Tuesday, October 02, 2007

When You Say "Disestablished" ...

Prior to this morning I really had not heard of Father John Neuhaus, and after reading this drivel, I'm not sure I want to hear any more from the man.

Basically, Neuhaus claims that Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms has shoved Christianity out of the public square. A statement which is absolute nonsense, and he knows it. Canada's Charter has not pushed Christianity out of the public square, instead it has forced it to stand among a lot of other equal voices instead of giving it the arbitrary prominence that many of its practitioners blithely assume it should hold simply because Canada was colonized originally by people who were predominantly Christian.

The claim that Christianity has been "pushed out of the public square" in Canada is blindingly false. One only has to look at who was screaming the loudest over the legal recognition of same gender marriages. The lobby groups that were making the biggest noise were all claimants to the label of "Christian". So, please tell me how that's "being pushed out of the public square"? Quite simply, it's not.

The reality is that Canada's legal framework has done two things - it has made it very difficult indeed to encode as law the kinds of brutal discrimination and inequality that is present in Biblical Scripture. It has given an voice to groups that in the past had been suppressed by the preeminent position granted to "Christianity", and caused people to start to think that just maybe there's more to things than what's transcribed in scripture.

People like Ted Byfield and Michael Coren bemoan the fact that they can no longer stone adulterers or criminalize GLBT people. They claim it is in the name of "faith" and all that is "good in the world", yet it is ultimately the same kind of preening superiority that I saw so often in school - where those who "don't fit in" are subjected to the most awful treatment, largely because somebody else decides to inflict it upon them.

If anything has been "pushed out of the public square", it is not Christianity - or any other faith - but rather the use of the claim of "faith" to justify treating some of our country's citizens as second class members of our society.

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