feel bad for the Muslim women. I think the cult of mohomed is as misguided as anything, but I respect the modesty of a Muslim women over the immodesty of any scantily clad beach goer. This neutrality seems like a universal attack. Neutrality would be more akin to that old and lost "celebrate diversity" mantra of years back.
But it does make me want to wear my crucifix more.

C. LaSalle said...

As a Canadian I can speak to the fact that Quebec in particular was literally 'ruled' by the Catholic Church for decades. The government was too cheap to fund social programs and were more than thrilled that the Church stepped up to the plate to pick up the slack. Along with that kind of power came abuses. Some clergy ruled towns and villages like their own mini kingdoms. Some villagers were going barefoot and hungry while the local parish priest drove a huge, expensive car. Quebecers have gone from being one of the most devout Catholic provinces to one of the least religious. There is a great deal of bitterness toward the Church and apparently now to all expressions of religion. Do I agree, absolutely not. Most Canadians think this new proposed ruling is insane and not in keeping with cultural diversity that is seen throughout the rest of Canada.

RobC said...

Well, St Jean Baptiste day has already been renamed La Fete Nationale. What's next, the St. Lawrence Seaway being renamed Larry's River?

Mary De Voe said...

"or prohibit the free exercise thereof." The First Amendment. WHO is telling the next person that he is not free? Someone who's office is paid by the taxes of his victim?

~Katherine~ said...

Mary: I believe that phrase is found in the U.S. Constitution, which is not applicable in this case since the decision in question was made in Canada. (Unless, of course, the Canadian Constitution contains such a phrase, in which case I apologize.)

That having been said, Michael O'Brien was, I think, optimistic when he wrote about Canada.

Tom said...

@ C. Lasalle: I'm not quite sure the logical connection between alleged abuses of power by individuals in the Church in the past and the restrictions on free religious expression for all individuals today. Something else is going on.


However, frustration with this prior abuse may explain why so many Quebecers are half-knowingly going along with the modern trend toward secularism in their province. I suspect that many of them will eventually like the rule of the intolerant secular humanists, and the economy and society that they create, even less.

Mal said...

I suppose now these atheists will also ban symbols of other beliefs such as good luck charms and the zodiac symbols because they also represent some belief systems.

Carolyn said...

I'm Canadian, but Quebec culture is not the same as the rest of Canada. They are more closely akin to France in many matters, and hold many of the same "secular" values these days.

This, however, is not about being secular. Being secular suggests neutrality on the part of the state, and traditionally in Canada that has meant a vast umbrella where pluristic expression is tolerated as long as everyone adhered to "the rules".

The suppression of religious symbols, and by proxy the expression of religion, reeks of the establishment of atheism as the official status religion.

I suspect, however, that this move is less to do with Christians and the Church, and more to do with the large influx of Muslims that reside in that province. The Montreal area in particular is a favourite destination for a significant portion of Muslim immigrants into this country and there has been unease with their presence as Quebecers have traditionally been very protective of their unique culture and traditions.

Quebec is also a highly irreligious province, as the influence of the Catholic Church waned after the Révolution tranquille.

You also need to keep in mind that it's the Parti Québécois that's in charge here, having won a minority government in Quebec only a year ago. They have a unique agenda among political parties and do NOT reflect the values that the majority of Canadians espouse. Just today a sitting MP from the Bloc Québécois (the federal equivalent of the party) was kicked out of her party for disagreeing with this proposed charter. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/09/12/pol-bq-maria-mourani-quebec-charter-of-values.html

Unknown said...

Perhaps the funniest (or decidedly not) part for me is that small crosses are allowed to be worn but large ones are not. Who is going to be the cross-measuring police? It's the same ridiculousness as modesty police in other countries.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms acknowledges "the supremacy of God" and under Fundamental rights, "freedom of conscience and Religion" and "freedom ...of expression" are listed. However, "The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." So while the rights it lists are not absolute, in no way do I believe that the Quebec's curtailing of these rights can be justified as reasonable.

Further, Quebec has actually never signed on to the Canadian constitution when it was repatriated in 1982; however, they are still subject to it.

-Truthfinder

ProudHillbilly said...

@C. LaSalle - "The government was too cheap to fund social programs and were more than thrilled that the Church stepped up to the plate to pick up the slack." It is NOT the government's job in the first place. It's our job as Christians, and therefore it's EXACTLY what the Church should have been doing. Leaving the care of others in the hands of a faceless entity known as the government not only leads to laziness in individuals taking responsibility for the care of the needy but also results in a wasteful system that fails in its fiduciary responsibility and so leads to there being less resources available to deal with real need.

It's unfortunate that clergy abuse their positions in any way. But punishing all Christians for the mis-deeds of some is like punishing all women because some bride pushed her husband off a cliff when she had the opportunity.

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