Monday, February 25, 2013

What religion do we protect today?

Over the past weekend or so, I took some flak in my questioning of a need for an Office of Religious Freedom, a recently christened office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Government of Canada, in my last post on this weblog from many close friends, compatriots and acquaintances abroad. Yet once more I explain that my wonderment does not begin at the creation of an office that was established to monitor religious oppression and protect freedom of religion internationally, nor that Canadian Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper actually kept an election promise in complete entirety, no my query and worry is that, while being foreign ambassadors for the faithful overseas, we continue to pay no mind nor matter to our domestic leadership in publicly funded secularism, the religion of the faithless. Perhaps we need to take the road back to our civil liberties, in order to protect our national securities, on this issue. I understand the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I also understand its Sections 2 of freedoms of religion, thought, belief, expression and association, understand too Section 7's right to life, liberty and security of the person with Section 15's equal treatment before and under the law and equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination. Altogether, if the government does not want to back any religion, being that of the faithful and of the faithless, why not take back its public funding of any religious act, thus privatizing faith, for those with or without?

More plainly is to understand that those organizations of the faithful, not faithless, started this government of a dominion from sea to sea, its centres of education and health care being schools and hospitals, when the government welcomed their intervention, invention and investment to create the country we have today.

So why do we forget here and then, only to embrace there and now, I think part of it has been our societal statement on and of faith, where imposition of a certain morality has become an irritant to a certain lifestyle in a day when a certain value set has changed for the supposed better. Only those found in, without censure, stamped with approval by the government can be the only kind given preferential taxpaid protection and treatment. Even when those organizations of the faithful, not faithless, which helped start those various social institutions at the beginning of this Dominion's young life, remain true to their original societal statement on and of faith and raison d'etre, government now refuse to fund those who funded it and its own and leave it outside in cold, to grow old and die a death they historically do not deserve. It would be this scenario, which has been oft too many times seen in society, that I speak of for example, which allows me to wonder just where and when is this privatization of religion going to happen, because as of today religion is still being public funded and protected by the people's purse. The $5,000,000. Canadian question is what religion do we protect today?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Are they faithful or faithless based political religious freedoms?

From James Woodsworth and Tommy Douglas to Billy Aberhart and Ernest Manning and of course former Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, whose personal motto to "help those that cannot help themselves" and dedication to applying virtues from the Christian Social Gospel faith into building the foundational blocks of the Canadian Social Welfare state, we Canadians have a strong ethical, spiritual and religious sense of what is right and what is wrong deep within the national psyche of the Dominion. But today we see the shifting tide change politically from the conscientious to the careless in the ever merging area of state politics and religious freedom, involving the government into the exclusive sphere of activity of another entity, thus its sovereign authority, creating a symbiotic association that may evolve some entity that becomes entirely different. Instead of taking care of its own freedoms, rights and responsibilities that I am sure it still has much of and has done little about, the Government of Canada has decided to create an Office of Religious Freedom to protect those faithful abroad, while questionably not doing the same for those here, leaving those on the homefront faithless in so many ways.

The question is are we living in the days of faithful or faithless based political religious freedoms, ones that can be tinkered with and played around with in the backrooms, prosthetized and constructed by the private elite circle for consumption by the public mass society?

Not too sure it has come to all that, but as this new branch office of the Department of Foreign Affairs has been given a mandate by Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end the widespread and increasing violations of religious freedom, through principle and conviction, encourage the protection of religious minorities around the world so all can practise their faith without fear of violence and repression, one could see how this mandate seems to be stepping on the many toes of religious organizations who too have their own freedoms, rights and responsibilities to serve and protect in their own legal and proper way. While the fact remains that politics as a collective is secular, principles of the individual politician are religious, thus whichever religion one values is usually the kind of morals and norms that win the day, whether by transmission of act, speech, thought or vote in the House, no matter how much words of diversity, inclusion, and tolerance are soon after followed by actions of divisiveness, fear and hate become the norm. We must always be careful and wary in how we merge the philosophies of state politics with the theologies of religious freedom, making sure there is enough space to give each other the room to develop their own exclusive sphere of activity, to exercise its sovereign authority upon the collective matters within, to maintain our individual freedoms, rights and responsibilities without.