Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Momma McGuinty, Conservative Jewish Leader think Dalton McGuinty is crazy

Posted by chinesecanuck on May 7, 2008

His angry mom, a conservative Jew and even e-mails from thousands of Ontarians (so many, in fact, that it’s crashed their system) isn’t stopping Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, from having second thoughts about the Ontario government’s proposal to get rid of the Lord’s Prayer. Should Mr. McGuinty and his people be listnening to the people of Ontario and focus on more serious issues like poverty, healthcare and the economy rather than changing tradition? Just because it isn’t your country or culture’s tradition, doesn’t mean that it’s someone else’s tradition. The politically correct, which is, unfortunately A LOT of people (politicians or non) today (at least the public person), seems to want to get rid of old English Canadian traditions, yet include old traditions of other cultures, which can be just as “exclusive” to a culture or cultures. I don’t understand why a non-Christian can complain about something like the Lord’s Prayer, yet if I complained about another religion’s prayer, then I’m anti-something or other. It’s not fair.

Toronto Star article

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4 Responses to “Momma McGuinty, Conservative Jewish Leader think Dalton McGuinty is crazy”

  1. Mucous said

    This issue reminds me of this
    http://xkcd.com/84/

    Honestly, the tradition is only what 200 years old?
    If changing the tradition is better, and arguably, not having public officials waste our tax dollars being paid to pray while at work IS better, then I’m all for it. Especially if it upholds the separation of church and state which is an ideal much more valuable than mere tradition.

    It is true that there are bigger issues. However, that is a bit of a red herring since that does not really change the correctness of this move. Just merely how important it is to address it at this particular time.

    As for other religions, as an atheist, I’d be the first to defend your right to complain about another religion having too much power/representation in governmental affairs. Rest assured that there is no hypocrisy on my part. (I’d also be the first to charge that the Premier is being a bit hypocritical by removing the Lord’s Prayer against tradition while retaining Catholic schools because of tradition … but thats a much bigger can of political worms)

  2. As you have probably guessed, I think the Lord’s Prayer has no business in the legislature. If knew this had been going on all this time, I would have been upset about it before McGuinty wanted to get rid of it.

    As Mucous mentioned, the priority queue does not change the appropriateness of having a Christian tradition in a secular government (which wastes our time and tax dollars).

    Also, you are making a false analogy about the representation of non-Christian religions in Canadian society. Our national holidays are Christian holidays, our Catholic schools are funded by the government but not other religious schools, and there are ridiculous Christian traditions within our legislature. Allowing individuals to practise their faith is not the same as requiring that individuals practise a specific faith.

  3. Thing is, there’s no separation of Church and State in Canada. In any case, no one is forcing you to say The Lord’s Prayer. You can just stand there and do nothing. You don’t even have to listen. When I was in school, lots of kids slept during our regular services (they weren’t supposed to, but most got away with it). There were certain books they forced us to read in high school and university that we (or at least I) didn’t like, yet we read them anyway, because the course was a requirement to graduate.

    ***NOTE*** I also want to add that while my high school has connections to the Anglican church, and is seen by some, like Restructure! as a “religious school,” it would not have qualified for funding had the Progressive Conservatives been voted in. None of the “old line” private schools would have qualified as they are seen as academic/university preparatory schools first. Religion probably isn’t even second on the list. Not even sure if it makes the top five or even ten.

  4. Mucous said

    Actually, I believe that the statement “There is no separation of church and state in Canada” is an extremely misleading oversimplification.

    What is actually true, is that if we look around the world, the actual words “separation of church and state” appear do not generally appear, not even in the US Constitution which is commonly thought of as the most famous example. Instead, the phrase is generally sourced to Thomas Jefferson and has been quoted as an ideal to which responsible governments should aspire to.

    AKAIK, what actually does appear in both the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (established as recently as 1982, yay for breaking with tradition) is the equivalent of a free exercise clause (the right to freely exercise religion). What they have and we lack, is an equivalent to the establishment clause (the right to not have laws respecting a particular religion).

    Obviously, the exact meaning of both of these has been hotly debated, but the despite our superficial lack of a establishment clause, Canada is a much more secular society. We have had a succession of Prime Ministers that reflect this from Laurier, Trudeau (who overrode religious concerns when legalising homosexuality, abortion), and Chretien (same-sex marriage).

    Nowadays, even in the same-sex marriage debate, the ideal of separation of church and state is respected not only by the government but by religious figures. Example (during the same-sex marriage debate, a Catholic bishop threatened Chretien with excommunication):

    Liberal leadership hopeful and cabinet minister Sheila Copps is a Catholic and she’s rejecting Henry’s dire prediction.

    “Frankly I thought that really overstepped the bounds of rightful separation between church and state,” Copps said.

    Monsignor Peter Schonenbach, the General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), denied the document infringes on the separation between church and state.

    “The separation of church and state is something we believe in very strongly,” Schonenbach said.

    CTV Vatican: Homosexual acts against ‘moral law’

    Note that even Catholic bishops are on side with the ideal, if not necessarily the interpretation of the ideal.

    In any case, this historical perspective is somewhat of a digression. The fact is that even in the article that you linked to from the Toronto Star, it notes that Ontario is one of the laggards in keeping the anachronistic Lord’s Prayer along with only two other provinces (PEI, NB). The rest (including the federal government) have moved on to better and more inclusive policies.

    The question is whether we wish to continue being backward and non-inclusive or whether we should join the other provinces (and the federal government) in a more inclusive policy.

    I may also note that whether people have to listen to the Lord’s prayer or do anything is irrelevant. If we played a Cheetos or Doritos commercial before the legislature opens, people could also not listen to it and stand there, doing nothing. This is not an argument for playing Cheetos commercials or an argument for the lord’s prayer.

    Also, the proposal does not prohibit prayer on one’s personal time before the legislature opens. This is not out of line with most other workplaces, most workers do not have a special “pray time” when they start the day. (unless you count waiting in line in Tim Hortons) I see no reason why the people that are supposed to represent us should be treated differently.

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