MP REPORT: Faith freedom important

Colin Mayes provides some thoughts from MP David Anderson

I hosted a forum on religious freedom in Canada in May of this year. The forum exposed some of the policies and social activism that has marginalized religious freedom in Canada.  I have studied and discussed the political/faith interface with many colleagues. One of those colleagues is the Saskatchewan MP David Anderson and I will quote his latest paper on the subject which I believe is very relevant in light of events in the Middle East.

“At a time when the eyes of the world are fixed on atrocities being committed by ISIL in the name of religion, the notion of religious freedom can sound repugnant. It almost appears to imply that ISIL, the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, should be granted some safe measure of safe harbor.

“Yet nothing could be further from the truth. In actual fact, there is possibly no better example of the need for an unequivocal defense of religious freedom than the barbaric actions and baseless ideals of ISIL. Rather than providing protection for ISIL, religious freedom resoundingly condemns their cowardly regime of terror.

“Religious freedom is a fundamental human right which protects three vital individual freedoms: One, the right to freedom of belief or non-belief; two, the right to manifest that religion or belief in teaching, worship, practice and observance; and, three, the right to change your belief.

“You can freely choose what you believe and you can freely exercise that belief. What you don’t get to do is restrict the rights of others. Your religious freedom must be exercised in a way that does not infringe on the freedoms of those around you.

“Today, religious freedom is under attack from not just one point on the spectrum, but from two extremes which represent polar opposites. On one extreme, government grants enforce exclusive status to only one religion. This has been referred to as the sacred public square. On the other extreme, government seeks to stamp out any expression of religion from public life. This has been called the naked public square.

“Both of these approaches are fundamentally flawed for the same reason. They rely on the power of the state to enforce belief or non-belief, focusing on coercion rather than protection. The sacred public square seeks to utilize the power of the state to impose religious belief and practice, while the naked public square seeks to utilize the power of the state to remove all religious belief and practice. Both approaches violate the rights of freedom of conscience, speech and association and neither ensure religious freedom.

“Religious freedom is not attained by balancing the right to have faith with the right to have none, but protecting both. Individuals can freely choose to believe, not to believe, or change their beliefs, and to express those beliefs without fear of retaliation or censorship. Like the marketplace, there is free exchange of religious or non-religious ideas and beliefs, much like the free exchange of goods and services which takes place within an economic marketplace. The objective is not to create sameness but to guarantee freedom. Individuals can freely participate without fear of coercion or retaliation, resulting in diversity with harmony.

“While ISIL and its sympathizers understand none of this, we must. Because failing to do so will inevitably result in blaming religion for outbursts of radicalization.

“And in blaming religion, we will soon find ourselves curtailing religious freedoms, at which point we will be unwillingly complicit with the very attitudes we so vehemently oppose in ISSL.”

It would be wise to pay attention to MP Anderson’s comments.



Just Posted

Kamloops woman sues Armstrong IPE for Slingshot mishap

Woman claims ride gone wrong caused injury, loss of wages and other damages

Lake Country burglars on the loose after attempted robbery

Two masked individuals tried to empty the Turtle Bay Pub’s ATM on Monday morning

Cirque-inspired Nutcracker sleigh rides into outdoor Armstrong theatre

Caravan Farm Theatre stages unique re-imagining of beloved Christmas classic

Vernon Realty group’s annual coat drive a success

Some of city’s most vulnerable to stay a bit warmer this winter

Vernon’s 2020 Tattoo planning begins

The Okanagan Military Tattoo, Vernon’s largest indoor event, will run July 25-26 at Kal Tire Place

Investigation ongoing in south Vernon shots fired

RCMP have no updates from Nov. 1 incident

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Alleged drunk driver survives crash into Kettle River

The crash happened Saturday near Grand Forks

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

B.C. pushes for greater ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Most Read