I have spent the past few weeks pondering the impacts of the legislation that is being proposed in Quebec. There has been numerous articles published and the consensus has been the legislation is an affront to the values of our society but we should not be too concerned as there is no way this legislation will pass. The believe that this minority government will not garner the support it needs to pass this, is to me another case of burying our heads in the sand.
Historically, we have always upheld the believe that the extreme minority will not succeed, yet when it comes to religious intolerance the minority has most times actually succeeded. We stay silent to often and then extreme views start to permeate through the minds of the general populous. The intolerance’s get sold and society finds it easy to believe, I mean really are we not ” saving them from themselves”, “aren’t they better off following our believes”, “we know best what they need” all quotes and comments I have heard from my so called learned colleagues, friends and acquaintances.
There is a belief that we need to protect the “oppressed Muslim women” by freeing them from their veils….. yea that is really going to work. First of all the believe that they are oppressed because they cover their head or their face is your believe not theirs and second if they cannot wear their veil then they will not be applying for that “great” provincial job. So you have further “oppressed” them by denying them employment opportunities that will offer economic freedom which in all honesty is the only means of freeing the oppressed in today’s society.
This recent proposal by the Quebec Government illustrates the extreme intolerance that is still prevalent in our society. Canada has long prided itself on our tolerance, our willingness to accept you for whom you are, the believe that religious intolerance will not be accepted. I am embarrassed and ashamed at this moment, not because I think the legislation will pass and be a stain on our history but because the common man/woman is starting to believe that this is actually a good idea.
Yes let’s separate church and state, let’s be accepting that we do not all have the same beliefs but for gosh ( can’t say God right??)sakes let’s not pretend that what we are doing is anything but religious intolerance.One must also be cautious as to where all this will lead. A little bit of research has given me the believe that this has been on ongoing in Quebec and be warned people it is not just against ” immigrants” and their ” different religions”, it is just as much about about you and your religion and it is about their’s.
In 1620 the first Catholic School was formed in Quebec, Catholic Recollet Order, now we fast forward through the centuries and in 1998 Quebec again passed a law, all religion teachers in the catholic schools must be practicing Catholics. Hmmmm that sure reflects separating church and state doesn’t it.
Now fast forward again:
December 4, 2012, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled in Québec (Procureur général) c. Loyola High School,1that Loyola High School, a private Catholic high school in Montreal, was required to teach a secular Ethics and Religious Culture Course (the “Course”), and could not substitute an international religions course taught from a Catholic perspective. The decision will be of particular interest to private religious educational institutions across Canada, as the Court accepted an unprecedented degree of Government interference with the content of religious instruction in a private school.
The Québec Ministry of Education developed the Course as part of a deliberate effort to replace existing Catholic and Protestant programs of religious and moral instruction in Québec’s public schools with non-denominational ethical instruction and the presentation of various religions in a manner intended to be “cultural” rather than “religious”, and “neutral” rather than “partisan”. While students were previously allowed to choose between Catholic instruction, Protestant instruction or a non-confessional morality and ethics course, from 2005 to 2008, the Québec Government gradually moved to replace this system with the single, mandatory Course. The Québec Minister of Education has stated that the change was intended to better reflect the increasingly pluralistic reality of Québec. Under the applicable legislation, the Course is mandatory for all Grade 1 to Grade 11 students in Québec, regardless of whether they attend public or private schools or are homeschooled. Parents are not given the option of exempting their children from the course.
Quite possibly this could be why the general populace is so tolerant of the recent proposals, they have seen an eroding of their own religion as a result of government interference so why should the other religions be treated any differently??
I believe this is a very slippery slope, first they are banning the overt “religious symbols” in provincial jobs, next will be private industry then what about the non material symbols, forget the turban or the niqab, what about hairstyles??? Will an Orthodox Jew be required to cut his side burns, will a Muslim be required to shave his beard, will a hindu woman no longer be allowed to wear a braid, will a rastafarian no longer be able to wear dreadlocks?? How will I know when I see a woman with a braid if it is a religious believe or a quick hairdo. My comments may be somewhat factitious but they are meant to demonstrate that the road to religious intolerance does not stop because I am no longer able to wear a cross, it does not stop until we stand up and say enough.
Are you strong enough to say STOP……………