Secularism Gone too Far?

November 4, 2011

The province of Quebec prohibits religious worship in any government spaces. Is this a case of secularism gone too far? How does one balance the desire for a secular society with the freedom to practice one’s religion openly? Where do we draw the line. And my personal question is…why couldn’t secularism entail embracing all religious traditions rather than none?

Read the article from Canada’s National Post here:

http://life.nationalpost.com/2011/11/03/quebec%E2%80%99s-new-secular-norm-fines-for-worship/

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3 Responses to “Secularism Gone too Far?”

  1. “Where do we draw the line.”

    Where private and government property meet.

    “why couldn’t secularism entail embracing all religious traditions rather than none?”

    Because there are too many, and it would be a hassle.

    • “Where private and government property meet.”

      If that is the case, should public ads by secular humanist organizations (which, though purchased privately, have appeared in public places such as subways stations and on the sides of public buses) also be prohibited?

      “Because there are too many, and it would be a hassle.”

      You’re right that it would be a hassle to ensure the representation of every single religious and philosophical group in public spaces, and to make sure that no single group (i.e. Judeo-Christianity) dominates, but it might be an interesting thing to try (just as we see different kinds of art displayed in public places). On a side note, I’ve heard of a certain branch of nonreligious private schools which try to incorporate many religious celebrations from different traditions across the world (and also defunct ones from previous times) into their educational plan. I fail to see the problem with publicly celebrating religious and philosophical diversity as a part of cultural diversity (but only if we can agree that cultural diversity is of value in itself).

      • “If that is the case, should public ads by secular humanist organizations (which, though purchased privately, have appeared in public places such as subways stations and on the sides of public buses) also be prohibited?”

        You’re confusing the two different meanings of the word ‘public’. One definition is anything that people are able to see. The other is ‘paid for by government funds, and thus money from tax payers’. I object to religious displays that are the second kind of public, not the first.

        An ad that is visible to everyone, like a billboard, is still owned by a private organization. And they have the right to put whatever message they want there, or to sell that space to anyone. Its visibility is not the issue.

        The point is, the government should not be allowed to use money that I give them to promote a religion (for example) that says I deserve to burn in some sort of hell. And on the same note, the government should not be allowed to use money that you give them to promote anti-religion, calling you an idiot for believing a religion. But people can say whatever they want in public spaces.

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