Thursday, November 6, 2008

Freedom from Religion?

Originally Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2008

In the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms it is clearly stated that everyone is guaranteed "freedom of conscience and religion"(2b). However, it also states at the very beginning "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law..." While this does not mean it must be the Christian god or the Jewish god or the Muslim god, it does mean that these laws are based on the fact that some singular god does exist. We are given freedom of religion, but we are also given freedom of conscience which can mean abstaining from religion too. I found an interesting group called Freedom from Religion which claims that not only is it important that we have the right to choose religion, we must also have the right to be separate from religion and not forced into it. This would mean removing the opening statement of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The freedom of religion would remain but those of us who wish to abstain from it do not need to "recognize the supremacy of God".

"God" is also found in the Canadian anthem. So often in school they make children singing a mismatched bilingual version, never telling the students that the French one is not at all a translation of the English one. Therefore, when you switch between the French and English one, you are actually singing two very different things. The French version translates into this:

O Canada! Land of our forefathers
Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
As in thy arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross.
Thy history is an epic of the most brilliant exploits.
Thy valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.

(Taken from:

Not only does this mean children could be singing about being willing to go to war for their country at the age of 7 (or however young they are when they first sing it), it also makes them state they are willing to carry the cross. This is referencing directly the Christian faith so even those of other religion, not just atheists and agnostics, should be concerned.

Friday, September 5, 2008

London Birthright

I started trying to contact various organizations today to get some different opinions, as well as to gain some knowledge on the different options out there. I thought that since most churches operate on Sundays that today would be a good day to talk to the church leaders and organizers. However, when I showed up at the United Church this afternoon all the doors were locked. I originally planned to show up for the service at 10:30 and then talk to the pastor/priest afterwards. However, I know from when I have gone to church with my grandparents that the pastor is normally occupied with congregants questions and discussions afterwards and I did not feel it right to take up his/her time being a first time visitor. I guess I waited too long though, and will have to try during the week.

Since I could not talk to anyone in person today, I decided to start some research and what I found today is actually very upsetting. I typed in “London Ontario + abortion” for Google, and the first link to show was for Birthright ( The website advertises this group’s services as “We are here to help you in making a decision about your pregnancy” and “We want you to know the many options available to you.” They also claim to offer “Non-judgmental and caring advice.” The website also says “Birthright is a fully independent organization, not affiliated with any church or public agency.” All this sounds really good as they offer a 24 hour helpline for pregnant girls. HOWEVER, when I called the helpline and made sure to immediately inform the woman that I was not in crisis and did not want to tie up a line that someone else may need, I asked if there was another line I could call for some answers for an assignment, the woman gave me the number to a Right to Life clinic.

Right to Life ( is an organization devoted to criminalizing abortion and is the group that organizes the "Life Chain" which is the anti-abortion protesters. Maybe, I am missing something, but if a group claims to not be affilatted with any church or public agency, how can they give me this number?? Furthermore, when you look into the Birthright website, under services they provide, it quickly becomes obvious which way their counsellors are likely to push these girls towards. They provide "maternity and baby clothes", as well as information on "prenatal development", "adoption", and "pregnancy and childbirth." Nowhere is abortion even mentioned on this website.

abortion = lynching and holocaust??!

Something that really upsets is how different "pro-life" groups attempt to scare people away from abortions by associating it with horrible events in history where large groups of people were killed. I just came across one on the Pregnant Pause website:

This group compares the number of lynchings from 1882 to 1968 (3446) to the number of abortions chosen by African-Americans from 1973 to 1994 (approx. 10,000,000). This is an insult to those who were violently murdered because of racism and also to these women who have chosen to abort for various reasons. In one of my classes this semester we had to look at images of lynchings that happened in the 20th century in the South. Painful to look at, these were clearly crimes of violence and hatred with the intent to oppress and destroy an entire group of human beings who had lives and families of their own. Comparing a lynching to an abortion is disgusting. Although I cannot claim that all abortions are chosen for reasons that all could agree are "legitimate", abortion clinics do not exist to wipe out an entire group within a population out of hatred and ignorance. However, I do know that there were eugenics movements when birth control was becoming popular in the States to sterilize African Americans and I think this is an atrocity. It is not right though to claim that abortions today have anything to do with a racist movement. One very important fact that is being left out is that these African-American fetus which are aborted are happening because the woman (who is most likely African-American, unless this is just from the father's side) chose to do so. Lynchings happened to African-Americans by ignorant white southern people. Clearly the second is one group doing violence against another, and the first is a conscious decision, not to wipe out one's own group.

A more common comparison is to the Holocaust, which is equally disgusting. On the London, Ontario Right 2 Life website ( under "Our Aims and Objectives" there is a quote from John Mallon. "Why should the slaughter of six million Jews and countless others qualify as genocide but not the slaughter of 45 million unborn children?" According to John Mallon's personal website ( he has been a Catholic writer for the last 25 years. I can see how he makes the comparison, if you go with the belief that the moment the sperm meets the egg there is a human being. He is claiming that neither the fetus nor the Jews were able to defend themselves and were subjected to another's desire to kill them. However, these people who were killed in the Holocaust were living and breathing human beings with their own lives, their own dreams, their own ideas, and family and loved ones. They were tortured in numerable and horrifying ways. They were targeted for being Jews. There are numerous reasons why women seek abortions but to wipe out an entire group such as the Jewish community is not one of them. This is an insult to the memory of those killed in Death Camps, as well as to the women and doctors who have made the decision to abort. Mallon seems to think that every person who chooses or assists in abortion is another Hitler, capable of killing millions of conscious human beings. How can people even make this comparison?!