Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Religion in Canadian Politics?!

Once again, the idea that religion is bad for politics is being dragged into the election arena. Because religious contenders for parliament seem unwilling to expose their religious views, they apparently have a “hidden agenda.” You can read the report by Ian Bushfield at http://www.canada.com/Religion+Canada/4549627/story.html/

Ian’s own agenda, showing through his article, is the tired old line that religion skews truth; only non religious people have a balanced view of life, and therefore should run the country. He is fearful of the “Religious Right” that seems bent on thwarting his ideas of ethical progress in our nation.

Ian is entitled to his views as an atheist, but he makes the common mistake that non-religious people are free of religious bias. There is no empirical proof that God exists, or that He doesn’t, only circumstantial evidence. That is why Christianity and other religions are a “faith.”

Absence of proof is not proof of absence. Unless Ian, or other atheists, can prove beyond doubt that there is no God, his beliefs are a faith like anyone else’s. Then the question arises, why should his faith take precedence over another’s faith, or his faith based “reason and evidence” be superior to another?

This feeds into the faltering multiculturalism in Canada. It is not a work in progress, but is in regression like Europe. Why? Simply because religion, that most new immigrants espouse, is deemed inappropriate for national policy making, and sidelines those newcomers multiculturalism is trying to accommodate.

Ian is right. Deeply held religious views do affect policy decisions—including his. There should be “an open discussion about the role of religious belief in Canadian politics.” But he would mistakenly consider himself impartial and excluded from that discussion.

The growing popularity of the Conservative Party reflects a growing disenchantment of the way Canada’s liberal democracy is going. Ian’s “archaic” traditions may still be the bedrock on which Canadians are finding stability in the shifting sands of secularized ethics.

Either there is a God or there isn’t, and if He exists, He may be detached or involved in this world. Without clear proof for any of these views, they may all be considered legitimate and valid as a guide for life. But a wrong view is likely to destabilize a country.

Religious views on life are likely to be as right as Ian’s secular views could be wrong. Most people believe in a God of some sort, and if, as I believe, He is involved in our world and cares for our country, we are unwise to ignore Him. Better to bring Him into our political debate and policy making.

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