Church and state

Editor John Harding’s comments on matters of faith reflect a misunderstanding of the state’s constitutional relationship with religion.

  • Mar. 17, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Editor John Harding’s comments on matters of faith (March 5 editorial) reflect a misunderstanding of the state’s constitutional relationship with religion. Firstly, the original intent of church/state separation was never to bar the influence of religion in state affairs, but rather, to ensure no one particular religious institution took control over the state. Consider the preamble to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law…

At its heart, religion is a set of deeply held beliefs which form your world view — like Marxism, feminism or environmentalism. Although such philosophies are more popular among modern university graduates, does that make them superior (and all competing views intolerable)?

TWU’s covenant includes common themes of Christian morality: no pre-marital relations, no extra-marital relations, no homosexual relations. Is the law society justified then in barring all Christian applicants who follow a Christian conscience? If so, they have little regard for Section 2 of the Charter. As well, Section 15 guarantees equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination based on religion (among other criteria).

As for the theory of evolution, it does a great job of explaining transitional mechanics within the species. But how does it explain the jump from dumb animal to sentient being? And where did the original stuff come from that eventually evolved? How does the sudden appearance of matter (from nothing) impact the development of all that follows? Should alternate theories such as Morphic Resonance, Punctuated Equilibrium and Cosmic Ancestry give us food for thought?

And while consideration for Shemittah seems misplaced in a municipality with very few Jewish residents, incorporating religious traditions into public policy isn’t that strange. It wasn’t that long ago when stores had to be closed on Sunday (as a matter of law), and as far as I can tell, children in public schools still have Good Friday off.

Nowadays it takes courage, and discipline, for politicians to bring matters of personal faith and personal conscience back into the legislative arena, where such influences have historically addressed poverty, slavery and health care, to name but a few.

John ChambersParksville