EDITORIAL: Matters of faith

Recent comments from local politicians have us scratching our heads

There are many good reasons behind the notion there should be separation of church and state.

It takes courage, and discipline, for politicians to keep matters of personal faith out of council chambers or the Legislature or the House of Commons.

The Canadian political leader in the last 50 years to show the most courage in this regard was probably Pierre Trudeau, a man with a strict Roman Catholic background from a province where that church wielded much power over social and political issues for centuries.

“There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” Trudeau said in 1967 as he brought forward an Omnibus bill that vaulted issues like homosexuality, divorce and abortion to the forefront and rattled the cages of religious leaders and people from coast to coast.

James Lunney will never be confused with Pierre Trudeau. The Nanaimo-Alberni MP, who is not running for office again this year, has tried to bring his beliefs to the affairs of state during his time as a Member of Parliament, but he has ramped it up in the last week.

Lunney’s anger with big banks and law society decisions regarding the status of Trinity Western University’s law students upon graduation is based on his beliefs, his faith, no matter how he couches it. He believes TWU’s code, which requires all students and staff to sign a covenant barring same-sex marriage, should not be a factor in whether law society’s accept TWU law grads to the Bar.

Even more disturbing is Lunney’s apparent disbelief of evolution, which has come up from time to time in his tenure as MP and resurfaced again this week when he came to the defence of an Ontario MPP who said publicly he doesn’t believe in evolution. Lunney has said he has no problem calling evolution a scientific theory, as long as people stop calling it a fact.

Closer to home, and from left field (or, more accurately, Errington where she lives), Parksville city Coun. Leanne Salter had reporters, staff and councillors scrambling to pull up Google when she made reference Monday night to Shemittah, a Hebrew word that literally means “to release.” Seven-year cycles are observed in the Jewish faith, and in the Shemittah year (according to chabad.org) people are to waive outstanding debts, desist from cultivating their fields and re-focus.

Salter raised this as part of her opposition to increases in water and sewer rates.

Perhaps this was not a religious reference — and frankly it sounds like a great tradition — but does it have a place in the deliberations of a city council? While Salter’s comments aren’t quite Lunney-like, they may push a line that’s in place for good reason.

— Editorial by John Harding

Just Posted

Province plans to allow ‘grandfather period’ for manufactured homes on ALR

Ministry of Agriculture says more information should be released soon

Parksville ready to party like it’s 1945

City will celebrate 75th birthday on June 19, 2020

Assessments needed before Parksville beach cleanup could get green light

Permits, reviews would cost city an estimated $164,000

Joint effort helps extinguish shop fire in Coombs

Firefighters quickly contain blaze that spread to nearby trees

VIDEO: After 73 years, siblings separated by adoption reunite in B.C

Donna Smith of Abbotsford and Clayton Myers of Williams Lake are glad they met each other

NHL Draft 2019: First-round mock selections

Hughes expected to go No. 1 overall; Canucks have 10th pick

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

Nanaimo a prime market for new plane, Air Canada says

Vice-president previews Airbus A220, praises Nanaimo’s growth in passenger numbers

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Licence issue delays boozing while cruising on BC Ferries

Planned June launch for alcohol sales delayed

Teens have privacy rights, doctor tells inquest into B.C. boy’s opioid death

Elliot Eurchuk died of a drug overdose. He was found unresponsive in his bedroom in April 2018

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

B.C. school mourns after 13-year-old killed by fallen tree on field trip

Teenager died after being struck and pinned by tree while on a field trip near Sooke

Most Read