Religious Issues In Your Montreal Community
Taking a trip to a tourist destination like a big city is fun and romantic, and maybe even a bit frivolous. If you’re visiting Montreal you may be interested in seeing the sights and experiencing the dining and nightlife atmosphere. When planning a weekend trip you may research things to do near the Marriott Hotel, or if there will be any festivals in town. However, if you’re thinking about a long-term move to Canada’s second-largest city, you probably have a whole different set of concerns that may extend further than where to eat and what to see.
Moving to a new city means meeting new people, settling into a new neighborhood, and finding your niche in the community. Many people may have concerns about the culture of their new city, including the religious atmosphere and political goings-on. Whether you are religious or non-religious, you may want to increase your understanding of your new city by researching the important issues related to religion in Montreal.
Religious Issues of a Beautiful City
This historic, French-speaking city was mainly Catholic for several decades. Currently, the area is fairly diverse and multi-cultural. Christianity is still the religion most widely practiced in Quebec, followed by Islam and Judaism. A recent and ongoing religious debate began at the end of last year, with a proposed legislative ban on city officials wearing visible religious symbols. The proposal, Bill 60, is a move toward secularism that would ban religious clothing like hijabs, jewelry with religious symbols, and other overtly religious signs.
Many people, religious and non-religious alike, have raised opposition to the secular move, calling it an attack on religious freedom, as well as a blatant scheme by Parti Quebecois (the political party that advocates for national sovereignty for Quebec) to attract media attention. There have been public protests against the ban as well as many furious articles and blogs written to speak out against Bill 60. The bill’s supporters advocate a move toward secularism by banning civil servants from wearing potential divisive “ostentatious” religious symbols.
If you’re planning on moving to Quebec, you may be participating in the area’s political process in the near future. You may also be looking for a conventional religious community to become a member of – or even a non-conventional group. Keep abreast of the important issues facing your community and your family. Our blog features both secular and religious-based topics. Universal Life Church is an inclusive community that honors all faiths including both religious and non-religious persons.
Canadian Charter Harms Religious Freedom
A young girl wearing a hijab. one of many religious symbols prohibited by new law.
Quebec’s Charter Restricts Religious Freedoms: Considered Unconstitutional
Quebec cited gender equality as the foundation for its proposed charter to restrict all government employees from wearing symbols of their respective faiths while on the job. Some religious symbols that would be unlawful for all employees that bill hours to government agencies that receive tax monies include hijabs, kippas, turbans, and crucifixes.
Freedom of Religion and Gender Equality
Parties that are advocates for the proposed charter in Canada have made claims that the charter would further the feminist movement. Others argue that this stance is misogynistic (and counterintuitive) at worst and nonsensical at best. Many women of Muslim and Orthodox Jewish faiths independently choose to dress modestly and cover their hair when practicing their respective faiths. Modest dress and covering of hair was largely rooted in a pro-feminist philosophy in which women were to not to be objectified.
Pandering Religious Freedoms
The Shafia murder trial in which an Muslim man from Montreal was sentenced to life in prison after murdering his first wife and three daughters allegedly due to their refusal to wear headscarves, refusal to cease dating, and refusal to regularly attend school was repeatedly used to support the argument that religious symbols and doctrines are used for violence against women. Should the backbone of religious freedoms and policy in Canada be based on a bizarre quadruple murder? In other words, should policy surrounding religion pander to the lowest common denominator in any given society?
Celebration of Different Religions
The Universal Life Church takes a strong stance that different religions should be celebrated. Religious symbols such as hijabs are not a detriment to individuals or society as a whole. The freedoms offered by Canada have attracted a rich and culturally diverse population. Furthermore, people have the right to work in jobs that do not restrict their inherent rights to practice religion in the form of wearing items that are symbolic to individual faiths.
Legal and Moral Ramifications
The larger legal issue behind the proposed charter to ban religious symbols worn by government workers while on the job is Canadian human rights on a larger scale. Currently, the charter would be a clear violation of Canada’s Notwithstanding Clause. However, passing the charter could open new legal channels that restrict religion in different contexts. Morally, placing substantial limitations on the right to practice religion in a reasonable manner does not seem right.
Do that which is Right
The Universal Life Church believes that it is important to do what is right, regardless of political pressures or alternative agendas. Diversity and symbolism of different faiths should be celebrated, and individuals should not have their freedoms restricted.