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.