Loading
Canadian charter sparks fears over religious freedom threats
Paul Marshall speaks during a panel discussion at the Hudson Institute on March 27, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.
Paul Marshall speaks during a panel discussion at the Hudson Institute on March 27, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.
By Adelaide Mena
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A government announcement of a Charter of Quebec Values defining the Canadian province as a secular state presents a grave concern for religious liberty, a religious freedom scholar says.

“The situation in Quebec in Canada is now very worrying,” said Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, in a Sept. 12 interview with CNA.

“It’s a very dangerous, radical kind of secularization which is seeking to drive religion anywhere outside of the public square.”

The proposed charter is a new declaration of the province’s ideology, and would also change parts of the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedom. Together, the two documents would affirm “the state’s independence from religions,” said Bernard Drainville, the Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship, which will oversee  the proposed policies.

“For this religious neutrality to take shape in public institutions, it must also show in the people who work for them,” Drainville said in a youtube video explaining the proposals.

“We therefore propose to establish a duty of religious neutrality and reserve among state personnel. This duty would mean that state employees could not wear conspicuous religious symbols while they work.”

He announced that the province will develop guidelines for religious accommodations. However, Drainville said, all accommodations “would have to respect basic Quebec values such as the equality of women and men and the state’s religious neutrality.”

“The religious accommodation must not undermine” these values Drainville added.

Marshall explained that the statute forbidding “any government workers from wearing any ostentatious religious symbols” would ban the wearing of veils, hijabs, large crucifixes, kippot – or yarlmukes, turbans, and other religious dress.

Such limitations on religious action presents a mindset that is “radically secular, and makes it the ideology of the province,” Marshall said.

He warned that the ideology could impose limitation on religious dress and action for those not working directly for the government as well. “When you have that mindset governing, it will go through all of the institutions and try to remove any religious element, and try to remove any element of conscience for people working in those institutions.”

Even religious organizations may not receive accommodations under the provincial government’s rules. “Catholic schools -they’re allowed to be ‘Catholic,’” Marshall said, but the Quebec government has already made motions saying that “it’s going to tell them what they can teach and what they can’t teach.”

“Anything which affects other people in the public life of the province, they’re trying to squeeze out.”

However, “there is some element of hope in that the government of Quebec is so overreaching in this,” Marshall said, “that a lot of people with a secular mindset think that this is just going overboard.”

 “It is developing a lot of opposition elsewhere in Canada,” he noted.  “People in Quebec think this is going too far.”

Tags: Religious freedom

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Sep
23

Liturgical Calendar

September 23, 2014

Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 8:19-21

Gospel
Date
09/23/14
09/22/14
09/21/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Prov 21: 1-6, 10-13
Gospel:: Lk 8: 19-21

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
09/23/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 8:19-21

Homily
Date
09/23/14
09/22/14
09/21/14