We are troubled by MP Jim Hillyer's "From the Hill" column in the Friday, Dec. 7 Lethbridge Herald. The column began with promise: "We believe this freedom to worship or not to worship as one sees fit, as fundamental." Unfortunately, it devolves into argument, abuse of fact, and proselytizing. In the end, it is antithetical to Mr. Hillyer's duty to represent all constituents, including those who do not share his religion.
Mr. Hillyer declares, "Religion should not only be tolerated, it should be encouraged." We disagree: a government that directly encourages religion must favour some religious views over others. Worse, the article later indicates that only one religion should be encouraged, suggesting that "common morality" can be attributed only to "Christian values." We believe that the "common morality" Mr. Hillyer references predates Christianity and survives without religiosity. Morality is a product of our evolution as intelligent, social animals.
Mr. Hillyer fails to understand that our federal government should not be involved in encouraging religion. What he calls the "tyranny of tolerance" asks only that the privileged recognize theirs is not the only faith and respect the inclusive nature of Canadian society.
There is no evidence that Canada was designated a "dominion" for religious reasons. Canada was a constitutional monarchy under the Queen, and as "the Kingdom of Canada" was thought to be offensive to the anti-monarchical U.S., "dominion" was chosen, a term that was widely used by Britain to refer to its imperial territories. There is no evidence that "dominion" was used by the founders of Canada to mean "Godly kingdom," and to suggest otherwise is historical revisionism.
Separation of church and state "doesn't mean the elimination of church." Neither does it mean the encouragement of the church by the state. It means that no flavour of religion has a role in governance by the state. This protects the religious as well as the non-religious.
In our tyrannical tolerance we wish Mr. Hillyer Happy Holidays, and hope that he comes to understand that his job is not to represent his god or his sect of Christianity, but his constituents.
Bryson Brown, Margaret Forgie, Jay Gamble, James Linville, Mary Linville, Richard Mueller, Paul Sparrow-Clarke, Rob Sutherland, Victor Rodych, John Vokey and Ian Whishaw
Lethbridge and area
Please login first to manage your favorite pages.