Monday, September 2, 2013

Quebec In the News - Follow the Debate

The following news stories cover more on the problem of head covering in Quebec. Click the linked titles to read more.

"Proposal would ban religious garb in public sector in Quebec"
UPI.com
... Under the proposed ban, all public workers, including teachers and doctors, would be prevented from wearing jewelry, like cross necklaces, head coverings and any other religious apparel, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday. 
"To force people into a situation where they have to decide between their job and their religion or decide whether or not they are Quebecers first or Muslim first -- for me, that's not a question we should be asking people to think about, as Canadians or as Quebecers," [Federal Liberal Leader Justin] Trudeau said." ...

The Globe and Mail
(This article was written by a secularist who fired his doctor for using the phrase "God's will", so his conclusive reasoning against head covering ban has a certain bias.)
... The secular philosophy behind the French and Québécois laws, known as laïcité, has a noble tradition. It was first seen in the United States, where the predominantly atheist authors of its Constitution wrestled with the question of how to create a single government for a country founded and populated by competing extremist sects. The answer was to separate religion from public life, creating a neutral public sphere and making religion strictly a matter for private life.
This idea was adopted even more heartily in France (alkthough the idea of restricting clothing is a recent innovation), and in Turkey, where it is still illegal to wear Islamic head coverings in government-funded places.
And there are understandable reasons why Quebeckers are more open than others to the idea: The memory of religious interference is far more fresh. From the 1930s to the 1960s, the Union Nationale party of Maurice Duplessis created an effective Roman Catholic theocracy, harshly regulating private life. For historical and emotional reasons, laïcité holds a greater appeal.
But that doesn’t mean these charters are a good idea. You need to go back to the basic question: What problem are they attempting to solve?
Neither the French nor the Québécois charters were built on the idea of creating a secular public sphere. Rather, they both were born of bigoted attitudes toward Muslim immigrants, papered over with a slapdash bid for secularism that fails to confront the actual issues involved."   ...
North Shore News
(This article was also written by a secularist, but one who seems to understand living alongside a variety of other beliefs, unlike the above writer, who is more actively seeking to eliminate religion.)
..."Worst of all has been the weird habit of constantly claiming to be a victimized minority, while increasingly trying to stomp on non-Francophone minorities.
Earlier this year, we saw the Quebec Soccer Federation ban players from wearing turbans or other religious head coverings on the pitch.
Now the Parti Québécois is proposing a ban on any religious head coverings or sizeable religious symbols for all public employees.
...
Obviously, this new proposed law is stupid, racist, and if it was held up to the values of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, would stand as much chance of surviving as a delicate origami crane placed inside the engine of a large jetliner.
Why is this law being proposed in the first place? Marois has defended the so-called Charter of Quebec Values as part of the unique Québécois culture of secularism.
Well, I'm so full of secularism it's coming out my ears, and that's a load of steaming horse manure.
The freedom of people in Quebec to practise their religion or culture should only end when it causes demonstrable harm to others.
Let's say that I firmly believe that I must, at all times, wear a bedazzled purple pirate hat. Is this belief backed up by centuries of religious philosophy and tradition? Nope. Is it a statement about a proud cultural heritage? Nope. Should the government be allowed to say that I can't wear my spangly purple hat? Absolutely not. The point of freedom of religion means even freedom for dummies like me to believe whatever we want.
This law is not about bringing Quebecers together and uniting people in la belle province, as Marois and her supporters have claimed. It's about staking out a tribal enclave and making it clear to those who aren't white, pure laine Francophones that they aren't welcome.
Quebec has turned from a cool young rebel of the 1960s, with its Quiet Revolution and radical politics, into a stodgy, aging, xenophobic old twit, shaking his cane at the kids and telling them to get off his lawn. So basically, it's doing what all the other old hippies have been doing since the 1980s."  ...
 - See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/stodgy-old-quebec-is-no-longer-a-cool-cat-1.608837#sthash.Nu2aCWWE.dpuf

Worst of all has been the weird habit of constantly claiming to be a victimized minority, while increasingly trying to stomp on non-Francophone minorities.
Earlier this year, we saw the Quebec Soccer Federation ban players from wearing turbans or other religious head coverings on the pitch.
Now the Parti Québécois is proposing a ban on any religious head coverings or sizeable religious symbols for all public employees.
It's like PQ leader Pauline Marois was stung by one wasp, and then decided to wear an entire hive as a hat while jumping up and down vigorously.
Obviously, this new proposed law is stupid, racist, and if it was held up to the values of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, would stand as much chance of surviving as a delicate origami crane placed inside the engine of a large jetliner.
Why is this law being proposed in the first place? Marois has defended the so-called Charter of Quebec Values as part of the unique Québécois culture of secularism.
Well, I'm so full of secularism it's coming out my ears, and that's a load of steaming horse manure.
The freedom of people in Quebec to practise their religion or culture should only end when it causes demonstrable harm to others.
Let's say that I firmly believe that I must, at all times, wear a bedazzled purple pirate hat. Is this belief backed up by centuries of religious philosophy and tradition? Nope. Is it a statement about a proud cultural heritage? Nope. Should the government be allowed to say that I can't wear my spangly purple hat? Absolutely not. The point of freedom of religion means even freedom for dummies like me to believe whatever we want.
This law is not about bringing Quebecers together and uniting people in la belle province, as Marois and her supporters have claimed. It's about staking out a tribal enclave and making it clear to those who aren't white, pure laine Francophones that they aren't welcome.
Quebec has turned from a cool young rebel of the 1960s, with its Quiet Revolution and radical politics, into a stodgy, aging, xenophobic old twit, shaking his cane at the kids and telling them to get off his lawn. So basically, it's doing what all the other old hippies have been doing since the 1980s.
- See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/stodgy-old-quebec-is-no-longer-a-cool-cat-1.608837#sthash.Nu2aCWWE.dpuf
"Q&A: Quebec's religious garb debate intensifies - Philosopher Jocelyn Maclure on freedom of religion in a secular society"
CBC News
(This is an edited transcript of the interview with author and philosopher Jocelyn Maclure, Montreal resident and professor at Laval University in Quebec City.)

First Question: "Should the state have a role in secularizing society?"

Jocelyn Maclure: The state should be secular in the sense that it should be separate from religious powers so that it can treat all citizens equally and respect their freedom of conscience and religion. But the state should not support secularization or the erosion of religious beliefs and practices.
One of the basic principles of secularism is freedom of conscience and religion. So it should not be anti-religious, it should not criticise religion, it should leave it up to the people to decide.   ...
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