Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Problem With Protestants: Why calls for secularism in education is a facade

When assessing the latest controversy over prayer in schools that is taking place in the Peel District School Board, it is important to remember that the issue of religious accommodations has a long, acrimonious history in Canada.

Each incident is presented as a life-and-death struggle over the fabric of Canadian identity. On one hand there is typically a minority group that requests an accommodation it believes is required to freely practice its faith. But these demands are almost always met by a chorus of opposition that demands our institutions stay secular.

But make no mistake, in Canada, secular means maintaining the traditions of the Christian [correction: Protestant] majority.

When seeking to understand the current anti-Muslim paranoia, it is instructional to look at how public ire used to be directed at Sikhs. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sikhs were the minority group du jour in the public spotlight. For example, in 1988, John Morris, a federal candidate from the seemingly progressive NDP, went on television and stated that his Sikh opponent, Liberal Harbajhan Pandori, was unfit to become a member of Parliament because “his culture is really aside from much of the culture of Canada.”  (more...)

It should be noted that, along with Sikhs and Native Canadians, Catholics have also been raked over the coals by those who have appropriated the name of "Christian". Protestants have made two claims that do not hold up: 1) they have ownership of so-called Canadian norms and values and 2) they define what it means to be "Christian". Catholics should make very clear that we do not share those assumptions and that we make our own accommodations with newcomers to our communities. Our values are not national or racial. They are universal. We embrace the whole world and invite its inhabitants to full communion with us, in Truth.

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