Why I Support Bill 21

G. J. Violet


Comments on the bill reflect a one sided view. These concern only those against whom it would discriminate. It neglects a great many others such as agnostics and atheists as well as native faiths for whom the faiths of the colonizers could remind them of their own fate, as well as any other person who is of a different religion than the one in question.

Proselytizing whilst representing the state implies that agnostics and atheists are in moral or spiritual error. It questions other faiths. It confronts us with the millennial history of the confrontation of faiths and current religious conflicts everywhere on the planet. All this and more is implied in such proselytising. Whereas this is not normally an issue it becomes one when it is substantiated by a representative of the state wearing such a symbol.

Also there does not seem to be an awareness that all the political leaders who object to it are accusing Quebeckers of being racist or bigots, of denying the rights of citizens who want to manifest their faith regardless of consequences. In 1996, the women of Ireland, both Catholic and Protestant, formed a political party and created a path to peace beyond sectarianism. The world is presently conflicted as secular states, Islamic fundamentalism, and Christian fundamentalism are in conflict. There are a multitude of reasons why the setting aside of symbols that create a sense of otherness in others would improve our civility.

Dress codes often have strict requirements. Most would not refuse a job if asked not to wear a religious symbol? I believe in the freedom to believe but when such a symbol is worn by a representative of the state I immediately think that he or she believes in something superior to the state and might not easily be aware of the influence it can have on their decisions. I have seen this in high places such as the US Supreme Court and other lesser circumstances. At least not wearing such symbols would vacate such concerns from the mind of many. I truly believe to do so would be to the honour of anyone’s faith since it promotes peace in the heat of all that divides us.

We can not set aside reality. After millennia of religious conflicts, we can start changing the narrative and separate Church and state for the benefit of all. Surely a person of faith is not diminished by carrying their faith in their heart?

2 comments on “Why I Support Bill 21
  1. Michelle C says:

    Freedom of religion also includes freedom FROM religion. For those of us who choose to not worship a magical sky wizard, we have the right to not have religious symbols or clothing imposed on us, especially not in a government office. If an atheist would not be permitted to wear a “There is no god” shirt , then a hijab, turban or “Jesus loves you” button also cannot be allowed. Rights are all or nothing for a reason – to include everyone. In this case the only way to ensure every individual’s right to practice their beliefs is respected is to insist that religion be kept in its place, private.

    • David Rand says:

      Exactly !!!
      Freedom of conscience, which secularism must protect, includes both freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion, as you say.

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