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Outgoing Letters and Public Statements

September 7, 2011

RE: Zealotry and politics not part of our mosaic, September 6, 2011 by Naomi Lakritz

To the editor of the Calgary Herald,

Ms. Lakritz is correct that we should be grateful Canadian leaders respect the religious diversity in this country. However, she misses some important points in her editorial comment. First, Canada is a free and democratic country with both a long history of recognized freedoms and a constitutionally enshrined Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The two guarantee both freedom of expression and freedom of religion. Second, the United States of America has a doctrine of the separation of church and state, but Canada has instead a long history of cooperation between the two. Third, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously on this point in 2002 that our 21st Century public square includes equal opportunity for all to participate in the political process, noting particularly that the “religiously informed” are not to be excluded (Chamberlain v. Surrey School District 36). In a January 2006 contribution to Faith Today magazine the late Mr. Layton, former leader of the NDP noted, “The NDP has a long history of developing public policy on the basis of the faith-informed perspectives.” Mr. Layton proceeded to comment on the place of both the religious right and the religious left in Canadian politics, concluding,

There will always be a role for Christians, and for people of other faiths, to speak out of their prophetic traditions, challenging the rulers of their day to do justice, to love kindness and mercy, and to measure their political choices not in terms of how they help the rich and already powerful, but how they help the hungry, the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized and the environment that future generations will have to live in. The prophetic voice may not always be welcome in public policy debates, but it is essential that its role be defended as one of the important ways that the spirit speaks to us in human history.

Sincerely,

Don Hutchinson
Vice-President, General Legal Counsel
Director, Centre for Faith and Public Life

Outgoing Letters

2011-present
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EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger writes regular commentaries about public policy issues. The EFC magazine Faith Today often publishes articles and essays that examine such issues.

   
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