Canada trying to suppress religion in public arena, warns Primate

 ‘Faith and culture are intimately connected’

Archbishop Michael Peers began the new year with a warning that Canada seems to be moving toward a secular society, devoid of any mention of faith.

The warning came in a sermon delivered New Year’s Day at Ottawa’s Christ Church Cathedral, reports the National Post. As evidence, Archbishop Peers pointed to the deliberate exclusion of religion from the Sept. 11 memorial service on Parliament Hill, while mainline denominations were part of the same services in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Many Anglican bishops and the Canadian Armed Forces’ chaplaincy committee decried the absence of religion from that memorial service. The military chaplains had even been asked by the federal government for an “appropriate protocol for a prayerful interfaith response to the terrorist attacks,” but its suggestions were not followed.
Archbishop Peers, Canada’s Primate or senior Anglican bishop, said while the country prides itself on its multiculturalism, it is mistaken if it ignores the faith upon which many of those cultures are based.

“Imagine telling Sikhs and Muslims that their culture is respected in this country but the society has no place for their faith,” he said. “Faith and culture are intimately connected.”

While Canadians boast of a country based on “secularism, pluralism and democracy,” Archbishop Peers warned that many seem to be thinking of secularism as the elimination of religious references in public for fear of offending anyone.

That suppression of religion would be “folly of the worst sort,” he said.

“Eventually that kind of suppression implodes on itself, because it is a broad denial of things that run far, far deeper than material life,” said Archbishop Peers, who added that in the former Soviet Union, suppression of religion proved to be literally a bloody failure.

What do you think of religion’s place in Canadian society? Do you agree with the Primate? Let us know: e-mail [email protected]. Response to Primate’s New Year’s sermon is now available.


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