Secularism: A Separatist Trojan Horse

I think the government should remain neutral when it comes to religion. But excluding people… for no other reason… than their religion, is not secularism. The politics of exclusion always cloak themselves in the idea of protection. In the case of Quebec, the separatists have been playing a protection racket for decades.

Seventy-eight per cent of anglophones and 70 per cent of allophones surveyed agreed the proposed legislation targets Muslim women.

Its not about hats, its about being a muslim woman. They have become the scapegoats, that most visible of minorities.

My Canada includes minority women and so should government.

18 thoughts on “Secularism: A Separatist Trojan Horse

  1. “Seventy-eight per cent of anglophones and 70 per cent of allophones surveyed agreed the proposed legislation targets Muslim women.”

    Really? Then 100% of these people are uninformed.

    “Its not about hats, its about being a muslim woman.”

    Of course it’s not about hats; it’s about visible symbols of religion. If you are employed by the state, don’t wear them when you are at work.

    BTW: More Christian women than Christian men wear crucifixes.Crucifixes are not jewellery; they are symbols of Catholic/Christian oppression. Is the charter targeting/excluding Christian women as well?

    My Canada includes women who smart enough to get rid of the shackles of religion.

    • My Canada includes women who smart enough to get rid of the shackles of religion.

      And forbidding them to wear crucifixes, or head-scarves, or whatever, accomplishes this in what way? I fail to see the compelling public interest in banning religiously-related apparel — I mean, what harm does it do me if the clerk who renews my vehicle plates is wearing a crucifix, a head-scarf, or a yarmulke? Especially when, while Quebec strains at that gnat, they swallow the camel of the crucifix in the Assemblie Nationale.

      *My* Canada includes everyone — even those who may be doing things I find quite foolish, even self-harmful.

      • Eamon, I doubt that we will hear any reply from Veronica. Her M.O. is to post screeds about Bill 60 that paint opposition as uninformed agitprop, to use her words. She never engages in discussions, answers questions, or explains how Bill 60 could possibly be a good idea. I don’t think she’s even really though it through, and so doesn’t really have any arguments to make.

        • Jim and Eamon

          I seldom engage in discussions because I post my opinion in the Canadian Atheist posts under my name. BTW Eamon, is Eamon Knight your real name.

          The comments here try to imply that the ban on overt religious symbols applies to only Muslim women. That is agitprop as is the idea that the PQ wants to ban overt religious symbols all over the province. The ban applies to government workers, both male and female, while they are at work for the government.

          What harm does it do me

          Religious symbols are non-verbal speech. Non-verbal speech shouts, “I’m part of a particular religious group!” Government employees should represent the government they work for: they should not represent their religion.

          • Correct, government employees are not real people, but just props for government. Therefore they do not deserve the same rights as real people.

          • Government employees should represent the government they work for while they are at work; they should not represent their religion.

          • Don’t ask, don’t tell.

            Yes, that always works well.

          • No, Eamon Knight is not my real name, as I believe you are aware. Why that matters, I don’t know. If you’re annoyed about being accused of failing to engage, note that it was Jim Royal, not I, who said that.

            As far as the original topic is concerned, on the whole I agree with Corwin’s comments. I would put it this way: what most of us represent, primarily and always, is *ourselves*, and we express this in (among other ways) our choices of dress and grooming. I don’t (and shouldn’t) care that the person who renews my license sticker expresses femininity, or masculinity (ie. as those are conventionally coded into personal presentation), or has a beard, or short or long hair, or an exuberance or conservatism of dress. If it makes them happy to go to work “being themselves”, insofar as that doesn’t interfere with doing their job, then why not? And if they perceive their identity as including their religion (and as long as they’re not in-your-face about it), then so be it.

  2. Veronica, let me ask you some serious questions.

    On one side of this debate stands every educational institution in Montreal, plus Amnesty International. On the other side of this debate is you… and people like the Pineault-Caron family.

    Is this a position you ever pictured yourself in, being opposed to the needs of higher education and human rights? Doesn’t this give you pause, even for a moment? To paraphrase Oliver Cromwell, “I beseech you, think it possible that you may be mistaken.”

    “If you are employed by the state, don’t wear them when you are at work.”

    Why does that need to be a rule? What problem does it solve? Whose life would be improved by it? Not yours or mine, certainly.

    “My Canada includes women who smart enough to get rid of the shackles of religion.”

    Were you coerced into giving up religion? Did someone pass a law that shoved you against your will toward atheism? Or were you instead convinced by reasonable words and ideas? If someone tried to coerce you into doing anything, wouldn’t you resist simply out of principle, regardless of what they thought was “best” for you?

    If you were convinced by ideas in the past, why do you feel the need for punitive laws now? Why aren’t words enough?

    • Why does that need to be a rule? What problem does it solve? Whose life would be improved by it? Not yours or mine, certainly.

      Those are excellent questions, and I’ve never seen halfway-plausible answers from supporters of the Charter of Quebec Values. I’m less convinced that I should care what Amnesty International and various university administrators have to say on the subject, unless what they have to say stands on its own merits.

      • Those are excellent questions, and I’ve never seen halfway-plausible answers from supporters of the Charter of Quebec Values.

        Wait for it; those answers are forthcoming.

    • “If you are employed by the state, don’t wear them when you are at work.”
      Why does that need to be a rule?

      Because there are dress codes everywhere and nobody contests them. Judges and lawyers have to wear ridiculous robes, hotel doormen and busboys have to wear ridiculous uniforms, members of the armed forces have to wear a uniform corresponding to their rank, workers in the food industry have to wear hats or hairnets, etc. and everyone finds it normal. There are also dress restrictions: Do you find it reasonable for a person to enter a bank or drive a car while wearing a burqa or a Spiderman costume? Would you find it reasonable for a Sikh fireman to enter a burning building wearing a turban instead of a fireman’s helmet? Aren’t there security issues at play? Could you enter a courtroom wearing a bathing suit, or could a Toronto Maple Leafs player play a game wearing a Montreal Canadians sweater?
      The dress code in our public service is simply to show your face and not wear religious symbols. Is that so hard to understand? Is this an unreasonable requirement?
      Or is it different in the case of the Quebec Charter because religion is involved? Is religion something special or a freedom that is above the other fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights? Isn’t freedom from religion just as important as freedom of religion?
      The charter also provides guidelines with respect to religious accommodations. How would you have handled the situation that arose recently at York University? There being no guidelines, the chairman agreed with professor Grayson, but the dean and the principal disagreed. Some judges allow a witness to wear a niqab while others do not.

      • Arguing that a “no conspicuous religious symbols at work” rule would be reasonable falls short of arguing that such a rule would be beneficial. I’ve never seen a good case for the latter, although I’ll take an open-minded look at whatever Veronica (or anyone else) comes up with in that department.

        I don’t, actually, think judges and lawyers should have to wear ridiculous robes. Hats and hairnets on food industry workers serve a practical purpose, as do helmets on firefighters. However, I’d like to see a general loosening of dress codes in Canadian society except where some pragmatic rationale for a particular rule can be demonstrated. Banning facial coverings in some situations makes perfect sense to me, given that facial expressions are such an important part of human communication, and I don’t think religious taboos should be allowed to stand in the way. However, a general ban on conspicuous religious symbols in public sector workplaces seems like an unwarranted infringement on the freedom of Canadians to wear what they bloody well please.

      • Richard Parmene said: “The dress code in our public service is simply to show your face and not wear religious symbols. Is that so hard to understand? Is this an unreasonable requirement?”

        I echo what Corwin said: It’s possible that such a rule might be reasonable, but it is not beneficial or necessary. As I asked earlier, what problem does this solve?

        As it happens, the rule — as it is expressed in Bill 60 — is not reasonable either. I walk the streets of Montreal daily. No one wears ostentatious Christian symbols. This law would not affect Quebecers of Christian background at all. And in those cases where the law might have required some actual sacrifice from Christians in government — like the crucifix in the national assembly or prayers in town council meeting — the law looks the other way. This law, as written, affects primarily one group of people, and that is Muslim women.

        I might have supported Bill 60 but for this stark and unfair imbalance. I would still need to be convinced that the law solved an extant problem in our society, but I would not be opposed in principle.

        And your point about dress code is a red herring. Dress code for a civil servant or teacher is aimed at ensuring that they are presentable and professional, and that their manner of dress does not interfere with their work. Nothing more. Nurses and firemen have health and safety requirements already.

    • Jim

      Thank you for comparing me to the Pineault-Caron family; ad hominem is always welcome.

      As for Cromwell, did he think he may be mistaken when he signed Charles I’s death warrant?

      • I did not compare you to the Pineault-Caron family, Veronica. I am pointing out, however, that they are your allies in this argument, and that ought to give you pause.

  3. @Veronica
    Religious symbols are non-verbal speech. Non-verbal speech shouts, “I’m part of a particular religious group!” Government employees should represent the government they work for: they should not represent their religion.

    I understand your reasoning here, but I’m not quite prepared to buy into it. Government employees adequately represent the government as long as they do their jobs. What they wear while doing those jobs seems a lot less relevant. I don’t care that much if the guy or gal behind the desk is sporting a turban, a hijab, a crucifix, a swastika or a secret insignia of the Illuminati, as long as I get my driver’s licence renewed (or whatever) in a smooth and efficient fashion. Unless all public employees are going to be crammed into uniforms and given standard haircuts, there will be room for some level of individual expression, and I think that line ought to be drawn generously.

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