Archdiocese of Toronto doesn't support separation of church and state

Tilberian
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Archdiocese of Toronto doesn't support separation of church and state

I was flicking around the TV tonight and I saw a priest from the archdiocese of Toronto being interviewed on Focus Ontario. You're going to love this story.

Apparently the good Pope Benedict has reiterated that politicians who support abortion are not to receive communion in Catholic churches...in other words, be excommunicated. I guess this is actually happening in Mexico. Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty was asked about it and said, quite rightly, that as premier it was his duty to represent Ontarians of all faiths and that he didn't know of any politicians that took orders exclusively from the Vatican. He basically pointed out that the church has their role and politicians have a different one.

So they cut back to this Toronto priest and the interviewer asks him if he agrees with McGuinty that there should be a separation of church and state. And the guy says "First of all, separation of Church and State is a very American concept, and this is Canada."

So the archdiocese of Toronto doesn't support the separation of Church and State!? Fucking hell, somebody put these clowns in their place!! I almost hope they get their way so that we all can see the looks on their faces when the Indians in Brampton vote in the Hindu Party and they decree that Catholic churches aren't tax-exempt any more. I bet there'd be a real run on democracy in the church then.

It's getting out of hand. The churchmen really are starting to think that they should be running things.

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Here's a letter that I sent

Here's a letter that I sent to Global TV and the Archbishop's office:

 

I was fascinated to hear that the Archbishop of Toronto considers Church/State separation to be “a very American concept” and not necessarily applicable in Canada. Can we look forward to a Catholic Party of Canada soon, then?

 It was strange enough that the Archbishop felt empowered to lecture us all on Canadian political tradition. Clergy in the past have had the good sense to understand that getting embroiled in politics will create more problems than solutions for them. The Ontario tradition that I’m familiar with is for clergy to demur to comment on political matters on the grounds that they are experts on spiritual matters, not political. I guess some people are finding that the Word of God isn’t persuasive enough any more and control of a police force would be a more effective way to advance their agenda.

 Sadly, of course, the Archbishop was just plain wrong. As most of us learned in Political Science 101, Church/State separation is an accepted and necessary tenet of democracy the world over.

 If the Archbishop is frustrated with his inability to grab the reins of power in Ontario, maybe he should reflect on the fact that there may be other religious groups in the province equally interested in having control over more than just the hearts and minds of their flock. I could see the Hindu Party having some success in many Toronto ridings, and certainly the Sharia Party would have a clear platform on law and order. My guess is that, should either of these hypothetical parties come to power at Queen’s Park, the Archbishop would swiftly rediscover his enthusiasm for real democracy.

Pat Flannery

London, ON

 

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The unfortunate thing is

The unfortunate thing is that in the US where it's in the constitution (though indirectly) is where it's among the weakest in the west.

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Yes, that is sad. You have

Yes, that is sad. You have to hand it to the ChristCons, they are good at making up catchy one-liners that stick in people's minds. "America was founded as a Christian nation" seems to have gotten a lot more traction than it deserves.

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I don't think most of the

I don't think most of the people outside the US realize just how bad it is - the religious fanaticism here is as bad as it gets outside the mideast.

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We have quite a few church

We have quite a few church leaders here in the U.S. that would mirror those statements. Little do they understand that seperation of curch/state is a situation benficial to all. This type of govermental rule leaves everyone to worship(or not worship) as they please without govermental interference.

 


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Dalton rocks. He's not

Dalton rocks. He's not perfect, but he's so much better than Harris was it's not even funny. This is just an extra bit of excellence. Glad I voted for him, and will again.

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It really does trouble me

It really does trouble me that we don't have a clearer seperation of church and state in Canada.


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I say don't separate the

I say don't separate the chuch and state, don't make it that clear, it has worked well in Ontario so far as it is, why change that, look at our brethern south of us, that seperation has done nothing more than make it all the more mysterious really, people don't learn about it, they aren't required to understand it, and what happenes? it becomes a mysterious thing to many, it makes it easier to be taken in, if you cannot discuss it in school or debate it in school what happens? they become ignorant of it and that is dangerous.

Look at Europe where the separation of church and state is fuzzy at best, they learn about it, and understand it, and the mystery is taken away. I say teach our children about religion, but not just one religion, all religions, so that there is no misunderstanding about religion and it's history, it's claims and it's so called truths. We shouldn't shy away from it, or ban it, banning anything has never really worked, we need to understand it, learn it, and learn to think critically. Also the bible has many great quotes as well, many of it's quotes and scriptures are used throughout enligsh literature. As such it should be taught in enlish literature courses as well as in historical course with other religions as well (the history of religious influence throughout history)

It is best that we learn of it than fall into it's ignorance for in ignorance we fall prey to it.

 

This is my first post if it doesn't make much sense i aplogize.


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latincanuck wrote: I say

latincanuck wrote:

I say don't separate the chuch and state, don't make it that clear, it has worked well in Ontario so far as it is, why change that, look at our brethern south of us, that seperation has done nothing more than make it all the more mysterious really, people don't learn about it, they aren't required to understand it, and what happenes? it becomes a mysterious thing to many, it makes it easier to be taken in, if you cannot discuss it in school or debate it in school what happens? they become ignorant of it and that is dangerous.

Look at Europe where the separation of church and state is fuzzy at best, they learn about it, and understand it, and the mystery is taken away. I say teach our children about religion, but not just one religion, all religions, so that there is no misunderstanding about religion and it's history, it's claims and it's so called truths. We shouldn't shy away from it, or ban it, banning anything has never really worked, we need to understand it, learn it, and learn to think critically. Also the bible has many great quotes as well, many of it's quotes and scriptures are used throughout enligsh literature. As such it should be taught in enlish literature courses as well as in historical course with other religions as well (the history of religious influence throughout history)

It is best that we learn of it than fall into it's ignorance for in ignorance we fall prey to it.

 

This is my first post if it doesn't make much sense i aplogize.

I disagree with you. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn't go far enough in my opinion. Before it even starts to list the guaranteed rights it stats: "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law"

While I agree that Canada is doing better than most countries in maintaining a separation of church and state, I believe that government could be more secular.

I do agree however that historical religious education and lessons in civics go a long way into driving home the importance of separation of church and state.

It makes me wonder sometimes when I listen to evangelists in the US talking about seizing control of the government and how the US was founded as a Christian nation. Somewhere along the line the educational process failed these people.

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


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Tarpan wrote: It really

Tarpan wrote:
It really does trouble me that we don't have a clearer seperation of church and state in Canada.

Yes it would be nice if this were set out verbatim in the Constitution. My understanding is that our freedom of religion clause in the Charter is interpreted to protect us against governments making laws based on any one religion, the idea being that if you make laws in accordance with one religion, you are violating the freedom of all others to live according to their religion. Where this leaves those of us with NO religion is not at all clear - we are certainly marginalized here as everywhere else in the world.  

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latincanuck wrote: I say

latincanuck wrote:

I say don't separate the chuch and state, don't make it that clear, it has worked well in Ontario so far as it is, why change that, look at our brethern south of us, that seperation has done nothing more than make it all the more mysterious really, people don't learn about it, they aren't required to understand it, and what happenes? it becomes a mysterious thing to many, it makes it easier to be taken in, if you cannot discuss it in school or debate it in school what happens? they become ignorant of it and that is dangerous.

From reading this I don't get the sense that you have very strong grasp of what separation of Church and State really is. You seem to be focusing on education and the presence of religion in schools, but this is only one manifestation of separation.

We DO have separation of Church and State in Ontario, despite what Archbishop Collins says, and it is that principle that has served us well. I haven't noticed that kids have suddenly become immoral monsters since they stopped having the Lord's Prayer read to them every morning - if anything rates of youth violence and crime are plummeting. 

latincanuck wrote:

Look at Europe where the separation of church and state is fuzzy at best, they learn about it, and understand it, and the mystery is taken away. I say teach our children about religion, but not just one religion, all religions, so that there is no misunderstanding about religion and it's history, it's claims and it's so called truths. We shouldn't shy away from it, or ban it, banning anything has never really worked, we need to understand it, learn it, and learn to think critically. Also the bible has many great quotes as well, many of it's quotes and scriptures are used throughout enligsh literature. As such it should be taught in enlish literature courses as well as in historical course with other religions as well (the history of religious influence throughout history)

It is best that we learn of it than fall into it's ignorance for in ignorance we fall prey to it.

 

This is my first post if it doesn't make much sense i aplogize.

My understanding is that separation of Church and State is observed much more rigorously in Europe than in North America. For instance, the French recently banned wearing headscarves in public schools (going a little far, IMO). Can you point to a specific area where separation of Church and State isn't strictly observed in Europe? 

I agree that education about religion is very important, especially comparative education examining different religions because it tends to put ones own religion in its proper context as just one set of myths in a sea of others. However this is beside the point of separation of Church and State - a secular school can easily justify such a course and most offer one at higher grades. I took a World Religions course in grade 13 and that opened my eyes, let me tell you. 

Anyway, separation of Church and State is not about keeping ALL discussion of religion out of the classroom but rather ensuring that the public school is not enforcing OBSERVANCE of any particular faith.

That's come completely off the rails in the US with their prayers before football games etc.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
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Vastet wrote: Dalton rocks.

Vastet wrote:
Dalton rocks. He's not perfect, but he's so much better than Harris was it's not even funny. This is just an extra bit of excellence. Glad I voted for him, and will again.

Yep, have to admit McGuinty seems to have his head in the right place on this issue at least. He does look a bit like a lizard, though.

I'm not very happy with his deficit spending but I just can't go Tory with their fucking subsidies for private (read: religious) schools. 

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separation of church and State

Well for countries, it would be England, Italy, Finland, I do believe, although i think i am wrong, germany, there are most likely others, howver what i mean by separation of chruch and state is in the sense that the USA has ,that religion cannot be brought up in public schools, that they separate it to the extreme sense, to the point that a teacher can be repremanded for bring up such a subject.

As such Europe I personally believe, again this is merely my own personal beliefs regarding this, has become a secular continent due to the lack of such extreme measures. Although i completely understand why the USA was founded with the separation of church and state, i believe that in the long run it has backfired. I believe that if people were educated in religion in public it's mysteries would go away, it would become another boring school subject

Now many of the nations that i have stated that don't truely have a separation of church and state, do however act as if there was, because the morals have changed, the demographics have changed and the world has changed and because of this the state has to change with it's people. I know that there are countries in Europe to which there is strong separation of church and state, like france and Sweden. However these i believe will lead to alienation of the those people, who in the long run will rise much like in the states (well in france not in sweden or is it switzerland that has almost an 80% population of atheists/agnostics, i can never remember) with their religious beliefs behind them, because they will feel persecuted.


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UPDATE: I got a reply back

UPDATE: I got a reply back from the Archbishop. He told me I was overreacting and sent me a copy of a speech he gave to the Empire Club to explain his views on Church/State separation in more detail. Here's the relevant bit:

Quote:
Religious people may well disagree on important issues of doctrine, but they have a long tradition of working together to address social issues. They do so because they insist on reverence for the human person, whom they consider to be made in the image and likeness of God.

 When religious people take part in the democratic conversation they bring to the table an invaluable tradition of ancient wisdom, a passionate concern to defend the vulnerable, and the credibility that comes from the fact that they daily contribute to the well-being of the community by caring for those most in need. 

It is essential to distinguish here between on the one hand the profession of specific religious doctrines based on faith and divine revelation, and on the other hand the reasoned analysis of social issues offered by members and leaders of religious communities.

People of faith are obviously motivated by their faith commitment, and informed by the ancient wisdom of their spiritual tradition. What they contribute to the general discussion of the problems of society, however, are insights that are based not only on faith but on reason and natural justice.  They invite the public to consider the insights they offer, and to assess them sincerely and critically, and not to dismiss them unheard because they come from religious people.

 Obviously, a person can, as a matter of freedom of speech and religion, speak from a religious perspective when discussing social issues in a multi-cultural society.  But to be persuasive to citizens who profess various religions including the religion of secularism, an appeal to reason is also necessary. There is a wisdom in religious tradition which can be shared with persons of other faiths or of no faith, and shared not only through an appeal to faith but also an appeal to reason.

 With this in mind believers who, after all, constitute most of the citizenry, have every right and duty to become actively engaged in the public discussion of various, often contentious, social issues, and to do so with courtesy and respect. Whatever the irritation caused to those who profess a secularist faith – and secularism is itself a kind of faith – it is of great value to any healthy society that a strong religious voice speak out on all issues of public concern.

I would note, of course, that what I have just said is quite different from a common contemporary vision of the place of religion in society, one in which, in fact, there is no place for religion in the public forum. In that view, religion is a kind of personal emotional experience, a security blanket that some individuals apparently need in order to handle the stresses of life in a dangerous world. It should be neither seen nor heard, but should be safely tucked away in irrelevant corners of private life, and perhaps provide an occasional bit of pageantry to enliven the social scene. Religion, in this view, is tolerated only as a kind of hobby, like stamp collecting.

 A major reason why that view of religion is attractive to many, is that too often in history people have murdered in the name of assorted religions, and have poured the sauce of faith over every kind of iniquity. No wonder that people say: forget about religion. If you must have it, keep it safely private where it can do no harm.

 But, as with anything else, it is in those who live to the full the reality they espouse that we see the true meaning of that reality. Fairness dictates that religion be judged by its saints, not by its sinners.

 Anyone can put on a hockey jersey and stumble around the rink, but that reveals nothing about hockey. All that is revealed is the incompetence of the individual.

If you want to see what hockey really is, you look at a great hockey player, perhaps (and I am betraying my recent life as an Edmontonian) Wayne Gretzky in the glory days of the Edmonton Oilers. That is why the Catholic Church highlights saints: it says “This is how it is done” “This is what it looks like.”   To see Catholic faith lived to the full, look to Mother Theresa, look to Pope John Paul.

And here's the response I sent to him:

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to reply to me. Your remarks to the Empire Club were indeed enlightening. I think perhaps your comments on Church/State suffered from the need to be brief on TV.

Neither I nor anyone that I am aware of is advocating that religious people be excluded from participating in democracy.  However, the concept at issue here is the separation of Church and State. I'm sure you can appreciate the distinction between the institution of the Church and its members. The fear for proponents of democracy (dating back to the establishment of the Church of England) is that if the institution of the Church should become entwined with the institution of the State, freedom of religion would end. Obviously, if the State begins looking to the leaders of any one religion for guidance on policy, the effect is the same even if the formal Church/State linkage has not been established. This is why the Vatican's attempts to influence politicians is particularly vexing.

I was relieved to see that you feel the faithful should rely on "reason and natural justice" in their approach to democracy, rather than doctrine. I worry, as we watch our southern neighbour lurch toward fundamentalism, that if ones faith alone is accepted as sufficient grounds for forming political ideas that all opportunity for discourse will be lost. How do you argue against a policy held on the grounds that God commands it so? Surely this is a recipe for violence. Yet this form of "reasoning" is common, even ascendant, in government south of the border. Just look at the stem cell debate.

This is why I think that Canada should, if anything, take a stronger embrace of Church/State separation than the U.S. has. And why I would hope that an influential leader of a mainstream religion would miss no opportunity to promote such separation.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown